With the Beatles
but where are they now? Insiders, outriders, relatives and friends. 30 brief lives compiled by Miles
Saturday 28 October 1995
Mark Chapman Lennon's killer, serving life in a New York prison, is now 40, the same age as Lennon when he died. In a book of taped interviews two years ago, called Let Me Take You Down: Inside the Mind of Mark David Chapman, he reveals that he has undergone several prison exorcisms with the aid of a sympathetic priest.
Alma Cogan Camp singing star of the Fifties and early Sixties, and the eponymous subject of Gordon Burn's Nineties novel. At the outset of their careers, Cogan introduced the Beatles and Brian Epstein to older showbiz stars like Lionel Bart. Cogan's Kensington flat, shared with her cheroot- smoking mother, Fay, became their second home. Lennon called her Sarah Sequin, and he and McCartney were in the studio when she recorded their song "Eight Days A Week", her last hit. She died from cancer in 1966.
Pete Best The original drummer, a heart-throb but considered too conventional by the others. His brutal replacement by Ringo prompted his supporters to black the eye of George Harrison. For 20 years, Best was a contracts manager with the civil service in Liverpool, but in the past three years has returned to music full-time.
Yoko Ono John's widow, now 62, breeds dairy cattle, sells real estate, and continues to make sporadic and commercially unsuccessful records for Apple. She also cultivates her (minor) art career - the Witney Museum of American Art staged a big exhibition of her early sculptures. But exploiting Lennon's pounds 220-million estate takes up most of her time: recently, she opened a shop in New York which sells limited edition Lennon memorabilia. She reacted to the scabrous Albert Goldman biography, The Lives of John Lennon, by initiating a saccharine film version of her life with John called Imagine. She has a daughter, Kyoko, from a previous marriage, the inspiration for the Lennon song "Don't Worry, Kyoko" (the flip side of "Cold Turkey"). Kyoko has barely talked to her mother since childhood.
Cynthia Lennon John's first wife, divorced after she arrived home from holiday and found a pair of Japanese slippers outside her bedroom door and Yoko in her bed. In 1978, John went to court to try and stop her autobiography, A Twist of Lennon. After the failure of two marriages and a Covent Garden restaurant called Lennon's, she has lived for the past 13 years in the Isle Of Man with Jim Christie, a businessman. Last year she released a single, "Those Were The Days", the Mary Hopkin song - to limited success
Peter Blake Now a member of the Royal Academy, he painted a copy of The Monarch of the Glen for Paul McCartney's dining-room, which led to him to do the Sgt Pepper album sleeve: he was paid pounds 200 for two weeks' work. When Apple sued the estate of Michael Cooper (below) over the Sgt Pepper pictures, Blake was a witness for the defence. Apple asked him to present ideas for the new Beatles record cover, but he refused.
Michael Cooper Usually court photographer to the Stones, he shot the Sgt Pepper sleeve and helped to inspire the David Hemmings character in Blow Up. A heroin addict, he committed suicide in 1973. Twenty years later, his son Adam, a film cameraman, won a bitter High Court battle with the Beatles and Yoko Ono over the rights to his father's pictures of Sgt Pepper.
Magic Alex Mardas The Greek TV repairman, set up in Apple Electronics by the Beatles, who promised to build an artificial sun, a telephone you told who to call, wallpaper loudspeakers, a house which hovered supported by an invisible beam, and even a flying saucer. Not one invention was made, and the recording studio he built proved unusable and was demolished. Allen Klein fired him, and he has since disappeared.
Charles Manson Messianic cult leader, adjudged responsible for the Helter Skelter murders - the killing of actress Sharon Tate and six others in California in 1969. Helter Skelter was a track from the The White Album which Manson cruelly misinterpreted as the Beatles' assent to apocalypse. Manson, 61, still serving his life-sentence, continues to attract followers around the world, including some rock bands.
Allen Klein Accountant and manager of John, George and Ringo after Brian Epstein died. "Whaddya want? Money?" Klein would ask prospective clients. "You got it!" His speciality was hunting out the discrepancies in record companies' book-keeping and presenting the resulting cheque to his delighted clients. Paul's rejection of him in favour of his father-in-law, Lee Eastman, helped break up the Beatles, but his management of the others ended after four years, in 1973, with a flurry of lawsuits and a pay-off of $4. 2 million. In 1979, he served two months in prison in America for income tax evasion on income from illegally selling $216,000 worth of promotional copies of George Harrison's album, The Concert for Bangladesh (royalties are not paid on promo copies). But he's still in business, living off the back catalogue of the Rolling Stones and Sam Cooke, and managing the producer Phil Spector, who was owed royalties Klein retrieved in traditional fashion.
