Beatles unmasked: Paul McCartney’s ‘hidden tribute to other band’ in Helter Skelter12/02/2020
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The Fab Four member was ambushed by Keith Drewett and Peter Dymond, known as Drew & Dy, after they spotted him in a taxi on the way back from an audition in London. They leaped out of their taxi and pleaded with Paul to listen to their track with his “golden ears”. From there, an unlikely friendship blossomed between them during recording sessions and a small homage was allegedly made to them in one of the songs he wrote.
Drew and Dy raced over to The Beatles star when he was outside the Apple boutique, on Baker Street, in 1968.
Mr Dymond recalled asking the star: “Please Mr McCartney, all the world knows you have golden ears.
“We don’t expect you to sign us, please just listen and tell us if our songs have anything.”
Paul told the duo to “calm down” before asking if they had a tape that he could listen to and when they didn’t, he offered them “a little audition”.
He led them through “a little side door” onto a staircase where they performed “about six of our songs” before being invited into a room to record them.
At the end of the session, Paul, who was “smoking a cheroot cigar”, told them that they would “be hearing from” him and subsequently wrote them a letter.
The handwritten note, which has come up for auction with Gotta Have Rock And Roll, in the US, featured a drawing, a quip about The Beatles and kind words.
In a description of their music, Paul wrote: “Your songs grow on all that hear them! I hope you are pressing on.
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“Also we like you singing them, so we’ll be getting together soon probably to do something – like record.”
He signed off the letter, which carried an estimate for $20,000 (£15,000) with “Thanks, Paul and the mop tops!” – a reference to the band’s hairstyle.
The Beatles star also drew an apple with an A in the centre and below captioned it “A is for Apple” – a reference to Apple Studios.
Auction house owner Ed Kosinski described it as a “fun and fascinating piece” during an interview with Express.co.uk.
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He also commented that he had “never seen” the “mop tops” reference before and felt a sketch from “that early on is very rare”.
Mr Dymond recalled that this wasn’t their last encounter with The Beatle, who later “harmonised with” them and performed a few songs, which he described as “terrific”.
After one long recording session, where Paul warned the band’s drummer that drinking wasn’t “going to help”, he produced a bottle of champagne for them all to share.
As they cleared away at 2am, Paul asked the staff to “slip on Hey Jude” and despite hearing “our three songs all afternoon and night” – they whistled along to the 1968 track.
Mr Dymond recalled that the musician then revealed a tribute to their tireless effort in the studio, which he slipped into a song.
He recalled: “We worked so hard on the session that Drew’s fingers were all blistered.
“Paul said, ‘We’re making an album at the moment and we’ll put something on there, a message for you’.
“And I suppose it was ‘I’ve got blisters on my fingers’ on ‘Helter Skelter.’”
The words that Mr Dymond referred to are right at the end of their 1968 song, which was released the same year that Paul and the band recorded together.
In the final few seconds, a voice believed to be Ringo Starr yelled the comment before the final strike of a guitar could be heard.
It’s claimed that the drummer “flung his sticks across the room” and shouted “I’ve got blisters on my fingers” after the 18th take of that song in the recording studio.
For more information about Gotta Have Rock and Roll’s auction, which concludes this weekend, visit here.
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