General"I looked up to Stu, I depended on him to tell me the truth. Stu would tell me if something was good, and I'd believe him." - John Lennon
"He (Stuart) was an outstanding loss to Liverpool and to English painting, and over and above the merit of his pictures he has a special significance as somebody whose burning creativity switched from art into pop music and then back again. He showed the way." - John Willett (Art Critic & Historian)
"Stuart Sutcliffe emerged as an Abstract Expressionist painter just when Abstract Expressionism was in decline.epitomizing all that is best in it.it was this intensity that Sutcliffe captured in his own relentlessly intense art. They throb with new life and fresh emotion." - Donald Kuspit (Professor of Art History & Philosophy, Author, Art Critic and Historian)
"He lived so much in his short time. Every second of his short time, he was doing something. He saw ten times more than other people. His imagination was fantastic. His death was a tragedy. He would have done so much." - Klaus Voorman
- Oct 23, 2006 3:22 PM Profile Songs
Stuart Fergusson Victor Sutcliffe (June 23, 1940 April 10, 1962) was an artist who, until his sudden death, worked in a style related to Abstract Expressionism. He was a member of The Beatles for two years, and is often credited for naming the band (after Buddy Holly's band The Crickets). He is sometimes referred to as "the fifth Beatle". He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and brought up in Huyton, Merseyside. He attended Prescot Grammar School, and was himself a schoolteacher's son.
While Sutcliffe was a gifted painter who showed great promise, and had personal charisma and looks comparable with James Dean's, his musical skills were not remarkable. Sutcliffe became a Beatle mostly because of his friendship with John Lennon, whom he met while studying at the Liverpool College of Art. Lennon convinced him to buy a bass guitar (choosing a Hofner President) with the money he had made from the sale of one of his paintings. He was very uncomfortable on stage and usually played with his back to the audience. His musical style was elementary, mostly sticking to root notes of chords. (An example of Sutcliffe's bass playing with the early Beatles is the track "Cayenne", on the Anthology 1 album.
Regarding Sutcliffe's musical talent, it should be noted that Bill Harry, founder and editor of the Mersey Beat newspaper, contended in a recent interview that Sutcliffe was a competent, if not brilliant, bassist, and that accounts of his musical ineptitude were exaggerated. Pete Best has expressed similar views.  Nevertheless, Sutcliffe's importance to the group came from his artistic rather than musical talent. He was the first in the group to have a "mop top" haircut, and his sense of style, influenced by his (and later John Lennon's) lover Astrid Kirchherr, contributed to the Beatles' early "look."
He left the Beatles to pursue his career as an artist before they achieved their success, and Paul McCartney, previously second lead guitarist in the group, replaced Sutcliffe on bass. Months afterwards, in the spring of 1962, Sutcliffe died from a cerebral hemorrhage. It has been claimed that this was the result of a beating sustained in Liverpool while still a member of the group, but it is more likely to have been a hereditary condition. Lennon later said that he was profoundly affected by his friend's death.
Stuart's sister, Pauline Sutcliffe, has always claimed John Lennon was the cause of Stuart's death, based on a fight they had had in Hamburg earlier. According to her account, Lennon had repeatedly kicked Stuart in the head, who never recovered from the injuries. (Her claims are echoed in Albert Goldman's book The Lives of John Lennon.) However, this appears to be unsupported. Astrid Kirchherr denies that any such incident occurred, no action was ever taken against Lennon, and when he asked Sutcliffe's mother for Stuart's old scarf he'd worn at art school, it was given to him as a memento.
As an artist, Sutcliffe displayed considerable talent from an early age. His few surviving works show the influence of the British and European abstract artists contemporary with the Abstract Expressionist movement in the United States. His more figurative work is reminiscent of the kitchen sink school, particularly John Bratby. His later gestural abstractions were influenced by his art tutor in Hamburg, Eduardo Paolozzi. They also bear comparison with the work of John Hoyland and Nicholas de Stael, though they are more lyrical.
Sutcliffe's role in the Beatles' early career, as well as the factors that led him to leave the group, is dramatised in the movie Backbeat, in which he was portrayed by Stephen Dorff. He was also portrayed by David Wilkinson in the film Birth of the Beatles.
1943 - Family moves to Liverpool, England
1946-1950 - Park View Primary School, Huyton
1950-1956 - Prescot Grammar School
1956 - Enters Liverpool Regional College of Art (16 years of age)
1957 - Meets fellow art student, John Lennon
1959 - Painting selected for John Moores Exhibition at the prestigious Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool - painting subsequently bought by John Moores. Joins John Lennon's Rock-n-Roll group, then known as Johnney and the Moon Dogs, as bass guitarist
1960 - Tours Scotland with the group, renamed the Silver Beatles, as accompanists to Johnny Gentle. Leaves Liverpool Regional College of Art . Travels with the Beatles to Hamburg where they work from August to late November, during which time he becomes engaged to photographer Astrid Kirchherr.
1961 - During the Beatles second visit to Hamburg, he enrolls at the cities Staetiche Hoehschule fur bildende Kunste (State School of Art) and leaves the Beatles
1961-1962 - Studies in Eduardo Paolozzi's Master Class.
1962 - Dies in Hamburg the 10th day of April, 1962 at 21 years of age.
Who I'd like to meet:
- Status: In a Relationship
- Hometown: Liverpool
- Orientation: Straight
- Body type: Slim / Slender
- Ethnicity: White / Caucasian
- Zodiac Sign: Cancer
- Smoke / Drink: Yes / Yes