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George Wigg

George Wigg

George Wigg, the eldest of six children, was born in Ramsdell on 28th November, 1900. His father, Edward William Wigg, owned a dairy business. Wigg later recalled: "Whatever the reason, my father, easy-going, indolent, disgruntled and lacking ambition, failed at everything to which he turned his hand.... My mother, intelligent, hard-working and enterprising, did all the household chores, delivered the milk, served in the shop, kept the books and tried to inspire my father with the will to work.... My mother's immense vitality and drive - she bore six children at two-yearly intervals and slaved from early morning until late at night creating a home and keeping the business going - deserved success. My father's drinking habits frustrated all her toil and her hopes of saving her marriage."

Wigg won a scholarship when he was twelve to Queen Mary's Grammar School in Basingstoke. "Never did boy go more willingly to school than young Wigg to Queen Mary's Grammar School. Never was boy brought down to earth with a more sickening thud. The Headmaster was a clergyman. Nowadays he would be called a snob, but the epithet would be unfair and inadequate. He described me and other scholarship students at the school as 'boys for whose education your (the other boys') parents are paying'. He was a drinker who used the cane to cover up his own weaknesses of character. He blamed scholarship boys for every misdemeanour and belted them - and especially me - mercilessly. I handed the beltings on; my victims told their parents; the parents told the Head; and he belted me in what became a never ending process. I hated him and I hated the school, but I got quite a lot out of it. I acquired a smattering of languages and science, subjects not taught at Fairfields Council School. I shone in geography and history... I was wounded by the continual reference to the fact that my mother took in lodgers and that my books and fees were paid for by the parents of other boys."

The failure of his father's business meant that Wigg had to leave school at fourteen. He found a job at a timber merchants. He came under the influence of his foreman, Billy Drew, a Christian Socialist. "He was one of God's good men. While I worked under his guidance he instructed me in the principles of Socialism and explained the social value of the Co-operative and Trade Union Movements... I began to attend meetings under the Reformers' Tree, a hornbeam once standing beyond the last lamp in Brook Street, and a traditional place of assembly for dissenters, radicals and preachers of new and unpopular creeds."

A few weeks before his seventeenth birthday, Wigg joined the 9th Battalion Hampshire Regiment at Hadiscoe. He was too young to fight in the First World War but on 3rd September, 1919, he was transferred to the Tank Corps. He was not too happy about being sent to break a railway strike: "I sympathized with the railwaymen's protest against wage reductions proposed by the Coalition Government. I did not share the official view that the strike was an anarchist conspiracy. I did not want to be associated with any Government-sponsored strike-breakers disguised as volunters for the job."

In 1920 Wigg was promoted to the rank of corporal and transferred to Aldershot. "I enjoyed the new life in Aldershot. The pay rise enabled me to increase the allotment to my mother and went a long way towards justifying my choice of career. Having gained a Second Class Certificate of Education while at Bovington, I was now studying for my First and, in addition, I joined English, history and science evening classes held at Aldershot Grammar School... Then came a dramatic change, promising the thrill of travel and thrusting me into the centre of world politics. I was posted to the British Forces of Occupation in Turkey." Wigg also served in Iraq, Palestine and Egypt.

Wigg continued his education by reading widely. Wigg thought that Old Soldiers Never Die by Frank Richards was the best book he had read on the First World War. He also impressed by Memoirs of an Unconventional Soldier by General John Fuller. Wigg also read a great deal about politics. This included books by George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, J. A. Hobson, G. D. H. Cole, Charles Kingsley, A. E. Housman, R. Tawney (The Acquisitive Society), Henry Noel Brailsford (The War of Steel and Gold: A Study of Armed Peace), Robert Cunninghame-Graham (How Capitalism Came to the Village) and Mark Rutherford (The Revolution in Tanner's Lane). Wigg later recalled that people everywhere were alive with what Robert Wilson Lynd, the radical journalist, described as "the passion of labour... to make the world a better place for the people who inhabit it."

On his return to England in 1931 he was based in Canterbury. He was active in the local Labour Party and took part in the 1931 General Election. Wigg also worked for the local Workers' Educational Association (WEA). During this period he became friends with A. Lindsay, master of Balliol College and Richard Sheppard, the founder of the Peace Pledge Union. "My mental turmoil in the early 1930s made me politically active." During this period he met Richard Crossman and Hugh Gaitskell. He was very impressed by Aneurin Bevan: "Nye Bevan became their star performer. A superb public speaker, Nye was master of any audience."

Wigg left the British Army in 1937 and worked full-time for the WEA. Woodrow Wyatt claims that "his belief in its virtues never faded, though he was prickly with authority when he thought it unjust... the social prejudices of the time unreasonably prevented his being a commissioned officer." Wigg became active in politics and joined the campaign against the government's policy of appeasement: "Action to prepare for armed resistance to Hitler and Mussolini was considered reprehensible. I developed a contempt for political pacifists and fence-sitters which I still feel. I have profound respect for the true pacifist and pray that in the long run he may prove to be right.... History holds the Men of Munich in derision. They were so determined to maintain the class structure of British society, which war must shake to its foundations, that they watched with equanimity the rise of Fascism in Spain, the re-armament of Germany in defiance of the Peace Treaties, Mussolini's assault on British Empire communications in his aggression against Abyssinia, and Germany's reentry into the Rhineland. Yet they were class war realists. Chamberlain's National Government put the lion's tail well and truly between its legs and convinced themselves, if and when the crunch came, that a people thus impoverished in spirit would slink away from battle."

On the outbreak of the Second World War he rejoined the army. Wigg became a lieutenant-colonel in the Royal Army Education Corps. In 1943 he became the Labour Party candidate for Dudley and stood in the 1945 General Election. During the campaign several leading figures in the party, including J. B. Priestley, Harold Laski and Hugh Dalton: "I imagine that to every candidate in an election, win or lose, the result comes as a shock; the declaration of the poll produces the final tremor after a long period of suspense and nervous tension. I was as sure as every member of the magnificent team supporting me that I would win Dudley. Yet when victory came it was awesome and almost frightening.... The polling at Dudley was: George Wigg 15,439, Major E. Brinton, Con. 9,156; Labour majority 6,283."

Soon after entering the House of Commons the Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, appointed Wigg as parliamentary private secretary to Emanuel Shinwell as Minister of Fuel and Power (1945-47), Secretary of State for War (1947-50) and Minister of Defence (1950-51). His biographer, Woodrow Wyatt, has argued: "A man of swirling emotions prone to hero worship, Wigg attached himself passionately to Emanuel Shinwell."

After the 1951 General Election Wigg returned to the backbenches. According to his friend Arnold Goodman: "He (George Wigg) has massive faults. He is impatient; he is intolerant; he is quick tempered; he is merciless to those he regards as incompetent and ineffective if he believes they are taking rewards at the rate appropriate for competence and effectiveness, but he will get up in the middle of the night to bail out the son of some acquaintance charged with a minor offence and spend hours, days and weeks arranging the boy's future and seeking to redeem him from the consequences of some foolish indiscretion."

On 24th December 1962, John Lewis met Christine Keeler at a Christmas Party. Lewis found out from Keeler that she had been having a sexual relationship with John Profumo, the Minister of War and Eugene Ivanov, an naval attaché at the Soviet embassy. She also told him that she had been living with Stephen Ward and that he had introduced her to several famous people such as Profumo and Ivanov. Lewis realized that this provided him with a very good opportunity of gaining revenge on Ward as well as getting back into the House of Commons.

Lewis decided he would pass this information to George Wigg. The first meeting took place on 2nd January 1963. Wigg was interested in the story but asked Lewis to provide him with more information. Lewis now told Keeler he was willing to pay her £30,000 if her information brought the government down. Keeler responded by telling him that "Stephen (Ward) asked me to ask Jack Profumo what date the Germans were to get the bomb." Wigg's secretary remembers, "Mr Lewis constantly rang up during the day when Mr Wigg was about his parliamentary business. I frequently got the impression he wasn't completely sober. But he was insistent." On 7th January, Lewis told Wigg the story about Ward asking her to discover classified information from Profumo.

Wigg explained in his autobiography: "Lewis had attended a pre-Christmas party where a Miss Christine Keeler talked excitedly about a recent shooting incident, the first of several events destined to endow her with what she appeared to crave the reputation of being the most notorious woman in London. Miss Keeler, who said she had heard a Mr Stephen Ward refer to Lewis, asked if she could telephone him and, a few days later, sought his help. She then spoke about her friendship with John Profumo, Secretary of State for War, and with the Russian Naval Attaché, Captain Eugene Ivanov. Miss Keeler alleged that Ward had asked her to obtain from Profumo information about the supply of atomic weapons to the Germans... I rejected at once the idea that Profumo personally was a security risk. I had found him politically untrustworthy but I never regarded him as a fool, and I could not be persuaded that an obviously ignorant girl would be used as a go-between. It seemed to me the man to keep an eye on was Ivanov. Lewis agreed that the matter must be handled exclusively on the issue of security. I urged him to talk to the police and, at a later stage, advised him to talk to Commander Townsend at Scotland Yard. Lewis did talk to the police but, being dissatisfied with the results, returned to me again and again."

Warwick Charlton later explained. "John Lewis was an able politician. He had held pretty high office, but because of the way he was living he had lost his seat. He was desperate to get back in. He had two motives delivered to him by Christine: one, the Russian security thing, and, two, evidence that Stephen was a ponce. He'd have his revenge, and he had little presents to give Wigg to beat the Tory Party with, and he might get back and re-establish his reputation with Labour."

On 10th March, 1963, Wigg attended a party with Harold Wilson, the leader of the Labour Party, Richard Crossman and Barbara Castle. Crossman later recalled: "When we arrived at the party George outlined the story to us and we emphatically and unanimously repudiated it. We all felt that even if it was true and Profumo was having an affair with a call girl and that some Russian diplomat had been mixed up in it, the Labour Party simply should not touch it. I remember that we all advised Harold very strongly against it and in a way rather squashed George."

George Wigg got up in the House of Commons on 21st March and asked Home Secretary Henry Brooke, during a debate on the John Vassall affair: "I rightly use the Privilege of the House of Commons - that is what it is given me for - to ask the Home Secretary who is the senior member of the Government on the Treasury Bench now, to go to the Dispatch Box - he knows that the rumour to which I refer relates to Miss Christine Keeler and Miss Davies and a shooting by a West Indian - and, on behalf of the Government, categorically deny the truth of these rumours.... It is not good for a democratic State that rumours of this kind should spread and be inflated, and go on. Everyone knows what I am referring to, but up to now nobody has brought the matter into the open. I believe that the Vassall Tribunal need never have been set up had the nettle been firmly grasped much earlier on. We have lost some time and I plead with the Home Secretary to use that Dispatch Box to clear up all the mystery and speculation over this particular case." Richard Crossman then commented that Paris Match magazine intended to publish a full account of Keeler's relationship with John Profumo, the Minister of War, in the government. Barbara Castle also asked questions if Keeler's disappearance had anything to do with Profumo.

The following day John Profumo issued a statement: "I understand that in the debate on the Consolidated Fund Bill last night, under the protection of parliamentary privilege, the Hon. Gentlemen the Members for Dudley (George Wigg) ... spoke of rumours connecting a Minister with a Miss Keeler and a recent trial at the Central Criminal Court. It was alleged that people in high places might have been responsible for concealing information concerning the disappearance of a witness and the perversion of justice. I understand that my name has been connected with the rumours about the disappearance of Miss Keeler. I would like to take this opportunity of making a personal statement about these matters. I last saw Miss Keeler in December 1961, and I have not seen her since. I have no idea where she is now. Any suggestion that I was in any way connected with or responsible for her absence from the trial at the Old Bailey is wholly and completely untrue. My wife and I first met Miss Keeler at a house party in July 1961, at Cliveden. Among a number of people there was Doctor Stephen Ward whom we already knew slightly, and a Mr Ivanov, who was an attaché at the Russian Embassy.... Between July and December, 1961, I met Miss Keeler on about half a dozen occasions at Doctor Ward's flat, when I called to see him and his friends. Miss Keeler and, I were on friendly terms. There was no impropriety whatsoever in my acquaintanceship with Miss Keeler."

When Harold Wilson became prime minister he appointed Wigg as his Paymaster General. According to his biographer, Woodrow Wyatt: "In 1964 he became paymaster-general with direct access to the prime minister on security and wider political matters. He was sworn of the privy council at the same time. Voluble in conspiratorial style, whether in person or on the telephone - frequently at unusual hours - he achieved a domination over Wilson which irritated colleagues including Marcia Williams, whose removal from the room he once successfully demanded when he wished to speak confidentially to the prime minister. Eventually Wilson was exhausted by Wigg's constant pummelling and in 1967 adroitly removed him from his presence by making him chairman of the Horserace Betting Levy Board with a seat in the House of Lords as a life peer. Though hipped at this loss of favour and subsequently ungracious about his patron, Wigg was also delighted. Wigg loved racing almost as much as he did the army and political intrigue, and was intermittently a keen owner of indifferent horses. He had been a member of the Racecourse Betting Control Board (1957–61) and of the Horserace Totalisator Board (1961–4)."

George Wigg died in London on 11th August 1983.

Whatever the reason, my father, easy-going, indolent, disgruntled and lacking ambition, failed at everything to which he turned his hand. My mother, intelligent, hard-working and enterprising, did all the household chores, delivered the milk, served in the shop, kept the books and tried to inspire my father with the will to work. She went to live on and off with my grandmother at The Villa, Ramsdell, near Basingstoke, and the process of to-ing and fro-ing between Ramsdale and Ealing continued until I was born. Hence I have a hunch that, although the birth was registered at Ealing, I was born at Ramsdell.

My mother's immense vitality and drive - she bore six children at two-yearly intervals and slaved from early morning until late at night creating a home and keeping the business going - deserved success. My father's drinking habits frustrated all her toil and her hopes of saving her marriage....

