Paul McCartney reunited with stolen guitar 51 years ago

  • By Andre Roden-Paul
  • BBC News

image source, Apple Films Ltd

image caption,

The 2021 Get Back documentary features footage of McCartney playing the iconic bass.

The bass guitar he used on Beatles hits including Love Me Too and She Loves You was stolen from the back of a van in London and reunited with Sir Paul McCartney 51 years later.

The Höfner bass was discovered in a man's room in Sussex thanks to a search for a project called Lost Bass.

Sir Paul bought the guitar in 1961. It was taken in West London in 1972.

A spokesman for the former Beatle said he was „incredibly grateful” for its return.

The hunt began after the star urged Hofner to find his beloved instrument. Bass was used on Love Me Too and She Loves You.

It reunited with Sir Paul on Sunday.

His spokesman said: Following the launch of the Last Boss project last year, Paul's 1961 Hafner 500/1 bass guitar, stolen in 1972, was returned.

„The guitar was recognized by Höfner and Paul is incredibly grateful to everyone involved.”

Speaking to BBC News, the team behind the Last Boss project said they were delighted to solve what they called „the biggest mystery in rock and roll history”.

„There's no evidence, no evidence of where it might be,” said journalist Scott Jones, who with his wife, Naomi, joined last year's search led by Hoffner Bass expert Nick Wass.

„It's amazing how quickly it was found and we've heard how delighted Paul McCartney was to get it back.

„It's the icing on the cake to know that bloke we all love is smiling tonight because his old guitar is back.”

image source, Last Pass Project

image caption,

Guitar expert Nick Wass examines the bass

The guitar was restored in late September and checked by experts to ensure it is authentic.

Fortunately the bass is complete and with its original case, but it will require some repairs to get it working again.

During their investigation, the team received tips about a theft from the back of a van in Notting Hill in October 1972.

They found it had been sold to the landlord of a pub, where it had been sitting in a man's room before moving to Sussex.

Speaking about why people came forward, journalist Ms Jones said: „People wanted to wish McCartney well and help, so all these people came forward because of that.

„The search is not about assigning blame. We said you can talk to us on an anonymous basis.”

John Lennon's stolen guitar sold for $2.4m (£1.9m) when it reappeared half a century later.

Additional reporting by Sean Seddon

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