Paul McCartney reunites with stolen guitar that “sparked Beatlemania” 50 years later

(CNN) — Paul McCartney's famous lost guitar has been reunited with its owner more than 50 years after it was stolen.

McCartney played the legendary Hafner bass during the recording of The Beatles' first two albums, including such legendary hits as “Twist and Shout” and “Love Me Too”, and later used it as a backup bass for the rest of his career. band.

He continued to play it after the Beatles split until it was stolen from the back of a van in London's Notting Hill in 1972.

Missing up to the guitar Lost Pass ProjectHöfner, led by executive Nick Wass and investigative journalists Scott and Naomi Jones, investigated more than 100 leads and tracked him down in Hastings, a town on the south coast of England.

“Following Bass wasn't just for Paul McCartney, it was for all fans,” Vaz told CNN on Friday. “We could all see this (…) bass that unleashed Beatlemania.”

Their search was widely publicized, and those responsible described the guitar's unique features, prompting the family who owned it to ask, “Is this it?' to display in their living room with pictures of Bass,” Scott Jones told CNN on Thursday.

McCartney is “incredibly grateful to everyone involved” and has verified that it's the same guitar he played so often in the '60s, according to a statement on his website.

He first started the Lost Boss project in 2018 after a conversation with McCartney, he told CNN on Friday, but it wasn't until Scott and Naomi Jones joined the search after seeing McCartney perform at Glastonbury that “useful clues started coming in.”

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Following a media appeal, in October 2023, the group received a tip from two McCartney sound engineers who stopped a van in the Ladbroke Grove area of ​​Notting Hill while the ex-Beatle was recording an album nearby alongside his new album. Band, Wings.

This allowed them to pinpoint exactly when and where the guitar was stolen, disproving earlier rumors that the guitar had gone missing in 1969, just before the Beatles' last rooftop concert.

An initially neglected track that allowed Paul McCartney's bass to recover

The location matched an email Vass received earlier that year, which he initially “ignored” because it “didn't make a lot of sense,” he said.

Vaz asked for more information and said the sender of the email said his father had stolen the pass and taken it to Ronald Guest, owner of the nearby Admiral Blake pub.

Meanwhile, Naomi Jones checked those addresses and dug into the archives to make sure the story held up.

“The evidence on the side of the road is that the thief had no idea what he stole that night,” Scott Jones said. “I think to him it was just a guitar, and then he found out it was Paul McCartney's guitar.”

The thief told the guest to “effectively hide the guitar,” Jones continued, and the group turned their attention to the bar and “began looking for records of births, marriages and deaths” and “tracked down where the guest was in the family.” .

Even if the guitar is slightly damaged and will need some repairs before it can be played again, experts can restore it, according to the Last Boss project.

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“This guitar is priceless,” Vaz said. “In a way it's worth nothing but to Paul McCartney and all the Beatles fans in the world. It's priceless.”

Gillian Patton

"Tv aficionado. Lifelong communicator. Travel ninja. Hardcore web buff. Typical music geek."

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