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The Ray Connolly Collection
Ray Connolly, who is one of Britain's most distinguished authors, scriptwriters and journalists, has always had strong personal and professional links with the Beatles. During the 1960s, his role as one of the country's leading writers about pop and entertainment often brought him into contact with the group. He met and interviewed them, together and separately, on many occasions, and was invited by Paul McCartney to attend several Beatles recording sessions at Abbey Road.
He became particularly close to John Lennon in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Indeed, when John decided to quit the Beatles in 1969, Ray was one of a handful of people whom he told in strict confidence. During this period John also asked Ray to act as a messenger to Paul McCartney, carrying a letter that he didn't want their respective lawyers to see. Ray met John again during the Imagine sessions in 1971, which was when Lennon gave him a set of typed and handwritten lyrics for the songs on the album.
Ray was scheduled to fly to New York to interview John and Yoko on the morning of December 9, 1980; but at 4.30am he received a phone-call from a friend, informing him that John had been shot. He subsequently wrote one of the first biographies of his friend, John Lennon 1940-1980. Since then, he has continued to write regularly about John and the Beatles for a variety of newspapers. In addition, he used the traumatic experiences of December 1980 as the basis of a radio play, Unimaginable, which was broadcast by the BBC in 2005.
Another major Beatles connection in Ray's career resulted when he was asked to write the script for the movie That'll Be The Day, starring David Essex. To obtain background material for the script, he spoke to Ringo Starr about his experiences working at Butlin's before he joined the Beatles. Ringo's memories were so rich that Ray and director David Puttnam decided that Ringo should be given a leading role in the film. Ray also wrote the script for the sequel to that film, the equally popular Stardust.
Ray's long and eclectic career has also involved writing the scripts for two successful TV series, Lytton's Diary and Perfect Scoundrels (both starring Peter Bowles); a series of novels, the most recent of which, Love Out Of Season, was published in 2008; other scripts for radio, TV and film, including a collaboration with Beatles producer Sir George Martin (The Rhythm Of Life) and a memorable documentary about James Dean; and more than four decades of journalism for leading newspapers and magazines, on a wide variety of subjects.
DOGGETT, Peter The Art & Music of John Lennon, London: Omnibus Press, 2005, p.205
DU NOYER, Paul We All Shine On - The Stories Behind Every John Lennon Song 1970-1980, London:Carlton Books, 1997, p.41
COLEMAN, Ray Op. cit 1994, p.482
LENNON, John Op. cit 1980