Did you play cello on a Beatles hit and forget to get paid? You could be ‘worth a fortune’.

Embed from Getty Images

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a long time, and the lockdown has finally provided the time. Perhaps we should call this “Lockdown blogging”?

Malcolm Jack wrote an excellent music article called “Payday for the kids choirs” in edition #1388 of Big Issue, which was the “Bumper Festive Edition” last December. You can read the full article here.

As the title suggests, the article was mainly about children’s choirs which have sung on Christmas hit singles. A fellow called Peter Rowan is a specialist in gaining lost royalties for those who performed on such records. He has had particular success with Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the wall”, for which former pupils of Islington Green School in North London, now in their fifties, are receiving regular cheques for their lusty singing 40 years ago of such famous lines as “Hey, teacher, leave them kids alone”. – All because they happened to be at a school next to the studio where the engineer, Bob Ezrin, had been told by phone: “go get us some kids for this record” by the band, who were stuck in LA for tax reasons.

“I wish it could be Christmas everyday” by Wizzard has proven lucrative for former pupils of Birmingham’s Stockland Green School.

But there was a little comment from Peter Rowan at the end of the article which particularly caught my attention:

 The best thing to be is the only session musician on a record. For example there’s a cello player I couldn’t track down who’s on a Beatles record. And I think he’s worth a fortune, because it was one of their big hits, but I don’t think he ever signed up.

This got me thinking. Which “big hit” by the Beatles is this referring to? “Eleanor Rigby” seemed to be the obvious one, as it has a superb cello piece throughout it, including a solo. But there are two, not one, cello players listed for it – Derek Simpson and Stephen Lansberry.

I have gone through the list of Beatles hits and I can’t find another one which has a prominent cello part. Perhaps you know better? Please leave a comment below if you do.