When Paul Met Gerry

What would have happened to rock'n'roll if Lennon and McCartney had never been properly introduced?

Despite dissension in the ranks, Rubber Soul is a pivotal Gerry and the Pacemakers album. But it's the group's last. Soon after Soul's release, Gerry attends an art gallery to watch Japanese performance artist Yoko Ono's one-woman show "John and Me," which consists of her sitting in a Port-O-San and letting people in for half a crown. Smitten, Gerry offers £22 and sits on the potty with Yoko for the next 36 hours.

Lennon, meanwhile, accepts an invitation to join the Moody Blues as Denny Laine's replacement.

1966
Gerry and the Pacemakers shock the world by splitting up. Paul makes the announcement, timed to coincide with his first solo album, Out of My Hair!. The recording industry tries to fill the void by forming Gerry and the Pacemakers substitutes. Don Kirshner develops the idea of having four young musicians starring in a weekly TV series, Davy and the Rainmakers. Ringo auditions for the drumming slot, but is turned down for "not being moody enough like Pete Best."

George makes good on his threat to join the Kinks after Ray Davies throws his brother Dave out of a two-story window. The revamped Kinks begin work on (The Kinks Are) The Village Green Preservation Society album, a song cycle about a sleepy little English village that's ruined by the incongruous presence of sitars, tabla players and a visit from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

1967
The Beach Boys, suddenly freed from the chains of competing with the Pacemakers, turn out their masterwork, Smiley Smile, whose avant-garde production and bizarre song structures usher in a new era for studio albums. The Rolling Stones, up 'til now besotted Pacemaker copyists, seize upon Smile's innovations for Their Satanic Barber Shop Quartet.

Scarcely a breath behind that release is Lennon and the Moody Blues' Days of Future Pissed, a sketchy concept album about a man's search for his identity throughout the course of a day. It opens with Lennon's "Good Morning, Good Morning" and closes with his "A Day in the Life." Although unhappy about having crummy, pretentious poems written by the band's drummer affixed to his songs, Lennon's not about to argue because he hasn't been on a record since a harmonica stint he did for Cilla Black in 1965.

Because bossy Paul has such difficulty finding musicians who'll play exactly what he wants, he decides to do it all himself with a zillion overdubs. Predictably, his second album is way overdue. To save himself the time of running back and forth to the control booth, he enlists the dubious singing and playing abilities of girlfriend Linda Eastman, a photographer. When Paul and Linda's Lonely Hearts Club Band is released, critics blast Linda for her sheep-bleating vocals and Paul for padding what could have been a classic album rivaling Smile with such treacly fare as "Cook of the House" and "Lovely Linda, Milking Maid."

Paul's popularity plummets further when he invites U.S. soul singer Otis Redding to come to England to record his song about racial harmony, "Ebony and Ivory." When Otis' plane goes down in the Atlantic Ocean, Paul is universally blamed for Redding's death, as well as breaking up the beloved Pacemakers.

1968
Ringo takes to sitting in with the Band. For most of 1967 and '68, the group is holed up in Woodstock, New York, recording demos with Bob Dylan. The Band releases its eponymous album in the fall, with Ringo's surprise novelty hit, "Don't Pass Me By."

John alienates the other Moodies for good when he is quoted as saying, "I'm more persecuted than Jesus Christ, and I've got the stigmata to prove it."

Paul, desperate for someone on whom to blame his miscalculations, enlists the volatile Lennon to join Paul and the New Pacemakers--which, owing to legal complications, later becomes Paul McCartney and Wings. Paul even allots Lennon space for one song, "Mr. Kite," on his upcoming Wild Life album.

The Pacemakers are a distant memory by late 1968. Gerry and Yoko embarrass everyone with their "Grin If You Want Peace" campaign, which includes posing nude for the cover of their experimental album, Two Grinning Idiots.

George forms a supergroup with John Entwistle (formerly of the Who), Ginger Baker (formerly of Cream) and Tom Fogerty (who leaves Creedence Clearwater Revival to join the project). After spending a frustrated month trying to get their initials to spell out something cool, the members of H.E.F.B. start recording the vast catalogue of songs they weren't allowed to perform in their respective former groups for the unprecedented eight-album boxed set, I Me Mine.

1969
John, free of his debilitating heroin addiction, wants to record the gripping "Cold Turkey" on the next Wings album. When Paul suggests inserting a bridge that later becomes "Another Day," an insulted Lennon bolts to record his solo debut, First He Screams.

The Nixon administration puts pressure on the FBI to dig up dirt on Gerry in order to thwart his Anti-Vietnam/Pro-Grinning campaign. Bolstered by a past pot bust and an unpaid library fine, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service begins deportation proceedings.

By the end of the year, press and public alike begin clamoring for a Gerry and the Pacemakers reunion. They finally get their wish a decade and a half later, in 1985, when Bob Geldof recruits 20 top British acts to band together in the holiday benefit "Paul Aid.

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