In modern times, I suppose, I would be dubbed the product of a broken home and the psychologists would find in that fact an explanation of my mental make-up and character. I think they would be wrong. Certainly, my father treated my mother badly. He shirked work. His contribution to the family income was negligible. Yet I cannot describe him as an utterly unsatisfactory father. His natural kindness, even his weaknesses, generated affection and gave me warning signs of some of the pitfalls in life I should try to avoid. When, at the age of ten, I accompanied him on the milk-round, sometimes cold as well as hungry and often feeling very sorry for myself, I vowed that when I grew up my children would not undergo such hardships. Years later I realized I could not seek the things I wanted for my children unless I sought and fought for them as the right of all children. That thought became an essential part of my Socialist faith.

There was another side to my father's weakness. His shortcomings highlighted my mother's qualities. No home over which she presided - and she presided all right! - could be described as "broken". Her personality inspired love and unity and the joy of living. She had dark brown eyes, framed in raven black hair. Her young beauty still haunts all my recollection of our wonderful life together. Yet her beauty was the least powerful quality of a compelling personality. She could dance and sing and pray, and she led the family in all these activities; and, when occasion demanded, she could swear. That a woman of such slight build could summon up so much vitality was, and remains, a source of amazement and inspiration to me.

Never did boy go more willingly to school than young Wigg to Queen Mary's Grammar School. He described me and other scholarship students at the school as "boys for whose education your (the other boys') parents are paying". I shone in geography and history, my star subjects under 'Buck' Lewis. I was wounded by the continual reference to the fact that my mother took in lodgers and that my books and fees were paid for by the parents of other boys.

While I was at Woolwich, for the first and only time during my Army service, an officer showed interest in my welfare as a human being with hopes and ambitions. A Colonel Hanson inquired about my health and, after discussing my spare-time activities, suggested I should aim at something better than a low-grade clerical job. He advised me to go for a "Y" cadetship, something about which I had never even dreamed. I had taken Army First Class and Second Class Certificate of Education in my stride. I had attended evening classes in the hope of improving my general education. The idea of a commission from the ranks, however, was flying high indeed. Alas, these dreams were short-lived. My patron was ticked off, so he told me, for interesting himself in the affairs of other ranks. "I have landed you in trouble as well as myself," he explained, "but it is worse for you. The best advice I can give you is to get out of here." I had three more years to serve on my current engagement. Finances at home were not easy and the special Colonial allowances in Baghdad seemed attractive, so I volunteered for service in Mesopotamia, or Iraq, as it came to be called. By so doing I hoped to escape from a difficult situation and, at the same time, to increase the allotment to my mother from my pay. I attained both objectives.

The Munich crisis precipitated a new ambivalence among my friends. Many of them wanted to stand up to Hitler, defend Czechoslovakia and Poland, and support Russian resistance to German Hitlerism. When I suggested we needed conscription and the reequipment of the armed forces with modern weapons, I was denounced as a "blimp".

Passing resolutions demanding action by the League of Nations met with enthusiastic support. Action to prepare for armed resistance to Hitler and Mussolini was considered reprehensible. I have profound respect for the true pacifist and pray that in the long run he may prove to be right. Among those I esteemed highly was the late Emrys Hughes who became a valued friend. Emrys was immensely more knowledgeable about defence matters than many who derided his pacifist beliefs.

History holds the Men of Munich in derision. Chamberlain's National Government put the lion's tail well and truly between its legs and convinced themselves, if and when the crunch came, that a people thus impoverished in spirit would slink away from battle. And the Labour and Trade Union Movements were not blameless. Too few leaders faced the facts of the kind of world in which we lived. They under-estimated the limitations imposed on British power by our losses in World War I. The sacrifices aggravated by the incompetence and cowardice of politicians, through the years of uneasy peace, had destroyed national unity and divided Britain between "us" and "them". Fortunately, when the crunch did come, our people stood true to the British tradition of solidarity. This quality of mind and spirit ensured the survival of our country, and of democracy in the Western World.

In the Autumn of 1942, the late Tom Wintringham suggested I should become organizer of Common Wealth, the new party led by Sir Richard Acland. Tom had contributed much to the development of Commando combat and Civil Defence training and he and I shared a common interest in military weapons and methods. He won distinction in the Spanish Civil War. By repudiating the Communist Party of which he had been a functionary, he demonstrated his strength of character. I respected the promoters of the Common Wealth Party although I doubted the wisdom of their approach. I held Sir Richard Acland in affection and admired his honesty of purpose. The late R. W. (Kim) Mackay, an Australian, was another Common Wealth leader whose drive impressed me. Aside from the personalities involved I felt there was a genuine need for a Party like Common Wealth to widen the Socialist appeal and bring to Labour's aid the intellectual qualities, panache and practical experience of affairs of Common Wealth's middle-class supporters. My doubts sprang from my working-class upbringing and ingrained loyalty to the Labour Movement.

These misgivings increased when J. Priestley resigned the Chairmanship of Common Wealth. Priestley's superb qualities as a writer flow from a love for and a belief in ordinary folk and, in the context of Common Wealth, a down-to-earth attitude to social and economic problems. Pressure on me increased and I sought advice from E. S. Cartwright. He, too, had interpreted Priestley's withdrawal as a sign that Common Wealth was failing to define clearly its purpose which, Cartwright thought, should be to create "a new Movement that would voice and genuinely attempt with all its strength to realize the aspirations of the great mass of workers in a way that conventional political Labour and the trade unions seem incapable of doing." Common Wealth, he feared, was too formless to satisfy my aspirations, but if I thought I could make Common Wealth an effective instrument of social change I should go right in. I decided to stick to the Labour Movement although I valued the work of Common Wealth in preparing the nation for social change.

I imagine that to every candidate in an election, win or lose, the result comes as a shock; the declaration of the poll produces the final tremor after a long period of suspense and nervous tension. Yet when victory came it was awesome and almost frightening.

Dudley was included in the itinerary of Clement Attlee's General Election Tour. Labour's quiet-mannered leader, in a broadcast, had blown the larger-than-life Churchill and his assertion that Labour meant Gestapo rule right off the air. Dudley's reception of Attlee revealed how deeply the ordinary folk of Britain resented Churchill's impudent slanders. My other vote-compelling stars included J. Priestley, Harold Laski and Hugh Dalton. We had crowded halls and overflow meetings. The whole nation, like the Army under the impact of A.B.C.A., was listening, questioning and debating. The longer the Election lasted, the more certain, I felt, would be a Labour victory. Attlee shared my hope but not my view. The mood I caught in my talk with him was the possibility of stalemate. Certainly he, and Dalton too, thought another Election following the end of the Japanese War could be on the cards. The polling at Dudley was :
George Wigg 15,439, Major E. 9,156; Labour majority 6,283.

Our discussions led to some M.P.s forming the Keep Left group. The famous Keep Left pamphlet was written by Michael Foot, R. Crossman and Ian Mikardo. They took responsibility for the detail and form of its arguments, with the whole group of concurring M.P.s sharing responsibility for its contents. We sought to define a modern philosophy for Labour and to represent, quite properly, the "politics of expectation". We drew heavily on the thinking of R. Tawney, A. Lindsay, William Temple and Harold Laski. Unfortunately, after the Party went into Opposition, "expectation" became a synonym for personal ambition. Some of the twenty or so Keep Left groupers were close friends of Bevan. I admired him and got on well with him. I thought his success at the Ministry of Health had earned him promotion to the Chancellorship of the Exchequer that went to Gaitskell. Bevan was passed over for two reasons. Attlee distrusted him and Morrison, who had not been a success as Foreign Secretary, would not agree to be out-distanced by any rival.

Bevan, despite wide knowledge and acute intelligence, failed to appreciate the political limitations of some of his friends. His career might have been even more distinguished if he had attached the importance it deserved to some of the political advice he was offered. He had one tremendous Parliamentary triumph about which I can testify personally. Churchill, in the 1951 Defence debate, knew that Labour policy was right but tried to split the pacifist Left from the Government and encompass the Government's defeat on a major issue, thus forcing a General Election. To the last we hoped the patriotism of the Shadow Cabinet expressed, according to our information, by Butler and Eden, would prevail over Churchill's opportunism. It did not. On the second day of the debate, February 15, Churchill moved this amendment: "That this House while supporting all measures conceived in the real interest of national security, has no confidence in the ability of His Majesty's present Ministers to carry out an effective and consistent defence policy in concert with their allies, having regard to their record of vacillation and delay."

I can recall no proposition more clearly intended to tickle the ears of the groundlings during my time in Parliament. It sought to denigrate defence from a national issue into a vulgar Party brawl. Bevan, Minister of Labour and National Service, replied for the Government. He asked me to brief him on the defence aspects. Throughout our long discussion and argument he took no notes. Yet he mastered the case completely and handed out devastating punishment to the Opposition. Several times he trapped Churchill into interruptions then smashed him into sullen silence. Churchill, Bevan teased, once the decoy of the Tory Party, had undergone a transformation; he had become their Jonah. Labour, Bevan went on, had brought into productive industry 1,800,000 men and women, who in 1939 had not been mobilized either for the Armed Services or for the civil economy. In the last three or four years we had made a greater contribution to defence than any country of comparable size. The Tory Party, like the Communist Party, was a century out of date; it was incapable of defending Social Democracy against dictatorship, Soviet or, indeed, any other kind. Bevan destroyed the amendment, supported by several hours of Tory oratory, in twenty triumphant minutes. I doubt if Hansard has ever reported so scintillating a success achieved in so short a space of Parliamentary time.

Bevan was a genius, but an undisciplined genius. How else could so able a man assume that no administrative change could be tolerated in the National Health Service? This, surely, was an aberration of genius in search of power. It is not practical politics to turn problems of social administration into issues of high principle, as Miss Jennie Lee was forced to agree when she discovered that the re-distributive policies of the 1966 Labour Government, and its pursuit of social justice, were more important than an increase in the price of prescriptions.

A matter of regret to me was that Bevan and Shinwell never hit it off together. Both were a credit to the working-class Movement. Neither had anything to fear from the political ambitions of the other. Shinwell was more steadfast and more reliable than Bevan and - dare I say it as his closest friend? - he chose his companions with more wisdom. Yet Bevan was a giant among men. A mighty tribune of Socialism, he also made a decisive mark on social legislation. If only he had kept clear of Lord Beaverbrook and, later, of the political pygmies who walked in his shadow, the Labour Movement might well have avoided the plight into which men of less vision led it.

On November 11, 1962, I attended Armistice Services at Stourbridge and Dudley, then went for lunch to the home of our Labour Party Agent, Councillor Tommy Friend, where I found there had been a phone call for me. I telephoned my home in Stoke, but my wife had neither called me nor received a message. Soon afterwards the call to Friend's house was repeated. A muffled voice said, "Forget about the Vassall case. You want to look at Profumo." Then the phone went dead. Driving back to London, the nagging question kept recurring : how did the unknown caller know where I was, and how did he get the number? The incident came to mind repeatedly as the whispered scandal involving a Minister and a Russian diplomat gathered weight and pace. The first authentic information about the business was sent to me, unasked, by the late John Lewis, a Parliamentary colleague from 1945 until 1951, and it steadily developed into an intensely worrying security problem.

Lewis had attended a pre-Christmas party where a Miss Christine Keeler talked excitedly about a recent shooting incident, the first of several events destined to endow her with what she appeared to crave the reputation of being the most notorious woman in London. Miss Keeler alleged that Ward had asked her to obtain from Profumo information about the supply of atomic weapons to the Germans although, according to Lewis's account, "she had never told this to Profumo". Lewis advised the lady to
consult a solicitor.

I rejected at once the idea that Profumo personally was a security risk. Lewis did talk to the police but, being dissatisfied with the results, returned to me again and again.

I was faced now with one of the most difficult decisions of my political life. Never before had I raised an issue affecting a Minister without notifying that Minister of my intention in advance and, where appropriate, setting out the facts and arguments. The one occasion on which this principle of action had been exploited against me was by Profumo during the Kuwait debate. Should I now seek an interview with Profumo? Bearing in mind his conduct over Kuwait, could I trust him again? There was one alternative open to a Member of Parliament facing such circumstances and fearing, as I now feared, that security could be put at risk by Ivanov. That was to use Parliamentary privilege to expose the situation. This, Gaitskell had advised in our discussions about the Vassall case, is exactly what privilege is for.
I had not resolved my heart-and-mind searching when, on Sunday, March 10, I returned to London to attend a party at the home of Mrs Barbara Castle. Harold Wilson was there and we found a room in which to talk privately. I made the point that the situation was moving to a climax. The March 8 issue of Westminster Confidential, a small monthly newsletter, had summarized the stories which the girls - Miss Keeler had been joined by a Miss Mandy Rice Davies - were selling to newspapers. One of the points raised in the newsletter was, "Who was using the call-girl to "milk" whom of information - the War Secretary or the Soviet Military Attache? - ran in the minds of those primarily interested in security". I told Wilson there were rumours that the story was about to "break" in overseas newspapers and that two Sunday newspapers, expected to blow the gaff that morning, had not published a line of their boasted "scoops", although one of them, the Sunday Pictorial, had bought from Miss Keeler a story based on a letter addressed "Darling" and signed "J" - a signature with which I was familiar. I pointed out that the names of prominent persons were being associated with Christine Keeler and Dr Stephen Ward, a society portrait artist and osteopath, and that Captain Ivanov had left England hurriedly on January 29. I drew attention to the fact that Miss Keeler who, on December 14, 1962, had been shot up by a West Indian, John Edgecombe, jealous of her preference for another West Indian, "Lucky" Gordon, had gone abroad, although she was a vital witness in the trial, now pending, of Edgecombe.

The time had come, I urged Wilson, to press the Government to make a statement. The opportunity might arise on the Service Estimates during the coming week that the Government should be urged to hold an inquiry, in private if it wished, and then make a statement in the House. We agreed that should a demand for an inquiry emerge, we would ask for a Select Committee with terms of reference to include the nature of the Prime Minister's responsibility for security.

