Ham&High Podcast: Author's close encounters with The Beatles

Sir Paul McCartney with author David Stark. Picture: David Stark

Sir Paul McCartney with author David Stark. - Credit: David Stark

John Lennon was arriving at EMI Studios in his Rolls Royce, speaking nonsense through a speaker system, and David had parked his bicycle up in the hope of catching a glimpse of one of his heroes.

The Belsize Park resident is the guest on this week’s Ham&High Podcast, talking about his new memoir, It’s All Too Much - Adventures of a Teenage Beatles Fan in the ‘60s & Beyond.

A music industry veteran, David is also known as the “Zelig of Rock” and grew up in north-west London during the 1960s as a dedicated fan of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

The book tells the tales of close encounters with the Beatles, from gate-crashing the Yellow Submarine film premiere at the age of 15, to appearing in press photos of John and Yoko arriving at Marylebone Magistrates’ Court for their infamous drugs bust, to being inducted as a companion of LIPA (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts) by Sir Paul himself.

David says the secret to his success at meeting his idols is simply “all luck and chutzpah, as they say”.

On one Saturday night in 1970 David and a friend, who had just got his first car, a Ford Anglia, drove over from Edgware to Hampstead to try to find Ringo.

“We drove up to Spaniards Road - he lived on Compton Avenue, right opposite Kenwood - and that’s a private road...so we found the street, parked on Spaniards,” said David. 

Most Read

“We didn’t know which house was Ringo’s so we rang the door on the first house on the left. We’re dressed pretty scruffily - no money and just mucking about on the Saturday. 

“Who comes to the door but Lulu - a huge surprise - with her then-husband Maurice Gibb - they were married at the time. 

“He was wearing an apron and they were obviously cooking or something, and she said: ‘How can I help you boys?’

“I said: ‘We’re going to Ringo’s tonight but we’re not too sure which house it is.’

“She said: ‘Oh, you can’t miss it. It’s just right down at the end on the right, and it’s got a big double-drive.’

“And Maurice said: ‘Yeah, give him our love.’”

They walked down the street to find several cars in the drive, and Ringo answered the door holding a pool cue.

“He said: ‘What can I do for you lads?’

“And I said: ‘We’re just wondering if you want to come out for a drink -  a couple of pints?’

“He looked quite amazed by this and said: ‘Well, thank you very much but we’ve got friends in tonight, it’s a bit difficult, maybe another time.’

“As he’s talking to me I could see Eric Clapton walking in the hall behind him.”

READ MORE: Ham&High Podcast: 6 Music and Menswear’s Matt Everitt on 25 years since Britpop

READ MORE: ‘Crease pop is coming’ - Meet the band redefining indie from their Muswell Hill flat

The author himself became involved in the music industry and his path crossed those of The Beatles, as well as other important figures such as producer George Martin John Lennon’s legendary Aunt Mimi, both of whom have their own chapters in the book.

David is the founder of SongLink International, an online resource which helps songwriters and composers to get their music placed with recording artists around the world, as well as in films, TV and advertising campaigns. 

Young fan David Stark with Beatles memorabilia. Picture: David Stark

Young fan David Stark with Beatles memorabilia. - Credit: David Stark

In 2014 he was responsible for a Blue Plaque dedicated to the late Brian Epstein, located at the old NEMS offices next to the London Palladium; and in 2019 he was one of a small committee who achieved the placement of a Blue Plaque at 3 Savile Row, to mark The Beatles’ final live appearance on the roof of their Apple building in 1969.

It’s All Too Much - Adventures of a Teenage Beatles Fan in the ‘60s & Beyond is available now, with a digital version and audiobook also due.

You can order signed copies at £14.99 + P&P via https://thisdayinmusicbooks.com/product/its-all-too-much-by-david-stark/

It is available on Amazon as an unsigned edition

Click here to subscribe to the Ham&High Podcast.

David Stark with George Martin. Picture: David Stark

David Stark with George Martin. - Credit: David Stark