Episode #40 – ‘Stu Sutcliffe – The Abstract Beatle’

The Beatles’ diminutive co-founder, man of mystery, king of cool, abstract artist, fragile angel, tragic hero.

Stuart Sutcliffe’s short life has been well documented, based on the recollections of some who knew him. His image has been immortalized by fiancée Astrid Kirchherr’ iconic photos. His expressionistic paintings survive on canvas. And his voice can be detected in a few of the letters he wrote. But we don’t have a clue how he sounded—speaking, singing or (barely discernible on some lo-fi amateur recordings) playing bass. And, so far, nothing’s emerged of him on film. So, from the public’s perspective, what does he actually bring to The Beatles’ story?

The music in this episode is from rehearsals captured at the McCartney home on a Grundig reel-to-reel in April and June of 1960—before the group had a permanent drummer, before the first trip to Hamburg:

  • Well, Darling
  • One After 909
  • Hallelujah, I Love Her So*
  • Cayenne*
  • That’s When Your Heartaches Begin
  • Hello Little Girl
  • You’ll Be Mine*


* with Stuart Sutcliffe playing bass