16th April 1969
In the late sixties there was a rumour, that I believe started in America that Paul McCartney was dead, and on Wednesday 16th April 1969, I nearly brought some truth to the rumour. I was driving up to London past "Lords Cricket Ground" and I think I must have been distracted for a second. Out of the corner of my eye I could see someone was crossing the road and I had to brake sharply. To my great surprise there walking in front of me was Paul and Linda McCartney with their Old English Sheep Dog "Martha" (who was immortalised in the song "Martha My Dear"). Paul raised his arm as if to say "thank you for not killing me" and continued on his way. I drove a little way up the road stopped and the girlfriend I was with at the time ran back and got his autograph.
15th December 1969
On Monday 15th December 1969 I went to a charity concert at The Lyceum Ballroom in London. It wasn't very well attended and the acts that were on were a bit boring but at around 11.30pm the compere announced "The Plastic Ono Band" and on to the staged walked, John Lennnon, Yoko Ono, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston and some of Delaney and Bonnie's band. They played "Cold Turkey" which was great and then the band played a riff and Yoko screamed for about ten minutes (it seemed like an hour) and we tried to pretend that we enjoyed it. John and Yoko threw out flyers with "Love and Peace" on them and I managed to get about a dozen of them which I still have.
In 1983 I recorded a solo version of "The Beatles" song "You Won't See Me" for release in Holland. It had always been a favourite song of mine and I recorded with Synthesiser, (Korg Polysix) and drum machine which was still quite a new technology at the time. For the technically minded, there was no midi on my synth and sequencers were still in their infancy, so I had to play the whole thing manually, part by part on to a multitrack tape machine. The record was released in Holland on the "Dureco" label and sold reasonably well. It is still played today on the American on line Beatles Radio Station "Beatles-a-Rama".
9th September 1987
Paul McCartney is a big fan of Buddy Holly and owns the publishing rights to Buddy's songs. For a number of years he arranged an event around Buddy Holly's birthday and in 1987 it was a "Buddy Holly Song Contest", which I decided to enter. I was well pleased when I had a letter saying that my song "No More Tears" had reached the final 10 and was invited by Paul and Linda to an awards lunch in London on 9th September 1987. It was held at The Dolphin Brasserie, in Belgravia, and I went along with my wife Lynne. We were some of the first people to arrive, and were told we could sit anywhere except on a large table with reserved on it. (I wonder who for). We were joined by guitarist "Mick Green" from "The Pirates, who was destined to play guitar on Paul's "Run Devil Run" album and Mike Maxfield who was lead guitarist with "The Dakotas". Also there was "Alvin Stardust" who was a fellow "Magnet Records" artist when I was with "Guys n' Dolls" and record producer "Pete Waterman" who had also worked at "Magnet Records". Paul arrived with Linda, his daughter Stella, "Twiggy" and her husband "Leigh Lawson".
It was a very enjojable lunch "veggie" of course, and after we had all eaten Jonathan Ross presented the awards and I received a "Runner Up" framed certificate, which I got Paul to sign. What do you say to one of your all time heroes. "I'm a big fan and I've got all your records", I don't think so. We talked about my brother Nigel's band "Split Enz" as I knew Paul liked them as he had brought their keyboard player "Eddie Rayner" over from Australia to play on one of his albums. Mike Berry and his group were playing throughout the lunch and at one point Paul got up and sang a couple of numbers with them. All in all a most enjoyable time and they say "You should never meet your heroes as you will be dissapointed". In this case definately not true.
6th November 1996
In 1996 Lonnie Donegan, another one of my all time heroes, had recorded an album which featured a song I had written called, "I Don't Wanna Lose You". The album was ready for release when there were big problems within the record company. Lonnie was looking for a new label and I said I would try to help. I wrote to George Harrison, who I knew had been a fan of Lonnie's, to see if he could help with his "Dark Horse" label. Two days later I had a letter back from George explaining that he couldn't help as his label only exsisted when he had a record out himself, but wished me luck in helping Lonnie. This letter is now a treasured possession.