1962: Original Bassist For The Beatles, Stuart Sutcliffe, Dies At 21

By | April 9, 2020

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George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe, and John Lennon photographed in 1960 by Astrid Kirchherr. © Astrid Kirchherr / Getty Images

Stuart Sutcliffe, bassist for The Beatles before they were famous, quit the band in July 1961 and was dead of a brain hemorrhage less than a year later. Though the term "Fifth Beatle" has been misapplied to various people, it's appropriate for Sutcliffe, as the Beatles were literally a five-piece band while he was with them, with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best rounding out the lineup. These were the "greaser" Beatles, bumming around Hamburg, Germany, in their black leather jackets and jeans, and there was Sutcliffe, with his spiky hair and trademark Ray-Ban sunglasses. Sutcliffe, an art school student, left The Beatles to focus on painting, and might have become an accomplished artist had he lived.

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Source: (Showbiz Cheat Sheet)

Stuart Sutcliffe was born on June 23, 1940, in Edinburgh, Scotland, but raised in Liverpool. His mother, Millie Sutcliffe, was a schoolteacher and his father, Charles Sutcliffe, was a former civil servant, who became a ship engineer. Charles had children from his first marriage and had three children with Millie: Stuart and his two younger sisters: Joyce and Pauline. Because of his work, Charles was often at sea because of his work, but when he was home, he drank heavily and was often cruel to his wife.