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Members of the Group


The members of the crossBeaTs changed only slightly over the years.  The list below gives details of membership, and also contains links (click on a name) either to current personal web pages or to e-mail addresses - where (or as they become) available.

  Time Period Main Role Founding Member
(1962)
First Singles (1965) LP & Single
(1967)
No Drums
(1968)
US Tour
(1970)
Final Line-up
(1975+)
Eddie Boyes Jan 1963 to the end Rhythm - then bass from Oct 1966, and lead vocals from 1975 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
John Boyes Jan 1963 to the end Lead guitar Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tony Mathias Jan 1963 to 1975 Lead vocals Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Eric Knowles Jan 1963 to May 1968 Drums Yes Yes Yes      
John Miilington Apr 1963 to Oct 1966 Bass guitar   Yes        
Sam Pennington Oct 1966 to the end Rhythm     Yes Yes Yes Yes
Joe Roberts Nov 1968 to the end Drums         Yes Yes


A Potted History and Background

St Leonard's church youth holiday of the summer of 1962, at Whiston Lodge, Biggar in Scotland, was the coming together of Tony (singer) with Eddie & John (guitars).  Prior to that, Eddie & John (brothers) played guitars together at home.  I have a recollection of playing 'Twist Again' over and over again at Biggar - it must have been in the charts.  After that holiday, four of us got together to play and sing (Eddie, John, Eric and Tony).  We played 'pop' songs for fun, learning what we could from the new Merseyside groups that were starting to 'happen'.  We also learnt some fairly traditional Christian songs.  This would be in the autumn of 1962, during the Cuban missile crisis.  Our first church booking was in January 1963.

In terms of musical styles and influences, John had liked Duane Eddy ('The Twang's the Thang').  Eddie's first 'pop' interest had been at the time of things like the late Everely's (Cathy's Clown etc), and Paul Anka ('Diana').  Tony had liked Elvis, and he might have admitted to liking the Bachelors.  I'm not sure what Eric liked, but I think the main influence on all us around 1962 was the Beatles and the emerging Merseybeat scene (before the Beatles hit the big time).

TONY MATHIAS (1963-75)

As a young boy, Tony, the singer, had been involved with St John & James' Church Bootle and was sporty - a footballer (soccer) and cricketer.  It was this connection which brought him to St Leonard's Church to play football (soccer) there and become involved with the young people.  He had been on a St Leonard's youth holiday in the summer of 1960 (to Patterdale Hall, Lake District), but had missed the 1961 holiday on the canal boats from Chester to Llangollen.  At the time of the start of the crossBeaTs Tony was part of the St Leonard's scene and was a committed Christian.  Tony sang with a rather 'sweet' voice, which some people thought was particularly suitable for ballads. Tony had left school at 16 (grade 10) and was working in a shipping office (PSNC) in Liverpool.

JOHN BOYES (1963-end)

John (lead guitar) had always gone to St Leonard's and was involved with the youth scene there - going on all the church holidays and Boys' Brigade camps etc.  He had been converted during the early ministry of John Mockford (as had the others).  John had also left school at 16 (grade 10).  He was interested in photography and began working for a local photographer.  Later, he became interested in electronics and, after some time working for cancer research, ended up much later working in computers at the University of Liverpool.

ERIC KNOWLES (1963-68)

Eric had also left school at 16 (grade 10) and was working as a salesman in an Liverpool department store (John Lewis - G H Lee) at the time the group started.  He later moved into selling concrete, and much later into waste disposal.  Eric had always gone to St Leonard's as a child, and was involved with the youth organisations, but it was when his father was converted ('big' Eric) that the family became more involved, and young Eric was converted.  This was a year or two before the group started.  Eric had been a member of the Boy's Brigade (a uniformed church organisation) at St Leonard's (along with John and Eddie), so Eric's drumming stemmed from that.

EDDIE BOYES (1963-end)

Again, Eddie was an involved member of St Leonard's Church, and had been converted at a mission there.  Eddie was younger than the others and had stayed on at school after 16 to study "A" levels (Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics).  He was in the first year 6th form (grade 11) when the group started.  He later went to the University of Liverpool to study physics, and then on to a PhD.  He was therefore a student in the early days of the group, and chose not to go away from home to University so that the group could continue.  For the practice holiday in the autumn of 1963, he was in (high) school, and had to ask the headmaster (principal) of the school for time off.  He later went into teaching Physics and eventually lecturing at the University of Liverpool.  Musically, he was interested in chords and chord sequences, an interest which had stemmed from Tom Cooper.

None of the group had any musical training, or could read music, but Tom Cooper had taught Eddie some chord theory.  Tom was organist and choirmaster at St Leonard's and was always trying to introduce more modern Christian music to the young people.  It was natural that Tom should be an important part of the start of the crossBeaTs, not just in musical terms but also spiritually.

JOHN MILLINGTON (1963-66)

John Millington (bass) became a Christian throgh St Leonard's though he had not gone there as a child - living near to St John & James in the same road as Tony.  John joined soon after the group started, and this relieved Tony from having to learn bass and sing at the same time (which had been one option we had considered).  John had also left school at 16 (grade 10) and was working in a local government office (town council, city hall) - Bootle.

When John Millington left the group to get married and move to Wigan (1966), the group thought about 'taking on' another bass guitarist.  Some friends considered doing this but it didn't seem right.  There was even talk of amalgamating with the Witnesses, a more recent Liverpool Christian group that we were friendly with, so that their bass player (Jimmy Nunnan) would become ours, but this was not followed through.  

SAM PENNINGTON (1966-end)

Sam Pennington had been known by the group for a while.  Some of them had met him while playing at bookings, others had bumped into him on holiday in Cornwall - quite by chance.  He was a committed Christian and worshipped at the same Church as the Witnesses, Richmond Baptist in Liverpool.  It was known that Sam played guitar, and it was decided that the group ask him to play rhythm and Eddie would go on bass.  Eventually this happened - without too much of a gap between John Millington leaving and Sam 'taking up post'.  Sam had also left school at 16 (grade 10) and was apprenticed to 'Harland and Wolf' as a pattern maker.  After serving his time, he went to Ford motor company in Liverpool.  In terms of musical influence, he liked the 'Hollies'.

JOE ROBERTS (1968-end)

Joe Roberts was a later drummer (when Eric left).  Joe had been converted at a meeting with the crossBeaTs at Shrewsbury House (Liverpool), and somehow we heard about him when we needed a drummer.  There was a reasonably long period when the group played without drums.  Joe had left school at 16 (grade 10) and had become a welder for a firm working with 'containers' (for container ships etc).  After his conversion, Joe had played drums for another Christian band called the Beacons before joining the crossBeaTs.

If you can help to supply any extra information, please get in touch. Email

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