Wilson's attitude indicated that he wanted to play it cool. He invited me to pursue the subject "on my own responsibility". I decided not to raise the matter in the House of Commons unless circumstances forced my hand. Should that happen, I must find a form of words neither libellous nor unfair, whether spoken in Parliament or outside it, and I sought the advice of Arnold Goodman.

On the night of Thursday, March 21, stories about pending revelations in the Foreign Press came to a head. The matter was in everyone's unspoken thoughts. Earlier in the day the late Ben Parkin had been pulled up by the bewildered Chairman of a Standing Committee when, speaking on the subject of London sewage, he had commented, "There is the case of the missing model. We understand that a model can quite easily be obtained for the convenience of a Minister of the Crown" - the reference being to a model provided by the Ministry of Transport to illustrate proposals for London traffic. It was also reported that Mrs Castle intended during the debate on the imprisoned journalists later that night, to raise the matter in the context of the "missing witness". So I decided to act. I rose at 11 p.m. to take part in the debate about the two journalists, Reginald Foster and Brendan Mulholland, who had been committed to prison for refusing to disclose their sources of information to the Radcliffe Tribunal on the Vassall case.

On Tuesday, March 26, around 5 p.m. I was handed a telephone message by a House of Commons official, asking me to ring Stephen Ward at a Paddington number... I rang Ward from the one telephone to which an earpiece was attached to the ordinary receiver so that Wilfred Sendall, the distinguished political journalist who was with me when I received Ward's message, could take a note of the conversation. Ward, it appeared, had been agitated by my comment in a television programme the previous evening that the real issue involved was security. He rambled on about persons and places. I cut him short with an intimation that I was not interested in private lives, but if he wanted to talk about security I would meet him in the Central Lobby at 6 p.m. Sendall witnessed his arrival.

Immediately after Ward left the House at 9 p.m. I told Harold Wilson that my visitor claimed to have written both to him and to the Prime Minister towards the end of the Cuban crisis. The letter was immediately extracted from the files and Wilson at once recalled a phrase about an approach made by Ward on behalf of Ivanov to the Foreign Office: "I was the intermediary", Ward had written. Next day, Wilson handed Ward's letter to the Prime Minister and expressed his now acute anxiety about the implication that Ward was a contact between Ivanov and people of influence in this country. I recorded my conversation with Ward which I showed to Wilson, who asked me to prepare an appreciation for his information. I completed this task on March 29. Wilson also asked the Chief Whip, Bert Bowden, to seek Sir Frank Soskice's advice. When Wilson returned home from his visit to the late President John Kennedy the same old questions rose again: was there a prima facie case for an Inquiry and, if so, what form should it take and how should the Opposition seek to obtain it? Soskice (now Lord Stow Hill) thought there was a clear case for further action based on my appreciation. With Bowden agreeing, the document was handed to the Government Chief Whip together with a covering letter, dated April 9, from Wilson addressed to the Prime Minister.

The following is a summary prepared from the document sent to the Prime Minister, especial care having been taken to record Ward's statements with absolute accuracy.

On our way to the Harcourt Room, Ward chatted about his familiarity with the House of Commons, to which he had often brought Ivanov, and about his contacts with Members and Conservative Ministers. He was anxious I should know the truth about Ivanov and the circumstances in which he had met him. Then the sight of an ex-Minister seemed to unnerve him. "He must not see me with you," he exclaimed. "I must leave at once. I ought not to have come here, I know too many people. I must leave at once." I took him to a private interview room and we started our talk afresh.

Ward said he first met Ivanov some time in 1961 at a Garrick Club lunch where, with a journalist specializing in Soviet affairs, they were guests of a Fleet Street editor. Ward found Ivanov a charming man. He taught him to play bridge and, soon, was seeing him two or three times a fortnight. They had fun with girls, although nothing improper ever took place, and they played bridge. They had visited only one night club, The Satyr, together, and then only for ten minutes. Ward said Ivanov never spoke critically about the British people. His one desire, which Ward shared, was to foster Anglo-Soviet friendship. Ward said he last saw Ivanov shortly before Christmas.

The Security Service, Ward asserted, knew all about his association with Ivanov. Representatives of the Security Service had enquired about his various meetings and Ward had promised to keep them informed and had kept that promise. He cited two occasions on which he thought friendship with Ivanov had been of value to Britain. At the time of the Berlin crisis in 1962 he, acting for Ivanov, had informed Sir Harold Caccia and other Foreign Office officials that the Soviet Union would adopt a conciliatory policy in return for Western guarantees about the integrity of the Oder-Neisse Line. I pressed him hard at this point, enquiring if he personally saw Sir Harold or other Foreign Office officials. He was not prepared to say; many important people, including Conservative M.P.s, were involved in the business.

His second venture in Ivanov - directed diplomacy - again as a go between - occurred during the Cuban crisis. This time, according to Ward, he was the link between Ivanov as peacemaker and the British Government, represented by the Foreign Secretary, Lord Home, and the Prime Minister. Ivanov told Ward the Russians would respond to a British initiative calling a conference in London by halting the delivery of arms and stopping all shipments of war equipment to Cuba. I pressed even harder on this subject for the obvious reason that I did not believe that Ward, personally, had been in touch with the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister Ward became cagey again. He was not prepared to say because too many important people were involved.

Having, as he thought, achieved his purpose of clearing himself as a security risk, Ward talked freely about his relations with Profumo whom he and Christine Keeler had met at Cliveden. A photograph of Profumo and the girl swimming there, he alleged, had been stolen recently from his flat. Profumo had visited Ward's flat at least six times. The Security Service knew all about these visits for Ward kept them informed.

Ward went on to say that about three weeks before the trial of Edgecombe opened Christine Keeler and Paul Mann had become aware of the cash value of letters Profumo had written to the girl brief notes signed "J", expressing regret for not meeting or making further assignations. Ward could have them for five thousand pounds. Otherwise they would go to the highest bidder. Mann was already seeking contact, Ward said, with the Manchester office of the Sunday Pictorial. Ward said that in a disinterested endeavour to protect Profumo, he arranged a meeting with him at the Dorchester Hotel where, according to his story, Profumo's reaction was that he could not remember the girl. Ward advised him to assist his memory by consulting the Security Service. They would be able to help for they had the data, including dates, which he, Ward, had supplied to them.

Ward next turned to his own relations with the Press. Christine Keeler had received two advances on account amounting to two hundred and fifty pounds from the Sunday Pictorial. In addition she had been installed in a flat at Park West by that newspaper. Learning that publication was imminent, Ward approached the Sunday Pictorial, challenged Miss Keeler's veracity, and made a deal resulting in the publication of his own story and the suppression of Miss Keeler's version. For that deal, he alleged, he received only a contribution towards his legal costs. An enraged Paul Mann then took the Christine Keeler story to the News of the World. Ward claimed he also intervened with that newspaper by providing material for an article which appeared simultaneously with his Sunday Pictorial story. Ward also referred to the activities of a person named Barratt or Bell who, citing Ward as his source, had sold stories to the Express newspapers and to the People.

Ward's narrative now moved on to the life of Christine Keeler and her friend Mandy Rice Davies in the Park West flat. "Lucky" Gordon, the Negro slashed by Edgecombe, joined her there. So did his wife and family. Miss Keeler's relations with coloured men had always been a matter of deep concern to Ward. She had lived in lodgings with Edgecombe at Ealing. While there she bought a gun from a criminal Negro involved in what Ward called the "Queen's Park hold-up", and this was the gun with which Edgecombe had fired shots into Ward's flat. After leaving Ealing with her landlord's son, Miss Keeler lived with both Edgecombe and `Lucky' Gordon thus arousing the jealousies which provoked the knife slashings and the shootings directed by these men against Miss Keeler and against each other. All four actors in the drama - Miss Keeler, Miss Davies, and the two West Indians - were reefer smokers; all, Ward said sadly, were utterly unstable and unpredictable.

I questioned Ward closely about what exactly Christine Keeler and her new friend, Paul Mann, were offering for sale. Ward was positive that Mann had taken the photograph of Profumo and the girl, and he suspected that Mann also held the Profumo letters. He was certain Mann had not approached Profumo, but he was convinced Profumo had spoken to Miss Keeler by telephone. He was equally convinced Profumo had not compromised State security in any way and no security risk had arisen through Profumo's contact with Ivanov and Christine Keeler or through the girl's contact with Ivanov. He asserted that his practice as an osteopath was being ruined, the Press were pursuing him on all sorts of charges, and he had got nothing out of his efforts to protect Profumo's reputation. Yet Paul Mann and Christine Keeler had obtained considerable sums of money which rightfully should have been his. On top of all this he was worried by my television statement that security was the sole consideration. He had come to convince me that, on this aspect of the case, he was in the clear....

The essential facts, in my opinion, were these: Profumo was not, at any time, a security risk. The Security Service knew all about his meetings with Ivanov and Miss Keeler and about Ward's friendship with Ivanov. Ivanov's friendship with Ward enabled him to move freely in Ward's own wide and ever growing circle of acquaintances.

I have placed before the Home Secretary certain facts of the relationship between Miss Keeler and Mr Profumo since it is obvious now that my efforts to conceal these facts in the interests of Mr Profumo and the Government have made it appear that I myself have something to hide - which I have not. The result has been that I have been persecuted in a variety of ways, causing damage not only to myself but to my friends and patients-a state of affairs which I propose to tolerate no longer.

I rightly use the Privilege of the House of Commons - that is what it is given me for - to ask the Home Secretary who is the senior member of the Government on the Treasury Bench now, to go to the Dispatch Box - he knows that the rumour to which I refer relates to Miss Christine Keeler and Miss Davies and a shooting by a West Indian - and, on behalf of the Government, categorically deny the truth of these rumours.

On the other hand, if there is anything in them, I urge him to ask the Prime Minister to do what was not done in the Vassall case-set up a Select Committee so that these things can be dissipated, and the honour of the Minister concerned freed from the imputation and innuendos that are being spread at the present time.

It is not good for a democratic State that rumours of this kind should spread and be inflated, and go on. We have lost some time and I plead with the Home Secretary to use that Dispatch Box to clear up all the mystery and speculation over this particular case.


--> Wigg, George, 1900-1983

George Wigg was born in 1900 and after an early career in the Army entered Parliament as Labour MP for Dudley in 1945. He served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Emanuel Shinwell between 1945 and 1951 and on the election of Harold Wilson's first government in 1964 was appointed Paymaster General with a special interest in defence and security. Wigg retained the post of Paymaster General until 1967 when he was elevated to the House of Lords as Baron Wigg of the Borough of Dudley. Throughout his career, Wigg maintained a close interest in defence, security, African and Middle Eastern politics. Lord Wigg had a lifelong interest in horseracing reflected in his involvement in the organisation of the sport. Career Chronology: born 1900 served in the regular army, 1919-1937 and Royal Army Education Corps, 1940-1946 MP for Dudley, 1945-1967 Parliamentary Private Secretary to Emanuel Shinwell, MP as Minister of Fuel and Power, Secretary of State for War and Minister of Defence, 1945-1951 Opposition Whip, 1951-1954 Member of the Racecourse Betting Control Board, 1957-1961 Member of the Totalisator Board, 1961-1964 Paymaster General, 1964-1967 Chairman, Horserace Betting Levy Board, 1967-1972 President, Betting Office Licensees Association, 1973-1983. Throughout his career Wigg maintained a close interest in defence and security issues.

From the guide to the WIGG, George Edward Cecil (1900-1983), Baron Wigg, politician, 1939-1983, (British Library of Political and Economic Science)


George Wigg - History

You can't rush a good thing. This phrase is certainly true when describing George Harrison composing his highly acclaimed song "Something." George had been known to take his good old sweet time when composing a song, maybe many months, something he would admit in interviews throughout his Beatles career. He also used to be quite self conscious about his compositions, not sure if they were good enough to be included among the Lennon / McCartney songs on a Beatles album. "I haven't got a clue what's commercial and what isn't," George stated to interviewer David Wigg in 1969. And this certainly was the case with "Something."

George had a sizable portion of the song written as early as September 19th, 1968, according to producer Chris Thomas who heard him play it in EMI Studios on that day. George and Chris were sitting at a harpsichord in EMI Studio One working out how Chris was about to play the instrument on George's song &ldquoPiggies&rdquo which began to take shape on this day. &ldquoWhile George and I were tinkling away on this harpsichord,&rdquo Chris Thomas relates in the book &ldquoThe Beatles Recording Sessions,&rdquo &ldquohe started playing another new song to me, which later turned out to be 'Something.' I said, 'That's great! Why don't we do that one instead?' and he replied, 'Do you like it, do you really think it's good?' When I said yes he said, 'Oh, maybe I'll give it to Jackie Lomax then, he can do it as a single!'&rdquo

At the time, The Beatles were recruiting artists for their newly formed Apple Records and George had secured a recording contract with old friend Jackie Lomax, formerly from the Liverpool group The Undertakers. He was wanting to supply Lomax with a song that would be suitable for a hit single, giving him a good head start on a successful recording career. In the end, George gave him another song he had written that year, &ldquoSour Milk Sea,&rdquo which did indeed get released by Jackie Lomax as his first single.

By February 25th, 1969, George's 26th Birthday, George had completed writing his song &ldquoSomething,&rdquo the evidence being a simple but breathtaking demo he recorded at EMI Studios on this day. Still not sure what to do with the song, he sent a copy of a demo version to Joe Cocker for consideration to be included on his second album, George being impressed by his soulful version of &ldquoWith A Little Help From My Friends&rdquo which had become a British #1 hit in late 1968. Cocker agred to record it, George even playing guitar on his version of "Something," which eventually was released on his album &ldquoJoe Cocker!&rdquo in November of 1969.

