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Twenty years ago, another incarnation of Pete Maclaine and The Clan hit the pub rock scene in Stockport.

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Yes, Pete Maclaine's unlucky breaks in the music business even inspired him to write a song, Jam Side Down. That is, of course, the way your toast falls when luck is against you.

A few different twists of fate along the way, and it could perhaps have been Maclaine lounging beside a swimming pool in California. He is not bitter, though. He is still rock 'n' rolling with a vengeance as he looks forward to his 60th birthday at the end of the month.

"I still get Beatles fans phoning me asking about my relationship with John and Paul. I tell them we were pals," says Maclaine. "But there was a difference between Lennon Nike Air Presto Digi Camo and McCartney McCartney was the flower and Lennon was the thorn." Maclaine's rock 'n' roll debut was in 1958 at St George's youth club in Chadderton, Oldham. The singer with the band failed to show, so 16 year old Pete Wetton, as he was then known, got on stage. The group called themselves the Drovers and at other times the Four Teens, eventually becoming Pete Maclaine And The Dakotas, with a residency at Manchester's Oasis club.

BY the end of the sixties Maclaine was on the cabaret circuit. In Air Presto Nike Grey

"We don't make any money," says Maclaine. "We go round with a pot and we end up with a few quid, which pays for a taxi and a few pints.

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the years since, he has also worked as an extra on Coronation Street and as a painter and decorator. Nike Air Presto Fleece Grey

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of it after 44 years," he says. "Once that buzz goes, I won't be doing it any more, but I don't see that happening. I still look forward to that intro to Sweet Little Sixteen."

AFTER another triumphant Wednesday night gig at the Bull's Head, Stockport, Pete Maclaine returns to his modest, mid terrace home in Heaton Moor, picks up the phone and dials the number of his old mate, Graham Nash.

´╗┐The man who said no to the Beatles

"I used to wear these smart suits and I remember Beatles' manager Brian Epstein asked me for some cloth once. I told him I could not get any more because it was African wild silk ,which I had imported. It was really from a curtain shop in Manchester, 10 bob (50p) a yard."

"When they came over to play at the Oasis, Sue (Maclaine's first wife) and I used to organise the parties for the Beatles get the drinks in, the girls and have a party. Not a sex orgy or anything like that just fun. I remember one occasion they played there, it was packed out and there were a thousand people round the block."

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With the line up including Gerry McLaughlin on guitar, Dave Barrow on bass, Max Beesley (dad of actor Max) on drums and Graham Attwood on sax, they have been a regular feature at the Bull's Head for the last decade.

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But Maclaine had something else Epstein wanted. The pop manager invited the Dakotas to ditch Pete and link up with one of Epstein's acts, Billy J. Kramer, a partnership which then yielded six top 20 hits. He declined Epstein's offer of Billy J Kramer's old backing band, the Coasters, and instead formed the first Pete Maclaine and The Clan.

"You could feel the presence of the Beatles even then. Lennon was the one shouting things out and in command. George was the nicest, quietest man. Ringo was always fooling about, like I used to be doing. McCartney was a pleasure to be with.

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One day, McCartney gave Maclaine a sneak preview of what was to become pop history. "Paul came to see us play at the Cavern and waited around afterwards. McCartney said I just want to play you this, Pete. See what you think'. He gave this record to Bob Wooler (DJ at the Cavern who died recently, aged 76) and he played it. It was Please Please Me. It had not been released yet. I said That's very nice. It should do well, Paul'.

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Pete Maclaine and The Clan are local heroes. Among the crowd at his Bull's Head gigs lately have been members of Haven one of 2002's most hotly tipped new bands. One of Maclaine's drinking buddies is Mani, of Primal Scream. And Noel and Liam Gallagher have listened agog to Maclaine's tales of the beat era when he partied with the Beatles and toured with the Rolling Stones.

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"Paul was saying to me Come with Eppy and we will write you some songs'. I really think that I am the only person in the world who would say No' to Lennon and McCartney. It's 40 years ago and I'm still laughing about it."

The Clan toured with the Stones, introducing Brian Jones and Bill Wyman to the curry houses of Manchester. But Maclaine's best shot at a hit record was thwarted in 1963. His single, Yes I Do, was selling like hot cakes, but supplies to the shops ran out because the Decca pressing plant was on a week's holiday. They recorded a follow up, Good Golly Miss Molly, only to see the Swinging Blue Jeans pip them to the charts with the same song.

Several thousand miles away, Nash millionaire veteran of the Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young answers the call as he lounges by his pool in California with friends Jackson Browne, Stephen Stills and David Crosby. "Hey, guys," Nash tells the assembled company. "It's Jam Side Down' calling."

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