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27th September, 2016

Interview: Klaus Voormann visits The Beatles Story

We were delighted to welcome bassist and artist Klaus Voormann to The Beatles Story during Beatleweek 2016.

Born in Germany, Klaus is one of The Beatles’ oldest friends from their time in Hamburg and is responsible for their iconic ‘Revolver’ album cover.

 

During his visit Klaus took time to view the rare violin bass that has recently gone on display as part of our Main Exhibition to celebrate 50 years of The Beatles’ ‘Revolver’ album and 60 years of Höfner guitars.

We got an opportunity to speak with Klaus about his memories of Revolver, an album which is now considered by many fans to be The Beatles’ greatest collection of songs.

 

 

“I lived in a small attic apartment and I’ll never forget the call. I was in the bath when I got the call from John. I got out to answer and he asked me if I had any ideas about the design for the new album cover.”

“I couldn’t believe it that the band asked me, and that was the start of it really.”

 

“The album cover was very difficult in the beginning, I went down to the studio, I heard the tracks and they were incredibly unique and different compared to what most Beatles fans were used to hearing.”

“I thought at first that fans wouldn’t like the music on Revolver and I just couldn’t believe that it was so new, especially Tomorrow Never Knows.”

 

Voormann’s illustration is part line drawing and part collage. It also included photographs by Robert Whitaker, the man who infamously took the images for the band’s ‘Butcher cover’.

The album artwork earned Klaus and The Beatles a 1966 Grammy Award for Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts in March 1967.

 

 

Musically, Revolver marked a progression from the band’s 1965 ‘Rubber Soul’, a period that saw The Beatles become more experimental.

The album included the incorporation of tape loops and backwards recordings on the psychedelic ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, the use of a classical string octet on ‘Eleanor Rigby’, and the Indian-music backing of ‘Love You To’.

 

 

 

“They were magic, they will never be replaced and although there have been other great bands since the Beatles, no-one will ever be able to replace them.”

“Their success started in Hamburg and Liverpool, in particularly Hamburg because they played every single night over in the city.”

 

“They studied music and Lennon and McCartney in particular really focused on developing songs when they were together.”

“The two of them worked on songs and that is something that is really hard to do. In my opinion the songs that The Beatles produced will never die.”

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