Beatles boffin hits back at Boris jibe

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Boris Johnson © Wikipedia Creative Commons

Boris Johnson © Wikipedia Creative Commons

A local author and Beatles expert has challenged London Mayor Boris Johnson over claims that the Fab Four have stronger links with the capital than Liverpool.

In the wake of Boris Johnson’s controversial claims made on Tuesday, David Bedford – who has spent many years researching the Beatles roots and has written two books about them – feels the Mayor of London is trying to take credit for the huge success of the band.

Mayor Johnson told an audience at the London School of Economics: “The greatest band in the world came from Liverpool, but in the end they recorded their stuff in London and it was London that helped propel them around the world.”

Walton MP Steve Rotheram even raised the issue during Prime Minister’s Questions at Westminster today, where David Cameron admitted he had enjoyed a visit to the Beatles museum here, as he credited Liverpool with the Fab Four’s success.

Speaking to JMU Journalism, David Bedford said of the Boris Johnson comment: “It’s a typical politician’s throwaway remark but it has big implications because again it is someone in London taking credit away from Liverpool.”

The Beatles recorded the majority of their music in London’s Abbey Road studios in the 1960s when Beatlemania first took off. However, Mr Bedford feels that this was merely a facility for them, not something that ‘made the band successful’.

The Beatles in Liverpool in 1964 © Trinity Mirror

The Beatles in Liverpool in 1964 © Trinity Mirror

“By the time they got to London in 1963, John, Paul and George had already been together since the end of 1957.

“By the time they had their first hit they’d been together five years … so the making of The Beatles was in Liverpool, it’s where they were born where they grew up, where they met where they played for hours and hours.”

He believes that if anywhere else contributed to the Beatles’ success, it is Hamburg and not London.

The band spent many nights performing for up to eight hours in Hamburg nightspots and studios.

“Boris Johnson is just trying to associate himself and London with somebody famous, when the credit really has to go to the musicians and the songwriters and the producer George Martin – the studio just happened to be in London.”

Mr Bedford grew up in Liverpool and has many connections with the Beatles, from early years in the Dingle where Ringo Starr grew up, to his daughters going to the same school as George Harrison and John Lennon.

He has devoted his life to researching the Beatles and has written two books about the band.

His first, ‘Liddypool’, which was published in 2009, was all about The Beatles’ roots and was the result of nine years research and writing.

Front cover of Liddypool © Liddypool.com

Front cover of Liddypool © Liddypool.com

He is preparing to launch his second book ‘The Fab 104’, which will be published this Friday at Dovedale School.

The book looks deep into the Beatles’ past and at all of the musicians who have inspired them on the way to superstardom.

As well as provoking Mr Bedford, the speech also generated a big reaction on social media. Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson tweeted: “See Boris or the ‘Fool on the hill’ at it again claiming London made the Beatles nothing to do with the talent or songs of Lennon+McCartney.”

This isn’t the first time Mayor Johnson has said something to anger Liverpool, after having made comments about the Hillsborough disaster – a blunder for which he later apologised.

About Joshua Weale, JMU Journalism