ABBEY ROAD AND OTHER WORLDLY CROSSINGS
Date: Sunday, December 2, 2001
On Thursday, on arriving from the airport,
my son was playing the Beatles Abbey Road album
- yes, an LP - and we were marvelling at the duet with George and
Eric Clapton trading licks just prior to ..and in the end....
and he said to me, I guess poor old George is kinda on
the way out, and I agreed that it would be a sad day when finally
he passed away, and that the finale we had just been listening to
would be a fine epitaph for him, given his unselfish attitude to life
and in particular toward Eric, with whom he managed to somehow share
a wife, in a manner of speaking.Little did we realise as we spoke,
that George was already dead some hours, but not till Friday morning
did we get the news and realise what an eery coincidence that had
been on the previous evening.
I cant claim to have been a friend of George Harrison
and I think only met him once, but it is like losing a family member
somehow, in that The Beatles have been such a huge part of my growing
up, and I grew up in their Britain and in their times. You could say
I lost my virginity to The Beatles.
While he was alive - well, until his illness became widely known,
anyway - there was always the slight chance that they might just do
something with, say, Julian in his dads place, and it would
give all of us Beatle fans a tingle down the spine if they did. Alas,
its all over now for real, and that thing that first made me
really want to be a musician more than anything else is no more. Onnie
and I have known a lot of the Beatles people over
the years - their assistants and Apple staff, etc., and our years
in London were dominated by their presence; we used to play at and
go to the clubs they frequented, like the Scotch of St. James, The
Speakeasy, and The Revolution and one way or another we became close
friends with one or two of their original Liverpool pals, lovers and
associates. I even had the privilege of visiting Georges baronial
pile near Henley-on-Thames one grey Sunday afternoon.
So it is as if a chunk of ones time of passage is finally gone,
and sad we are to see it go. By all accounts, George was a lovely
bloke, very philosophical and courageous both, and it was clear that
he was the stabilising force in the cauldron of genius that John and
Paul stirred up. He was also one hell of a guitar player, and an underrated
composer in his own right.
We did quite a few recording sessions at Abbey Road in our youth (my
first big-time audition was there), and a few years back,
after an early morning arrival from a cross-Channel ferry and with
time to kill before our London hotel rooms were ready, I took Dave
Brunetto, our then assistant and a huge Beatle fan, round to see the
old place. He was kind enough to have the picture of us sitting on
the hallowed steps framed and given to me, and I found that quite
comforting to look at, along with my many books and other collectables
from the Fab Four on Friday night. I even had a scotch and coke (THE
fave Beatle drink of the sixties) to toast his passage.
See you around, George.
In a few days, it will be the 21st anniversary of Johns demise
- another of those where-were-you-when moments in life
- and that means its time to write cards to people you dont
even think about half the time (be honest, now), but thats exactly
what I was doing when Hamish phoned me with the news hed been
shot. Well, that quickly turned into the news he was dead, and a first
piece of the Fab Four went missing.
Onnie & I found ourselves on the Gulf coast the following Sunday
amid a really dreadful Florida tour,the only saving grace being that
we were able to stop the bus, take a stick and write Goodbye
John in the sand at the waters edge, and watch the tide
take it away. I was cleaning my bike in February 1963 when Please
Please Me came on the radio and the world stopped turning for
three minutes, and about thirty-three years now, for that matter.
So, well break out the cards anyway and communicate with absent
friends - the full list this year, since
this is no time to miss anybody youve ever cared about after
the crap thats gone down recently, and the damage done (and
still going on) around the world.
Our touring year is finally finished, and I am happy to be off the
road with a chance to write some music and enjoy some quality time
with mates, so I will take this opportunity to wish all our fans and
friends everywhere a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year
when it arrives panting and wagging its tail. Well be back round
your way in 02, and if we didnt make it to your part of
the world this year, then razz your local promoter(s), because we
would have, had we been asked.
The Beatles, alas, wont;..... but give peace a chance anyway
as George and John would have wished.