In the meantime, George did gain enough confidence in the song to give it a go with The Beatles as well, which turned out to be the best decision yet. The other Beatles recognized "Something" as the best track on their &ldquoAbbey Road&rdquo album, this song being chosen to become the single from the album. John stated in interview just after the LP was released that George's song was "about the best track on the album. We'll probably put 'Something' out as a single in America. They're red hot for it over there." Paul concurred at the time, saying "this, to my mind, is the best song George has every written." As it turned out, "Something" was the first and only time a George Harrison composition graced the A-side of a Beatles single. &ldquoThey blessed me with a couple of B-sides in the past,&rdquo George stated to David Wigg in October of 1969 on BBC Radio 1's "Scene and Heard" program. &ldquoThis is the first time I've had an A-side. A big deal, eh? Ha-ha.&rdquo

"'Something' was written on the piano while we were making the 'White Album,'" George explained in 1980. "I had a break while Paul was doing some overdubbing so I went into an empty studio and began to write. That's really all there is to it, except the middle took some time to sort out. It didn't go on the 'White Album' because we'd already finished all the tracks."

It can easily be presumed that George wandered into one of the open EMI studios sometime in the first two-and-a-half weeks of September, 1968, to start work writing what became &ldquoSomething.&rdquo Producer Chris Thomas's recollection of hearing George play the song on harpsichord on September 19th, as mentioned above, appears to indicate that a good portion of the verse melody was written with some lyrics being in place, although the climactic bridge didn't exist yet.

Another element of the song that appears to have been in place by this time was explained by George in interviews back in 1969. &ldquoI wrote it at the time when we were making the last double album,&rdquo he told David Wigg. &ldquoAnd it's just the first line 'something in the was she moves' which has been in millions of songs. It's not a special thing but it just seemed quite apt.&rdquo He admits a little more about where he got this first line from in another 1969 interview: &ldquoI could never think of words for it. There was a James Taylor song called 'Something In The Way She Moves' which is the first line of that. And so then I thought of trying to change the words, but they were the words that came when I first wrote it. So in the end I just left it as that and just called it 'Something.'&rdquo

James Taylor was one of the first artists to be signed to The Beatles label Apple Records. "I'd written 'Something In The Way She Moves' about two years before I recorded it," Taylor explained in Steve Turner's book "A Hard Day's Write." "I'd made a tape of (the song) and about seven other songs about a couple of months before I met (Apple producer) Peter Asher. I know Paul listened to it at Apple but I'm not sure who else listened to it. I've always assumed George must have heard it but I never actually spoke to him about it."

Whether George heard his demo of "Something In The Way She Moves" or not has not been established. However, Taylor was recording his debut album for Apple at Trident Studios from July to October of 1968, and George could easily have heard it there since The Beatles were periodically using Trident Studios as well during this period in recording the "White Album," George's song "Savoy Truffle" being recorded there, for example, on October 3rd. George even contributed backing vocals to Taylor's song "Carolina In My Mind" during this time period. In any event, the opening lyric to his song &ldquoSomething In The Way She Moves&rdquo was fresh in George's mind when he was writing &ldquoSomething&rdquo and just decided to keep it. &ldquoI never thought for a second that George intended to do that,&rdquo James Taylor has since remarked. &ldquoI don't think he intentionally ripped anything off, and all music is borrowed from other music. So, completely, I let it pass. If George either consciously or unconsciously took a line from one of my songs then I find it very flattering.&rdquo

George appeared to be stuck lyrically for a while after that. &ldquoI usually get the first few lines of lyrics and melody both at once, and then I finish the melody usually first and then have to write the words. I wrote the whole first verse and just said everything I wanted to say, and so now I need to write a couple more verses. I find that much more difficult. But John gave me a handy tip once, which is once you start to write a song, try and finish it straight away while you're in the mood, and I've learned from experience, because you go back to it and then you're in a whole different state of mind and it's more difficult. Sometimes it's easier, but on the whole it's more difficult to come back to something so I do now try to finish some straight away.&rdquo

Similar to Paul when writing &ldquoYesterday,&rdquo George was blown away by how easily such a catchy song came to him, thinking he must have heard the melody somewhere before. &ldquoI wrote the main part of that and then I, sort of, just put it on ice for six months because I could never think of the words for it and thought, 'That is too easy. It sounds so simple. It must be something,' because, once I got into writing it, the first change, 'Du, du, du, du, du, du, dah.' Once I made that change, everything just followed, you know. ''Dah, duh,' all those chord changes, and then, the chord progression seemed to follow naturally. So I thought it must be something else, but it wasn't."

George took it off ice on January 28th and 29th, 1969, during the final days of the sessions for what became the &ldquoLet It Be&rdquo album. While in their new Apple Studios on January 28th, George ran through the song various times with The Beatles, asking for lyrical suggestions. &ldquoWhat could it be, Paul, 'something in the way she moves,' something like that, 'attracts me like...' I couldn't think of what attracted me at all!&rdquo George exclaims exasperatingly to his bandmates. John suggests, &ldquoJust say whatever comes into your head each time, 'attracts me like a cauliflower,' until you get the word.&rdquo George replied, "But I've been through this one for about six months - I mean just that line. 'Attracts me like a pomegranate' - we could have that!"

This rehearsal, which was taped and is available to hear on bootlegs, is an interesting listen, giving a 'fly on the wall' demonstration of how a great song is written. The Beatles batted around ideas, John seemingly coming up with what became the lyric &ldquoDon't want to leave her now, you know I believe and how,&rdquo and George playing around with what he called a &ldquocounter melody&rdquo that he would sing in a higher register during the verses. George did have the melody of the bridge written at this point, as well as the lyrics for the third verse. They goofed around with lyrical ideas for the bridge, coming up with things like &ldquoWell, did you know who missed the show?,&rdquo &ldquoFancy Joe missed the show,&rdquo &ldquoWhere did you go, Mr. Show? I don't know&rdquo and so on. Fortunately, this Tomfoolery was used only as a template for George to formulate proper lyrics later.

The next day, January 29th, 1969, George ran through the song instrumentally which prompted John to exclaim "Just going through the requests" which prompted the rest of the band to join in. John began to sing whatever he could remember of the lyrics from the previous day and then, after the song dissolves after the third verse, he states, "OK, should we get on with the rock 'n' roll show?" Therefore, no additional writing of "Something" occurred on this day.

By February 25th, 1969, when George recorded his demo in EMI Studios as mentioned above, all the proper lyrics were in place. Handwritten lyrics from this period include the following verse, as heard on this February demo during what eventually became the solo section of the song: "You know I love that woman of mine / and I need her all of the time / and you know what I'm telling to you / that woman, that woman don't make me blue." But were there any other inspirations for the song? &ldquoMaybe Pattie, probably, I think,&rdquo he replied when asked in 1969, referring to his wife Pattie Boyd. "He told me in a matter-of-fact way that he had written it for me," stated Pattie in her book "Wonderful Tonight." "I thought it was beautiful - and it turned out to be the most successful song he wrote, with more than a hundred and fifty cover versions. My favorite was the one by George Harrison, which he played to me in the kitchen at Kinfauns."

As the years went on, however, George began to distance himself from the thought of "Something" being written about his then wife. "Everybody assumed I wrote it about Pattie," he complained in 1996. Author Joshua Green attests to George explaining to his friends from the Hare Krishna Movement that the song was directed to Krishna himself. While he did admit to writing love songs directed to God (as with "Long, Long, Long" from the "White Album"), referring to his creator as "she" and as a "lover," as in the lyrics to "Something," would be somewhat unusual for him.

As far as musical inspiration, George explained at the time: &ldquoWhen I wrote it, I imagined somebody like Ray Charles doing it. That's the feel I imagined, but because I'm not Ray Charles, you know, I'm sort of much more limited in what I can do, then it came out like this.&rdquo Ray Charles did record a version of it two years later, his version being released on his &ldquoVolcanic Action Of My Soul&rdquo album. George has stated, however, that his favorite cover versions of the song were by Smokey Robinson and James Brown. "It's just unbelievable the way James sings it and the arrangement is really beautiful. I've got it on my jukebox at home.".

The other Beatles loved the song, but did its composer feel the same way? &ldquoThe words are nothing, really," he said in 1969. "There are lots of songs like that in my head. I must get them down. Some people tell me that 'Something' is one of the best things I've ever written. I don't know. Maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong. It's very flattering though. It's nice. It's probably the nicest melody tune that I've written.&rdquo

Apart from the studio time that was used for writing and rehearsing the song as outlined above, the first time George's song "Something" was purposely put down on tape in the studio was on February 25th, 1969.

The future of The Beatles was somewhat uncertain at this point. The tapes from the month-long &ldquoGet Back / Let It Be&rdquo sessions were in a stack waiting for someone to go through and put in a releasable state, something that would be toiled over and then shelved because they were deemed unsuitable for public consumption. Legal problems were mounting regarding their Apple enterprise as well as managerial decisions. John's primary focus was on promoting his and Yoko Ono's artistic and demonstrative exploits, his attention to The Beatles being pushed way in the back of his mind.

In the meantime, George was beginning to have a small backlog of songs which he felt somewhat strongly about, possibly wondering if he even had a band to record them with. Therefore, on his 26th birthday, February 25th, 1969, George brought engineer Ken Scott into one of the EMI Studios (time unknown) to record demos for three of his recently written compositions, no doubt as kind of a birthday present to himself. &ldquoGeorge's material wasn't really paid all that much attention to,&rdquo producer Glyn Johns relates in Rolling Stones' &ldquoThe Beatles: 100 Greatest Songs&rdquo special edition, who was also present in the studio on this day, &ldquoto such an extent that he asked me to stay behind. He was terribly nice, as if he was imposing on me.&rdquo

These demos were somewhat elaborate recordings using the studio's four-track recording equipment, George laying down multiple guitar parts, vocals and even piano at times. The first demo recorded on this day was &ldquoOld Brown Shoe,&rdquo which did get officially recorded by The Beatles in April and ended up as the B-side to &ldquoThe Ballad Of John And Yoko.&rdquo The second demo of the day was the pretty &ldquoAll Things Must Pass,&rdquo which the group did indeed pass on altogether, George recording it himself the following year for his first official solo album.

The third demo recorded during this February session, however, was the gorgeous &ldquoSomething,&rdquo which was a very simple but effective version that does very well in bringing out the beauty of the melody. It was played in the key of A major, which was quite a bit lower than the C major home key of the final version. George first recorded himself singing and playing guitar simultaneously, his guitar isolated on track one and his vocals on track four of the four-track tape. He then filled tracks two and three with piano parts, creating a very nice instrumental balance. The lost verse mentioned above ("you know I love that woman of mine. ") is featured here, which allows fans to see what he originally had in mind. George, however, had not worked out the dramatic conclusion of the song yet, this being figured out in the studio in later months. This demo ended with another verse played instrumentally with George adding in a final &ldquoyou know I believe and how&rdquo just before he concludes the song with his final riff with a subtle raised chord as a nice touch. The 1996 compilation album "Anthology 3" features tracks one and four of this demo, while the full four tracks with both of George's piano performances are contained on the various 50th Anniversary editions of "Abbey Road." Beauty at its finest!

By mid-April, in the midst of business meetings and flared tempers, John and Paul did return to the studio to record a brand new composition of John's that he was excited about titled &ldquoThe Ballad Of John And Yoko.&rdquo With this as a catalyst, George thought to get the four of them together a couple days later, on April 16th, 1969, to officially start work on a couple of his demos from February. They entered EMI Studio Three at 7 pm to start work on &ldquoOld Brown Shoe,&rdquo which was George's primary focus on this day. After extensive work was done on this song, George turned their attention once again to &ldquoSomething.&rdquo

They recorded thirteen takes of &ldquoSomething&rdquo on this day. Author Kevin Howlett, in his "Track By Track" section of the Super Deluxe 50th Anniversary edition of "Abbey Road," asserts that the instrumentation on these takes were John on bass (track one), Paul on drums (track two), George on electric guitar (track three) and George Martin on piano (track four), no vocals being recorded at this point. John, admittedly, was having a little trouble performing his bass part, stating "An ending already!" after 'take nine,' and "I missed two notes out" after 'take twelve. All of the work they had done on "Something" on this day was for naught, unfortunately, because none of these takes were deemed worthy enough for overdubs, the session ending at 2:45 am the following morning after stereo mixes of &ldquoOld Brown Shoe&rdquo were made. George's beautiful ballad was put on the back-burner once again for another two weeks or so.

The Beatles, however, were back on a roll. With the possible thought of recording new songs to spruce up the yet-to-be-released &ldquoGet Back / Let It Be&rdquo album, they started working on new material. This being the case, George thought to try again with &ldquoSomething,&rdquo starting from scratch in EMI Studio Three on May 2nd, 1969, with Chris Thomas in the producer's chair, the session beginning around 7 pm.

Totally disregarding the thirteen takes of the song they attempted two weeks prior, the takes of this re-make of &ldquoSomething&rdquo began at 'take one' again, a total of 36 takes being recorded this time around on the studio's eight-track machine. The instrumentation played on the official rhythm track, which was recorded on this day, has been debated by different sources, but all the evidence, audio as well as documentation, suggests the following: Paul on bass (track one), Ringo on drums (track two), George on electric guitar (track three) and John on piano (track four). After 'take eight,' George decided he wanted the sound of his guitar to also be put through a rotating Leslie speaker. Therefore, his guitar performance was simultaneously fed through this devise, the result being captured onto track six of the tape from 'take nine' onward. No vocals were present on the recording as of yet.

The group took a two hour break between 11 pm and 1 am, they resuming the rhythm track takes. At the conclusion of 'take 27,' John led the group into a coda based on a repetitive riff he had concocted on piano. He continued to do this at the end of various takes thereafter, the tape being stopped a few seconds into this ad lib performance each time. However, after 'take 36' was concluded, John's piano ad lib went on for nearly five minutes, his band-mates vamping on with him. Author Mark Lewisohn, in his book &ldquoThe Beatles Recording Sessions,&rdquo describes this as &ldquoa long, repetitious and somewhat rambling, piano-led four-note instrumental fade-out,&rdquo which extends 'take 36' from 3:00 to 7:48. While 'take 36' was determined to be the best performance of the rhythm track, this droning piano ending was omitted from the released recording, everyone involved deeming it unnecessary. It did resurface, however, as the basis for John's solo song &ldquoRemember&rdquo from his highly renowned 1970 album &ldquoPlastic Ono Band.&rdquo In any event, the session was finally complete at 3:40 am the following morning, overdubs being left for another day.

