John, Paul and Jurgen

I desperately fought the urge to write this letter after David Gritten’s story on “BackBeat” and Stuart Sutcliffe (“John, Paul, George, Ringo . . . and Stu,” April 10). I was doing fairly well until the onslaught of reviews and related stories--including a fashion blurb in View (April 15) --but enough is enough.

Once and for all, Astrid Kirchherr did not create the Beatles’ hairstyle or look. The man more truly responsible was Jurgen Vollmer, a fellow art student. Countless interviews with Paul McCartney and John Lennon attest to the fact that Jurgen cut their hair in his hotel room in Paris in late 1961 and shared his style of dress with them.

One only has to view the pages of Jurgen’s book “Rock ‘n’ Roll Times” (Overlook Press, 1983) or his cover photo of Lennon’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll” to see his involvement.

I had the opportunity to work with Jurgen when I was the boom operator on “Universal Soldier,” as he was that movie’s still photographer. We talked for many weeks about the events depicted in “BackBeat.” Lennon’s introduction from Jurgen’s book sums things up reasonably well:


“Jurgen Vollmer was the first photographer to capture the beauty and the spirit of the Beatles. We tried very hard to find someone with his touch after we returned from Hamburg, Germany . . . nobody could.”


Seal Beach



Dear God, will the revisions of history never stop? Pretty soon we will be informed that Stuart Sutcliffe provided the inspiration for the Kinks.

After all, Stu was given the eye by a transvestite in Hamburg, and they wrote “Lola.” Coincidence? I think not! And what about Billy Preston, the other “fifth Beatle”?

What a minute--my first name is Stuart too. Maybe I influenced the Beatles! Oh, man, I feel a really bad headache coming on.