Accompanying documentation gives the background history to this Rickenbacker and its association with The Beatles and George Peckham. Peckham, famous amongst Beatles aficionados, as Apple's main cutting engineer in the late 1960s and 1970s, began his music career as a guitarist in Liverpool. In 1960 he was in a group called Earl Royce and the Olympics, playing in Merseyside clubs and dance halls, and even sharing the same venues as the Beatles or Silver Beetles as they were then, on occasion. Peckham's link with The Beatles was strengthened in the mid 1960s when he joined Brian Epstein's stable as rhythm guitarist with The Fourmost.
In the late 1960s, Peckham left the Fourmost and joined what in his words was ...the most prestigeous and highly acclaimed cutting team in the world.. at Apple. He maintained his interest as a player during this period however, and in the early 1970s, formed a band called Matchbox with two other Apple employees - Mike O'Donnell and Steve Brendall, and one outsider - Martin Lawrence. George Peckham was working closely with George Harrison in 1971, and went with him to New York to master Harrison's All Things Must Pass album. Harrison apparently took an interest in Peckham's band and on hearing that Peckham didn't have his own guitar for a forthcoming appearance on Top Of The Pops with their single Don't Shut Me Out in April of that year, loaned him his psychedelic Strat that he himself had used in the Magical Mystery Tour film in 1967.
Peckham recalls that when he returned Harrison's Strat to him at Friar Park, his home in Henley ...George said to me, "Do you want a guitar?" He showed me some and said, "This is a great rhythm player", as he showed me a Rickenbacker 425, it had a really great action... According to George Harrison, this guitar was bought by him in America. [We believe in September 1963, when he visited his sister in New York]. Harrison had it sprayed black and mimed with it on Top of the Pops. Unfortunately the BBC photographic archive holds few shots of The Beatles' on this t.v. show, however it seems likely that the appearance Harrison's office refers to, would have been in 1964. The Beatles' debut on Top of the Pops occurred on 19th March, 1964 and they followed this up with three further appearances on the show that year in July, November and December.
Photographic documentation exists of Harrison using this guitar in 1963 however on The Beatles' debut appearance on ITV's Ready, Steady, Go!, 4th October, 1963. (see illustrations). This show was repeated in part on 8th November, 1963, and in full on 31st December, 1963. Mark Lewisohn describes this t.v. show as ...most synonymous in Britain with the so-called "Swinging Sixties". This edition of RSG! was broadcast live, although the artists apparently always mimed. The Beatles performed three songs Twist And Shout, I'll Get You and She Loves You. They were also interviewed by Keith Fordyce, the show's host, and Dusty Springfield. Five days later on the 9th October, 1964, Harrison was again photographed using this Rickenbacker on stage with the Beatles (see enclosed reproduction). This time it was for a radio session of The Ken Dodd Show at the BBC's Paris Studios. The Beatles performed the show's musical interlude She Loves You, which was taped before a studio audience.
Three issues of Beat Monthly from 1963 and 1964, have photographs of this guitar. (see accompanying xeroxes). The December 1963, and November 1964, issues picture Harrison playing this guitar on the Ready, Steady, Go!, 4th October, 1964 session. In the November issue, Harrison refers to this guitar as his first Rickenbacker ...My first Rickenbacker was a six string like John's. But you know how it is, I decided to go one better and got a twelve-string.... The August 1964 issue of Beat Monthly has an article by Kevin Swift entitled John, George and Rickenbacker featuring a photograph of Lennon playing this guitar captioned John with George's other Rickenbacker suggesting that John sometimes used the guitar in this lot. Swift also mentions in the accompanying article that this guitar was Harrison's first Rickenbacker ...The first time that George joined the Rickenbacker club, was when he was visiting his sister, Louise, in the States. He bought himself a small, one pick-up job.. adding that it was however, his second twelve-string Rickenbacker which became his most prominent stage instrument. The Rickenbacker company capitalized on Harrison's and Lennon's preference for playing their guitars during this period. An advertisement in the same issue of Beatles Monthly, August 1964, states Today's Most Sensational Guitar Sound - Rickenbacker - Listen To 'Beatles' John and George...That's The Great Rickenbacker Sound...
George Peckham also explains why this Rickenbacker 425 is currently housed in a case belonging to the group Slade. Apparently in the 1980s, Noddy Holder saw this guitar sitting in a corner and asked Peckham whom it belonged to. On hearing that Peckham had been given this Rickenbacker by George Harrison, ...Noddy said he couldn't bear to see a Beatle's guitar being carried around without a case... and gave him one of his.
It is our belief that this Rickenbacker 425 - Harrison's first Rickenbacker, is also one of the first 1960s guitars to have been owned by George Harrison, and played by both Harrison and John Lennon, to be offered on the market.