Apparently EMI Studios was not available the following week because The Beatles booked their next few sessions at London's Olympic Sound Studios. They arrived in Studio One at these facilities on May 5th, 1969 at 7:30 for the sole purpose of recording overdubs onto 'take 36' of &ldquoSomething,&rdquo the master tape being brought with them from EMI Studios. Although this session is documented to have stretched from 7:30 pm to 4 am the following morning, not very much was accomplished. Paul improved on his bass track and George did the same on his guitar track, which &ldquoThe Beatles Recording Sessions&rdquo book indicates as being played through a Leslie speaker.

Although Geoff Emerick was not documented as having been an engineer on this session, he gives a first hand account of some of the proceedings, indicating that he may very well have been present as he had been three weeks earlier during the recording of &ldquoThe Ballad Of John And Yoko.&rdquo In his book &ldquoHere, There And Everywhere,&rdquo he recalls: &ldquoGeorge was clearly still holding a grudge against Paul, and it seemed that he got some degree of revenge during the recording of 'Something.' I couldn't help but notice that Harrison was actually giving Paul direction on how to play the bass, telling him repeatedly that he wanted the part greatly simplified. It was a first in all my years of working with The Beatles: George had never dared tell Paul what to do he'd simply never asserted himself that way.&rdquo In the &ldquoBeatles Anthology&rdquo book, Paul concurs. &ldquoI think George thought my bass-playing was a little bit busy. Again, from my side, I was trying to contribute the best I could, but maybe it was his turn to tell me I was too busy. But that was fun that went off well.&rdquo

After one additional recording session the following day, which began the recording of Paul's &ldquoYou Never Give Me Your Money,&rdquo The Beatles began a hiatus from the recording studio that lasted nearly two months, the exact future of the group still up in the air.

During this two month hiatus, it was decided that The Beatles would record one final album which would include the few newer songs they had been working on since February. These songs would not be included on any &ldquoGet Back / Let It Be&rdquo album after all, those January sessions being shelved for release at a future time. Starting on July 1st, 1969, The Beatles would concentrate on creating one final masterpiece album, this becoming &ldquoAbbey Road.&rdquo

The Beatles then began working in earnest completing the songs they recently started to record as well as introducing new compositions. George even introduced a brand new song to the group entitled &ldquoHere Comes The Sun&rdquo which they began work on even before they returned their attention to &ldquoSomething.&rdquo

On July 11th, 1969, the group did turn their attention back on to &ldquoSomething,&rdquo the group entering EMI Studio Two at around 2:30 pm on that day. After some slight work on Paul's song &ldquoMaxwell's Silver Hammer,&rdquo George recorded his first lead vocal onto &ldquoSomething&rdquo as well as, according to Kevin Howlett, Billy Preston playing organ. These overdubs being accomplished, producer George Martin and engineers Phil McDonald and John Kurlander created four rough stereo remixes of the song as it stood at that moment. A reduction mix was then made which turned 'take 36' into 'take 37.' After a little more work on Paul's &ldquoYou Never Give Me Your Money,&rdquo they called it a day at around midnight.

A noteworthy point here is that "Something" still contained 2:32 of the &ldquorambling&rdquo piano-led fade-out of the song, the complete track lasting a total of 5:32 after the reduction mix was made. This would seem to indicate that they were considering leaving in a sizable portion of this aimless noodling at the end of the song, fading it out after a while. Luckily for us a decision was made to cut it off entirely at a later stage in the recording process.

Attention went to &ldquoSomething&rdquo yet again during the second recording session held on July 16th, 1969, in EMI Studio Three. This session began at 7 pm with full attention being put on George's song, he improving on his lead vocal while Paul added backing vocals and the two of them along with Ringo provided handclaps. Ringo also added additional cymbals and percussion onto track four, thus recording over John's piano performance from the original rhythm track. Interestingly, these overdubs were recorded onto 'take 36,' which totally disregarded the 'take 37' reduction mix that was made on July 11th.

Geoff Emerick was present on this day as well, recounting the following: &ldquoGeorge was once again very nervous when it came time to do the vocal. No matter what we did to create a vibe &ndash turning the lights down low, lighting incense &ndash he just couldn't get comfortable. It was a difficult song to sing, but in the end he did a magnificent job. It was interesting: George never seemed to get cold feet doing backing vocals, but whenever he had to do a lead vocal, he'd lose his confidence.&rdquo

All eight tracks of the tape were filled now, which meant that a tape reduction was needed. George Martin, Phil McDonald and young engineer Alan Parsons created this reduction mix, two attempts being made. George Harrison was indeed present when the reduction mixes were made, his voice being heard on the tape reminding Phil McDonald that the latter mix should be numbered 'take 39.'

With the deadline for completion of the &ldquoAbbey Road&rdquo album looming, George was concerned as to whether his two songs on the album were acceptable for inclusion on the album or not. With this in mind, he ducked into the control room of EMI Studio Three on August 4th, 1969 at around 7:15 pm, just after the vocal harmony work on John's &ldquoBecause&rdquo had been completed, to have engineers Phil McDonald and Alan Parsons make rough stereo mixes of both &ldquoHere Comes The Sun&rdquo and &ldquoSomething.&rdquo These mixes revealed to George that more work was required for both songs, an acetate of &ldquoSomething&rdquo being made to give George Martin for him to write an orchestral score for the song. At 8:45 pm, he possibly popped back into EMI Studio Two to give George Martin this acetate disc, that session ending at 9 pm.

A week-and-a-half later, on August 15th, 1969, George Martin had the orchestral score ready for, not only &ldquoSomething,&rdquo but for three other &ldquoAbbey Road&rdquo songs that an orchestra was required for. &ldquoSo far, every instrument on 'Abbey Road' had been played by one of the four Beatles,&rdquo Geoff Emerick relates, not realizing that Billy Preston did appear on some earlier tracks, including "Something," that he wasn't present for. "That was fine with John, but not with Paul or George Harrison, both of whom wanted orchestral instruments added to a few of their songs. Accordingly, George Martin wrote some arrangements and booked London's top players for a single marathon session.&rdquo Because the deadline for finishing the album was close, and in order to save money, one day was set aside to record the orchestral arrangements for all four of these songs, these being &ldquoGolden Slumbers / Carry That Weight,&rdquo &ldquoThe End,&rdquo &ldquoSomething&rdquo and &ldquoHere Comes The Sun.&rdquo The day chosen was August 15th, 1969.

&ldquoUnfortunately,&rdquo Geoff Emerick continues, &ldquoEMI had still not installed an eight-track tape recorder or large-scale console into the Studio One control room, so we were forced to set up a complicated system of audio tie-lines and closed-circuit television that allowed the musicians to be seated in the larger Studio One while we recorded them in the control room of Studio Two.&rdquo Engineer Phil McDonald, in the book &ldquoThe Beatles Recording Sessions,&rdquo explains how primitively these studios were linked together for similar situations prior to this one, where &ldquothe linking was subject to the vagaries of voice: 'All right, Bert? Are you ready?'&rdquo

Technician Alan Brown also recalls the events of this day. &ldquoIt was a mammoth session. We had a large number of lines linking the studios and we were all walking around the building with walkie-talkies trying to communicate with each other. It cost a lot of money: all the musicians have to be paid, fed and watered I screw every pound note out of it whenever I play the record!&rdquo

The orchestra was recorded in two sessions on this day, the afternoon session being used to record Paul's two compositions and, after an hour-and-a-half break, the evening session for recording both of George's songs, &ldquoSomething&rdquo being the first to be tackled starting at 7 pm. &ldquoA lot of time and effort went into 'Something,' which was very unusual for a Harrison song,&rdquo Geoff Emerick remembers, &ldquobut everyone seemed aware of just how good a song it was, even though nobody went out of his way to say so. That's just the way The Beatles were: compliments were few and far between &ndash you could always tell more about the way they were thinking by the expressions on their faces.&rdquo

While Paul was the only Beatle in attendance for this afternoon session, George arrived for the evening session when his songs were being attended to. Geoff Emerick continues: &ldquoPhil McDonald, however, was there with me for the entire day &ndash working in two studios at once really complicated things, and we needed the extra pair of hands. George Martin did the conducting while each Beatle essentially produced his own session. Thankfully, there were no major technical mishaps and everything worked smoothly.&rdquo

&ldquoThe only hitch came when George Harrison announced that he wanted to redo the guitar solo on 'Something.' We were perfectly willing to accommodate him, but the problem was that there was only one track available, and we needed to use that for the orchestra. The only solution was for him to play it live, right along with the orchestra, so we could record them simultaneously on the same track. I was enormously impressed when he nonchalantly said, 'Okay, let's do that' &ndash it took a lot of nerve and self-confidence to be willing to put himself under that kind of pressure. George had to play the solo correctly all the way through, without punch-ins, because the sound coming from his guitar amp would leak onto the other mics, and he wouldn't get a lot of whacks at it, because it was costing quite a lot to have that orchestra there. But he managed to play the intricate solo with ease, and by the end of the long night both his songs were completed and ready to be mixed.&rdquo

Mark Lewisohn, in &ldquoThe Beatles Recording Sessions,&rdquo gives even more detail as to George Harrison's role on this day. &ldquoFor 'Something,' George Harrison shuttled back and forth between studio one, where he shared the conductor's podium with George Martin for a time, and studio two, where he oversaw the sound recording, virtually as 'producer,' and where &ndash on the floor of (studio one) &ndash he taped a new and memorable lead guitar solo for the song's middle eighth &ndash actually, barely different from the song's previous best guitar track.&rdquo After this elaborate overdub onto 'take 39' of &ldquoSomething&rdquo was complete, McCartney apparently present to overdub some descending piano piano notes onto the same track as George's guitar solo, they accomplished the same for &ldquoHere Comes The Sun&rdquo and ended the session by 1:15 am the following morning.

The final eight-track tape, according to Kevin Howlett's "Track By Track" section in the 50th Anniversary "Abbey Road" book, contains George's lead guitar parts and Paul's overdubbed descending piano notes (track one), Ringo's drums and overdubbed percussion (track two), the orchestra (tracks three and four), Paul's bass (track five), George's guitar played through a Leslie speaker (track six), George's double-tracked lead vocals and Paul's harmony vocals (track seven) and Billy Preston's organ (track eight).

The stereo mix for &ldquoSomething&rdquo was done on August 19th, 1969 in the control room of EMI Studio Two by George Martin and engineers Geoff Emerick, Phil McDonald and Alan Parsons. Ten attempts at this stereo mix was attempted, undoubtedly the tenth attempt being the keeper. With the addition of the orchestral arrangement, out went any trace of the rambling instrumental jam from the rhythm track that they apparently intended to end the song with up to this point, the recording staff omitting it from every one of these stereo mixes.

Two live versions of the song were also recorded and released during George's solo career. On August 1st, 1971, George and his band of celebrities (including Ringo) recorded a live version of &ldquoSomething&rdquo during his groundbreaking &ldquoConcert For Bangladesh&rdquo at Madison Square Garden in New York City, this being released on the 1971 triple-album of the same name. Then, sometime between December 1st and 17th, 1991, George and his new group (including Eric Clapton) recorded another live version of the song during his brief Japanese tour, the result appearing on his 1992 album &ldquoLive In Japan.&rdquo

George Martin and Geoff Emerick created a mix of tracks one and four of the original demo that George Harrison made on February 25th, 1969 for inclusion on the 1996 Beatles compilation album &ldquoAnthology 3.&rdquo Then, sometime between 2004 and 2006, George Martin and his son Giles Martin returned to the master tape of &ldquoSomething&rdquo to create a mash-up version for inclusion in the Cirque du Soleil production of &ldquoLove,&rdquo this being released on the companion album of the same name. This unique version was titled &ldquoSomething (with 'Blue Jay Way' transition)" and also features elements of &ldquoHey Bulldog,&rdquo &ldquoNowhere Man&rdquo and, rumor has it, their 1967 sound experiment &ldquoCarnival Of Light."

Giles Martin, along with engineer Sam Okell, returned to the master tapes of "Something" once again sometime in 2019 to create a new stereo mix of the song for inclusion in the 50th Anniversary releases of "Abbey Road" later that year. While they were at it, they also created a stereo mix of George's February 25th, 1969 demo, all four tracks being included this time around, as well as a beautiful stereo mix of George Martin's orchestral score on the finished song, both of these mixes being included on various editions of the 50th Anniversary releases of the album.

Paul recorded three versions of his rendition of George's "Something," the first of these live performances being sometime between April 1st, 2002 and May 18th, 2002, this appearing on his albums "Back In The US" and "Back In The World," the second being on November 29th, 2002 at London's Royal Albert Hall which appears on the album "Concert For George," the third being sometime between July 17th and 21st, 2009 at Citi Field in New York City which appears on the album "Good Evening New York City."

Song Structure and Style

Beautifully written songs don't need to be complicated in structure. This is definitely the case with "Something," its format consisting of 'verse/ verse/ bridge/ verse (instrumental)/ verse' (or aabaa) with a simple introduction and a couple extra concluding measures added on at the end.

After a triplet-like drum fill from Ringo, the identifiable one-measure riff of the song, which is usually heard at the end of each verse, is used as the introduction to the song. This follows the pattern set by George Martin early in The Beatles career where he would suggest starting off the song with the most identifiable segment, such as with &ldquoShe Loves You&rdquo and &ldquoCan't Buy Me Love,&rdquo instead of just plunging head-first into the first verse as presented by the composers.

This quick but suitable introduction consists of George on both lead and rhythm guitar, Paul on bass and Ringo on drums playing accents on the three main beats of the riff, an overdubbed cymbal swell being heard at the end which crescendos at the downbeat of the first verse that follows. This is a delicate touch in arrangement that suits the song very nicely, this probably being a George Martin suggestion that was recorded during the orchestral performance.

