Paul McCartney Reunited with Stolen Bass Guitar After 50 Years of Searching


The electric bass guitar used by Paul McCartney in the early days of The Beatles has been missing for decades. No one knew where this instrument, stolen years earlier, had gone, but McCartney had always dreamed of being reunited with it. After a five-year search, the bass was finally recovered, and the instrument is valued at $12.6 million.

bass disappears

Paul McCartney of The Beatles with his Hofner bass, circa 1965. (Photo credit: Express/Express/Getty Images)
In 1961, McCartney purchased a violin-shaped electric bass made by Hoffner for approximately $37. During this time, The Beatles were slowly gaining popularity as a band, while residing in Hamburg, Germany. McCartney loved the bass and played it on a series of Beatles songs, including "She Loves You" and "All My Loving".

McCartney once said, "Since I was left-handed, it looked less awkward because it was symmetrical." “I got involved in that. And once I bought it, I fell in love with it.” However, the bass was stolen, rumored to have been taken around 1969 when the band was recording their final album, Let It Be, and has now been missing for 50 years. McCartney never forgot about the bass and even asked Hofner executive Nick Wass to help him track it.

"Paul said to me, 'Hey, since you're from Hofner, can't you help me find my bass?'" Wass said. “And that gave birth to this great hunt. Sitting there, seeing what the lost bass meant to Paul, I became determined to solve the mystery.

New clues help find Bass

Paul McCartney performs in concert at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on August 7, 2016. (Photo credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
Journalist Scott Jones was shocked when he first learned of the missing bass, encouraging him and his wife to team up with Vass to locate the stolen bass. “I was stunned, I was stunned,” Jones said. "I think we live in a world where the Beatles could do almost anything and it would get a lot of attention." So, the team launched The Lost Bass Project.

Within 48 hours, the project was deluged with approximately 600 emails, some of which contained "little gems that got us to where we are today," Jones explained. The first clue to finding the bass came from sound engineer Ian Horn, who had worked with McCartney's band Wings. He reported that his bass was stolen from his van in 1972, and despite McCartney assuring him not to worry about the theft, he said he "carried the guilt all my life."

The next clue came from someone saying that it was his father who stole the bass in the old days. The unnamed man explained that his father did not know he had stolen the violin-shaped guitar, and was horrified when he found out what he had done. The accidental thief sold it to Ron Guest, landlord of the Admiral Blake pub. The Lost Bass Project did not even need to reach out to the Guest family, as news of their discovery had already reached Kathy Guest, and she contacted McCartney's studio as a next step in finding the bass.

Ultimately reunited with McCartney
My friends and family inherited this item which has been returned to Paul McCartney. Share the news.

Kathy explained that an old bass that had been stored in her attic for years sounded exactly like what they were looking for. It was a Guest family heirloom, passed down from Ron to his eldest son, who died in a car accident. It was then passed to his younger son, who was married to Kathy and died in 2020. Thanks to Cathy, the bass was returned to McCartney in December 2023, and after two months of trying to authenticate it, it has been confirmed to be McCartney's original Hoffner electric bass guitar.

Cathy's son, Ruaidhrí, broke the news on Twitter before the project began, posting a post that read, “I inherited this item that has been returned to Paul McCartney. Share the news.” The reason it stayed in the guest family was that bass guitars had no value in the last half century. "The thief couldn't sell it," Jones explained. “Apparently, the Guest family never tried to sell it. It's a red alert because as soon as you come over, someone will say, 'That's Paul McCartney's guitar.'"

Read more: Dolly Parton reunites The Beatles for rendition of 'Let It Be'

It's a good thing they didn't because it would have taken a lot of time to find it. Now, the bass guitar has returned to its rightful owner. McCartney's official website released a statement saying, "Paul is incredibly grateful to everyone involved."

Across the vast expanse of humanity, each person possesses unique markers of identity, from the color of their skin to the texture of their hair and especially their height. While traveling around the world, one cannot help but notice the range of heights, with the global average being around 5 feet 9 inches. Yet, it is those who are on the fringes of this distribution who often capture our collective imagination, particularly the veterans of Kashmir.

Professor Rickleton with two stalwarts of India at the Delhi Durbar of 1903. (Photo credit: Unknown author/Wikimedia Commons/Public domain)

Imagine the commotion caused by seeing two persons more than 7 feet tall in a crowd of ordinary height. This was exactly the scene that caught the eye of American teacher and photographer James Rickleton and he not only captured images of these giant figures, but also mesmerized all who laid eyes on them. These were the giants of Kashmir, two brothers whose stature placed them among the rarities of the human condition.

Amidst the glittering parades and grand displays, these two men truly stood out. Twin brothers from Kashmir, serving in the army of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, were taller than the rest, with the taller brother being an astonishing 7 feet 9 inches tall and the other being 7 feet 4 inches tall. His presence was a wonderful sight in itself, attracting curiosity and gaze from every corner of the court. Rickleton's fascination with the Kashmir Giants was evident in the many photographs he took, which displayed incredible differences in proportion. These images, striking in their depiction of the giants' stature next to the average-sized Rickalton, serve as a bridge to bring this extraordinary story back to the Western world.

Delhi Durbar of 1903, a spectacle of royal celebration

One of Rickleton's stereo photographs of a grand procession at the Delhi Durbar in 1903. (Photo credit: James Rickleton/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

At the beginning of the 20th century, the British Empire was set to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII with a ceremony that would etch itself into history: the Delhi Durbar of 1903. Organized by Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, this grand celebration was intended to honor the new king with unmatched splendor despite his absence. The Darbar, a celebration of royal scale, showcased the wealth and grandeur of India, attracting dignitaries and curious spectators from far and wide.

