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The man who turned on the Beatles finally revealed

The dentist who introduced John Lennon and George Harrison to in 1965 has always been an anonymous figure. In the Beatles Anthology time George referred to him only as "the wicked dentist." Now a book has been published that reveals the identity of the man who unwittingly helped to turn on the world.

In The Gospel According to the Beatles, author Steve Turner reveals that the dentist was John Riley who had a practice on Harley Street and lived in a ground floor apartment in Strathearn Place near Bayswater Road. It was in this apartment that Riley slipped the hallucinogenic drug into the boys' coffees after a meal. They would never be the same again.

London born Riley, the son of a policeman, had trained in America and was a pioneer of cosmetic dentistry in Britain. He was a particular favourite of actors, models and rock stars and through his glittering clientele gained an entre to Swinging London. He supplied the teeth for Roman Polanski's film The Fearless Vampire Killers and even managed to get a fleeting role in The Texicans alongside Audie Murphy.

Riley was killed in a car accident in 1986 but Turner managed to interview two of his ex-wives. He also spoke to Cynthia Lennon and Pattie Harrison, both of whom were victims of the original trip.

"When you go for dinner with your dentist you don't imagine a professional man would do something like that," Cynthia told him.

More information:

• The Gospel According to the Beatles by Steve Turner

Published August 31, 2006

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