Sunday, February 06, 2005


We'll be forgotten. Such is our fate and we can't do anything about it.
Anton Chekhov (1860 - 1904), playwright and short-story writer

I felt a pang of sympathy for Eric Griffiths when I read his obituary this morning. The man was plagued with bad timing. Griffiths was a member of the Quarrymen that evolved into the Beatles. Griffiths left the band in 1958 and joined the merchant navy, just as George Harrison signed on. Griffiths had joined the band for fun at Lennon's request, and had never had a great talent for the guitar. When George Harrison became a regular in the group, Griffiths was asked -as the weakest in a surfeit of guitarists -to switch to electric bass. He could not afford one and decided to call it a day.

I imagined that he must have kicked himself thought his life that just ended at the relatively young age of 64. According to the obits, Griffiths worked in Britain’s prison system before retiring in the early 1990s to run a dry-cleaning business. His death came just two weeks after the release of the first major label album under the Quarrymen name. In 1997, Griffiths organized the surviving original members to play a benefit gig in Liverpool, at the same church where they had first played 40 years earlier. They went on tour, performing in the U.S., with a gig at The Bottom Line in New York. They enjoyed a brief wave of "Quarrymania" in Japan, where their album, Songs We Remember, was pressed last year.

Griffiths had been suffering from pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his wife and three sons.

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