Stuart Sutcliffe – The Beatle’s Forgotten Artist

Stuart Sutcliffe was a brilliant young artist with a bright career ahead of him when he sold one of his paintings and his friend John Lennon talked him into buying a bass. He didn’t know how to play bass but was taught by John, Paul, and George because like George said…it was better to have a bass player that couldn’t play than no bass player at all.

Stuart did learn to play bass and had a lot of stage time in Hamburg. He was never a great bass player but good enough to hold the position down. Stuart and John came up with the band name Beatles. Stuart wanted it to be Beatals but John stuck with Beatles.

Many art experts say Stuart would have been a major artist had he lived… with or without the Beatle connection. He was the James Dean of the Beatles…He was the Artist…He was the Stylish one that attracted new friends in Germany that forever changed the Beatles.

He was John Lennon’s best friend and Paul’s rival for John’s attention.

While playing in Hamburg Germany he met Astrid Kirchherr who would become the love of his life. Astrid would take some of the most famous early photographs of the Beatles.

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Astrid’s soon to be ex-boyfriend Klaus Voormann would befriend the Beatles and later design the Revolver cover and play bass for John, George, and Ringo at different times in their career.

Jürgen Vollmer, a photographer in the circle of Astrid’s friends would end up cutting John and Paul’s hair into the famous haircut…after Astrid had already cut Stuart’s hair in that fashion first.

Stuart’s influence went beyond playing bass. Without Stuart, things may have turned out different for The Beatles.

Stuart finally quit The Beatles to concentrate on Art and to marry Astrid. He got a scholarship while living with Astrid in Germany, in the Hamburg College of Art in 1961. He produced a lot of paintings in the last year of his life. He started to lose weight, get terrible headaches and had trouble walking. He kept going to college and kept painting in Astrid’s attic. They wanted to marry in May but on April 10, 1962, he had a ruptured aneurysm and passed away on the way to the hospital in Astrid’s arms.

If Stuart would have lived he would have almost certainly stayed in the Beatles circle although not playing…he may have been remembered more as an artist than a one time bassist of the Beatles.

More about Stuart and his Art.

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Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

14 thoughts on “Stuart Sutcliffe – The Beatle’s Forgotten Artist”

  1. Stuart and Astrid were quite the stylish couple. One of the great What If’s as far as The Beatles go- How far would Stuart have went with his art career? I agree he would have stayed in their orbit. I think John made the right decision on the spelling… It was only a hair style and of course they changed their hairstyles as they went along- but I can’t imagine the early Beatles without the Beatles haircut. Back in the day I even had one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As you see I finished the biography and I would recommend it. Rod Murray is the room mate they interviewed about rooming with John and Stu…Tony Sheridan is in it… Astrid is also in the bio…Astrid said flat out that John never raised his hands against Stu.
      For me that put the matter to bed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I’m sorry….this is a documentary…They showed Rod Murray going back to that flat and with a guitar that Stuart owned…It was writtened by Jon Savage and he was a consultant. Pauline is in it also….

        Liked by 1 person

      2. They did a good job…you have Pauline talking about the kick in the head and then they show Astrid saying no…I think you will like it

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Glad they showed all sides-there are some filmmakers who would go with the Pauline angle and keep out what Astrid said- just to get attention.. I think if anything-John’s reaction to Stu’s death had a lot to do with losing his mother- his father being a non-factor…and then he loses one of his best ever friends..

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      4. I’m not going to keep giving it away but Astrid said that John “Freaked Out” … when told about the news. Astrid knew how close they were. Pauline also mentions something else about John and Stu…I’ll let you watch.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Allan Williams is on it also…. it was made in 2005… I think you will like it. Pay attention to Klaus’s paitings of the Beatles…they are great…I mean great. I think that is his artwork.

        Liked by 1 person

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