Former Tour Manager Writes of Life with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones

Former Tour Manager Writes of Life with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones

Chris O'Dell spent years assisting and touring with legends of the music industry: the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan. The dream job, she said, came about totally by accident.

O'Dell, who had full access to the homes, recording studios and personal lives of some of the greatest names in rock 'n' roll history, is breaking her silence about the experiences in her new memoir, "Miss O'Dell: My Hard Days and Long Nights With the Beatles, the Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and the Women They Loved."

O'Dell's lucky accident happened early in 1968. As she describes it in her book, she was at home one day, smoking a joint and watching television while waiting impatiently for a date who was two hours late.

Finally, he called, and invited her to meet Derek Taylor, who was the press agent for the Beatles.

O'Dell was ambivalent about the meeting but decided to go anyway.

"Oh, what the heck," she wrote in the book, describing her frame of mind. "Whatever happened, it would be better than sitting in my apartment all alone feeling sorry for myself."

She met Taylor, was bowled over and the rest is history. But that history has been carefully guarded, until now.

O'Dell Sees Key Moments Up Close

When O'Dell, 63, started working in the business, she ran errands or got lunch. Then, she was hired as a secretary and eventually became a personal assistant to Beatle George Harrison.

And then she became like family.

"It felt like you were in a place where everybody in the world wanted to be," she said in an interview with "Good Morning America."

"I was constantly aware that I was watching history in the making, and it was exciting."

Not only did O'Dell observe history, she helped make it, by singing in the chorus on the studio recording of the Beatles' hit "Hey Jude."

"Paul [McCartney] came up and said, 'Come on down. We're going to put some vocals on," the Tucson, Ariz., woman recalled. "At first, I just mouthed the words 'cause I thought, 'Oh, my God, I don't want to screw this up.' Then I realized, 'Wait a minute. There are a lot of voices here.' So then I got into it and it was fun."

An Ode to O'Dell

Harrison even wrote a song about her -- "Miss O'Dell" -- the B-side to the song "Give Me Love."

She toured with the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt and Phil Collins.

During the 1960s and 1970s, O'Dell saw the rise and fall of famous bands, their special parties, their affairs and the breakups. She kept it all to herself.

Indeed, she had her own secrets, which, she said included a brief affair with Ringo Starr when his first marriage was ending, and an affair with Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones. She even left the tour and flew from Dallas to Los Angeles to get drugs for the Stones' Keith Richards, she said.

Ultimately, she fell into addiction herself but, even so, thrived as one of the few female tour managers.

By the mid-1980s, O'Dell had grown tired of the life.

"I thought, 'I'm done. I can't do other people's lives anymore. I'm finished,'" O'Dell said. "You're up in the morning first thing to get everybody else up and to organize everything. And you're the last one to bed at night because you've got to get everything organized for the next day. So it was really hard work. I think I gained the respect of people, of men … because I worked really hard."

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...