The first verse then appears, which is nine measures long with the final measure consisting of a repeat of the introductory riff. George sings single-tracked throughout the verse except for the seventh and eighth measures on the lines &ldquoI don't want to leave her now / you know I believe and how,&rdquo which is double-tracked. George's rhythm guitar and Paul's melodic bass line propel the verse while Billy Preston's organ works as a suitable pad to fill out the sound.

Ringo plods along simply and appropriately on drums, adding a sixteenth-note drum fill in the second measure and delicate accents on the snare and cymbal in the ninth measure. Another slight cymbal swell can be quietly detected that crescendos on the downbeat of the ninth measure. George kicks in with some lead guitar in the seventh through ninth measures, climaxing with the iconic guitar riff in the final measure. Billy Preston comes to the fore in the seventh and eighth measures with eighth-note chord stabs and then playing the guitar riff with George in the ninth measure, this transcending into the second verse that follows. The orchestra subtly appears for the first time in measures seven through nine, playing lushly but quietly as a backdrop as it moves into a more prominent role for the second verse.

Verse two is similar in number of measures and in arrangement, but with the orchestra being more to the fore. Ringo does contribute an additional drum fill at the very end of measure six, this one being in triplet form again. The most notable difference in this verse, however, is the final note of the iconic guitar riff in the ninth measure that changes the last chord dramatically to A major instead of the usual C major. This acts as a climactic transition to the high energy bridge that follows. The ninth measure of this verse highlights Paul's less-than-subtle &ldquolead bass&rdquo playing to get us to the bridge, a swirling organ sound from Billy at the very end taking us there as well.

The bridge is a standard eight measures in length. George's lead vocals are double-tracked throughout, Paul providing a higher harmony to help elevate the emotional impact of the bridge. Ringo plays an alternating hi-hat and tom triplet beat in measures one, two and three, and then five, six and seven. In both measures four and eight, Ringo plays accents along with the rest of the instrumentation which descends down the scale per George's vocal instruction in his demo, measure four in the key of A major and measure eight going back to the home key of C major. The strings get quite lush for effect throughout the bridge, as does Billy's organ. George's rhythm guitar carries things along and, for the first time in the song, Paul's piano helps to fill the elaborate sound landscape, especially heard in the final measure as the song settles back into the home key.

The instrumental verse is next which, of course, features George's fluid guitar solo which was played simultaneously with the lush string backdrop that is heard with it. The rhythm instruments, namely the guitar and organ, are more in the background to allow George's solo to shine, Paul's bass work slightly competing for attention but low enough in the mix so as not to distract. Ringo rides on the cymbal throughout this verse, performing fills in measures two and four, the latter one as an impressive fast roll on the toms. As the guitar solo evolves into the guitar riff in the ninth measure, Bill's organ chops swell into a dramatic conclusion of this section of the song.

The final verse is then heard, which is twelve measures long to include the stellar conclusion. The instrumentation is identical to the second verse with its backdrop of orchestra, the most noticeable difference being Paul's effective higher vocal harmony throughout the first six measures. During the buildup of measures seven and eight, we hear an early lead guitar flourish in measure eight which resulted in George accidentally missing the first two notes of his iconic guitar riff in measure nine. Not to worry, though, because the orchestral score and Billy's organ hits these notes for him.

As a conclusion to the song, this riff takes us back up momentarily to A major as we heard at the end of verse two, but after a noteworthy high descending guitar flourish from George, we hear the riff played again with great volume and a feeling of finality, this time satisfactorily landing in the home key of C major with a final crashing cymbal and pulled guitar chord from George to ring out with the orchestra. Simply breathtaking!

With full participation from all four Beatles as well as George Martin, George Harrison's beautiful ballad was given the well deserved attention that the song deserved. George's masterful lead guitar work shone brilliantly alongside his producer's unobtrusive but lush backdrop of strings. Paul's bass contribution weaves a counter-melody of sorts that works nicely to fill in the lyrical gaps while also putting in his usual talents as harmony vocalist. Ringo worked hard to play what would fit in perfectly within the arrangement, performing in top form. Billy Preston also put in an appropriate gospel-tinged element to the recording which did become an essential ingredient in the mix. Although a hand-clapping overdub is documented to have been recorded, it apparently was deemed inappropriate for the arrangement and was left off or recorded over.

On October 1st, 1969, the final recorded Beatles album was released in America, simple titled "Abbey Road." The "Let It Be" album, which was released later on May 18th, 1970, was pretty much in the can at the end of January 1969 but was held up ultimately so that it could be released in conjunction with the movie of the same name that contained the music therein. "Something" was the second track on the "Abbey Road" album which created a very impressive transistion from the thumping rocker "Come Together" which started the LP off.

The album took only three weeks to jump into the top spot on the Billboard album chart, raking in a total of eleven weeks in the #1 position. The album first appeared on compact disc on October 10th, 1987, and then as a remastered release on September 9th, 2009. On September 27th, 2019, a newly mixed vinyl version of the album was released for its 50th Anniversary.

On October 6th, 1969, five days after &ldquoAbbey Road&rdquo was first released in the US, the first two tracks on the album were released as a single, &ldquoCome Together&rdquo and &ldquoSomething,&rdquo the latter being placed as the A-side due to its overwhelming commercial appeal. The Beatles new manager Allen Klein personally selected "Something" to be the A-side of this single because, according to Klein's associate Allan Steckler, "Klein believed in George's talent and wanted to enhance his reputation as a songwriter." With both sides of the single getting extensive airplay, Billboard magazine charted both &ldquoSomething&rdquo and &ldquoCome Together&rdquo as a joint #1 single the week of November 29th, 1969.

The next official release of the song was on April 2nd, 1973, on the second of two double-compilation albums released on that day, namely &ldquoThe Beatles / 1967-1970&rdquo (aka, the &ldquoBlue Album&rdquo). &ldquoSomething&rdquo was featured as the third track on side four, still following &ldquoCome Together&rdquo as it had on the &ldquoAbbey Road&rdquo album. This #1 album was first released on compact disc on September 20th, 1993 and then as a remastered re-release on August 10th, 2010.

Interestingly, in the mid 1970's, all four individual Beatles had solo "Greatest Hits" albums released, but only one of them dipped into their contributions to The Beatles catalog. "The Best Of George Harrison," which was released on November 8th, 1976, contained seven Harrison-penned Beatles songs on side one and six solo compositions on side two. "Something" was chosen as the lead off track of side one, undoubtedly because it was viewed as his most successful composition during the Beatles years. The album peaked at #31 on the Billboard album chart and was released on CD in 1987.

On October 21st, 1977, Capitol released yet another double-compilation album entitled &ldquoLove Songs,&rdquo which featured the lighter ballads the band had released during their career. This album was to be viewed somewhat as a companion release to the &ldquoRock 'n' Roll Music&rdquo double-album that came out the previous year that featured the harder-edged songs of the group. Being the opening song of side two, &ldquoSomething&rdquo finally shook off its connection to &ldquoCome Together&rdquo which wouldn't have fit the format of this album. The LP was mildly successful, peaking at #24 on the Billboard album chart, although it is said to have sold over three million copies throughout the years.

Sometime in 1978, Capitol re-released the "Abbey Road" album as a picture disc. Side one had the iconic front cover while side two contained a close-up of the wall photo of the back cover minus the song title listings. This picture disc was re-released with a new Giles Martin mix on 180-gram vinyl on September 27th, 2019.

An interesting US vinyl edition of &ldquoAbbey Road&rdquo was released on December 28th, 1979, this being manufactured by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in Chatsworth, California as the first Beatles installment in their " Original Master Recording " series. Their practice was to prepare a new master utilizing half-speed mastering technology from the original master tapes, in this case using the leased sub-master from Capitol Records. Stickers on the shrinkwrap proclaimed this album as being &ldquoA Brand New Experience,&rdquo which proved to be the case. This version of the album sounded superior to all previous British and American pressings at that time. Unfortunately, this excellent edition of &ldquoAbbey Road&rdquo was only available for a short time and is quite collectible today.

Capitol re-released the original &ldquoSomething / Come Together&rdquo single in January of 1994 on their &ldquoFor Jukeboxes Only&rdquo Cema series, this single being printed in limited supply on blue vinyl and is highly collectible.

George's original demo of &ldquoSomething,&rdquo as recorded on February 25th, 1969, was released on the compilation album &ldquoAnthology 3&rdquo on October 28th, 1996, although the mix used on this release only included George's guitar and vocal. George Martin couldn't resist releasing all three of Harrison's excellent demos that he recorded on his 26th birthday, &ldquoAll Things Must Pass&rdquo and &ldquoOld Brown Shoe&rdquo included, on this compilation, feeling the world needed to hear the intricacy and beauty of all three.

On November 13th, 2000, Apple released the highly successful single CD &ldquoBeatles 1&rdquo containing 27 songs, all of which hit the top position on the charts either in Britain or America. Since &ldquoSomething&rdquo topped the charts in the US, it earned its rightful place on this excellent compilation album. This album itself topped the album charts worldwide and sold over 31 million copies as of 2017. A remastered version of the CD was released in September of 2011, while a newly mixed version was released on November 6th, 2015.

The above described new mix/mashup of &ldquoSomething&rdquo was contained on the November 20th, 2006 release &ldquoLove,&rdquo which was put together by George and Giles Martin to be used in conjunction with the Cirque du Soleil show of the same name. The track was titled &ldquoSomething (with 'Blue Jay Way' transition)&rdquo which combined elements of both songs as well as others. This successful album peaked at #4 on the Billboard album chart.

In promotion of the remastered Beatles catalog, the "09.09.09 Sampler" was distributed to retailers and radio programmers on September 9th, 2009, "Something" being featured therein. This has become quite the find for collectors.

On September 27th, 2019, various editions of "Abbey Road" were released to commemorate its 50th Anniversary that featured interesting versions of "Something." The Deluxe set, which was made available in a 2CD set, contains the newly created Giles Martin mix of the entire album and the full February 25th, 1969 demo that George recorded of "Something," while the "Super Deluxe" 3CD + Blu-ray edition and the "Triple Vinyl" edition contains both of these versions as well as the beautiful orchestral score George Martin created for the song.

Not to be forgotten are both George Harrison live albums that contain &ldquoSomething,&rdquo the first being &ldquoThe Concert For Bangladesh,&rdquo which was released on December 20th, 1971 and reached #2 on the Billboard album chart. So respected was this triple-album that it won the Grammy for &ldquoAlbum Of The Year&rdquo in 1973. It first appeared on compact disc on July 30th, 1991 and then as a remastered release on October 24th, 2005.

The second album to feature George performing &ldquoSomething&rdquo on stage was &ldquoLive In Japan,&rdquo which was released on July 13th, 1992. While peaking at a disappointing #126 on the Billboard album chart, reviews were very favorable. For instance, AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine says that it &ldquoeasily surpasses Paul McCartney's double-disc 'Tripping The Live Fantastic' or 'Paul Is Live.' Not bad for a guy who doesn't like to give concerts."

Paul took to performing tribute performances of "Something" during his shows, three live renditions being released in the US. The first was Paul's "Back In The US" album, which was recorded somewhere between April 1st and May 18th, 2002 and released on November 11th, 2002. The second was "Concert For George," which was performed on November 29th, 2002 and released on November 17th, 2003. The third was Paul's "Good Evening New York City," this performance being recorded sometime between July 17th and 21st, 2009 and released on November 17th, 2009.

By October of 1969, The Beatles were well past the live performance stage of their career, so they never performed "Something" live as a group.

However, as a means of promoting the single, a film clip was made by Apple Films, produced by longtime roadie and associate Neil Aspinall, to be shown on television. The Beatles couldn't be bothered to appear together, they all pretty much going their separate ways after &ldquoAbbey Road&rdquo was complete, but they all agreed to be filmed separately at their individual residences so that Neil could create a composite film clip. The footage is thought to have been filmed sometime in October of 1969.

Appropriate for the lyrical content of the song, each Beatle was filmed in outdoor settings with his wife. John and Yoko were filmed at 'Tittenhurst,' their new home near Ascot, George and Pattie were at 'Kinfauns' in Esher, and Ringo and Maureen were at their 'Brookfield' home in Elstead. As for Paul and Linda, after the album was done they quickly retreated to Paul's Scottish farm on the Mull of Kintyre, staying there almost until Christmas that year. In order to cooperate with the proceedings, he agreed to send film footage of him and Linda, so he tied a camera to the back of a tractor, stepped back to show himself and Linda in the picture, and then sent the film to Neil for inclusion in the film clip.

This charming promo film was shown only once in Britain, on the BBC1 show &ldquoTop Of The Pops&rdquo on November 13th, 1969, although it was only in black and white. It was also seen in the U.S. on the show &ldquoMusic Scene&rdquo in the later months of 1969. It was, however, included within the &ldquoAnthology&rdquo TV series and video release of 1995 as well as in a remarkably restored condition on the &ldquoBeatles 1+&rdquo DVD / Blu-Ray box set released on November 6th, 2015.

Although George didn't have an extensive stage career after The Beatles, he was proud enough of &ldquoSomething&rdquo to include it in many appearances he did make. The legendary &ldquoConcert For Bangladesh,&rdquo held at Madison Square Garden in New York City on August 1st, 1971, included the song for both shows, &ldquoSomething&rdquo being the second song George performed for the afternoon show and the next-to-last song for the evening performance. The song was also in the set list for George's 1974 North American Tour, which stretched from November 2nd (Vancouver, British Colombia) to December 20th (Madison Square Garden, New York City). Interestingly, during these 1974 performances George would habitually change the lyrics in the bridge from "I don't know" to "I hope so."

