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Monday, March 24, 2008

The driving force

The death of Neil Aspinall has been announced.
He was 66. It was only a year since he had retired as the head of Apple Corps. He'd worked for his school friends the Beatles for 45 years. When Lennon and McCartney asked him to come and drive their van he had to give up a potentially secure career as an accountant to take them up on the offer.
Most members of the inner circle are gone - fellow roadie Mal Evans, PR man Derek Taylor, manager Brian Epstein and two members of the group - but nobody knew as many secrets as Aspinall. Up until last year he clocked in every day at their West End HQ, guarding their legacy, warning off corporate raiders and orchestrating reissues like the massively lucrative Anthology series. There can't be many people in any business who have worked for the same employer for so long. He was in the van, in the hotel room, in the studio, on stage and in the meeting room with them when anything of any significance took place.
And he never blabbed, which was remarkable for somebody of his generation and inconceivable for anyone who's been entrusted with that degree of confidence since.
The fourth sentence of the report of Aspinall's death on the BBC website goes as follows: "Despite no musical training, he sang in the chorus of 'Yellow Submarine'."
Half an hour ago it was headlined "Beatles guru dies".
They've just changed it to "Beatles ally dies".
Watch this space.