Mark Vaquer | Arkansas news, politics, opinion, restaurants, music, movies and art

Mark Vaquer 
Member since Apr 11, 2018

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Re: “The ballad of Fred and Yoko

I dealt with Fred as a customer for many years (mid 1980's thru the early 1990's), as well as a business partner for a short time. I used to drive to Charleston, SC (from Savannah, GA) almost every Sunday night to shop, visit and buy / trade Beatles vinyl. I got many, many great Beatles collectibles from him over the years, including Butcher covers, acetates & a UK 45 Apple Records Gold award for the single 'Hey Jude' that Lennon had gifted to him while he was staying at the Dakota hanging out with Yoko in the early 1970's. The 1st time I met him, he started talking about being friends with all of The Beatles. He told me about spending time in the Dakota with John & Yoko as well as spending time with Paul & Linda while they were recording in Nashville. I was being very skeptical until he pulled his photo scrapbook with pictures of all of this including a picture (taken by John Lennon) of him and Yoko while he was holding John's Academy Award for 'Let it Be', which he told me was kept on top of the family refrigerator! He also mentioned that Paul sang 'Ob La Di Ob La Da' to him while playing the piano in the studio in Nashville while Fred was there visiting. Fred was also friends with George, Ringo & May Pang. I opened my own record store in 1987 in Savannah, GA and used to deal with Fred involving inventory, trades etc etc. He was always fair & helpful and full of knowledge. He always talked about us going up to NYC to visit Yoko, but it never happened; now I wish that I had done it! Fred had a store in downtown Charleston SC for years located on King Street. He later closed this location and moved the store to Rivers Ave in North Charleston. He closed this location in the early 1990's and moved to, and opened a CD / DVD / record store in Columbia SC that lasted several years. After this, I didn't have as much contact with him, but I did know that he had been arrested and was in jail, and I'm assuming it was related to his apparent attraction to underage boys (which I never really knew about while I was dealing with him). We kept in contact thru the mail the entire time he was incarcerated. After he was released, he moved to Little Rock, AR and I really don't know what happened for him to be homeless, but he still found the time to write, snail mail as well as email (from the library computer). I know that Yoko had helped him out because he sent me a copy of the $10,000 check that she had sent him when he had asked her for a computer! Around this time, he sent me an 'Imagine' long sleeved winter jacket that Yoko had gifted him, and may be the one mentioned in the Little Rock article. He would request food gift cards and I'd send them to him as much as I could afford. He had mentioned to me that he was homeless, but I really didn't know how bad it was. Then his letters stopped and I didn't hear from him. Then I discovered that he had been killed. Very sad end to a very interesting life. He was a very successful business owner when I knew him and I still to this day don't really understand how he ultimately became homeless. Very very sad & I miss him to this day. I know that while he was homeless, he had a storage room that he kept his belongings in, but I personally think that he had sold (or had stolen) most all of his Beatles collection and there wasn't much of it left.

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Posted by Mark Vaquer on 04/11/2018 at 1:39 PM


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