Mike McCartney Paul's younger brother, now a photographer, was known as Mike McGear in the Sixties when he, poet Roger McGough and John Gorman were in the Scaffold ("Lily The Pink", "Thank You Very Much"). He still lives in Liverpool.
Mal Evans Big Mal, once a bouncer at the Cavern club, was their amiable, ever-present roadie and bodyguard. He rang the alarm clock on "A Day in the Life", banged the anvil on "Maxwell's Silver Hammer". Adrift after the Beatles, he was shot on 4 January, 1975, by the Los Angeles police: he had threatened them with a loaded shotgun during a domestic argument. His ashes went missing in the post to England, and were eventually recovered in a lost letters' office.
Julian Lennon Julian suffered the same neglect from his father that John always complained about from his. Despite newspaper headlines saying he would inherit millions after John's death, all Julian received was a $100 a week allowance from Yoko, who was the executor of Lennon's will; when John was still alive, he got nothing. He was 25 when he came into his initial trust fund: a mere pounds 50,000, plus interest. Julian expected to get more when he reached 30, but only last year he was talking about a multi-million pound legal battle with Yoko. Nevertheless, he has established himself as a musician - his first UK single, "Too Late for Goodbyes", was a top ten hit in 1984. He has resisted the suggestion that he should replace his father in the Beatles reunion.
Robert Fraser Art dealer and crucial Sixties bohemian. He arranged the sleeves for Sgt Pepper and The White Album (by the pop artist Richard Hamilton), and sold McCartney the Magritte painting of an apple which inspired the logo for Apple Records. He also exhibited John and Yoko's installation, You Are Here. He died of Aids in 1980.
Sean Lennon John's son, five when his father was murdered, is now 20, and leader of a three-piece band called Ima (Japanese for "Now"). He will shortly release an album, Rising, with Yoko, in which he describes his mother as "screaming her ass off". In March, he played on a track Yoko recorded at McCartney's Sussex studio entitled "Hiroshima, Sky is Always Blue".
Mary Hopkin Heart-faced singer, discovered by Paul McCartney, who produced her first single on Apple, "Those Were The Days" - number one in 1968. It was to be the pinnacle of her career, which has, more recently, emphasised her Welshness: an album, called The Welsh World of Mary Hopkin (1979), and a recording of Under Milk Wood (1988). She married Tony Visconti, David Bowie's producer - now, ironically, married to May Pang, John Lennon's girlfriend in the early Seventies.
The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi The Beatles' guru has survived John Lennon's rejection - he was "Sexy Sadie" - and now has Transcendental Meditation centres all over the world. In 1992, when his political movement, the Natural Law Party, contested every seat in the General Election, he asked George Harrison to stand in Liverpool. Harrison played a benefit concert instead.
Ivan Vaughan The schoolfriend of Paul (born on the same day), who introduced him to Lennon. His wife, Jan, who taught French, coached Paul in the French words for "Michelle". In 1984, Jonathan Miller made a BBC documentary called Ivan about his fight against Parkinson's disease, and his book Ivan: Living With Parkinson's Disease, was published in 1986. He stayed in close touch with McCartney, and his death in 1994 prompted Paul to write his first poems since childhood.
Derek Taylor Foxily handsome, engagingly world-weary, Taylor, once the Northern drama critic of the Daily Express, ghosted Brian Epstein's 1964 autobiography and ran the Beatles press office in Savile Row, where the drinks never stopped. After Apple ended, he was an executive with Warner Bros, before writing several books, mostly involving the Beatles: As Time Goes By, Fifty Years Adrift and It Was 20 Years Ago Today. Of the Beatles, he is especially close to Harrison, whom he helped compile his semi-autobiographical I Me Mine. After 16 years in retirement in Suffolk, he is back at Apple, editing the book accompanying the Anthology.
