Kenneth Essex Who Played Viola for The Beatles Passed Away at 101

The violist who recorded ‘Yesterday’ with the iconic Fab Four at Abbey Road has died at the age of 101 after completing two charity walks to raise funds for hospital and hospice.

AceShowbizKenneth Essex, the classical musician who recorded “Yesterday” with The Beatles and the theme to “Fawlty Towers“, has died.

The viola maestro, who served in the Royal Navy during World War Two, went on to perform with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Amadeus Quartet and The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields before becoming an in-demand film and TV session musician.

Essex performed the title music to John Cleese‘s comedy series “Fawlty Towers”, the theme to “The French Lieutenant’s Woman“, and provided the music for long-running British TV hit “Last of the Summer Wine“.

He also joined the Fab Four in the studio at Abbey Road when they needed a viola sound on “Yesterday”, once revealing he was paid just “five guineas” for a “simple” half-session.

Essex hit the headlines during the pandemic when he raised funds for Moorfields Eye Hospital in London by walking 10 kilometres before his 100th birthday.

He repeated the charity walk for his 101st birthday this year to raise funds for Hospice Aid UK. He completed the challenge by walking “two 500m circuits from [his] house, each day for ten days.”

“I have been blessed with a musical talent, and have been very lucky to have had such an interesting musical career. I would like to give something back, and to help other people,” so he explained.

His viola playing also contributed to the backing tracks of Barbra Streisand, the Bee Gees, Michael Jackson, and Tom Jones. “Many people will not know me, but they have certainly heard my playing!” he said.

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