For #askNat this week I’ve been contacted by Gary Walker of Bluff City, Tennessee who has this to say:
Nat, When George Harrison married Olivia, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were there. It is said that the three surviving Beatles started playing “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Is this true? If so, is there a recording of the event?
This is an interesting question, Gary and it brings up a good point – Because The Beatles cannot escape their Beatle-past, there will always be a lot of rumors and information written up about their private lives that simply isn’t true. This can make it hard for us, as fans, to separate what is real and what is not. The “surviving Beatles” at the time George and Olivia married were “all of them.” In fact, George began living with Olivia back in 1974 and they would have been married soon afterwards but needed to wait until George’s divorce from Pattie Boyd was finalized (June 1977). Wedding plans were set up soon afterwards for May 1978 but the date was pushed back again when George Harrison’s father, Harold, died of emphysema that same month. They were finally married on September 2, 1978, one month after their son Dhani was born. The marriage ceremony at the Henley Register Office (Henley, U.K.) was kept secret and attended only by Olivia’s parents who had flown in from California.
George went through a period around this time when he had little, if any contact, with his former Beatles. Ringo Starr had played on his All Things Must Pass triple album as well as performed at the Concert for Bangla Desh organized by George. In return, George had assisted Ringo on a few tracks in his early post-Beatles career but that participation had waned (perhaps since his early-seventies affair with Ringo’s ex-wife, Maureen). George had also played on John Lennon’s Imagine album in 1971. But by the late seventies George kept more to himself and his now-growing family. Having Beatles show up at his wedding to sing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was probably the last thing on his mind.
What Gary may be thinking of is George’s son Dhani’s recent wedding from this past June (2012). Dhani, then 33 years old, married Sólveig Káradóttir (she goes by Sola), a former model from Iceland who is now a psychologist. She is the daughter of neurologist Kári Stefánsson. The wedding was also a secret ceremony but among the few guests were both Paul McCartney (with his new wife Nancy Shevell) and Ringo Starr. Sola’s wedding dress was designed by Paul’s daughter Stella McCartney. Others in attendance were Jeff Lynne, who had collaborated on much music with George, and actors Tom Hanks and Clive Owen. The ceremony was held at George and Olivia’s Friar Park home in Henley. Now…was there a performance of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band?” I doubt it, but you never know.
Extra info: Olivia Harrison and Ringo Starr (with wife Barbara Bach) both attended Sir Paul McCartney’s wedding to Nancy Shevell in October 2011.
Thanks for reading and thanks Gary for an interesting question, once again. If anyone has anything to add, I welcome your comments below to keep the discussion going.
Thank you to everyone who has sent in their questions! Keep #askNat going by sending your questions to me in any of the following ways:
1) There is a designated form that you fill out right on the website where you can give your name, location, email address and submit your question. The form is right here and is the same form used to submit requests for BROWs (Beatles Rarity Of The Weeks), but modfied to do both BROW requests and #askNat questions.
2) If you are a Facebook user, you can submit your question right on TheBeatlesRarity FB wall at www.facebook.com/beatlesrarity. If you think about it, try to remember to flag your question with “#askNat”.
3) Similarly, if you are a Google+ user, you can submit your question on TheBeatlesRarity Google+ page at www.gplus.to/beatlesrarity. Google+ supports hashtag searchability so it will be helpful if you preface your question with “#askNat” here too.
4) For you Twitter users, www.twitter.com/beatlesrarity gets you to the right place. Post your question and be sure to add “#askNat” somewhere in the tweet.
Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, literature or music related to this post:
1) The Beatles Encyclopedia – Billy Harry’s guide to The Beatles world. Look up any person, place or thing that was a part of Beatles’ history and read all there is to know about it. Very concise. Updated through 2001.
2) Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me – George Harrison and Eric Clapton’s “ex,” Pattie Boyd tells her story.
3) Miss O’Dell: My Hard Days and Long Nights with The Beatles, The Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and the Women They Loved – Chris O’Dell was a confidant in The Beatles inner circle at Apple Records and after the break-up. She was at Ringo’s kitchen table when George Harrison said, “You know, Ringo, I’m in love with your wife.” And Ringo replied, “Better you than someone we don’t know.” her story is a good one.