Rory Storm and the Hurricanes will probably always be remembered as the band Ringo Starr left, jumping ship to join that other Liverpoolian band; The Beatles. Wise move on Mr. Starkey’s part! But at one time Rory Storm and the Hurricanes were one of the most popular bands in the region, once placing fourth in Mersey Beat’s (a weekly magazine documenting the Liverpool scene) poll of favorite bands. The Hurricane’s recorded output was small, three tracks on two compilations: “This Is Mersey Beat Vol. 1 and Vol. 2,” and a couple of singles: Dr. Feelgood b/w I Can Tell on Oriole Records in 1963 and America b/w Since You Broke My Heart released in November of 1964 on Parlophone.
Oddly enough, America was produced by Brian Epstein, manager of The Beatles, in his one and only crack at playing record producer. By 1967 the Hurricanes were breaking up, due in part to an ever changing line-up and their decision not to go with the eternally shifting musical plat du jour. Storm later became a disc jockey, a peculiar occupational choice since he spoke with a stutter.
Unfortunately, Rory Storm’s other claim to fame is a dark and murky tale. It concerns the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death on September 28th 1972 and the speculation that he and his mother died in a suicide pact together.
After his father’s death, Rory Storm returned home suffering from a chest infection. Reportedly he had trouble sleeping and wound up combining alcohol with sleeping pills. The next morning he was found dead in the house along with his mother. However, autopsy reports show that Storm hadn’t taken enough sleeping pills to kill himself.
I found this article by the founder and editor of Mersey Beat, Bill Harry. (He also worked as a publicist for bands like Led Zeppelin and Suzi Quatro) Harry interviewed Rory Storm’s brother-in-law, Shane Fenton who said: "Rory became very ill. He had a chest condition, which meant he couldn't breathe properly. He found it difficult to sleep so he'd take his pills with a drop of scotch, which doped him completely. At the post-mortem it was established that he hadn't taken enough pills to kill himself ... It had been nothing more than a case of trying to get some kip, but because he was so weak, his body couldn't handle it. He died in the night and his mother found him. She must have felt that she'd lost everything. I think she took an overdose, but I'm convinced that Rory didn't. When you've known somebody long enough, you know whether they're going to do it or not. The whole thing was an accident."