david bedford

Dear Mum,

Just recently I have found the most wonderful friends, the most beautiful looking trio I have ever seen. I was completely captivated by their charm. The girl thought I was the most handsome of the lot. Here was I, feeling the most insipid working member of the group, being told how much superior I looked - this alongside the great Romeo John Lennon and his two stalwarts Paul and George, The Casanovas of Hamburg. We have improved a thousand fold since our arrival and Allan Williams, who is here at the moment, tells us that there is no band in Liverpool to touch us.

We finished the Kaiserkeller last week. The police intervened because we had no work permits. Paul and Peter the drummer were deported yesterday and sent in handcuffs to the airport. I was innocent this time, accused of arson - that is, setting fire to the Kino where we sleep. I arrive at the club and am informed that the whole of the Hamburg police are looking for me. The rest of the band are already locked up, so smiling on the arm of Astrid, I proceed to give myself up. At this time, I’m not aware of the charges. All my belongings, including my spectacles, are taken away and I’m led to a cell, where, without food or drink I sat for six hours on a very wooden bench, and the door shut very tight. I signed a confession in Deutsch that I knew nothing about a fire, and they let me go. The next day Paul and Pete were deported and sent home by plane, John and I were without money and job.

The police had forbidden us to work, as already we were liable to deportation for working there months in the country illegally. The next day, John went home. I stay till January at Astrid’s house. At the moment she’s washing all my muck and filth collected over the last few months. God I love her so much. One thing I’m sure about since I’ve been here, I hate brutality. There is so much in this area.

Last night I heard that John and Paul have gone to Paris to play together - in other words, the band has broken up. It sounds mad to me; I don’t believe it.

Stuart
—  liddypool, david bedford
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RIP Pete Shotton (4 August 1941 - 24 March 2017)

“Pete was John’s best friend from the age of 5, and they were inseparable. They tormented teachers at Quarry Bank School, getting themselves into trouble almost daily. John could keep a straight face while Pete would have hysterics at anything his partner in crime did. When it came to starting The Quarrymen, Pete had to be involved as he was John’s best friend. As he wasn’t musical, Pete was given the washboard. He didn’t last long in the group but was always there at his friend’s side.

"Even after The Beatles became famous, John had Pete working at Apple and would give Pete whatever he needed, famously setting his friend up in a supermarket on Hayling Island. The pair remained friends. He will forever be mentioned in the same breath as his friend John Lennon, a friendship that survived fame and remained as strong as ever.”

-David Bedford

George Harrison and his father, Harold, having breakfast at 174 Mackets Lane, Liverpool, 7 December 1963. Photo © Mirrorpix. (A grainy-quality scan has previously been posted at thateventuality here.)

“The Beatles returned to Liverpool on 7 December 1963 for a concert at the Liverpool Empire and to record an episode of ‘Juke Box Jury’ for TV. Using the same audience from The Beatles Northern Area Fan Club performance, the group was filmed between 2.30 p.m. and 3.15 p.m. for broadcasting that evening. About thirty minutes later they taped a concert segment for ‘It’s The Beatles’, followed by an interview for 'Top of the Pops’. They then made a mad dash up London Road to the Odeon Cinema for two more performances that evening.

It was just another crazy day in the life of The Beatles as their fame spread across the United Kingdom. However, for Michael Turner, a six-year-old boy, it was a most memorable day. Michael’s sister Flora remembers it well.

'Michael was nearly seven. He loved all The Beatles, but most of all, he loved George Harrison,’ Flora said. 'So, as the boys were coming to Liverpool to do “Juke Box Jury” at the Empire, we decided to get him tickets for his birthday’.

Flora and her friends stood in line all night waiting for tickets. They purchased for tickets each, including one for Michael. Unfortunately, a few days before the concert, Michael came down with the measles, which put an end to his Beatles dream. 'He was heartbroken’, Flora recalled.

