Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Neil Aspinall died earlier this year, but whatever happened to his old running mate Mal Evans? Aspinall and Evans were roadies and gofers for the Beatles in the early days, and Evans showed up on organ in "You Won't See Me" and anvil on "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" and, most famously, on alarm clock for "A Day in the Life."
Aspinall became the head of Apple after the Beatles broke up, but Evans was more or less left adrift. He claimed to have had a hand in writing a few of the Beatles songs, which would have earned him fabulous royalties, but of course Lennon-McCartney didn't need a third wheel in the credits. (Evans supposedly wrote some if not all of the lyrics for "Fixing a Hole," and apparently really did help suggest the title for Sgt. Pepper by asking Paul what the S & P on those little pots stood for.)
When Lennon went out to Los Angeles for his Lost Weekend in the early '70s, Evans went too. Stuck without much to do, he flailed around a bit, getting himself intoxicated. Finally, in 1976, Evans was living in an apartment in L.A. and fighting with his girlfriend when he pulled out an air rifle. Cops were called, and when they saw Mal waving a gun around, they opened fire. Mal was dead at forty.
Evans was cremated and his ashes were sent home to England for disposal. Somewhere along the way, they got lost in the mail. I am not making that up. John Lennon suggested they look for them in the dead letter office.