Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr attend Eric Clapton’s wedding

Saturday, May 19, 1979

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From Nights with Alice Cooper, May 19, 2022:

It was 43 years ago today (May 19th, 1979) that a select group of party-goers witnessed the closest thing to a live Beatles reunion when Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr reunited to jam at Eric Clapton’s wedding reception at his English estate. The impromptu performance marked the first time the three former-Beatles had played in public together since the group’s final performance on the Apple Rooftop on January 30th, 1969. […]

Although the three former “Fabs” also took part in a makeshift sing-a-long jam at Starr’s wedding in 1981, the Clapton wedding reception marks the only time that the former Beatles made music onstage in a somewhat professional manner. Among the many songs reported to have been performed that day were the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “Get Back.”

Although no photos of the three ex-Beatles on stage have surfaced — Ringo Starr’s son — Who drummer Zak Starkey — blew more than a few minds when he recently posted on his Instagram page a shot of him at 14 onstage playing a Telecaster, Traffic drummer Jim Capaldi, and McCartney playing a flipped over righty Fender precision bass.

Wings co-founder Denny Laine also participated at the jam session at Clapton’s wedding reception and says that it didn’t feel as historic an event as it has been made out to be: “I never think like that, ‘Hey, I’m jamming with (laughs) some of the Beatles.’ I never think like that. Y’know, these were all people I knew. Like Eric, I’d known when he was in the Yardbirds.” […]

From faroutmagazine.co.uk, May 19, 2020:

On this day, 41 years ago and almost ten years following their split, The Beatles would reunite in 1979 at their great friend Eric Clapton’s wedding to Pattie Boyd—the model who was also George Harrison’s ex-wife and the muse for The Beatles song ‘Something’.

Harrison had split from Boyd in 1974 and their divorce had been finalised by 1977 which was largely down to George’s frequent infidelities, Boyd once stating that his affair with Ringo Starr’s then-wife Maureen was the final straw to their marriage. […]

Harrison would take to the stage at the star-studded wedding reception—which included the likes of Mick Jagger and Elton John in attendance—where he performed a boozed-up set and got by with a little help from his friends Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

The trio would blunder their way through renditions of ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, ‘Get Back’ and ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy‘. The set would later be described by Denny Laine from Wings as being “absolute rubbish” which should in no way deflect from it being an important moment in the history of The Beatles as they shared the stage once again.

John Lennon was not performing with them that night for unknown reasons which, it has to be said, may well just be down to him being based in America and was unable to come back for the wedding. Unfortunately, it meant it would just be The Threetles who performed at the wedding but it was still a landmark event nonetheless.

From The Threetles and Lonnie – The Daily Beatle (webgrafikk.com) – Paul McCartney, Lonnie Donegan, George Harrison & Ringo Starr at Eric Clapton’s wedding party – May 19th, 1979. This photo was taken by Linda McCartney. Unfortunately, there was a fault with the camera and another image is exposed on top.

Last updated on September 2, 2022

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