This Day In Rock 23.06.2016
Stuart Sutcliffe, the Fifth Beatle (1940 – 1962). Would be 76 today.
Stuart Sutcliffe was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on June 23, 1940; he was raised in Liverpool, England after his family moved there when he was three. He was 17 and attending the Liverpool College of Art when he met John Lennon, who talked him into playing bass for his band. Sutcliffe joined the group in 1960, the year the lads settled on the name of The Beatles. When The Beatles played their famous dates in Hamburg in late 1960, Sutcliffe was part of the five-man lineup: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe on bass and Pete Best on drums. Young but handsome, Sutcliffe stood out in his sunglasses and tight pants. While in Hamburg, he fell in love with a local art student and photographer, Astrid Kirchherr. When the rest of the Beatles returned to Liverpool at year's end, Sutcliffe stayed behind, and in July of 1961 he quit the band for good and accepted a scholarship from the Hamburg Art School. There he studied modern art, especially Abstract Expressionism. However, he began to suffer headaches that year. On 10 April 1962, he was taken to hospital, but died in the ambulance on the way. The cause of death was later revealed to have been an aneurysm in his brain's right hemisphere.
Sutcliffe and John Lennon are credited with inventing the name, "Beetles", as they both liked Buddy Holly's band, the Crickets. The band used this name for a while until Lennon decided to change the name to "the Beatles", from the word beat.
Stuart Sutcliff’s head is on the cover of the Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: he’s at the very left end of the third row from the top, just below the head of painter Aubrey Beardsley.
The Beatles' compilation album 'Anthology 1' released in 1995, featured previously unreleased recordings from the group's early years. Sutcliffe plays bass with the Beatles on three songs they recorded in 1960: 'Hallelujah, I Love Her So', 'You'll Be Mine' and 'Cayenne'.
The Stuart Sutcliffe Estate sells memorabilia and artefacts of Sutcliffe's, which include poems written by him and the chords and lyrics to songs Lennon and Sutcliffe were learning.
“He was an artist, poet and writer first – and a musician second”
If you want to examine in depht Stuart Sutcliffe's life take a look at the following videos, a BBCFour's four part documentary about his too short life.