Among the numerous stories that emerged from this historic gathering, one particularly interesting one is that of the veterans of Kashmir. These mythological figures, often spoken of in the context of the rich folklore of Kashmir, found a place in the conversations and curiosities of many who visited the Darbar. The event, with its display of royal power and amalgamation of diverse cultures, provided a unique backdrop to retell the stories of these mythical creatures, and also interweaved the lore of the giants with the historical tapestry of the Indian subcontinent.

Story of veterans of Kashmir in history and today
After two years of planning, the celebrations began on 29 December 1902 with a grand parade of elephants through the streets. Guests included several Indian princes and Maharajas, with the Duke of Connaught representing the British royal family.
The actual darbar was held...

– Eagle Eye Modi's family (@SortedEagle) April 29, 2022

Although James Rickleton has become synonymous with early photographic exploration, he was not the only person to attend the event, as there were many others who came to document the event and the Kashmir Giants. Their story was taken back and spread around the world, making them known as two of India's giants. As far as specific details about his life after this incident are concerned, not much has been recorded as he lives a quiet and private life.

Originally, these two brothers were from Balmokand, a place that was never recorded in any map archives, leading researchers to speculate that the name of the place may have changed sometime during the 20th century. . However, his story remains mesmerizing as, although he was not the tallest human being recorded, his height is still impressive compared to the average person who crosses his path.

Read more: Archaeologists find complete skeleton of a giant panda in 2000-year-old tomb of Chinese emperor

The significance of Rickleton's work, particularly this photograph, goes beyond the scope of historical documentation or artistic expression. It serves as a bridge between the past and present, offering a visual testimony of the legends that have shaped the identity of Kashmir. The story of the giants of Kashmir traveled far beyond India's borders and captured the imaginations around the world. Despite the passage of time and the emergence of taller individuals in history, the legacy of the giants has not diminished. Nestled between the realms of history and myth, his story continues to fascinate and inspire, a testament to the enduring fascination of human diversity and extraordinaryness.

Everyone knows the story of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii which was destroyed after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The entire area was covered with a layer of volcanic material, and as archaeologists excavated the area they continued to find hidden treasures beneath the debris. The latest includes a brightly colored mural that looks like a painting hanging on the wall.

graffiti discovery
Images of Greek mythological characters Phrixus and Helle, a pair of siblings who sought refuge at sea, have been found in the House of Leda in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, destroyed by the infamous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD Was.

— Archeology Magazine (@archaeologymag) March 6, 2024

Vibrant frescoes were discovered in the House of Leda in the Archaeological Park of Pompeii. It was burned under a cover of volcanic material by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD and, considering its age, is quite well preserved. It was revealed by Pompeii Archaeological Park, the government-backed organization that manages the site and its excavations.

It was found that the graffiti had been painted as if it were a framed picture itself, hanging on a bright yellow wall. However, while the piece is in good condition, it is not completely intact. The upper right corner of the painting is missing and there are two large cracks in the middle. Still, the condition of what remains is remarkable.

British archaeologist Dr. Sophie Hay, who works at the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, called the discovery "magical." He said, "Seeing the vibrant colors of the freshly uncovered frescoes in Pompeii is a privilege and a joy that never diminishes." Regarding the frescoes themselves, he said, "Looking at the latest discovery of a mythological scene – Phrixus seated on a ram while his sister Helle was drowning – it is no exception in the context of the room it was decorated."

The same scene of Phrixus and Helle attempting to cross the sea on the back of a magical ram as in the fresco found. (Photo credit: Emmanuel Geel/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain)
The scene depicted in the fresco is a story from Greek mythology. It depicts Phrixus and Helle, two twins, crossing the sea on a ram with the golden fleece while fleeing their stepmother. In the fresco, Phrixus is seen seated on a ram, while Hayley is reaching for her brother after falling from the magical creature.

The myth says that the twins were forced to flee their evil stepmother, Ino, when they discovered that she was trying to kill them. As they are fleeing, they ride a magical ram that is able to fly and swim, but as they attempt to cross the strait, Hayley falls. She reaches out to her brother, but her efforts fail and she ultimately drowns. Phrixus safely reaches a region called Colchis, where he sacrifices the ram to Zeus. Zeus then placed the sacrifice in heaven, creating the constellation.

leda's house

The House of Leda and the Swan was opened to the public following the end of archaeological excavations on November 26, 2019. (Photo credit: Evan Romano/Getty Images)

Although the find itself is a surprise, it is not surprising that it was found in the house of Leda. Excavations at the Leda House date back to the early 18th century and were finally resumed in 2018. The site is known for its intricate wall paintings, so it seems only fitting that this remarkable discovery was found within its walls.

However, Dr. Andrew Sillett, a classics lecturer at the University of Oxford, provided a reminder that not every piece of art in the house depicts scenes as epic as this fresco. "Visitors in the entrance hall are greeted by a large painting of the fertility god Priapus placing his giant [expletive] on a set of scales to see how it measures the fruits of that year's crop. ," he explained. This is a huge difference from the scene with Phrixus and Helle.

Moving forward, experts hope the mural will be safely displayed for public viewing.

The Lindbergh baby kidnapping is a case that has echoed in the annals of American crime history, not only for its shocking nature but also because of the fame of the family involved. In 1932, Charles Lindbergh Jr., the infant son of aviator hero Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh, was kidnapped from their home, sparking a frenzy of media coverage and public sympathy across the country. The event was not simply a high-profile kidnapping, but symbolized a moment when the entire nation came together in hope for the safe return of the Lindbergh child.

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