Former Beatles Fan Club secretary Freda Kelly said in an exclusive interview with Steve Marinucci Tuesday that news of the death of Beatles PR man Tony Barrow, which was announced May 15, was very sad because he had worked closely with her. “I go way way back,” she said. “I was Eppy’s secretary just helping out the fan club. The next minute it was like ‘Take over the fan club.’ And Tony gave me a lot of help. I always kept in contact with him over the years.”
Barrow had been in ill health, she said. “He’d been in the hospital quite some time. I spoke to Corrine (his wife) on his birthday, the 11th of May.” His wife had a cake and a bottle of champagne for him and his two sons visited. “She said he was really pleased with his cards.” She said he went into the hospital on Friday and passed away on Saturday.
He came out of retirement to appear in “Good Ol’ Freda,” the documentary film about her and actually had an instrumental role in the project getting started, she said. “It was (Tony) who told me to go to America after (author) Larry Kane came over and spoke to me. I wanted to still double check. I was still a bit nervous (about) which way people would react to me because I wasn’t a wife or a girlfriend or anything. And in the end, Tony said, ‘Oh, for God’s sakes, Freda, it’s a free trip to America. Just go. It’ll be great.’ I kept in contact with him over the years since the DVD bringing him up to date where I was.
“I didn’t think he would do it,” she said about his appearance in the film, “but he did. I didn’t know what he’d said until I saw it. That was really nice of him. But at least we’ve got him in my film so people can see how nice he was.”
The Beatles also put out a statement on Twitter Monday saying “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Tony Barrow, who passed away at the weekend.” The Beatles’ Apple Corps also added, “Tony was the Beatles’ first press officer and he played an invaluable role in their early career. At a time when the band had a schedule of uninterrupted touring and countless appearances, Tony managed the ceaseless press activity. He also fulfilled a multitude of other jobs, from writing album sleeve notes to editing the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ strip cartoon book. With love from all at Apple.”