Lizzie Bravo, Teenager Who Sang on Beatles Recording, Dies

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Lennon & Lizzie Bravo

John Lennon signs an autograph for Lizzie Bravo

Lizzie Bravo, the Beatles fan who was invited by Paul McCartney into one of the band’s 1968 recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios to sing “a high note,” died October 4, 2021, at age 70 in her native Brazil, of heart complications. The news was reported by several established Beatles news bloggers including The Daily Beatle.

Bravo’s tale of singing on a take of “Across the Universe” is one of those “amazing, but true” stories in Beatles lore: It was more than a dream come true for teenagers Lizzie Bravo (16) and her friend, Gayleen Pease (17). They were avid Beatles fans–so-called Apple Scruffs–who regularly hung around the entrance to EMI’s Abbey Road Studios, hoping for an encounter with their heroes. The Fab Four had graciously given the two girls autographs and posed for photos with them.

An undated photo of Paul McCartney and Lizzie Bravo (Photo via Bravo’s Facebook page)

Inside, the Fab Four had convened to record a single to release while they were on their upcoming sojourn to India with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi starting later that month. On that February day, they were recording a song in Studio Three written by John Lennon titled “Across the Universe,” and wanted to add high harmonies to its chorus. As no female backup singers were readily on call, the group decided to wing it and see if maybe the girls out front could sing the parts.

As The Daily Beatle notes, “There were only a handful of fans hanging around, waiting for them to come out that night. It was a Sunday and they were not usually in the studio on the weekends. The doorman had been kind and let them into the building to stay warm. Paul came out of the glass doors and asked, ‘Can any of you girls hold a high note?’ Now the girls were used to seeing the Beatles guys almost every day, but this evening was just a much nicer situation since they were inside and not outside the studios. For about two hours, Lizzie and Gayleen were with the Beatles in the studio, singing their contributions.”

“They started showing us the song and the lyrics. We were there for over two hours,” Bravo recalled.

Paul McCartney and Gayleen Pease

“We laughed and drank tea,” is how Bravo described the atmosphere for the two hours that she and Pease were inside the studio. They sang that song’s chorus “Nothing’s gonna change my world” a number of times.

A version without the girls’ vocals was included on Let It Be when it was issued in 1970. The girls’ contribution was included on the December 1969 album, No One’s Gonna Change Our World, a benefit disc for the World Wildlife Fund. It was later reissued on the British and American versions of Rarities and the second disc of the two-CD Past Masters album.

Listen to the outtake that contains the teens’ vocals

So how did the Brazilian native, Bravo, come to be in London? She explained it in an interview with Culture Sonar. “When The Beatles stopped touring at the end of 1966, my friend Denise and I realized we would never see them. She convinced her parents AND mine to send us to London as a gift for our 15th birthdays. The sole purpose of the trip was to see the Beatles. She went a few weeks ahead of me since my father was abroad, and he needed to sign for me to travel alone. I saw the four Beatles, Brian Epstein, and [personal assistant] Mal Evans the same day I arrived, leaving EMI Studios at night. They were recording Sgt. Pepper.”

Here’s an interview with Bravo and Pease many years later. The story begins at around the :33 mark.

Sadly, there’s more to report. A Best Classic Bands reader, James H., did some detective work and shared a clue that the former Gayleen Pease died earlier this year, also at the age of 70, in her native U.K. We’ve discovered her death notice from June 24, 2021.

Related: Links to 100s of current classic rock tours

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13 Comments so far

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  1. Mark
    #1 Mark 5 October, 2021, 21:14

    What a great inside story. These two young girls must have enjoyed telling their story of recording with the Beatles, throughout their later life.

    Reply this comment
  2. Dan
    #2 Dan 5 October, 2021, 23:11

    How ironic that both girls died at the same age. Together yet so very far apart.

    Reply this comment
  3. Mr. B
    #3 Mr. B 5 October, 2021, 23:30

    So sad that these ladies passed. Such a great story.

    Reply this comment
  4. Gene
    #4 Gene 6 October, 2021, 02:18

    How many such wonderful, untold Beatles fan stories can there still be? Bet they could fill books. And my favorite Beatles song to boot.

    Reply this comment
  5. Woody
    #5 Woody 6 October, 2021, 04:51

    Any singing credits? Royalties? Just curious, But the thrill of helping out, so to speak, had to be invaluable.

    Reply this comment
    • Paul
      Paul 8 October, 2021, 12:11

      Nobody gets royalties from singing. Writers get royalties. publishers also but not the singers. They make their money doing appearances. I worked as a musician for 20+ years and then worked at ASCAP for 20+ years so I know what I’m talking about. If artists got royalties I’d get a check quarterly.

      Reply this comment
  6. Garf
    #6 Garf 6 October, 2021, 09:18

    Rest in peace Lizzie. Wow your invited in to sing with the Beatles Johns song and also to have a song written by George Apple scrufffs FAB

    Reply this comment
  7. Paula
    #7 Paula 6 October, 2021, 10:20

    Thank you, what a wonderful story.

    Reply this comment
  8. Ang
    #8 Ang 6 October, 2021, 11:45

    Oh no,I am very sorry to hear this. My Heartfelt Condolences to her Family and friends

    Reply this comment
  9. Dev Ram
    #9 Dev Ram 6 October, 2021, 16:22

    Hare Krishna !

    Reply this comment
  10. Michael
    #10 Michael 6 October, 2021, 21:10

    Very sweet & well-sung.
    Far better than the frustratingly under-produced, widely released version.
    Should’ve kept it in.

    Reply this comment
  11. Mel
    #11 Mel 7 October, 2021, 08:36

    @my 71y I removed my glasses wiped my eyes and looked up.

    Reply this comment
  12. Petro
    #12 Petro 7 October, 2021, 16:23

    Great story! The ultimate Beatle fantasy. Such an amazing experience. Better than the lottery!

    Reply this comment

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