ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT

Paul McCartney reunited with stolen guitar ‘that kicked off Beatlemania’ after 50 years

Feb 17, 2024, 8:00 AM

paul mccartney plays guitar with the beatles...

The Beatles (from left to right), Paul McCartney (playing the stolen bass), George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon perform during a concert on July 29, 1965. (Central Press/AFP/Getty Images)

(Central Press/AFP/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Paul McCartney’s legendary lost guitar will gently weep no more as it was reunited with its owner more than 50 years after it was stolen.

McCartney played the distinctive Höfner bass guitar when recording The Beatles’ first two albums, including legendary hits such as “Twist and Shout” and “Love Me Do,” before using it as a backup bass for the rest of his time with the band.

He continued to play it once The Beatles had split up but it was stolen in 1972 from the back of a van in Notting Hill, London.

It subsequently disappeared until the Lost Bass Project, run by Höfner executive Nick Wass and investigative journalists Scott and Naomi Jones, sifted through more than 100 leads to track down the lost guitar in Hastings, a town on the English south coast.

“The search for the bass wasn’t just for Paul McCartney, it was for all the fans,” Wass told CNN on Friday. “It was so we could all see this … bass that kicked off Beatlemania.”

Their search was widely publicized, and they detailed the guitar’s distinguishing features, prompting the family who had the guitar to “come forward with photographs of the bass in their loft saying: ‘Is this it?’” Scott Jones told CNN on Thursday.

McCartney is “incredibly grateful to all those involved” in returning the bass to him and verified that it is the same guitar he played so often in the 1960s, according to a statement on his website.

Wass first launched the Lost Bass Project in 2018 after a conversation with McCartney himself, he told CNN on Friday, but it wasn’t until Scott and Naomi Jones joined the search after watching McCartney perform at Glastonbury that the “useful leads starting coming in.”

After issuing an appeal in the media, the crucial breakthrough came in October 2023, when the team received a tip from two of McCartney’s sound engineers who had parked the van in the Ladbroke Grove area of Notting Hill, as the former Beatle was recording an album nearby with his new band Wings.

It allowed them to discover precisely when and where the guitar had been stolen, dispelling earlier rumors that it had disappeared in 1969 just before the Beatles’ final rooftop concert.

The location also matched up with an email that Wass had received earlier that year, which he had initially “disregarded” because it “didn’t really make sense,” he said.

Wass added that he then asked for more information and the email sender said that his father had stolen the bass and taken it to Ronald Guest, landlord of the Admiral Blake pub nearby.

Meanwhile, Naomi Jones trawled through archives to verify those addresses and confirm that the story held up.

“The evidence along the way would suggest that the thief didn’t know what he was stealing that night,” Scott Jones said. “I think to him it was just a guitar and he later found out that it was Paul McCartney’s guitar.”

The thief asked Guest to “effectively hide the guitar for him,” Jones continued, and the team turned their attention to the pub, “starting to look through births, marriages and death records” and tracing “where the bass was going within the Guest family.”

Although the guitar is slightly damaged and will need some repairs before being played again, professionals will be able to restore it, the Lost Bass Project said.

“This guitar is invaluable,” Wass said. “In a sense it has no value except to Paul McCartney and to every Beatles fan in the world … it’s priceless.”

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Arts + Entertainment

A TikTok content creator, sits outside the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, April 23, 2024....

HALELUYA HADERO AP Business Writer

Senate passes bill forcing TikTok parent company to sell or face ban, sends to Biden for signature

The Senate passed legislation that would force the parent company of TikTok to sell the social media platform under the threat of a ban.

12 hours ago

The Chicago Bears logo is pictured on a flag prior to an NFL football game...

Associated Press

Chicago Bears schedule a Wednesday announcement on new stadium near lakefront

The team said last month it was prepared to provide more than $2 billion in funding toward a publicly owned stadium in the city.

1 day ago

The second episode of The Letter's second season, "Ripple Effect," details the second man killed in...

Amy Donaldson

Sense of dread precedes second 1982 Millcreek Canyon murder

The second episode of The Letter's second season, "Ripple Effect," details the second man killed in a double murder outside a Millcreek Canyon restaurant in 1982. 

1 day ago

Actor Rainn Wilson arrives at the Cinema for Peace benefit for the J/P Haitian Relief Organization ...

Emma Keddington

Rainn Wilson will speak at Weber State graduation, how much did it cost the school?

The choice to bring in Rainn Wilson doubles as advertising both for students and the school, according to Weber State.

2 days ago

Victoria Beckham’s birthday party on Saturday got a little spicy, as the fashion designer celebra...

Alli Rosenbloom, CNN

Victoria Beckham reunites with the Spice Girls for iconic singalong at 50th birthday party

Victoria Beckham’s birthday party on Saturday got a little spicy, as the fashion designer celebrated with her former Spice Girls bandmates.

2 days ago

The Springville Museum of Art is celebrating its 100th annual Spring Salon with a new exhibit highl...

Cassidy Wixom

‘The little museum that could’: Springville Museum of Art celebrates 100th salon

The Springville Museum of Art is celebrating its 100th annual Spring Salon with a new exhibit highlighting the city's history of art.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Paul McCartney reunited with stolen guitar ‘that kicked off Beatlemania’ after 50 years