George Peckham -
The next night as we are waiting to enter stage right in my new fully sewn up coat I hear behind me “Allo darlin’ that’s a nice hat you got there and, of course, silly me turned around to be met with the Newman flat hand making the front of my hat become reminiscent of the old singer Bud Flanagan, actually from that period in time. So we entered and, of course, never underestimate an audience. They knew and giggles could be heard all over the theatre.
Needless to say when we returned to the dressing rooms to get changed for the next phase of the musical the voice over the speakers in the dressing rooms was Brian Epstein. “Will Peckham and Newman resist acting like juveniles and have some respect for my show? I will be seeing you two later on.” You just have that horrible feeling in your tummy as when you are picked out at school for enjoying yourself by the Headmaster in the playground.
I thought to myself I will wait and get Tony back, I’ll let him think that he’s got away with it. But no, it didn’t stop there. We sang a number which was recorded by the Fourmost called ‘Baby I Need Your Loving.’ It was originally a Four Tops number. Dave, Billy and Brian would enter stage left doing the oooh oooh’s and I would enter stage right singing the main line in the song. Then Tony decided that he would liven things up a little by holding onto the microphone lead and giving a yank every now and then so you could only get half of the words such as “Baby I ……..Your Loving” and so on. The audience were in fits of laughter there were screams of laughs all over the place, even behind me on stage.
This obviously spurred Tony on even more, also possibly, the sheepish looks I kept giving up towards the box where ‘Eppy’ was sitting. I knew that there would be yet another verbal message coming down from our benefactor. True to form, we heard, “Peckham and Newman what the hell do you two idiots think you are doing to my show for God’s sake try to grow up.”
The strange thing that happened was that all of a sudden the Press write up turned from mediocre musical to one of the best laughs I’ve had in ages and the calls to buy tickets made the show have an extra two week extension to the dismay of poor Brian Epstein.
We would sometimes be recording at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios and would find that the Beatles would be in the next Studio, so we would pop in to see how they were doing: what they would do if say Paul or John was doing a vocal to the backing track. They would pull the sound screens around them pull up some chairs and a table and play cards rather than go upstairs to the Control Room. On one of these occasions I was chatting about songs/music and things when John mentioned that they would like their own Studios so that they could have more control over their sound. This was because when they were in the Control Room the songs always sounded great but when the record eventually came out it was never as good as they remembered it sounding.
This put a great idea into my head. I had always been driving the engineer crazy with questions regarding recording and the understanding of it. Poor Geoff Emerick was the engineer and each time he saw me come into the Control Room his face said it all “Oh not him again.”
I knew he didn’t want to go over it all again but my hunger to learn was getting so much stronger I couldn’t help myself. I just didn’t know where I could find the information to learn and I couldn’t talk to the rest of the band about it as it might sew the seeds of my discontent.
Each time that we saw the Beatles at Abbey Road Studios I would ask how the Master Plan regarding their Studio was going. When it started getting together I spoke with John asking if they would be taking on staff with very little recording knowledge he said yes but with that situation there could be no favours. Of course, that had never crossed my mind, so when they bought 3 Saville Row to base Apple there I rang and got an interview with Peter Brown.
I explained what John had said to me: no favours, and he said that is how it will be. I would have to be interviewed by Ron Kass who was the overall manager there which I did each time I restated what John had told me - and low and behold I was told that I had a job. Now it was time to tell the Fourmost that I was leaving. I knew that Brian O Hara would be annoyed. Dave and Billy talked with me about it but they could see that all I wanted was to be in the recording studios and not on the road in a band anymore.
Again we found Ian Edwards of Ian and the Zodiacs fame from Liverpool to take my position in the band. I loaned Ian my band suits and rehearsed with him to teach him all that I had contributed to the band and he fitted in perfectly.
Next episode: Apple Days.
Editor’s Notes: George actually played bass with the Kinsleys for a short time before joining Earl Royce & the Olympics. George was on lead guitar and the other members were Earl Royce on vocals, Jimmy Jordan on drums, Kenny Hazzard on rhythm guitar and Brian Dee on bass guitar and vocals.