Paul McCartney, friends react to passing of Beatles’ PR man Tony Barrow

The Beatles' Paul McCartney and several friends issued statements May 15 on the passing of former Beatles public relations man Tony Barrow. In his statement sent Sunday to Beatles Examiner by his press office and later posted on Twitter…

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The Beatles’, Paul McCartney and several friends issued statements May 15 on the passing of former Beatles public relations man Tony Barrow. In his statement sent Sunday to Beatles Examiner by his press office and later posted on Twitter, McCartney recalled that Barrow had been with the group in their early days. “Tony Barrow was a lovely guy who helped us in the early years of The Beatles. He was super professional but always ready for a laugh. He will be missed but remembered by many of us,” McCartney said.

Also issuing a statement was former Beatles Fan Club secretary Freda Kelly. Although retired, Barrow agreed to appear in the documentary film “Good Ol’ Freda” about Kelly to talk about her work. “I was shocked and saddened to hear that Tony Barrow passed away,” Kelly said. “I have so many good memories of Tony from the very early days of The Beatles when he was their first Press Officer. We worked together closely in their office especially on The Beatles Fan Club and I have such fond memories of all the premieres and parties. We stayed in touch over the years and I will always be grateful to him for coming out of retirement to appear in Good Ol’ Freda. His stories and background knowledge added so much to the film. Sending my deepest sympathy to Tony’s wife Corinne, his two sons and their families.”

Angie McCartney, who was married to Paul McCartney’s father Jim from 1964 until his death in 1976, told Beatles Examiner Sunday, “I am sad that Tony Barrow has left us, but I know he had suffered from poor health for some time now, and we are left with many happy memories of a dear, dear friend, whose Christmas cards to Ruth and I were always signed: ‘Cheers! Tony and Corinne.’ That is why I so often sign my letters, blogs and emails that way too. I wrote him a letter only a couple of weeks ago – I hope he read it. And I’m glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of ‘Good Ol’ Freda,’ along with Tony. It is heart warming to know that I can watch that over again and see him and hear his voice.

“We used to exchange emails and send one another funny messages and bits of news. His good old fashioned British work ethic was something to be admired, and his discretion and loyalty couldn’t be faulted. Corinne and the boys have much to be proud of, and his family can always know that he was a part of musical history. Those early days that Freda speaks of are something that will live on. Relish your friends and keep their memories alive.”

Angie’s daughter, Ruth, also issued a statement about Barrow. “I have been ruminating all day about dear Tony Barrow. As a child, I was always impressed by his ability to juggle all these famous people, phone calls, travel and yet still always remember to send us those gorgeous, glittery, oversized Christmas cards to Rembrandt with his ‘Cheers! Tony’ signature. I must admit that I stole that greeting and still use ‘Cheers, Ruth’ today on my emails.

“He also had an incredibly memorable speaking voice – once heard, never forgotten – if you’ve seen the film ‘Good Ol’ Freda,’ you’ll know what I am talking about. But growing up, I for one was singularly unimpressed his relationship with The Beatles (or The Fab Four as he dubbed them), I was however, head over heels when I found out that my ‘Uncle Tony’ was, in 1972, representing none other than (drum roll) Keith Partridge aka David Cassidy.

“Tony arranged for tickets and backstage passes for me, Mum Angie and cousin Liz Harris to attend the Old Trafford Cassidy Concert and when I heard of the drama at Old Trafford today it tied the red thread of the universe together for me. It was Tony who got me in. And now, on the exact same day 40 plus years later, I am hearing about Old Trafford and Tony Barrow again at the same time. Alas, I was not to meet Cassidy that night, and wouldn’t until one fateful day in 1983 in a Beverly Hills, CA elevator at Neiman Marcus, where, instead of pulling out the old ‘McCartney’ card, I said to David, ‘Your former press officer is kinda like my childhood uncle…do you remember Tony Barrow?’ That opened the conversation and a long, multi-year friendship with David so thank you Tony. I send all my love to Corrine and the boys knowing they can be proud forever of their husband and Dad and the place he holds in the history and hearts of the global extended Beatle Family.” And journalist Ray Connolly told Beatles Examiner, “Tony was a great help to me. More than he knew.”

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