Mersey Beat was a music publication printed in Liverpool in the early 1960s. It was founded by Bill Harry, who was one of John Lennon's classmates at Liverpool art College. The paper carried news about all the local Liverpool bands, and stars who came to town to perform.
The Beatles had a close association with Mersey Beat, which carried many exclusive stories and photos of them. They also published several of Lennon's early writings, including a history of the band, and occasional comical classified advertisements by him as space filler.
In 1962, Mersey Beat held a poll to find out who was the most popular Merseyside group. The results were announced on 4 January 1962:
1. The Beatles
2. Gerry & The Pacemakers
3. The Remo Four
4. Rory Storm & The Hurricanes
5. Johnny Sandon and The Searches
6. Kingsize Taylor & The Dominoes
7. The Big Three
8. The Strangers
9. Faron & The Flamingos
10. The Four Jays
11. Ian and the Zodiacs
12. The Undertakers
13. Earl Preston & The TTs
14. Mark Peters and the Cyclones
15. Karl Terry and the Cruisers
16. Derry 7 The Seniors
17. Steve and the Syndicate
18. Dee Fenton and the Silhouettes
19. Billy Kramer and the Coasters
20. Dale Roberts and the Jaywalkers
The results were printed in issue 13 of Mersey Beat on 4 January 1962, with the front page announcing, “Beatles Top Poll!” Paul McCartney supplied the issue's cover photograph, which was taken by Albert Marrion.
Such was the popularity of the poll, Rushworth's music store manager, Bob Hobbs, presented Lennon and George Harrison with new guitars. Many groups in Liverpool complained to Harry that his newspaper should be called Mersey Beatles, as he featured them so often.