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A Beatle in Brewood

Monday, 12 December, 2011 - Modified on Monday, 12 December, 2011 at 2:59 am


Enter the word Brewood into any internet search engine and much of the content is repeated from site to site. For me, one of the most intriguing pieces of information is one that claims that former Beatle George Harrison once attended a wedding in Brewood. Unfortunately the information goes no further than that. Of course The Beatles visited Wolverhampton playing on two occasions at the Gaumont Theatre in the town. In fact their first performance in the town on 14th March 1963 is notable as one of the few occasions that they actually played as a trio, John Lennon being absent from this and two other previous tour performances suffering from a heavy cold. They returned later in the year on 19th November a very different proposition to the band that visited only eight months prior. By now they stood on the very brink of world domination and the rest that followed has long since become the stuff of legend.


However these might not be the earliest reports of Beatle sightings in the vicinity. Rumour has it that on the long journey back to Liverpool following the failed Decca auditions in London in 1962 The Beatles' van broke down in Tettenhall!


But did a Beatle really attend a wedding in Brewood? Maybe someone out there can offer confirmation but a few further clicks on the internet would suggest a great deal of truth in the claim and the story revolves around another great British band, this time of the 70's and beyond. Deep Purple were formed in Hertfordshire in 1968 and have sold over 100 million albums worldwide. The band have gone through a number of line-ups in their history but Mark II is the one considered to be most definitive. This line-up comprising Ian Gillan (vocals), Roger Glover (Bass), Ritchie Blackmore (Guitar), Ian Paice (Drums) and Jon Lord (Keyboards) were responsible for some of the bands' classic recordings such as Speed King, Black Night and Smoke On The Water.


During the 70's Jon Lord became the "next door" neighbour of George Harrison in Henley on Thames, home to George's country pile Friar Park. Harrison and Lord became good friends, indeed George even made a rare appearance on stage with Deep Purple when attending one of their concerts in Sydney, Australia in 1984 performing Lucille with the band. George was introduced by Gillan as "Arnold from Liverpool New South Wales who has won a competition to play with the band". By this time Lord had married Vickie Gibbs whose father Frank was the owner of the Oakley Country Club in Brewood thus providing the distinct possibility that George Harrison did indeed once attend a wedding in Brewood!


To complete the story Vickie's twin sister Jackie married Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice who in turn worked with George on songs the ex-Beatle contributed to the Soundtrack for the movie Lethal Weapon II. Paice later went on to guest with Paul McCartney when the Beatles bassist returned for a gig at the famous Cavern Club in Liverpool.


On 9th August this year Lord announced via his website that he was suffering from a unspecified form of cancer. We wish him a full and speedy recovery.