Astonishing Norfolk Beatles collection revealed
- Credit: Danielle Booden
Nigel Pearce of Cromer has been a Beatles fan from childhood and has collected Beatles and Apple Records memorabilia for more than 50 years.
He has rare records, photographs, autographs, guitars, letters, invitations, programmes, tickets and memos, many of which have never been seen in public.
Now Nigel, who is also a district councillor, a mobile DJ and presents a music and memories show Groove Britain for community radio station Future Radio, has catalogued some of his huge collection in the first of a series of books.
He agreed to try and pick a chart-topping 10 favourite treasures.
1. Our First Four presentation pack of the Beatles’ first four singles. Only just over 400 were made. Nigel also has a 1988 promotional pack of the cd version of the singles. “Only approximately 100 were made, but they were never officially released due to legal issues at the time between Apple and EMI,” said Nigel.
2. A Rickenbacker 325 c64 Jet Glow Black 64 Lennon limited edition replica guitar.
3. A spare number plate for the VW car featured on the Abbey Road album cover.
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4. A gold disc of Hey Jude, plus an autograph, given to Nigel by George Harrison when he met him in 1975.
5. A replica Lennon Epiphone guitar. Norwich musician Amanda Lehmann, who is featured in Nigel’s first book and has worked with Steve Hackett of Genesis, plans to play it on her next album. “I am really proud and honoured,” said Nigel.
6. Splinter collection. The 1970s duo was managed by George Harrison and had a sound which was often likened to the Beatles. “I have brought them back into the limelight by putting together their first two albums for 40-plus years,” said Nigel. The new album, Splinter Live In England 1974-1977 was released in September.
7. The original 1970 Let It Be presentation pack.
8. Autographed press photos.
9. A programme and ticket from the 1957 Bill Haley concert at the Liverpool Adelphi where John Lennon and Paul McCartney briefly met for the first time.
10. A programme which Brian Epstein gave to the Beatles before their EMI audition in September 1962.
The first of Nigel’s books cataloguing his collection is Inside Number Three, the illustrated history of Apple Records, named for its address in London. Apple Records launched in 1968 with Hey Jude and Nigel's collection began when, aged 13, he bought the single. He went on to collect every record Apple released from 3 Savile Row.
“I still listen to the records now and again,” said Nigel.
However, the Beatles super-fan never saw the band play live. “I was too young to go to the Beatles concerts, but I do have three minutes of colour film from the 1964 concert at the Ipswich Gaumont,” said Nigel.
It is just one of thousands of remarkable artefacts.
“Everyone has been absolutely staggered by what I have got,” he said.
Even he does not know exactly how many items there are in his collection. “There are too many to count!” he said. “I am making a list but it will take some time.” One day the 68-year-old would love to stage an exhibition. For now he is putting together a series of illustrated books, while still adding to his collection – and helping his wife, Louise, start her own collection at their Cromer home. “It’s not a shrine because I’m married and my wife is a Bay City Roller fan,” he said. “She’s now collecting Bay City Rollers stuff!”
And the final question which has to be asked – what is Nigel’s favourite Beatles song?
“Strawberry Fields Forever. It is a song that changed the recording industry so much. It is full of tricks and effects, yet it is such a simple message about looking back. A superb song!”
Inside Number Three, the illustrated history of Apple Records, by Nigel Pearce, will be published by Gonzo Multimedia in late November and available from www.insideandoutsideno3.com