MARI Wilson, famed for her skyscraper beehive hairdo and string of hits in the 1980s was in Liverpool last night (Wednesday) to view a series of paintings by her close friend, artist Paul Terence Madden.
The singer, who had hits with Cry Me A River and Just What I Always Wanted, was with her partner, the one-time Brookside and Coronation Street producer, Mal Young (main image, top). Her daughter, Lily May, was also at the art show, at Liverpool independent gallery View Two, in Mathew Street.
No strangers to the private view circuit, Dean Sullivan and Liverpool's outgoing Lord Mayor, Cllr Gary Miller, were also there.
Mari, 60 this autumn, is currently in the middle of a tour taking in the UK and France. In her most recent sell-out gig in the USA she was described as the British Bette Midler.
For a month Madden, View Two’s current artist-in-residence, has been displaying his Rockboys and ? pictures, promising to reveal the answer to the question mark this month.
So all was revealed last night when he unveiled his paintings of “Livergirls” – a collection of pop women with links to Liverpool – from Cilla Black to Mona Best, mother of Pete Best.
Cynthia Lennon, Kate Robbins and others, all people he has met or wants to meet, are included in the new collection of portraits.
As Madden was creating his own artistic tribute to Mona Best he wondered how history could have been different had Mona, and not Brian Epstein, taken the ‘Fab Four’ onto global fame and fortune.
“The one Livergirl in the series I cannot meet, which is a shame as she was a huge part of the Beatles story,” he says.
“She could have been a very good manager for The Beatles, she delighted in risk taking. In 1954 she sold her jewellery and put the money on a horse 'Never Say Die' ridden by Lester Piggott in the 1954 Epson Derby.
It won at 33 to 1 and she bought the old Conservative Club in West Derby and turned it into the Casbah coffee bar.
“In 1967 Lennon asked Mona if he could wear her dad's medals on the cover of Sgt Pepper, I believe he gave her the trophy from the set as a thank you. I think if she had taken over, the Beatles would never have worn suits, maybe that was it. I sense Lennon may have felt tremendous guilt when Pete was sacked seeing as how Mona had helped the band so much.”
As a last minute bonus, Madden has added a selection of heroes from his “blues period” to his exhibition of 55 paintings.
*Rockboys and Livergirls. View Two Gallery, 23 Mathew Street, Liverpool, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays noon till 5pm.
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