Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Basic Change

April -May 1961

In looking over the list of songs the Beatles are know to have covered, mostly before their rise to world-wide prominence, one is struck by many things, one of which is how they seemed to make sure that every band mate had at least one song on which he could be "featured".  Another is their abiding love of the songs of Elvis Presley. 

The song chosen to feature Stuart Sutcliffe was "Love Me Tender" by Presley.  I think Stuart sometimes gets a bad rap for poor musicianship.  It sounds to me like one of those after the fact stories that become true based on repetition.  Anyhow, we can certainly imagine that he knew how to put a song like this one across.  So as a farewell tribute to Stuart, imagine it is late at night in a dark and smokey German rock club.  During a lull in the nonstop high-energy rock and roll, a thin and handsome young man steps to the mic and croons this.

Meanwhile, Paul McCartney has volunteered to pick up the bass playing duties for the band and had shopped around for an instrument he could call his own.  He settles on a rather attractively priced Hofner model 500/1 (30 English pounds) and places an order for it at the Steinway music store in Hamburg, quite near the Top Ten Club.  Aside from the price, he also figured that, since the body was more symmetrical than the common electric bass, he could have the pick guard and controls moved to the other side of the body so it could be played left handed without "looking daft".  Note:  you can recognize this guitar in old photos by the fact that the two pickups are up near the neck.  On the similar Hofner he obtained in 1964, and which is the really famous "Beatle bass", there is one pickup near the neck and one down near the bridge.  (Here is a page with examples of all the Hofner models, for comparison.)  It should take a few weeks for his bass to be ready.

No comments:

Post a Comment