Flora knew where Louise and Harry Harrison lived and hit on a novel idea - send them a telegram explaining Michael’s predicament. The day of the concert Flora was in her room getting ready for the big show, when there was a knock on the door. Moments later Flora’s mother told her that Mrs. Harrison was asking for her.

'So, off I went - rollers in my hair and all,’ Flora said, 'At the door was a woman, wearing a greyish coat and holding something in her hand. “We received your telegram,” she said, “and George wanted you to have this!” I invited her in, but they were on their way to the theatre. “The boys are in the car”, she added.

'The boys are in the car? They certainly were. Smiling and waving at me - in my rollers. You can imagine how I felt. I waved back and thanked George’s mum. She was a nice lady.’

Louise delivered an autographed photo from all four Beatles, dedicated to Michael. They all wished him well.

That selfless act made lifetime fans out of both Michael and Flora. 'It cheered a sick little boy when he felt disappointed - and not matter what is written about them, I will never forget what George’s mum, George and the other Beatles did’, Flora said.” - Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles by David Bedford [x]

George was in the year above me. I remember George as a good-looking lad with a strong square jaw and a great smile - though his sticking out ears were more prominent with his teddy-boy quiff. George and Paul would lean against the bike sheds, out of sight of the teachers, smoking their Woodbines and talking about music. George was a friend of my older brother, and so I was used to him coming to the house and talking about music - something he would still do if we met years after we had left school.
I remember one day - probably in 1958 - when Paul and George brought their guitars into school with an amplifier and played in their classroom for an hour. I remember George singing ‘Earth Angel’ amongst others, and I was impressed by their harmonies. as well as their presentation and professionalism - that Beatle harmony sound with George doing John’s part. George had been intrigued by how great guitarist like Scotty Moore could play so accurately and so quickly, a skill he tried to emulate all his life.
—  Mal Jefferson on George Harrison and Paul McCartney at the Liverpool Institute, Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles by David Bedford [x]

George Harrison

“George was always the most reluctant Beatle. He loved the music and he certainly enjoyed the girls on the road, but he hated the intrusion that came with being a Beatle. Several times he quit and each time Brian [Epstein] managed to cajole him back into the group. Brian always told George how much he would be letting the others down, how the Beatles would die if he ever left them, how the wonderful music he was making would be such a great loss to the world if he quit.” - Alistair Taylor, With The Beatles [x]

“Just because most Beatles songs are credited to John and Paul as composers, it is wrong to think that George and Ringo did not contribute. I was amazed sitting silently in the studio that, although John or Paul were usually clearly the driving force Ringo and George were not simply sleeping partners. They certainly would not just sit there and do as they were told. Ringo might make suggestions about the beat and George would chip in about a particular guitar riff. The whole business of recording was a partnership between the four of them and George Martin. And I reckon that George Harrison would be a major composer in his own right if he hadn’t landed himself in a group with two of the finest and most prolific song-writers the world has ever seen. I always used to wish George would assert himself more, but he did not tend to push himself forward.” - Alistair Taylor, With The Beatles [x]

“‘George told me back in 1963 that he was already starting to have second thoughts about fame’.
[Alistair Taylor] recalled an incident when The Beatles were flying to London from Liverpool Airport, but George hadn’t turned up. The others went to London, leaving Alistair to contact George.
‘I rang him at home to find out what was going on. George said, “I don’t want to be a Beatle”. In a panic, I went round to talk to him and George said he didn’t like all the pressure and the frenzy of the crowds and the fans. Thankfully, he came to his senses and the matter was never discussed again until they finished touring in 1966.’” - Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles by David Bedford [x]

David Bedford: ‘You and George [Harrison] dated when you were young. How did you and George meet?’

Iris Caldwell: 'My friend Ann and I used to go to the Ice Rink in Kensington and this boys asked Ann if he could walk her home. She said that she was with a friend and asked if he was with one of his friends. He said 'yes’ introduced himself as Arthur Kelly, and his friend was George Harrison. And so George walked me home. We must have been about twelve at the time. George came round to our house nearly every night. I remember one night, I realised there were raised voices at the front gate. I looked out, and there was George arguing with a boy from my school, still in his short trousers, over who was taking me out. It got so bad that the lady across the road came over with her big Alsatian dog to stop the fighting.’

