Tony Meehan (Daniel Joseph Anthony)

Tony Meehan

Tony Meehan was born to Irish parents at New End Hospital, New End, Hampstead, North London, England. He was 10 when he became interested in playing drums. By 13, he had his first job with a band playing in a dance hall at Willesden, London. He also played timpani with the London Youth Orchestra. When he was 15, Meehan was set on becoming a lawyer but he was offered a job at £25 per week in a touring show. He was given six months’ holiday. The tour never materialised but he did not go back to school. Unlike other members of the Shadows he was never short of work, playing cabaret at Churchill’s and the Stork Club. He also played with Jet Harris in “The Vipers”. Tony Meehan left the Shadows in October 1961 to work as an arranger/producer and session drummer for Joe Meek (John Leyton, Michael Cox: “Young Only Once”, Andy Cavell) and from early 1962 at Decca Records. He teamed again with Harris (who had also left the Shadows and moved to Decca) and as a duo had success with the instrumental “Diamonds” which also included Jimmy Page on acoustic rhythm guitar. “Diamonds” was a number one hit in the UK. Harris and Meehan had two further hit singles together – “Scarlett O’Hara” and “Applejack”. On 1 January 1962, The Beatles were auditioned at Decca by Meehan, performing a selection of covers they had performed in various clubs over the years, interspersed with three Lennon–McCartney originals. The Beatles later found out that their manager Brian Epstein had paid Meehan to produce the recordings made that day in order for The Beatles to retain ownership of the tapes. Decca rejected the Beatles choosing The Tremeloes, who auditioned the same day as The Beatles. After talks with Epstein, Decca did arrange for Tony Meehan to produce the Beatles at Decca if the Beatles manager agreed to cover the expenses of about £100. On 7 February 1962 Brian Epstein met Meehan. Meehan expressed condescending comments about the Beatles’ audition with the meeting not going very well and Epstein not impressed with Meehan. Brian Epstein rejected the Decca offer.

Tony Meehan briefly played with The Shadows some years later when Brian Bennett was in hospital. At one point, John Rostill was in hospital at the same time, and The Shadows were playing live with Brian Locking on bass and Meehan on drums. Meehan quit the music industry in the 1990s for a major career change as a psychologist, as a result of a lifelong hobby/interest. He worked in London at a local college lecturing in psychology until his death. He was a regular churchgoer at his local Roman Catholic church in Maida Vale. On 29 November 2005, BBC News quoted Bruce Welch as saying that Meehan had died the previous day, as a result of head injuries, following a fall down the main staircase at his London flat in Maida Vale. Meehan died at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London.

Born

  • March, 02, 1943
  • United Kingdom
  • New End, Hampstead, North London

Died

  • November, 28, 2005
  • United Kingdom
  • Paddington, London

Cause of Death

  • accidental fall

Cemetery

  • Carlingford Cemetery
  • Carlingford, Ireland

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