On 12 July 2021, Watford Writers welcomed David Stark as our guest speaker.
Originally from Stanmore and Edgware in north London, David Stark started work for Premier Drums after leaving school, before joining Dick James Music, Decca Records and MAM Records as international press officer. He later moved over to the print side of the business, working for Billboard/Music & Media and editing such magazines as Sound Engineer & Producer before launching his own title, SongLink International, for songwriters and music publishers in 1993, which he still publishes today online.
"IT'S ALL TOO MUCH" features David's memories of growing up in the 1960s as a dedicated Beatles fan who was lucky enough to meet his musical heroes on various memorable occasions. From gate-crashing the Yellow Submarine film premiere in 1968 (aged just fifteen) and ending up sitting directly behind the group, to meeting all of them individually in some extraordinary circumstances, David has some highly entertaining stories about his many Beatles encounters which have never been told before.
As he says, “I was extremely lucky to have been in the right time and place to witness some of pop music’s most iconic moments during the late ’60s. Apart from gate-crashing the Yellow Submarine premiere (aged 15) in 1968, I was also at the Rolling Stones’ legendary Rock And Roll Circus film shoot where John Lennon played; watched Jimi Hendrix supporting The Who at the Saville Theatre in early 1967 with all the Beatles present; and was also there when Hendrix famously opened another legendary show in June ’67 with his sensational version of ‘Sgt. Pepper’.
“I was also present (and photographed) at John and Yoko’s court appearance following their infamous drug bust in 1968, and met them right up until they left for New York in 1971. I’ve also met Paul McCartney many times up to the present day, of which I have some great stories. I once introduced George Harrison to my mum at the Albert Hall, while another time I cheekily visited Ringo Starr with a pal to ask him out for a drink one Saturday night. By a mix of chutzpah, sheer nerve and luck I got to meet all the Beatles in person on many other occasions, and even received letters from them a couple of times.”
However, David’s stories don’t end with the 1960s, as he continued to encounter all the individual Beatles into the 1970s and beyond. He also knew the late Sir George Martin, who has his own chapter in the book, as does John Lennon’s legendary Aunt Mimi, whom David visited and became friends with just months after Lennon’s senseless murder in 1980. There are many other people associated with The Beatles who David has known or met over the years, including Dick James, Klaus Voormann, Bill Harry, Clive Epstein, Pete Shotton, Geoff Emerick, Tony Bramwell, Allen Klein, Alastair Taylor, Leslie Cavendish and others.
David is also a life-long drummer who plays with the Trembling Wilburys tribute band, as well as having played drums for The Quarrymen on one occasion. He was also responsible for the erection of an official Blue Plaque for the late Brian Epstein outside the old NEMS offices in London’s Argyll Street in 2014; and was one of a small group of fellow supporters who, in 2019, achieved the placing of a long-awaited Blue Plaque at 3 Savile Row to mark the Beatles’ final live appearance on the roof of Apple in 1969.
He is the recipient of a prestigious BASCA Gold Badge Award for services to the music industry, and in 2006 was inducted as a "Companion of LIPA", the performing arts school of which Sir Paul McCartney is Lead Patron. "It’s All Too Much" is David’s second book after co-writing "Inspirations - Original Lyrics and the Stories Behind The Greatest Songs" with Mike Read and Michael Randolfi in 1997.
Signed copies of It's All Too Much can be purchased from David - details on his website.