George's brief tour of Japan in December of 1991 included the song as well, this tour stretching from December 1st (Yokohama) to the 17th (Tokyo). A different lyrical change to the song has been heard during some of these Japanese shows, namely "You stick around, Jack, it might show" in imitation to Frank Sinatra's rendition of the song. His final full concert performance was on April 6th, 1992 at London's Royal Albert Hall with Ringo on drums. &ldquoSomething&rdquo was included in this set list which consisted primarily of the same songs as his Japanese tour from four months prior.

After George's death, Paul thought to put together a performance of "Something," what he viewed as his best composition, as a tribute to his former bandmate during his tours. First off, Paul's rendition of "Something," which partially included him playing a good portion of the song on George's later instrument of choice, the ukulele, was included on his "Driving World" tour, which stretched from April 1st (Oakland, California) to November 18th, 2002 (Osoka, Japan). Then came Paul's performance at the "Concert For George," which occured on November 29th, 2002 at London's Royal Albert Hall. He then included it in his "Back In The World" tour, spanning from March 25th (Paris, France) to June 1st, 2003 (Liverpool, England). The song was also included in the "Summer Live ཅ" tour, stretching from July 17th (Citi Field, New York City, New York) to August 19th, 2009 (Arlington, Texas). Then came the "Good Evening Europe" tour, spanning from December 2nd (Hamburg, Germany) to December 22nd, 2009 (London, England). Next was the "Up And Coming" tour, stretching from March 28th, 2010 (Glendale, California) to June 10th, 2011 (Las Vegas, Nevada).

His "On The Run" tour was next, which spanned from July 15th, 2011 (New York City, New York) to November 29th, 2012 (Edmonton, Canada). He also included the song in his "Out There" tour, which stretched from May 4th, 2013 (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) to October 22nd, 2015 (Buffalo, New York). His "One To One" tour also includes the song, this tour spanning from April 13th, 2016 (Fresno, California) to December 16th, 2017 (Aukland, New Zealand). His "Freshen Up" tour was next to include "Something," which ran from September 17th, 2018 (Quebeck City, Canada) to July 13th, 2019 (Los Angeles, California).

During a good portion of The Beatles career, it would be easy to recognize the George Harrison composition or two on a Beatles album. Although they were respectable components to the LP, they may nonetheless have been viewed as token offerings allowed as a favor to the flegling songwriter.

George Martin, in the &ldquoBeatles Anthology&rdquo book, admits this to be true. "I think the trouble with George was that he was never treated on the same level as having the same quality of songwriting, by anyone &ndash by John, by Paul or by me. I'm as guilty in that respect. I was the guy who used to say: 'If he's got a song, we'll let him have it on the album' &ndash very condescendingly. I know he must have felt really bad about that. Gradually he kept persevering, and his songs did get better &ndash until eventually they got extremely good. 'Something' is a wonderful song &ndash but we didn't give him credit for it, and we never really thought, 'He's going to be a great songwriter.'" George Harrison's bitterness about their attitude toward his songs, unfortunately, got the best of him, as he said in a conversation that was recorded by Anthony Fawcett during an Apple meeting in Autumn of 1969, &ldquoMaybe now I just don't care whether you're going to like them or not. I just do 'em.&rdquo

In the later Beatles albums, the increased songwriting quality of George's songs were quite unexpected and, therefore, surprised many listeners that he indeed was the composer of said songs. As Paul relates in the "Anthology" book: "I think Frank Sinatra used to introduce 'Something' as his favorite Lennon / McCartney song. Thanks Frank!" Also from "Anthology," George recalls: &ldquoI met Michael Jackson somewhere at the BBC. The fellow interviewing us made a comment about 'Something,' and Michael said: 'Oh, you wrote that? I thought it was a Lennon / McCartney.'&rdquo

Like them, we all may have been pleasantly surprised after looking closer at the record label to see the name &ldquoGeorge Harrison&rdquo listed under the name of this song. Once we did, however, smiles and raised eyebrows were probably our reaction. Overwhelming praise for the song soon became universal, George finally getting his due as a composer. Testimony to this is the fact that it has become the most covered Beatles song in their entire catalog, second only to &ldquoYesterday.&rdquo

&ldquoIt was beautiful,&rdquo Ringo exclaimed. &ldquoGeorge was blossoming as a songwriter. With 'Something' and 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' &ndash are you kidding me? Two of the finest love songs ever written, and they're really on a par with what John and Paul or anyone else of that time wrote.&rdquo Elton John expressed his admiration to Rolling Stone magazine by saying: &ldquo'Something' is probably one of the best love songs ever, ever, ever written. It's better than 'Yesterday,' much better. It's like the song I've been chasing for the last thirty-five years.&rdquo

And probably the best example of praise for &ldquoSomething&rdquo was what Frank Sinatra would say when introducing the song for his live performances: &ldquoIt's one of the best love songs, I believe, to be written in 50 or 100 years &ndash and it never says 'I Love You' in the song. But it really is one of the finest!&rdquo

&ldquoSomething&rdquo
Written by: George Harrison


British Secretary of War John Profumo resigns amid sex scandal

On June 5, 1963, British Secretary of War John Profumo resigns his post following revelations that he had lied to the House of Commons about his sexual affair with Christine Keeler, an alleged prostitute. At the time of the affair, Keeler was also involved with Yevgeny 𠇎ugene” Ivanov, a Soviet naval attache who some suspected was a spy. Although Profumo assured the government that he had not compromised national security in any way, the scandal threatened to topple Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s government.

John Dennis Profumo was appointed secretary of war by Macmillan in 1960. As war minister, he was in charge of overseeing the British army. The post was a junior cabinet position, but Profumo looked a good candidate for future promotion. He was married to Valerie Hobson, a retired movie actress, and the Profumos were very much at the center of “swinging �s” society in the early 1960s. One night in July 1961, John Profumo was at the Cliveden estate of Lord 𠇋ill” Astor when he was first introduced to 19-year-old Christine Keeler. She was frolicking naked by the Cliveden pool.

Keeler was at Cliveden as a guest of Dr. Stephen Ward, a society osteopath and part-time portraitist who rented a cottage at the estate from his friend Lord Astor. Keeler was working as a showgirl at a London nightclub when she first met Dr. Ward. Ward took her under his wing, and they lived together in his London flat but were not lovers. He encouraged her to pursue sexual relationships with his high-class friends, and on one or more occasions Keeler apparently accepted money in exchange for sex. Ward introduced her to his friend Ivanov, and she began a sexual relationship with the Soviet diplomat. Several weeks after meeting Profumo at Cliveden, she also began an affair with the war minister. There is no evidence that either of these men paid her for sex, but Profumo once gave Keeler some money to buy her mother a birthday present.

After an intense few months, Profumo ended his affair with Keeler before the end of 1961. His indiscretions might never have come to public attention were it not for an incident involving Keeler that occurred in early 1963. Johnny Edgecombe, a West Indian marijuana dealer, was arrested for shooting up the exterior of Ward’s London flat after Keeler, his ex-lover, refused to let him in. The press gave considerable coverage to the incident and subsequent trial, and rumors were soon abounding about Keeler’s earlier relationship with Profumo. When Keeler confirmed reports of her affair with Profumo, and admitted a concurrent relationship with Ivanov, what had been cocktail-party gossip grew into a scandal with serious security connotations.

On March 21, 1963, Colonel George Wigg, a Labour MP for Dudley, raised the issue in the House of Commons, inviting the member of government in question to affirm or deny the rumors of his improprieties. Wigg forced Profumo’s hand, not, he claimed, to embarrass the Conservative government but because the Ivanov connection was a matter of national security. Behind closed doors, however, British intelligence had already concluded that Profumo had not compromised national security in any way and found little evidence implicating Ivanov as a spy. Nevertheless, Wigg had raised the issue, and Profumo had no choice but to stand up before Parliament on March 22 and make a statement. He vehemently denied the charges, saying “there was no impropriety whatsoever in my acquaintanceship with Miss Keeler.” To drive home his point, he continued, “I shall not hesitate to issue writs for libel and slander if scandalous allegations are made or repeated outside the House.”

Profumo’s convincing denial defused the scandal for several weeks, but in May Dr. Stephen Ward went on trial in London on charges of prostituting Keeler and other young women. In the highly sensationalized trial, Keeler testified under oath about her relationship with Profumo. Ward also wrote Harold Wilson, leader of the Labour opposition in Parliament, and affirmed that Profumo had lied to the House of Commons. On June 4, Profumo returned from a holiday in Italy with his wife and confessed to Conservative leaders that Miss Keeler had been his mistress and that his March 22 statement to the Commons was untrue. On June 5, he resigned as war minister.

Prime Minister Macmillan was widely criticized for his handling of the Profumo scandal. In the press and in Parliament, Macmillan was condemned as being old, out-of-touch, and incompetent. In October, he resigned under pressure from his own government. He was replaced by Conservative Alec Douglas-Home, but in the general election in 1964 the Conservatives were swept from power by Harold Wilson’s Labour Party.

Dr. Stephen Ward fell into a coma after attempting suicide by an overdose of pills. In his absence, he was found guilty of living off the immoral earnings of prostitution and died shortly after without regaining consciousness. Christine Keeler was convicted of perjury in a related trial and began a prison sentence in December 1963. John Profumo left politics after his resignation and dedicated himself to philanthropy in the East End of London. For his charitable work, Queen Elizabeth II named him a Commander of the British Empire, one of Britain’s highest honors, in 1975.

Keeler’s autobiography, The Truth at Last: My Story was published in 2001. She died on December 4, 2017. Profumo died on March 10, 2006, two days after suffering a stroke. 


What Did The Whig Party Stand For?

The Whigs were an opposition party formed to challenge Jacksonian Democrats, thereby launching the ‘second party system’ in America, but they were far from a single-issue party. Their ranks included members of the Anti-Masonic Party and democrats who were disenchanted with the leadership of seventh President Andrew Jackson. Their base combined unusual bedfellows: Evangelical Protestants interested in moral reform, abolitionists and those against the harsh treatment of Native Americans under Andrew Jackson in his rush to expand the country’s borders. In 1830, Jackson had signed the Indian Removal Act, but then ignored its tenets when he forced thousands of Choctaw to journey to Indian Territory on foot in what became known as “The Trail of Tears.” 

Some Whig leaders used anti-party rhetoric, though they were very much a political party on par with the democrats they opposed. Their diverse base meant the Whigs had to be many things to many voters𠅊 delicate balancing act.

Whigs were united in their support of the Second Bank of the United States (an institution Andrew Jackson deplored) and vocal opponents of Jackson’s propensity for ignoring Supreme Court decisions and challenging the Constitution. Whigs generally supported higher tariffs, distributing land revenues to states and passing relief legislation in response to the financial panics of 1837 and 1839. They were not formally an anti-slavery party, but abolitionists had more in common with the Whigs than the pro-slavery Jacksonian Democrats (Jackson was a vocal proponent of slavery and personally owned as many as 161 enslaved people). As the country hurtled toward Westward expansion, it was the issue of slavery that would be the ultimate downfall of the Whigs.


How George Washington Did His Hair

George Washington’s hairstyle is iconic and simple enough that most Americans can probably recall it in an instant — or they can at least refresh their memory by pulling out a dollar bill or a quarter. It was pulled back from his forehead and puffy on the sides, colored grey-white perhaps like many wigs of the day. But Washington never wore a wig. At National Geographic, Robert Krulwich writes that he was stunned to learn this fact from Ron Chernow’s book Washington: A Life. Krulwich explains:

Turns out, that hair was his. All of it—the pigtail, the poofy part in the back, that roll of perfect curls near his neck. What’s more (though you probably already guessed this), he wasn’t white-haired. There’s a painting of him as a young man, with Martha and her two children, that shows his hair as reddish brown, which Chernow says was his true color.

The painting, The Courtship of Washington by John C. McRae , was painted in 1860, long after Washington’s death in 1799. But a project out of the University of Virginia called The Papers of George Washington also confirms that the first president’s natural hair color was light brown. The style he favored wasn’t fancy, though it may appear so to modern eyes. It was a military style called a queue, "the 18th-century equivalent of a marine buzz cut," Krulwich writes. With charming illustrations, artist Wendy MacNaughton brings to life Washington’s routine — the gathering, enthusiastic yank back to try and broaden the forehead, fluffing of the hair on the side and the powdering.

Even if Washington didn’t wear a wig — as some of his contemporaries sported — he did powder his hair to get that white look. It may also have been the fashion in America to wear less elaborate wig styles , if one wore a wig at all. By the late 18th century, wigs were starting to go out of style. So Washington could have been fashion-forward in his military simplicity. Still, the powdering was a chore involving a robe to protect clothes, a cone to protect the face and sometimes special bellows to puff the powder evenly. But Washington’s use of powder raises the question, how did he avoid the look of permanent dandruff? Krulwich writes:

[Betty Myers, a master wigmaker at Colonial Williamsburg in Vierginia], says that’s why Washington bunched his ponytail into a silk bag, to keep from leaving a white windshield wiper splay of powder on his back when he was dancing with the ladies (which he liked to do). As for keeping the powder off one’s shoulders, how Washington did that—if he did do that—nobody could tell me. Probably every powder-wearing guy in the 1760s knew the secret, but after a couple of centuries, whatever Washington did to stay spotless is lost to us.

It’s possible that the same solution that helped Washington’s hair rolls stay fluffy also kept the powder sticking — greasy hair and lots of pomade. Bathing and washing hair frequently wasn’t a popular activity, so powders also solved the problem of smelly unwashed heads — they were perfumed. It’s a good thing fashions change.

About Marissa Fessenden

Marissa Fessenden is a freelance science writer and artist who appreciates small things and wide open spaces.


Whig and Tory

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Whig and Tory, members of two opposing political parties or factions in England, particularly during the 18th century. Originally “Whig” and “Tory” were terms of abuse introduced in 1679 during the heated struggle over the bill to exclude James, duke of York (afterward James II), from the succession. Whig—whatever its origin in Scottish Gaelic—was a term applied to horse thieves and, later, to Scottish Presbyterians it connoted nonconformity and rebellion and was applied to those who claimed the power of excluding the heir from the throne. Tory was an Irish term suggesting a papist outlaw and was applied to those who supported the hereditary right of James despite his Roman Catholic faith.