Patti Boyd Sixties model, wife to both George Harrison and his friend Eric Clapton, and the inspiration for "Something" ("the greatest love song of the century," said Frank Sinatra) and "Layla". In the Nineties, she invested, unsuccessfully, in a model agency for older women called Deja Vu; now much of her time is spent raising funds for Sharp, a charity helping drug addicts and alcoholics which she helped found with Ringo Starr's wife, Barbara Bach.
Astrid Kirscherr The boho daughter of a prosperous Hamburg family, she put the Beatles into leather and gave them their distinctive haircuts. Her marriage to the Beatles' first bass player, Stu Sutcliffe, was dramatised in last year's film, Backbeat. After 30 years' silence, she is now exhibiting her old photographs of the group.
Mimi Smith Lennon's aunt, who brought him up from the age of five. She gave him a guitar but, after seeing him at the Cavern, said, "the guitar's all right as a hobby, but you'll never make a living from it". Lennon later presented her with the phrase engraved on a silver plaque, and bought her a house in Poole. She outlived him by 11 years. When she died, aged 88, in October 1991. Cynthia and Yoko both attended her funeral.
Pete Shotton A schoolchum of Lennon, author of the hilarious John Lennon In My Life, and one of the few old friends allowed to visit Lennon at home at the Dakota in New York. Perhaps to make amends for having once smashed a washboard over his head, Lennon set him up in a supermarket on Hayling Island, then made him manager of t he ill-fated Apple boutique. He now runs the Fatty Arbuckle chain of fast food restaurants in southeast England.
Richard Lester Director of A Hard Day's Night, Help! and John Lennon's film How I Won The War. Although he went on to direct Superman II and III, he will forever be associated with the Beatles' films. His last project with them was Get Back: The Movie, a documentary of McCartney's 1989-90 world tour.
George Martin Producer, and another of the "Fifth Beatles", Martin is now 69. In 1963, when he was on pounds 3,000 a year, his Beatles recordings made EMI pounds 2,200,000 clear profit. He has since made up for it, starting his own AIR Studios, co-producing many McCartney records, transferring the Beatles albums to CD and, recently, working at EMI on the three double CDs of unreleased Beatles material.
Andrew Loog Oldham The former Rolling Stones manager, a study in cartoon villainy, who handled PR for the early Beatles, notably on "Please, Please Me". Working as a producer out of Bogota, Colombia, he has become" big in South America". More recent activities include a book about Abba and a spot introducing The Sweet Smell of Success at the British Film Institute.
Stuart Sutcliffe Lennon's best friend at art college, and the bass player who gave the Beatles their name. His posthumous success as a painter - he died of a brain haemorrhage in April 1962 - culminated in an exhibition at Sotheby's in 1991. Last year, his Hamburg years with the Beatles were the subject of Backbeat, a fictionalised biopic.
22 Facts about the Beatles
The best-selling Beatles single: "I Want To Hold Your Hand" (14 million copies) The worst-selling single: "The Ballad of John & Yoko" (3.5 million) The first song they recorded: "How Do You Do It" (4 September, 1962) The last song they recorded:"I Want You (She's So Heavy)" (finished 20 August, 1969) The last Beatles TV appearance: The David Frost Show (September 1968) The most valuable UK Beatles record: Please Please Me LP, 1963; original stereo copies, gold & black label, pounds 700 Most expensive Beatles memorabilia: John Lennon's psychedelic Rolls-Royce, a Phantom V limousine, sold in 1985 for $2,300,000 The fastest Beatles track to record: "Long Tall Sally" (Three minutes, captured in one perfect take, March 1964) The slowest Beatles track to record: "You Know My Name" (30 months; it was begun in May 1967, and was completed November 1969) The oldest Beatle: Ringo Starr (born 7 July, 1940) The last Beatle bachelor: Paul McCartney (married 12 March, 1969) The quickest Beatle divorce: John and Cynthia Lennon (married 1962-68) The only Beatle never arrested on drugs charges: Ringo Starr The last record featuring all four Beatles: Ringo LP (1973) The first Beatle to quit the group: Ringo Starr (August 1968; he rejoined two weeks' later) The first Beatle to quit the group permanently: John Lennon (September 1969) The first Beatle to announce he'd quit the group: Paul McCartney (April 1970) The first two-man Beatles reunion: Harrison and Starr performing at The Concert for Bangladesh, New York, August 1971 The first three-man Beatles reunion: McCartney, Harrison and Starr performing together at Eric Clapton's wedding to Patti Boyd, May 1979
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