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First female musician to record with The Beatles talks to Freetime
ONE day it would be Paul McCartney, the next day, the Bee Gees, or perhaps Bing Crosby.
That was the kind of star studded daily routine Lane End harpist Sheila Bromberg used to lead.
Back in the 1960s the session musician would be asked to go along and play on various tracks, but would often not know who she was going to be working with until she turned up.
Her claim to fame, as she puts it, was that she was the first female musician to be on a recording with The Beatles, which was on Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Sheila played on the track She's Leaving Home.
Two years ago was the 50th anniversary of that album, and she was invited to appear on The One Show with Chris Evans to talk about her experience. She also met drummer Ringo Starr on the BBC one programme.
She said of her TV appearance: "It was brilliant. On the show I played yellow submarine and everyone joined in in the studio, it was great fun."
She told Freetime she is proud of her role on that famous album.
"It was an awfully long time ago now but still it's a worthwhile project and I enjoyed playing with them," she said.
Remembering that day in the mid 1960s, when she encountered a young Liverpudlian, whom she didn't instantly recognise, she explained: "We were booked to go to EMI studio 2 for 9am until midnight. In those days you never knew who you'd be working for. You were never told.
"You had to be very good sight readers so you could play whatever was put in front of you.
"I got to the studio early to tune the instrument.
"I walked in and there was Paul McCartney but I didn't recognise him at first.
"I was concentrating on what was written on the manuscript, then I turned around, heard the Liverpool accent and realised it was him.
"I hadn't got a clue, I had just talked to the other musicians and waited.
"In actual fact he was quite difficult to work with because he wasn't too sure what he actually wanted. He said 'no I don't want that, I want something...' but he couldn't describe what he wanted and I tried it all every which way."
She worked alongside producer George Martin that day, though Paul McCartney was the only member of the Beatles she worked with.
But famous faces were common in her career.
"We worked with lots and lots of famous people in the 60s and 70s when all the American recording artists used to come over here and work with us, the musicians, every year," she said.
"It was no big deal, I know that sounds a bit pompous but it was like that, you didn't know from one day to the next if you'd have Bing Crosby in the studio, or Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney."
She worked with the Bee Gees and was a musician on television shows like the Two Ronnies and Eric Morecambe. "It was a fascinating time," she added.
Although she is now retired Sheila still teaches music. To get in touch with her email firstname.lastname@example.org
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