This story was written by Craig Cook for the Advertiser newspaper.
As a young artist in the swinging sixties, Peter Findlay found he could make a few quid – and impress a fair few girls – by drawing pictures of the Beatles.
Little did he think he would actually get to meet the superstars.
The 20-year-old gave Bob Francis and Ron Tremain, the men responsible for bringing the Beatles to Adelaide, free paintings of themselves.
They were so impressed they commissioned him to paint John, Paul, George and Ringo.
On Friday June 12, 1964, as Findlay waited nervously in the South Australian Hotel to meet the Beatles, calamity struck. “The picture of John Lennon was lying on the floor when some clumsy fool stood on it,” said Findlay, now an established international artist. “The glass smashed, leaving a scar on John’s face.”
Findlay rang a framer, who within minutes, desperately protecting a pane of glass, was pushing through the crowd of 15,000 screaming fans outside the hotel.
John, Paul and George – Ringo was too ill to travel to Adelaide and was replaced by drummer Jimmy Nichol – were thrilled with their portraits.
“I told John the story of what had happened and he said ‘I rather like the idea of getting a footprint on my cheek’, said Findlay, perfectly imitating a Liverpool accent.
Lennon scribbled a lengthy thank you note to him.
His paintings were taken to England and have appeared in several books on the Beatles. George Harrison’s portrait had pride of place above the fireplace at his Californian home.