Tony Bramwell’s obituary

15 Responses

  1. Rob Geurtsen says:

    I have seen the multiple repeats of Mark’s letter to The Times in the comments to the obit. There are two things that I find troubling.

    First is this really from Mark Lewisohn? Has this is anyway been confirmed by mr. Lewisohn?

    Second, I fully understand that the editors did not publish Mark’s letter. The reason? The tone is almost dismissive, contemptuous. The content is careless in the way it amplifies and distorts what has been said in the obit.
    e.g. the critique is that “If Tony organised the Beatles’ Apple rooftop event…” However, the obit said was that Tony was there in the beginning and “was still there nine years later when he helped organise the group’s final live appearance”
    It does not indicate being responsible, being the prime mover for the concert on the roof, etc.

    We could discuss the other points of critique, but that is only helpful if we know for sure the source of the letter is Mark Lewisohn and not some AI application.

    As a historian I advice to focus on two issues here that spill over from this case.
    1. Nobody does it alone… so if a journalist write somebody does something, it doesn’t mean other were not involved, more dominant etc.

    2. In historiography it is quite normal that memoirs and reminiscences of insiders/players, associates, etc. are never very precise, they deserve scrutiny. As I see it, a historian does its job well if the contributions to the historiography from figures of both first- and second-echelon importance are evaluated when they appear and not when an obituary is is published. In ‘Tune In’ Lewisohn does a magnificent job as he gives a completely new perspective on figures of both first- and second-echelon importance, and offers overview of a cast of minor characters and situational facilitators mostly or completely unknown up until then. It is Lewisohn’s choice to get all these folks into focus. Tony Bramwell is only mentioned once or twice.

  2. Fokke Zwaan says:

    I agree on this. The text (to me) seems so uncharacteristic for Mark Lewisohn. I have met Mark only on two or three occasions, in Liverpool and in Amsterdam, and we exchanged an e-mail or two. Not much, but to me this letter seems to come from another person, or I must have got a wrong impression of Mark. I hope I did not.

  3. wardo68 says:

    In his book he says he directed “A Day In The Life” and “sort of directed and produced” the 1965 promo films. Other stories seemed a bit fanciful but I always gave him the benefit of the doubt since he was around from (near) the beginning.

    Still, Mark Lewisohn’s point is well made (assuming he made it). This is how myths turn into fact if people don’t check them. Mr. Lewisohn has come under fire from certain quarters lately for taking his own liberties with the truth, which I do find hard to believe. Hopefully he can continue to preserving history as it happened, not as others believe it did.

  4. Neil says:

    I don’t wish to be horrible & speak ill of the dead, but I always called him the Myth Beatle & couldn’t believe how he got away with some of his outrageous claims! He just revelled in the attention that he received from young fans & that made his tall tales even taller!

    I remember him at Beatles conventions a long time ago hanging around very much in the background with never a platform to speak, wearing a Beatles at Shea stadium like jacket, then when all the real insiders had died out he seemed to have his moment in the sun.
    I once asked him about Mal Evan’s & he was really dismissive of Mal’s involvement with the Beatles which I thought was odd & smacked of jealousy. Funnily enough he went on in his book to take credit for things that actually Mal had done!

    As I say I’m not relishing having a go & there will doubtless be those of you out there that will have a go at me for saying this, but he if you care to do your research , you’ll find he was really a big old fibber & not really one of the true Beatles inner circle in a way that say Peter Brown the last man standing genuinely claim to be so was!

    On that note does anyone remember a character at the Liverpool Beatles conventions in the 80s calling himself ‘Father Mackenzie’ & telling all that would listen that he was the inspiration for the line in Eleanor Rigby! 😂

    • James Percival says:

      Yes, he was a guy from Northwich (I think) a few miles from where I grew up. Plenty of fantasists out there! The Northwich Guardian did an obit on him which repeated the claim that that he inspired that line…

  5. I would argue Tony had more claim to be in the inner circle than Peter Brown, who really only came into prominence during the later Apple years and had little day to day contact with the Beatles before then.

  6. Erik says:

    Fun fact: Tony Bramwell played drums on Old Brown Shoe.

  7. Erik says:

    If I recall correctly, in a 1985 out of court settlement with the three surviving Beatles and the estate of Lennon, Tony won a significant percentage of future royalties on account of having invented the concept of pronouns. R.I.P.

  8. Kozmo says:

    I will only say that I have friends on Merseyside (lifetime, but not in Liverpool proper) who go back a long way and they often shake their heads at what they consider the (what they consider to be) inborn capacity of Liverpudlians to exaggerate and inflate and deceive. Take that for what it’s worth.

  9. Blakey says:

    Neither Tony Bramwell or Peter Brown were asked to take part in the ‘Anthology’.
    In Tony’s case, this is possibly down to a fall out between him and Paul.

    Apparently, Tony told Paul that ‘London Town’ was not very good. And we know how Macca takes criticism.

    Years later, Paul and Tony met again. And Paul is supposed to have said to Tony ‘You were right, London Town was shit,’

  10. Blakey says:

    Never mind. We’ll probably all be dead before All These Years Vol 2 is out….

    • debjorgo says:

      No worries. Apparently Mark has people lined up to finish writing it for him, if he passes away.

      Now, all we have to do is line up someone to read to for us, if we don’t make it that long.

  11. Ken says:

    Mark Lewisohn was meticulous in his research and all of the points he made can be verified. He never put anything into print unless it could be verified. Mark Ashworth is incorrect about Peter Brown’s involvement. Anyone who bought records from the Nems Whitechapel music store in Liverpool knows that Brown ran that business for Brian and then took over when Brian became too busy with the Beatles. He was a key background member of Apple. A few interesting facts. Tony was born in 1946. George Harrison was born in 1943. Undoubtedly, their mothers were friends, however that would mean that the “schoolfriend” anecdote is a bit exagerated. Paul and George went to the same school, Liverpool Institute. Paul was 16, George was 15 and Tony was 12. He went to Hillfoot Hey, 7 miles away. Schoolfriends? Neil Aspinall was the Beatles first Road Manager from roughly1960/62 and when he was promoted, Mal Evans took over the role. Tony was 16 so he didn’t have a driving licence for Neil’s old Commer van during that period. You can’t be a roadie if you can’t drive. He was an assistant and known from school days as not only one who could embelish a story well but could sometimes borrow one or two as his own.

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