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Bert Weedon OBE

Past King Rat

Rats Register No. 734.

Initiated on 9th October 1983

Proposer: David Berglas. Seconder: Len Lowe

Offices held:
Trap Guard (1985).
Chief Trap Guard (1986).
Prince Rat (1990).
King Rat (1992).
Trustee (1994-1998).
Bert was an unassuming musician, who played the guitar with great technical accomplishment. He was also a great teacher of his instrument, especially to many millions whom he never met. This was accomplished by studying his manual 'Play In A Day', which first appeared in 1957. With this simple Guide young hopefuls learned the three basic chords that underpinned most of the simple rock and roll hits of the Elvis Presley era.

As Eric Clapton acknowledged: 'I'd never have felt the urge to press on without the tips and encouragement that'Play In A Day' gave me.' The early stars of British rock and roll who acknowledge Bert, as the 'Master' were Tommy Steele, Billy Fury, Adam Faith and Marty Wide. The Shadows acknowledged their debt to Bert by writing 'Mr Guitar' as a tribute to him.

Bert was born in East Ham, London. He was the youngest son of Bert & Elizabeth Weedon. His brother Maurice was a semi professional musician, but made his living in the Newspaper industry. Bert's passion for the guitar from a very early age led to his father buying him a rather battered instrument in the Petticoat Lane Market, when he was twelve, for the princely sum of 75p.

But his first attempts were not promising so he found an elderly teacher, James Newell, who said he would only teacher Bert the classic style of playing. Bert had one piece of advice which became his mantra "Practice hard all the time, study music and technique and when you play, even a scale, put everything you have into it".

Bert's early classical training later proved a great asset because it enabled him to play any form of music at sight jazz, beat, ballads, dance music, classical and even Spanish Flamenco. This lead to his playing with some of the big bands of the day Ted Heath, Mantovani, the Squadronaires and many others. But the plum job was as a featured soloist with the BBC Show Band show, which meant broadcasting three times a week in the country's top pop music show, this lasted for four years.

Bert was also a composer and among his many pieces are Guitar Boogie Shuffle, Apache, Nashville Boogie, Ginchy, Sorry Robbie etc. Because of his virtuosity in all fields of music also enabled him to accompany such artists as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, while at the other end of the scale he played for Benjamino Gigli (the great opera singer), and Paul Robeson.

Bert is also greatly admired by his Brother Water Rats, including Brian May (of Queen), Nikko McBrain (of 'Iron Maiden'), Gordon Giltrap and David Berglas his Proposer into the Order. Bert sadly lost his best friend Jim Marshall (of Marshall Amplifications) only two weeks before his own death.

Bert is survived by his beloved wife Maggie, His two sons, Geoff & Lionel, and his grand children.
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