DID THE BEANO LES PAUL ADD ITS MAGIC TO WHITESNAKE?
From page 34 of Classic Rock Magazine March 2011
The Les Paul that Eric Clapton played on the Beano album was stolen soon afterwards and has never been seen again. But former Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden has a vintage Les Paul, and CR’s Hugh Fielder has a flashback...
The guitar that Eric Clapton played on the Beano album – a 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard with a sunburst finish – has, not surprisingly, become a holy grail for blues guitar enthusiasts. Unfortunately the guitar was stolen just a few months after the album was recorded, in July 1966, while Clapton was rehearsing with Cream. It has never resurfaced, although numerous rumours and theories have emerged instead. When a remastered version of the album was released in 1998 it included previously unpublished
photographs showing that the guitar’s pick-up covers had been removed, but there were no other distinguishing marks. Indeed Clapton now says there is no way of confirming the authenticity of the guitar. Cue a flashback from your reporter who reviewed gig for Sounds magazine in the dim and distant mid-70s. He cannot recall the gig, but he can remember sitting with Bernie Marsden, who told him that the guitar in his lap was the one Clapton played on the Beano album.
Bernie Marsden: would you buy a used Les paul from this man?
“You’re not entirely wrong,” Marsden chuckled recently when I tracked him down. “I bought a 1960 Les Paul Standard in 1974 when I was in Wild Turkey. This guy seemed particularly keen that I should have it. What clinched it was when he brought it to a gig at the Marquee. Suddenly it was as if I was using two amplifiers.
“Some months later I saw him again and he asked how I was getting on with the guitar. I said I was delighted. And it was only then that he told me that it had been Eric Clapton’s guitar, the one he used on the Beano album. I had no idea at the time that that guitar had been stolen.
“Now, I’m not saying that it is and I’m not saying that it isn’t. I don’t think there’s any way of knowing for sure. But both Jeff Beck and Jack Bruce cast knowing glances at it when they saw it.
“I do know it’s a special guitar. I call it The Beast because it’s such an animal. I played it constantly for the next 20 years, all through my time in Whitesnake.
“People ask me if I still have The Beast and I say, yeah, but it’s locked away now. Any 1960 Les Paul is worth a bit these days.”