The Glorious Revolution (1688–89) greatly modified the division in principle between the two parties, for it had been a joint achievement. Thereafter most Tories accepted something of the Whig doctrines of limited constitutional monarchy rather than divine-right absolutism. Under Queen Anne, the Tories represented the resistance, mainly by the country gentry, to religious toleration and foreign entanglements. Toryism became identified with Anglicanism and the squirearchy and Whiggism with the aristocratic, landowning families and the financial interests of the wealthy middle classes.

The death of Anne in 1714, the manner in which George I came to the throne as a nominee of the Whigs, and the flight (1715) of the Tory leader Henry St. John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke, to France conspired to destroy the political power of the Tories as a party.

For nearly 50 years thereafter, rule was by aristocratic groups and connections, regarding themselves as Whigs by sentiment and tradition. The die-hard Tories were discredited as Jacobites, seeking the restoration of the Stuart heirs to the throne, though about 100 country gentlemen, regarding themselves as Tories, remained members of the House of Commons throughout the years of the Whig hegemony. As individuals and at the level of local politics, administration, and influence, such “Tories” remained of considerable importance.

The reign of George III (1760–1820) brought a shift of meanings to the two words. No Whig Party as such existed at the time, only a series of aristocratic groups and family connections operating in Parliament through patronage and influence. Nor was there a Tory Party, only Tory sentiment, tradition, and temperament surviving among certain families and social groups. The so-called King’s Friends, from whom George III preferred to draw his ministers (especially under Lord North [afterward 2nd earl of Guilford], 1770–82), came from both traditions and from neither. Real party alignments began to take shape only after 1784, when profound political issues that deeply stirred public opinion were arising, such as the controversy over the American Revolution.

After 1784 William Pitt the Younger emerged as the leader of a new Tory Party, which broadly represented the interests of the country gentry, the merchant classes, and official administerial groups. In opposition, a revived Whig Party, led by Charles James Fox, came to represent the interests of religious dissenters, industrialists, and others who sought electoral, parliamentary, and philanthropic reforms.

The French Revolution and the wars against France soon further complicated the division between parties. A large section of the more moderate Whigs deserted Fox and supported Pitt. After 1815 and a period of party confusion, there eventually emerged the conservatism of Sir Robert Peel and Benjamin Disraeli, earl of Beaconsfield, and the liberalism of Lord John Russell and William Ewart Gladstone, with the party labels of Conservative and Liberal assumed by each faction, respectively. Although the label Tory has continued to be used to designate the Conservative Party, Whig has ceased to have much political meaning.


Wigg, Ronald George

Ronald George Wigg was born in Auckland on 20th October 1914 and worked for an insurance company after leaving school. He travelled to England in April 1938, applied for a short service commission in the RAF and was accepted.

Wigg began his initial training course at 8 E&RFTS Woodley on 25th July 1938. He was posted to 7 FTS Peterborough on 1st October, moving on 21st November to 8 FTS Montrose. He finished his training at 2 FTS Brize Norton and 6 ATS Warmwell.

On 4th August 1939 Wigg joined 65 Squadron at Hornchurch. Still with 65 Squadron in late May 1940, he took part in operations over Dunkirk.

On 12th August at Manston the squadron was lined up for take off, in vics of three, with engines running. Unable to hear, the pilots did not realise the airfield was being bombed. As they raced across the grass, tails up, bombs exploded amongst them.

Blast from one which burst near Wigg overcame the Spitfire's slipstream and stopped the propellor, leaving him in the middle of a smoke-swept field. He exited rapidly and went to shelter.

Wigg was posted away to 55 OTU Aston Down on 25th February 1941 as an instructor. On 12th November Wigg sailed from Liverpool, on his way to 73 OTU Aden, finally arriving there on 4th January 1942.

In mid-September 1942 Wigg was posted to the Middle East and joined No. 1 (SAAF) Squadron in the Western Desert on the 25th. He flew with the squadron throughout the Battle of El Alamein.

In late January 1943 Wigg went to HQ 206 Group Aboukir, to be a test pilot on Hurricanes and Spitfires. He remained there until late July 1945 when he was posted for return to the UK.

On 1st August Wigg transferred to the RNZAF. He sailed for New Zealand on 30th November 1945 and was released from the RNZAF on 14th April 1946 as a Squadron Leader.


Virginia Surnames and Families with Possible Jewish (and Muslim) Roots

In our continuing series of notes on colonial genealogies, we give here the the complete appendix containing all early lists of emigrants to Virginia, taken from Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America (2012). This was the second volume in a series that began with When Scotland Was Jewish (2007) and concludes this month (May 2014) with the publication of The Early Jews and Muslims of England and Wales: A Genetic and Genealogical History.

Are any of your colonial ancestors listed? If they are it is likely they bore Jewish ancestry, even if they did not practice Judaism and even if they presented themselves as Christian.

Left: As discussed in the associated chapter, “Virginia – First and Not So English – Colony,” William Byrd was undoubtedly crypto-Jewish.

From the book by Hirschman and Yates
“William Byrd, the ancestor of the Byrds of Virginia, was the son of John Bird, a London goldsmith.[i] The earliest firm genealogical record for the family is mention of a Thomas Bird, apprenticed to Henry Sacheverell (Hebrew anagram),[ii] vintner, in 1608, subsequently admitted to the Wine Merchants Company in 1616. Thomas Bird married his first cousin Elizabeth Bird. It was Thomas’ son, John who became a goldsmith. What is transparent from these records, given the occupations of wine merchant and goldsmith and first cousin marriage, is that the Birds/Byrds were Jewish. Byrd was not an English name before this family became prominent. The first of that name probably came to England as a court musician like the Sephardic Anthons mentioned earlier: a relative was William Byrd, the Renaissance court composer (circa 1540-1623). Publicly they were not Jewish, as Jews were officially banned from England until 1664. They were privately Jewish or crypto-Jewish as so many other persons in London at the time. It is likely that at least the first generation officially practiced Catholicism, the religion of their parent country. English custom in London and other major cities allowed Spanish and Portuguese Jews as foreigners to worship at their own parish churches, which were presumed to be Catholic.

“William Byrd came to Virginia at the request of his uncle Captain Thomas Stegge, who was childless and designated William his heir. Although the exact date is unknown, his arrival was probably around 1670. The Stegges were traders with the Indians, primarily Catawbas and Cherokees, another profession markedly Jewish. Upon reaching adulthood and receiving his inheritance, Bird entered the lucrative triangular trade between Virginia, Barbados and Africa. Tobacco, deerskins, sugar, rum, and slaves were the primary commodities of exchange. Typically, those who plied this trade imported slaves from Portuguese middlemen off the Guinea Coast of Africa. In Barbados, rum and sugar were taken onboard to be transported to Virginia. American planters paid for rum, sugar and slaves in tobacco or deerskins and received credit in England or Scotland paid out to them in manufactured goods supplied on the steady stream of ships carrying new colonists. Except for the profit margins of the merchants, frequently Jews, no money changed hands, this only in England, thus preserving the mother country’s prohibition about allowing specie to flow into the colonies or accumulate there.

“In 1673 Byrd married Mary Horsmanden, whose lineage goes back to the St. Leger family of Cornwall mentioned in chapter one. Very importantly, biographer Alden Hatch tells us that this St. Leger family traced its ancestry back to Baudoin III, King of Jerusalem during the Crusades, who was evidently of Jewish descent. Byrd soon became Receiver General of the King’s Revenue, as well as Auditor of Virginia. As Hatch notes, he both collected the taxes and audited them!

“There are other strong cues regarding Bird’s ancestry and religious leanings. Hatch states that Byrd “regarded Catholics as but one degree above the devils from hell.” In 1699 when the Huguenots were under attack once again by a Catholic monarch, it was William Byrd of Virginia who championed their cause. About three hundred of them were brought to safety in Virginia and another two hundred the following year. “Largely as a result of the arguments presented by William Byrd to the Board of Trade, between 700 and 800 [Huguenots] settled in Virginia.”[iii] Such activities are in complete conformity with the efforts begun in the late 1500s by Raleigh and Drake to settle their Sephardic and Morisco kinsmen in the New World. Both Raleigh and Drake had assisted the Huguenots in France before and after the infamous St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572. In the 1705 edition of his History, Robert Beverley wrote of “the Goodness and generosity of Colonel Byrd toward these distressed Huguenots.” Beverly goes on to say,

Upon their first Arrival in that country, he [Byrd] received them with all the tenderness of a Father, and ever since has constantly given them the utmost assistance… employing all his Skill, and all his friends to advance their interest both publickly and privately…. What Liberties has he not all along allowed them on his own plantations to furnish themselves from thence Corn and other necessaries? His Mills have been at their Service to grind their Corn toll-free…. With what Zeal did he represent their Cause to the Assembly? And with what earnestness did he press all his Friends in their favor”? [iv]

Byrd was attended in his final days by one of them, his valet Jean Marat – who bears a common Sephardic/Arabic surname.

“William Byrd’s son William II was educated in England, where he learned Hebrew, Greek and Latin. Micajah Perry (nearly invariably a Sephardic name, as we have seen) was William Byrd, Sr.’s factor and agent in London and looked after William Byrd Jr.’s welfare as a student abroad. In 1705 young William returned to Virginia and took over the family’s several mercantile and milling interests. He had an avid interest in medicine and special fascination with the properties (and profits) in ginseng. This was a root gathered by Melungeons and shipped as far away as China during the late 1700s by Daniel Boone and John Jacob Astor (“from Asturia”). William Byrd II married Lucy Parke. Lucy’s sister Frances would later marry John Custis (Costas), probably of Sephardic ancestry.

“Hatch also reports from transcriptions of Byrd’s private diary that he would read one or two chapters of the Bible in Hebrew every morning. Since the Hebrew Bible does not contain the New Testament, we must assume that William was reading the Torah. Hatch continues, “Byrd was very strict about keeping the Sabbath. He would allow no work to be done that could possibly be avoided and even when it could not be helped… he was uneasy in his conscience and sought a Biblical excuse.” Also according to Hatch, Byrd “frequently ducked going to [Christian] church.” In our view, these descriptions illustrate crypto-Jewish behavior (appendix B).”

–pp. 55-56, Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America © Elizabeth Caldwell Hirschman and Donald N. Yates 2012

[i] Byrd perhaps translated from Hebrew Zipporah, used of both males and females. In Germany, the Jewish surnames Vogel, Fogel and Feiglin are examples (Gorr 87). In general, see Alden Hatch, The Byrds of Virginia: An American Dynasty, 1670 to the Present (New York: Holt, Rhinehart and Winston, 1969) esp. 36, 48, 51, 118, 141, 165. William Byrd the composer also married a cousin, Juliana (a favorite Jewish name) Byrd (1568). Their children were Christopher (a good crypto-Jewish name), Elizabeth, Rachel (Hebrew), Mary, Catherine, Thomas and Edward.

[ii] Sacheverell appears to be derived from a contraction of Hebrew zera kodesh “holy seed,” as in the names Sachs, Saks and the like (Menk 641).

[iii] The respective Huguenot ancestors of author Donald Yates and his wife Teresa, Jean Pierre Bondurant (from Bon and Duran) and Pierre Prevot/Prevatt (Templar name from the Channel Islands), came on the same ship the Peter and Anthony.

[iv] Robert Beverley, The History of the Present State of Virginia (London: R. Parker, 1705).

Lists of Emigrants to Virginia 1585-1700

Given in this appendix are traditional lists of names for the earliest colonists in Virginia. The names generally are listed in the order and spelling of the source records. We have added some glosses and annotations in parentheses and notes.

The Names of Lane’s Colonists (1585)

The names of all those… that remained one whole yeere in Virginia under the Governement of Master Ralfe Lane.[1] National Park Service.


George Wigg, Baron Wigg

George Edward Cecil Wigg, Baron Wigg PC ( November 28 , 1900 &ndash August 11 , 1983 ) was a British politician who only served in relatively junior offices but had a great deal of influence behind the scenes, especially with Harold Wilson . Wigg served in the British Army for almost all his career up to his election as Member of Parliament for Dudley in 1945. He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Emanuel Shinwell during the Attlee government.

According to veteran Press Association reporter Chris Moncrieff , Wigg was unpopular with Labour MPs [http://media.guardian.co.uk/presspublishing/story/0,,1728094,00.html] but managed to use procedure to place the Profumo affair on the record in Parliament and led the pursuit of Profumo which ultimately resulted in the latter's resignation. Wigg also played an important part in the aftermath of the failed prosecution of suspected serial killer John Bodkin Adams by questioning in Parliament the unusual conduct of the Prosecution led by Attorney-General, Reginald Manningham-Buller . [Cullen, Pamela V., "A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr John Bodkin Adams", London, Elliott & Thompson, 2006, ISBN 1-904027-19-9]

Wigg was already known for passing on gossip to Labour leader Harold Wilson, and when Labour won the 1964 election Wilson appointed Wigg as Paymaster-General . This was a cover as his real responsibilities were many and varied. He was Wilson's link to the Security Service and the Secret Intelligence Service. In November 1967, he was appointed Chairman of the Horserace Betting Levy Board (Wigg loved horse racing ) and left Parliament with a life peer age as Baron Wigg, of the Borough of Dudley .

He had been made a Privy Councillor in 1964.

External links

* [http://archives.lse.ac.uk/dserve.exe?dsqServer=lib-4.lse.ac.uk&dsqIni=Dserve.ini&dsqApp=Archive&dsqDb=Catalog&dsqCmd=Overview.tcl&dsqSearch=(RefNo='wigg') Catalogue of the Wigg papers] at the [http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/archive/Default.htm Archives Division] of the London School of Economics .

succession box
title= Member of Parliament for Dudley
years=1945&ndash1967
before= Cyril Lloyd
after=Donald Williams

Wikimedia Foundation . 2010 .

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