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Alan Chrisman
Stuart Sutcliffe was born on June 23, 1940. He was one of the original 5
Beatles who went to Hamburg and was John Lennons close friend and a big
artistic influence. There have been many myths built up over the years about
Stus bass playing, as with Pete Bests drumming, that they both werent that
good and thats one of the main reasons Stu left and Pete was later let go.
But several Liverpool people who knew them and witnessed their playing,
dispute these myths (including Bill Harry, Editor of Mersey Beat Newspaper,
and who had introduced John to Stu at their Liverpool art school). Bill Harry
says the photo floating around in which Stus back is turned to the
audience was taken during a tune up session. It's pointed out that
none of the Beatles were accomplished musicians at that time, that
George Harrison wrote Stu after he left asking him to 'please come
back', It is suggested that he actually was a good bass player,
certainly not bad, and his reason for leaving the band was
something other than his musical abilities. They and others have also

said that there was competition between Paul and Stu for Johns friendship.
Pete Best says: "When we came back from Germany I was playing using my bass drum
very loud and laying down a very solid beat. This was unheard of at the time in Liverpool
as all the groups were playing the Shadows' style. Even Ringo in Rory Storm's group
copied our beat and it wasn't long before most drummers in Liverpool were playing the
same style. This way of drumming had a great deal to do with the big sound we were
producing." This beat was referred to as "The Atom Beat". Pete was actually the
most popular Beatle in Liverpool and called, Mean, Moody, Magnificent
Pete and when they played the Cavern with new drummer , Ringo, George
got a black eye from some of the fans.
Stu was also a talented painter who left The Beatles right before their
success to pursue art and stay with his German girlfriend, Astrid Kirchherr.
.Astrid, an art student and photographer, would also have a huge effect on
The Beatles who posed for her iconic black and white photos and encouraged
them to change to their later famous Beatles haircuts and helped create their
whole image. Stu would die soon after of a brain hemorrhage at only age 21.
I was fortunate to meet Stu sister, Pauline and to see some of Stus paintings
and artwork at an exhibit in Toronto in 95. I had actually talked on the phone
to her before that, because when I met Cynthia Lennon and May Pang at the
Conn. Beatles Convention the year before, when I returned there was a call
from her (I assume Cynthia. had given her my number, because I had
mentioned to her that I planned to put on my own more artistic Beatles
Conventions), which I did. I was also to meet several from their beginnings
including one of the Quarrymen, who was there the day John met Paul on July
6, 1957, Allan Williams who had sent them to Hamburg, Tony Sheridan, who
they backed up in Germany and first recorded with, Pete Best who was guest
at my 1st Convention, Louise Harrison, Georges sister, guest at my 2nd. B.
Wooler Epsteins assistant, and others. When I met these and others who
were there, since I was especially interested in this period, I would ask their
opinions on these and other Beatles stories. Pauline Sutcliffe would also cowrite the book, Backbeat, which was the basis for the film of the same name,
which told of their fascinating time in Hamburg and Stus short but
productive life. Stu would pass away on April, 10, 1962. Ironically, The

Beatles would officially break-up on April, 10, 1970, exactly 8 years later to

the day.
Above: Stu Sutcliffe Art Exhibit, Toronto, with sister , Pauline Sutcliffe and
Astrid Kirchherr postcard.

Below documentary on Stu Sutcliffe: Including interviews with

Pauline Sutcliffe, Tony Sheridan, Rod Murray, Allan Williams, etc.: