Beatles Browser Four
George Martin talking about his Sgt Pepper documentary in 1992 said, “It couldn’t have been done without George and Ringo, each playing a very vital part. I think those two have been absolutely underrated. I’m partly guilty there. I tended to squash or ignore George because I had those two fantastic talents to deal with, Lennon and McCartney, who became my focus. So George, who wrote songs by himself unaided by other people, was always tolerated condescendingly and I regret that now; I wish I’d shown more interest in him.”
Susan Williams was a student at Liverpool Art College where she met Stuart Sutcliffe in 1958. Both Stuart and another student, Alan Brown, were her suitors. In 1959 when Stu’s painting ‘Summer Painting’ was chosen at the John Moore’s Exhibition, it was Susan who accompanied him to the formal dinner. After a trip to Paris in 1960 she spurned Brown and started going out with Stuart, but he had gone to Hamburg with the Beatles. Brown wrote a love letter to her and she decided to go out with Brown and drop Stuart, although they continued to keep in touch by letter as friends.
He wrote to her regularly from Hamburg and in one letter wrote, “How flattered I felt. Here I was, feeling the most insipid member of the group, being told how much superior I looked – this alongside the great Romeo John Lennon and stalwarts Paul and George, the Casanovas of Hamburg.” They last met in February 1961 when she bumped into him in Lewis’ store in Liverpool. She married Brown and after his death remarried and is now Mrs Susan Burnett.
When the Beatles appeared in Dallas on September 18 1964 a group of waitresses in bunny costumes had their photographs taken with the Beatles. Paul liked the look of one of the girls and turned to Art Schreiber, a radio reporter and said, “Can you get her for me?” Schreiber snapped, “Get her yourself. I’m no pimp!”
Peter Eckhorn, the late German club owner, recalled the night the Beatles turned up at his Top Ten club in 1960: “They were working at the Kaiserkeller club in Hamburg at the time, but they didn’t like it there and so they came to see me and ask if there was any work to be had at the Top Ten. To show what they could do they played a couple of numbers for me. I liked them. I said OK, I’d give them a job. But before I could hire them the owners of the Kaiserkeller made a complaint about the boys to the police, saying they’d tried to set fire to the club! It wasn’t true, of course, but the complaint had the desired effect: the Beatles were deported. It took seven months to get them back again.
“They stayed three months and were very popular, not so much for their music (which wasn’t so different from the other groups), but for their personalities. Nobody in particular shone out – they were all well liked - John Lennon, Stuart Sutcliffe, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best.”
The Beatles returned to Liverpool, but Eckhorn was unable to book them again.
On his visit to Liverpool he recalled, “I went to Liverpool a few months later, looking for a drummer to back Tony Sheridan. Gerry’s brother Fred (Marsden) recommended Ringo, took me over to his house and he packed his kit and came straight back with me. He was extremely pleasant and very quiet-natured, rather shy in those days.”
In January 1963 Eckhorn was back in Liverpool scouting for new bands. He dropped into the Cavern and saw the Beatles. He recalled, “I also met Brian Epstein who was just in the process of signing them up. We had a merry, night, drinking rum out of cups. But there was one thing worrying the boys. – they had a recording test coming up. It was making them nervous. George asked me if I had a
tranquilizer to help them do a swinging test.”
When the Beatles were recording ‘Till There Was You’. Brian Epstein was in the control room and said to George Martin, “On Take One, there seemed to be a flaw in Paul’s voice.” John heard and shouted, “We’ll make the records! You just go on counting the percentages!”