Many musicians I interviewed came from backgrounds where money and luxuries were in short supply. Fortunately for these artists, though, their parents managed to provide them with a guitar or other instrument and, most important, the encouragement to play music. This proved true when the parents were not musically inclined themselves. I’d first met the late George Harrison’s parents back when the Beatles were at their peak. I thought how wonderful it must be for them to witness their son’s achievements.
When I interviewed George for this project, he explained that his parents’ love of music had ignited his desire to play guitar: ‘Neither of my parents were musicians, but they did have an upright piano in the house, and my dad, who was a merchant seaman, bought a lot of records and a wind-up gramophone from the States. There was always music about the house, and they also liked to dance. My mum was often singing. Since they really appreciated music, they encouraged me. When I was 12, I wanted to buy a friend’s guitar, and my mother gave me the 3 pounds and 10 shillings to buy it. My mum really liked the idea of me playing, because Dad was always out working at night or doing shift work.
'There was a friend of my father's who, he remembered, used to play guitar when they were on the ships together. My father had sol his guitar because he needed the money, but this guy had continued playing. So my father called him up and asked him if he would show me a few things. This guy owned a liquor store, and whichever evening of the week he closed the shop, I'd go down there and he would show me how to play the guitar. I'm sure that set a certain pattern in my music, because he taught me all those old songs. He taught me all the chords to what you would call 'dance band music', and that stayed with me until this day. He was a great help to me, showing me where to put my fingers and how different chords follow each other, just by playing songs, really. In retrospect, I think he had an enormous influence on me.'"
Just finished reading It’s Not Only Rock ‘n’ Roll - Iconic Musicians Reveal The Source Of Their Creativity by Dr. Jenny Boyd & Holly George-Warren. It’s quite an interesting read, containing interviews with the likes of Ravi Shankar, Julian Lennon, Mick Fleetwood, Ringo Starr, many other musicians, and (as you may have guessed) George Harrison. For anyone who’s interested, I’ve typed up and will be posting the insightful comments made by George during Jenny’s interview with him throughout the next two days or so, all tagged It’s Not Only Rock ‘n’ Roll. :)
The Beatles - “Chains” - On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2
Recorded: 17 June 1963
Broadcast: 25 June 1963, Pop Go The Beatles
"The original by The Cookies - female backing singers on many other Gerry Goffin and Carole King hits on the Dimension label - was in the US Top 40 when The Beatles tried ‘Chains’ in a BBC studio in January 1963. George had bought The Cookies’ single at NEMS, the Liverpool record store run by the group’s manager Brian Epstein. This is The Beatles’ third BBC performance of a song included on their LP Please Please Me." - On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2 liner notes
4 September: On this day in 1964, The Beatles performed at Milwaukee Auditorium in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
'[L]et's go back to that Friday in 1964 when the front-page banner headline in the Milwaukee Sentinel screamed, “Beatles conquer city!” Yes, they included the exclamation point.
Dreher, then a teen from Bay View, pointed out the main problem with any Beatles concert. You couldn’t hear the music. “There was no break in the screaming once they took the stage,” he said. He would later buy a collarless Beatles jacket at Johnnie Walkers downtown.
Lenore Barczak was in the front row, and she can prove it with TV news footage that has survived. As the story goes, her sister’s friend, Marlene, visited the ticket outlet and offered to help concert promoter Nick Topping answer phones. “Maybe that’s how we wound up with front row seats,” Lenore said.
Bruce Agacki was lucky because he was sitting near a bank of speakers. That gave him a fighting chance of picking out a chord or lyric. “The whole atmosphere really overtook what was happening on stage,” he told Ted. The experience was on par with watching the Packers play under Vince Lombardi, he believes.
Jackie Grandy and her friends were at the show, but they also bought a guitar-shaped cake and tried to get it to the band. Jackie, whose last name back then was Yunker, jumped on the back of the Beatles’ limousine as it pulled into their hotel, the Coach House Motor Inn, now a Marquette University dorm at 19th St. and Wisconsin Ave.
