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Tony Bramwell reveals why John Lennon called him Measles
by Katie Eaton, Beatles News Liverpool Reporter
Liverpool -- Beatles insider Tony Bramwell entertained a packed standing room only audience with his stories about the many years he spent with the Beatles during a moderated discussion with renowned Beatles author and researcher Mark Lewisohn at the recent Liverpool Beatleweek convention held in the Adelphi Hotel ballroom.
As a five year old, Tony became a friend of George Harrison and Paul McCartney who both lived in Speke and went to the same school. Paul McCartney's mother Mary McCartney, was a close friend of Tony's mother.
Several years later, he was happy to help his mates (which now included John Lennon) carry their guitars because he got to see the Beatles play "for free" which at the time seemed a good deal.
From carrying the Beatles' guitars to gigs, he rode with them in the back of vans to their gigs and got to see first hand how quickly John and Paul could knock out a new hit song in 10 minutes or less as if they were IBM computers, "they were so fast" in addition to seeing how quickly they could learn a cover version of "Walk Right In", a song they had never performed before on the drive over to their 1963 concert at King's Hall in Stoke-on-Trent. The Beatles performed "Walk Right In" only once in concert for the King's Hall venue and Tony was there to see them learn, rehearse and then play that song that they would never play again.
Another unusual song performed by the Cavern Club Beatles was the early sixties hit song "Hully Gully" by the Olympics, Tony said gang fights would break out on the dance floor when "Hully Gully" was played. It was such a popular and much requested song at the time that the Beatles played this song to finish their set but as it became a call to violence they stopped playing it sometime in 1963 and they never played this song again.
Tony's job carrying their equipment evolved into almost anything they needed which included running errands like picking up sundry odds and ends, but also making a film for every record they made and making the Apple Records promotional video in 1968 which he called a "little film" that included James Taylor, Mary Hopkins, Magic Alex in a white lab coat, the new Apple Store and a rough take of Paul McCartney's new "Blackbird".
|Mark Lewisohn and Tony Bramwell (Photo by Pete Dicks)|
Bramwell moved to London when they moved to London and he spent alot of time with the Beatles and went to the same nightclubs. When asked by Mark Lewisohn to tell what John Lennon was like, Tony Bramwell revealed that John called him "Measles" because John said "you're all over the place like a dose of measles" so his nickname stuck and the Beatles' wives even called him "Measles" as confirmed by Patti Boyd who was a guest speaker later that afternoon. Tony Bramwell described himself as being a "member of the pack...he was everywhere" at the same clubs that John went to back in the sixties.
Ringo had a different nickname for Tony and called him "Ant" short for "Anthony", which is Tony's first name.
Regarding the controversial firing of the drummer Pete Best, Tony says Ringo "fitted in perfectly [with the other Beatles] with their sense of humor and personality." Tony said the "Beatles were a four headed hydra monster" and Ringo fitted in perfectly as one of them.
According to Tony, while Pete didn't socialize with the Beatles after their gigs, in contrast Ringo would hang out with the Beatles after they both had finished their gigs. Before Ringo joined the Beatles, Ringo would join up with the Beatles socially after he had finished playing with the "awful Rory Storm" for the evening. Tony called Ringo "a bloody good drummer."
For more information on Tony Bramwell's time with the Beatles, be sure to read his "Magical Mystery Tours: My Life With the Beatles" which is still one of the top rated books about the Beatles from the very beginning, when they were just young boys growing up in Liverpool.
For more information about next year's International Liverpool BeatleWeek, go to www.internationalbeatleweek.com.
• Magical Mystery Tours: My Life With the Beatles by Tony Bramwell
• International Liverpool BeatleWeek
Published August 30, 2018