DB: 'Who won the fight?’

IC: 'George did! The other boy ran home. George would often come for tea, and I remember one evening, after we’d finished eating, he asked to leave the table. My mum asked him to push his chair back under the table and he said, 'My gran always told me never to push a chair under a table, because it means that you’ll not be coming back again.’ He would also say the sweetest things, like he would hold me, and we would both close our eyes, and he said that he was squeezing me with his eyes.’

DB: 'He obviously got on well with your mum, Violet.’

IC: 'He called her 'Violent Vi’, but it was a term of affection. I remember that when The Beatles were just starting off, my mum would say 'You lot will never get anywhere, you need more personality.’ Well, they were filming a piece for television and when the camera was on George, he smiled straight at the lens. After it had been on, George rang my mum and said, 'Did you see me smile? That was for you!’ My mum told him it was great, but he had to tell the others to start smiling too!’

—  The Fab one hundred and Four by David Bedford
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ROY HARPER

STORMCOCK

Jimmy Page a composé un « chapeau-bas » à sa gloire sur le troisième album de Led Zeppelin ; sur la pochette de Never For Ever, Kate Bush, une de ses ferventes admiratrices, l’a remercié d’être un poète inspiré en toutes circonstances ; et Joanna Newsom n’a accepté de tourner en 2009 en Grande-Bretagne que parce que l’intégralité de l’album Stormcock était interprété par son auteur sur la même scène qu’elle : Roy Harper ne compte plus ceux qui lui veulent du bien, liste à laquelle on peut rajouter Pink Floyd (il chante « Have A Cigar » sur Wish You Were Here) et Paul McCartney venu l’épauler le temps d’un titre en 1976. C’est au milieu des sixties que sa carrière a débuté, sur la scène du club londonien Les Cousins, où il a eu tout loisir de croiser Bert Jansch, Davy Graham, Jackson C. Frank, Dave Van Ronk et Robin Williamson. Un premier disque en 1966 lui a permis de chanter à sa manière les louanges des Romantiques, les Shelley, Keats et autre Cooleridge qu’il a singulièrement assortis d’influences beat liées à la lecture de Sur la route de Jack Kerouac. Rapidement, les albums se sont faits plus ambitieux, les dix-huit minutes de « McGoohan Blues » en hommage à la série télévisée Le Prisonnier marquant un tournant, dont Stormcock finira par constituer l’apogée. Cet album est né d’une double rencontre. D’abord avec Peter Jenner, qui s’occupe alors de Syd Barrett, Marc Bolan et Edgar Broughton Band ; ensuite avec David Bedford, brillant arrangeur rompu à la musique classique. Le premier offrira une grande liberté et un contrat avec la jeune filiale progressive d’EMI, Harvest. Le second aidera à donner plus de poids à des idées métaphysiques, collaboration reconduite sur le non moins inspiré Valentine. A l’époque peu d’orchestrateurs auraient pu imaginer pareille luxuriance frisant l’atonalité par endroits, exception faite de Jack Nitzsche (dont St Giles Cripplegate est un sommet par trop méconnu) et Van Dyke Parks (qui s’occupera du deuxième album de Joanna Newsom). Cerise sur le gâteau : un invité prestigieux en la personne de Flavius Mercurius, qui n’est autre que Jimmy Page. Ainsi paré Stormcock raconte ce que doit être tout disque : une expérience engageant corps et âme. Sur le même terrain, très peu ont d’ailleurs su s’imposer au fil du temps et avec autant de force : on ne voit guère que Starsailor de Tim Buckely, If I Could Only Remember My Name de David Crosby et Astral Weeks de Van Morrison.

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ugh what a gem

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