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Home arrow About The Beatles arrow • Beatles history arrow Who backed the Beatles (7)
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Who backed The Beatles? (7) PDF Print E-mail

Horst Obber: This is actually Manfred Fascher, or just Fred as everyone called him. He is the brother of the well-known Horst Fascher, and was a waiter at Hamburg's Star Club in 1962 and 1963.

For those interested we note that Fred's vocals can be heard in the song "Be-Bop-A- Lula" on the album "The Beatles Live! At The Star - Club Hamburg, Germany, 1962" (2 LPs) (see page). It's also very interesting that Horst Obber is credited with singing this song on the cover of this double album. This is an error. It is clearly a result of a mix-up when, many years later, this album was prepared for publication. So why this surname? By all accounts it happened because Manfred Fascher was a waiter at the club and the German word for waiter is "Ober", which is what everyone called him. They later distorted this word, having concluded that it was not Ober, i.e. waiter, but the surname Obber.

As for the name Horst (Obber), there was a mix-up here too. After all, we know that Manfred's brother, Horst, sings on the record containing the song "Halleluja , I Love Her So".

When I'm Sixty-four (song): Three clarinettists, Robert Burns, Henry MacKenzie and Frank Reidy, played in this well-known song by Paul from the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album (1967).

The musicians for "She's Leaving Home". This very tender song, which became an anthem for the hippy movement, was composed by Paul McCartney for the "Sergeant Pepper" album. For the first time it wasn't George Martin who did the arrangement (he was incredibly overloaded with work at the time), but someone unknown to the Beatles, the composer and arranger Mike Leander. The song turned out to be so fantastic that George Martin admitted that when he first heard it he couldn't hold back his tears ...

The following musicians, specially invited to the session, helped to record the song, performed by Paul and John:
Conductor: Erich Gruenberg
Harp: Sheila Bromberg - by the way, she was the first woman to be invited to a Beatles recording session;
Violins: Derek Jacobs, Trevor Williams, Jose Luis Garcia;
Violas: John Underwood and Stephen Shingles;
Cellos: Dennis Viga and Alan Dalziel;
Double bass: Gordon Pearce.

It remains to be added that "She's Leaving Home" was recorded in March 1967 and featured on the following albums
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (1967)
"Love Songs" (double L.P.s) (1977)
"The Beatles Ballads" (1980)

Bill Smith: He was one of John Lennon's childhood friends whom the latter invited to play in the skiffle group he had formed. Bill agreed. He was given the job of playing the tea-chest bass. But his involvement was to be short-lived. In a matter of weeks Smith had left the first incarnation of the group and so never performed with them either.

Victor Spinetti: He was born in Abergavenny, Wales. He was a famous British comic actor, writer, director and producer of films, and one of the Beatles' closest friends. He took part in the shooting of the Beatles' films "A Hard Day's Night" (1964), "Help!" (1965), "Magical Mystery Tour" (1967), as well as "How I Won The War", in which John Lennon starred. It was Spinetti who edited and produced both of Lennon's books. In 1968, the next issue of Lennon's first book "In His Own Write", published by Jonathan Cape, bore the inscription "Credited to Victor, Adrienne and John, the Lennon Play".

Victor Spinetti also took part with all four Beatles in the recording of their 1967 Christmas record

Ivan Vaughan: He was a boy from the Woolton area of Liverpool who lived on Vale Street, not far from Pete Shotton and Nigel Whalley. The close friendship all three enjoyed with John Lennon, who also lived not far away, united them in a group of hooligans the ringleader of which was John. When he was six, Ivan, like John, started school at Dovedale Primary School, and in 1952 went to the Liverpool Institute, where he was a classmate of Paul McCartney. Having joined John's The Quarry Men group, Ivan played the tea-chest bass, alternating this position with Len Garry. Vaughan went on to become the group's manager. It was he who suggested to Paul McCartney that he come and watch The Quarry Men, who were due to perform at a garden fete held at St. Peter's Church, Woolton.

He was simply too lazy to go there to watch some amateur school band play. But when Ivan said there'd be lots of pretty girls at the fete who'd be easy to pick up, Paul suddenly had a burning desire to go and agreed to accompany him there. Saturday, 7 July 1957, arrived and he turned up at the church on his bicycle. However, despite the fact that there were girls in abundance, McCartney failed to get to know any of them, and, exasperated, as he was leaving the spot at which the group was playing, he stopped and watched.

After this amateur gig, Ivan, having spotted Paul in the audience, took him up to John Lennon and introduced them. It was an historic moment, and we all know the result of this introduction. Ivan's friendship with the Beatles and with Paul McCartney in particular stood the test of time. In the 1960s Ivan went to America with the Beatles. And when the Beatles decided to open the Apple School for their children and their friends' children, under the auspices of Apple Corps, the teacher Ivan Vaughan and his wife, also a school-teacher, were invited to become directors and teachers at the school.

Regrettably, this promising project was soon forgotten. It is also known that when the Beatles wrote the song "Michelle", it was Ivan's wife who helped Paul with the song's French lyrics. Sadly, in the 1960s, the Vaughan family was hit by tragedy: Ivan contracted the incurable Parkinson's disease. But he greeted this news courageously and even offered himself to doctors researching this disease as a "human guinea-pig" so they could test new drugs to counter this terrible condition on him! A British director, Jonathan Miller, having heard about this brave and unselfish man, made a TV film about Vaughan, simply called "Ivan".

This film was broadcast on BBC 2 TV on 3 December 1984. Learning of this, Paul McCartney was quick to offer his help, and took part in the programme. Paul gave a "live" performance of his song "Blackbird" at the beginning and end of the programme, showing his generosity by refusing payment for his performance. McCartney was greatly affected by what had happened to Ivan.

We should add that the BBC 2 TV programme about Ivan Vaughan really struck a chord with the British public at the time. In 1986 Ivan Vaughan published his book "Living with Parkinson's Disease" with the British publishing house McMillan.

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