Tony Bramwell’s obituary

Tony Bramwell’s obituary

Tony Bramwell depicted in Knole Parks, Sevenoaks at the filming of the “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” promos. Along with Mal Evans, Tony appeared as one of the waiters at the picnic in the latter of those films.

We have been waiting for Mark Lewisohn to pay tribute to Tony and celebrate his association with the Beatles, not to mention say a little about what involvement Tony had with the Beatles, Epstein and Apple. But Mark has kept quiet until The Times featured an obituary with some quite extraordinary “tales” about Tony, without doing much, if any, research into the truth.

Although no one is questioning Tony’s presence in the inner circle around the fab four from Liverpool till the end, Tony had a knack of embellishing his adventures and even putting himself into the history on occasions where he clearly wasn’t there. The obituary in the Times seems to have taken these tales as gospel.

In response to the Times of London’s obituary for Tony Bramwell, which bought into some of the late Beatles associate’s more fanciful claims about his involvement with the band, historian-biographer Mark Lewisohn sent the following letter to the paper (which it did not publish):

Further to your obituary of Tony Bramwell, I’m writing on behalf of those who can’t or won’t speak for themselves.

– If Tony organised the Beatles’ Apple rooftop event, what did Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Glyn Johns and Mal Evans do?
– If Tony was the Beatles’ roadie in the Cavern, what did Neil Aspinall do?
– If Tony’s mother knitted the Beatles’ long black scarves, what did Astrid Kirchherr do?
– If Tony was put in charge of Brian Epstein’s film company, what did Vyvienne Moynihan do?
– If Tony directed the Beatles’ promos 1965–67, what did Joe McGrath, Michael Lindsay-Hogg and Peter Goldmann do?
– If Tony ran Brian Epstein’s Sunday concerts at Saville Theatre, what did Vicki Wickham do?
– If Tony formed a company and persuaded Harry Saltzman to commission Paul McCartney to write the Live and Let Die theme, what did Ron Kass do?

Tony wasn’t at Woolton fete when John met Paul, he wasn’t on the bus when they auditioned George, he had nothing to do with Brian Epstein first seeing the Beatles, and so on – and on.

I knew Tony for 37 years and we enjoyed some laughs, especially over his Walter Mitty fantasies, which grew more wild and unlikely with every telling. Some people have the need to make stuff up, and while The Times is embedding it into history, I’m battling to ensure that history is told right. I liked Tony and will remember him fondly. He had his place and played his part, but his obituaries are awash with nonsense.

Mark Lewisohn
Historian; author of The Beatles: All These Years

To be fair, as per my own conversations with Tony, and his appearances at the Beatles festivals here in Norway, Tony never said that he directed the Beatles’ promotional films, but that he produced them. Different job.


Tony Bramwell’s obituary in The Times (paywall)


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