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    Voorman, Klaus

    Artist and multi-instrumentalist who started out playing piano but was encouraged by his parents to pursue the graphic arts.  He was attending Meisterschule fur Gestaltung in Hamburg when offers started pouring in, prompting Klaus to drop out of school and take advantage of these work opportunities.  Seemingly everybody; ad agencies, magazines, and studios; wanted to avail themselves of Klaus's artistic abilities.  He found love in Hamburg with a photographer by the name of Astrid Kirchherr.  He also found music again.  One day, after he and Astrid had gotten into a fight, Klaus was drawn to the sounds emanating from the Kaiserkeller Club.  Here was the ticket:  Rory Storm & The Hurricanes, featuring a young Ringo Starr on drums, and The Silver Beetles.  Klaus was so enamoured of the music, he tried to get close to the band during a break, showing a sample of his art to John Lennon, who pretty much blew him off and pawned him off on Stu Sutcliffe.  It was the beginning of some lifelong friendships, but the end of his romantic relationship with Astrid, who started seeing Sutcliffe.  George Harrison and Ringo Starr were looking for a flatmate after John Lennon and Paul McCartney had moved out of their apartment to live with their significant others.  Voorman continued to pursue art and music in England, briefly played bass with The Eyes, and then went on to co-found Paddy, Klaus & Gibson with Eyes guitarist Paddy Chambers and drummer Gibson Kemp.  Brian Epstein signed them, but they never really went anywhere; Epstein was pretty busy with a little group called The Beatles; but Klaus's association with The Fab Four was only beginning.  Lennon, who had had little interest in Klaus's art at the Kaiserkeller Club, called to ask Klaus to design a cover for the Beatles latest album, Revolver.  Epstein openly weeped when he saw Klaus's cover, line drawings of The Beatles, sketched from memory.  In 1966, Klaus won a Grammy award for Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts, the first-ever award of its kind.  That same year, Voorman was being wooed by several bands that were looking for a bass player, and he elected to join Manfred Mann, with whom he would perform for three years.  He also played flute on "Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)", which went top ten in the U.S. and #1 in the U.K., the only Dylan-penned song to do so, in 1968.  Still in demand as an artist, Klaus designed the Idea cover for the Bee Gees.  Manfred Mann had had their run by 1969, and Klaus found himself once again being courted by Lennon, who had been invited to a benefit concert and said yes before actually having a band.  He scraped together Klaus, along with Eric Clapton and soon-to-be Yes drummer Alan White.  This concert; Live Peace in Toronto; was captured on vinyl in 1969.  This impressive crew of musicians would comprise The Plastic Ono Band, and release an eponymous studio album in 1970.  The same year found Klaus, Clapton, Bob Dylan, Billy Preston, and Ringo in the studio in support of George Harrison's landmark album, All Things Must Pass.  Klaus played bass on the album, which spent a combined fifteen weeks atop the U.K. and U.S. charts.  He continued his collaboration with Lennon on his 1971 release, Imagine, and eventually became a part of the burgeoning L.A. studio scene, supporting of The Beatles on Ringo's self-titled 1973 album.  He was also the bassist at George Harrison's groundbreaking Concert for Bangladesh.  Klaus and Ringo also did a cinematic turn, co-starring with Harry Nilsson in the 1974 release, Son of Dracula.  In the 1970s, Klaus began to get session work from non-Beatles, as well, and collaborated in tandem with The Band, Donovan, Dr. John, Peter Frampton, Art Garfunkel, Nicky Hopkins, Howlin' Wolf, Jim Keltner, B.B. King, Nicolette Larson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Keith Moon, Randy Newman, Lou Reed, Martha Reeves, Leon Russell, Carly Simon, and Gary Wright.  Frequently, Klaus could be found playing guitar, piano, and saxophone, as well as bass.  He returned to Germany in 1979 and tried his hand as producer on four albums for a band called Trio, who are probably best identified with the minimalist hit "Da Da Da".  In 1980, Klaus returned to the silver screen as Von Schnitzel in Popeye.  Trio broke up in 1986 but Klaus continued to produce for individual band members Peter Behrens and Stephan Remmler.  He unofficially retired from music in 1989, and turned his talents back to art, and authorship of a book entitled Hamburg Days, in cooperation with former flame Astrid Kirchherr.  The book is intended to be an artistic and literary recreation of their time spent in Hamburg in the early '60s.  Apple Records hired Klaus and Alfons Kiefer to design the CD jackets for The Beatles' Anthology albums.  The three covers are actually three parts of a triptych.  In 2003, Klaus released an autobiography with the unwieldy title Warum spielst du Imagine nicht auf dem weissen Klavier, John?  (The title translates into English as "Why Don't You Play "Imagine" on the White Piano, John?")  Klaus continues to pursue his first love; art; and as recently as 2007, Wet Wet Wet employed him to design the cover of their Timeless CD.  He is also working on a project, along with Stefan Gandl, to mark the anniversary of the release of Revolver .  The book is designed to look like an LP and features illustrations of the fourteen tracks from the album. 

     

    Sources:

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaus_Voormann
    2. http://www.klaus-voormann.com/biography
    3. http://www.warr.org/lennon.html
    4. http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/music/artist/bio/0,,506361,00.html#bio
    5. http://www.jpgr.co.uk/pctc252.html

        

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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