Louder Than War Neck Label

Louder Than War Neck Label

A British journalist Maureen Cleave, who followed the snowballing career of the Beatles, dies at 87.

In the February issue of 1963’s The Evening Standard, Maureen Cleave wrote: “The Beatles are the darlings of Merseyside. […] They are a vocal-instrumental group, three guitars and drums, and they don’t sound a bit like The Shadows, or anybody else for that matter.”

From the early days of the craze around the band, Cleave envisaged their potential and saw the Beatles as successors to the rock ‘n’ roll tradition: “It takes you back, doesn’t it? To the early days of rock ‘n’ roll”. Later she would be the one who captured a phrase by Lennon, causing the domino effect to their stardom in the United States.

A few writers suggested that the lyrics of some of the Beatles’ songs are associated with Cleave. Although no one will ever know if Norwegian Wood was inspired by her, Maureen Cleave will remain a pivotal figure in the band’s biography and the history of popular music.

Cleave was born in India in 1934. Raised in Ireland, she later moved to England where the future writer graduated from Oxford University and started working for The Evening Standard. Over her 40-year career in journalism, she made remarkable interviews with outstanding musicians of the era, including John Lennon and Bob Dylan.

All words by Irina Shtreis. More writing by Irina can be found in her author’s archive.

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