Gretsch Guitar Placed at the Imagine Memorial in Central Park
Representing the fourth generation of Gretsch musical-instrument manufacturers, Fred and Dinah Gretsch made a visit to New York City’s Central Park on December 8—the 30th anniversary of the assassination of legendary singer, composer, and musician John Lennon. The couple was there to place a Gretsch Historic Series acoustic guitar near the “Imagine” memorial within the Strawberry Fields area. The guitar was inscribed with the word “Imagine” as well as being signed by Fred and Dinah. It was their way of paying their respects to John Lennon and to all his fans.
Although the Gretsches have lived in Georgia for many years, Fred Gretsch spent his boyhood in the New York City area. “I was here in 1964 when the Beatles came,” says Fred. “Coming back to New York, where my family roots are, always kindles many tender reminiscences. But coming this time to honor John Lennon’s memory makes this visit especially poignant.”
Inside the tribute guitar placed by Fred and Dinah was a copy of a photo that’s near and dear to their hearts. It shows John Lennon playing a Gretsch guitar during the recording session for the Beatles’ classic hit “Paperback Writer” in 1966. The following reference to that guitar appears in the Beatles Gear book by Andy Babiuk:
“Keeping in step with their scheduled LP and 45 releases, the group set out to record a new single, ‘Paperback Writer.’ The April 13th session was photographically documented for The Beatles Monthly Book providing detailed information on the instruments used. New to their guitar line-up was a Gretsch Chet Atkins 6120 that Lennon used. The early-1960s orange-finished double-cutaway 6120 hollow body guitar had gold-plated hardware apart from its aluminum-colored Bigsby [vibrato tailpiece].”
Fred Gretsch adds, “Aside from the fact that John Lennon played that guitar, it’s special to me for another reason. It would have been made in the 1960s at the Gretsch factory in Brooklyn. My uncle, Fred Gretsch Jr., was running the company at that time. And ironically, Uncle Fred died in 1980—the same year in which John Lennon died.
“John’s music made an impression on millions of people around the world,” Fred concludes. “And it continues to do so, generation after generation. We placed the guitar at John’s memorial as a symbol that we hope will remind people of the power and importance of his music.”
See video clip of an interview with Mr. Gretsch here.