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"I think it's funny when I read things like, 'Billy J. Kramer, Liverpool crooner'," the 70-year-old singer recently complained to me, but with a huge, good-natured laugh. "I can definitely sing rock and roll."

Kramer certainly proved that. To thunderous applause, he stormed onstage for a dynamic set that mixed old '50s rock standards with songs written especially for him by The Beatles, including "Bad To Me," "From A Window," and "I'll Keep You Satisfied," plus other past hits like "Little Children."

Backed by his hot band featuring long-time Billy Joel drummer Liberty DeVito, the British "Merseybeat" singer ended his performance by walking around the audience with a wireless mike doing the title song from his new CD, "I Won The Fight." It had been written in support of placing legendary British manager Brian Epstein onto next year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ballot.

Explains Kramer, whose career was guided by the savvy Epstein until his untimely death in 1967. "I always thought it was a real travesty that the man who discovered The Beatles, the biggest rock and roll act the world has ever known, had been totally left out in the cold. The Beatles brought such wonderful music to the world and, let's face it, if not for Brian, they could have quite easily ended up playing The (small) Cavern (club) for their whole career."

Kramer will be performing at Manhattan's Cutting Room on March 6th. A full interview with Kramer talking about his close friendship with The Beatles, overcoming personal demons, and his fascinating half century in the music business will appear in this column a few days prior.


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