Stuart “Stu” Sutcliffe

Stuart “Stu” Sutcliffe

Original Name Stuart Fergusson Victor Sutcliffe
Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh, Scotland
Death 10 Apr 1962 (aged 21)
Hamburg-Mitte, Hamburg-Mitte, Hamburg, Germany
Burial Huyton with Roby, Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley, Merseyside, England
Memorial ID 2680 · View Source
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The Beatles' original bassist. A brilliant young painter who was cut down before his career had begun to blossom, Stuart will always be better known as the first bass player with the Beatles. Recognized for his artistic ability even as a child, Sutcliffe was probably the most gifted and revolutionary of all the other Beatles. As an avid follower of the Beat Movement, and well-versed in the Impressionists, he left a strong and lasting imprint on the young John Lennon, who became his closest friend. In 1959 a painting by Stuart was selected for the John Moores Exhibition, one of the biggest art shows in Liverpool at the time. Eventually his painting was bought by Moores himself, allowing Stuart to use part of the £65 payment to make a down payment on a Hofner 333 bass. But Stuart's talent for music was decidedly lacking compared to his talent with the canvas. By 1960 the Beatles had made their way to a residency in Hamburg, Germany. There Stuart met his idol, artist Edouardo Paolozzi, who was impressed enough with Stuartís work to get him into the State Art College, with a grant from the Hamburg City Council. Stu would then paint during the day, and play bass at night with the Beatles. Eventually the pace became too much for him, and he left the band to stay in Hamburg and paint, with Paul McCartney inheriting the job of bass player. Stuart also met the love of his life, Astrid Kirchherr, later to gain fame with her early photographs of the band. In November 1960 Stu and Astrid were engaged. All throughout 1961 Stuart suffered severe headaches, even fainting in Paolozzi's master class. By February 1962 he was no longer able to attend Art College. The following month he suffered spells of blindness, but specialists were unable to determine the cause. A brain tumor was suspected, but X-rays revealed nothing. On April 10th he passed away in Astrid's arms, while being transported to hospital in an ambulance. Eighteen months later, a small tumor, overlooked before, was noted in Stu's X-rays. Legend attributes this to a kick in the head Stuart received during a fight while with the Beatles, when they were attacked after a performance at Litherland Town Hall by the jealous boyfriends of girls at the show. Had Stuart lived, his fame with the brush would almost certainly have eclipsed his posthumous fame with the bass. As a tribute by the surviving Beatles, Stu's image appears on the cover of their masterpiece, 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'.

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 2680
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Stuart “Stu” Sutcliffe (23 Jun 1940–10 Apr 1962), Find a Grave Memorial no. 2680, citing St Michael Churchyard Extension, Huyton with Roby, Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley, Merseyside, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .