Johnny Byrne, a guitarist who was briefly teamed with Ringo Starr in a Liverpool band called Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, died Aug. 18 of unreported causes after collapsing at his home in Liverpool. He was 59.
Byrne, who used the stage name of Johnny Guitar, and Alan Caldwell, who took the stage name of Rory Storm, started playing together in 1957 in a skiffle band called the Raving Texans, which combined elements of jazz, blues, country and folk. The group became the Hurricanes in 1959.
Rory Storm and the Hurricanes was one of Liverpool’s most popular bands in the years before Beatlemania, but unlike a host of other Merseyside bands, it never had a record on the British hit charts.
With Starr on drums, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes played at the Kaiserkeller in Hamburg in late 1960, getting star billing over the Beatles. Starr joined the Beatles in 1962.
The Hurricanes continued performing until 1967. Caldwell died in 1972, and Byrne went to work as an ambulance driver the same year.