Ted learned other interesting details about the crazy 24 hours the band was in town. Bob Barry, sometimes called Milwaukee’s 5th Beatle, was a WOKY DJ and the emcee for the concert, and he had a lot of good information for Ted. News clippings helped, too.
At a news conference, Paul McCartney called Milwaukee’s finest the “naughty police” because they forced the Beatles to exit Mitchell International Airport by some sneaky path instead of going past the fans the way the band preferred on their 25-city tour of the U.S.
John Lennon missed that news conference due to a sore throat. Asked if they knew anything about Milwaukee, Ringo Starr said, “I’ve ‘eard of the beer that made it famous.” In response to a question about what band members would do when the bubble burst, George Harrison said ice hockey.
The top ticket price for the Beatles here was $5.50, which might buy you a beer at shows today. There were four opening acts.
The mainstream media, represented by The Milwaukee Journal’s Gerald Kloss, called the band “bushy haired intruders from Liverpool” and wrote that they looked “even more cuddly than they had on the Ed Sullivan TV shows.”
Kloss reported that the band opened with “I Saw Her Standing There” and played all of 30 minutes.
Before the Beatles left town the following afternoon, McCartney telephoned Christine Cutler, a 14-year-old patient at St. Francis Hospital. The Franklin girl had planned to see the show, but got sick. A doctor’s wife called the Journal, and it was arranged that Christine’s favorite Beatle would call her. (Ted tried to find Christine for his article but was unable to do so. If you know anything about her, let me know.)
"Well now, I’ve got to hang up, you see," Paul told the girl after they had talked for a while. "But you will smile though. That’s the main thing, you know."
The nurses cried, and Christine said she wanted to take the telephone home with her.’ - Journal Sentinel, 4 September 2009
George Harrison - “Abandoned Love”
This Bob Dylan cover was recorded by George in the 1980’s.
George Harrison and Ken Mansfield: (photo 1) At the Capitol Records Awards ceremony, taking place at the Playboy Club in Los Angeles, to receive - on behalf of The Beatles - a gold record for “Hey Jude”, mid to end of October 1968; (photo 2) in Los Angeles in 1973. Photos courtesy of Ken Mansfield via Daytrippin’.
"George was the one you would have seen in the cafeteria keeping to himself. But he would also be the one to move things aside in order to make room for you when you sat down in the seat next to him. He would welcome the company and share in the moment in an easy manner.
He was the kind of guy that a slow, easy friendship would develop with over time and without the fame an everyday George would have probably been the perfect neighbor. He was so gentle and easy to be with. There was thoughtfulness in his responses to things as they were happening whether it was the conversation or the next move.
He was the model of a man at peace with what was going on inside and his serenity spilled out into his surroundings.
I could talk with him about simple things and was able to forget the Apple stuff because I could tell that the world didn’t begin and end with that for him. He would be more concerned about how I was doing rather than what I was doing. We shared some very personal times together because we were young, happening dudes with new wives who liked each other. I got to be the LA guy with him during his frequent and extended stays.
Just because we were in Hollywood didn’t mean we had to be crazy. It was simple and easy being with George – we would go buy jeans together or sit around the house late at night and not say much.” - Ken Mansfield, Daytrippin’ Beatles Magazine, 2 February 2013
Ken Mansfield on his last encounter with George: “We spent a lot of time together after Apple – our wives had also become friends and he and Pattie were spending a lot of time in LA. But the last time I talked to him was after he and Olivia were together and we ran into each other in a narrow alley that separates Dan Tana’s restaurant and the Troubador nightclub in Hollywood. We hadn’t seen each other in a while and we had a mini-reunion in a dark alley. It was very pleasant and normal, just like running into an old high school classmate.” - Daytrippin’ Beatles Magazine, 2 February 2013
Excerpts from Ken’s book The White Book have previously been typed up and posted at thateventuality (x), for anyone interested in reading more interesting memories. :)
Screen cap from the official “Crackerbox Palace” video. The video clip was directed by Eric Idle, and premiered on Saturday Night Live on 20 November 1976. Aside from George, you can spot Neil Innes (in various costumes), Eric Idle, other friends and Olivia (in the screen cap above). This video also features some fantastic views of Friar Park and its gardens - always well worth watching (and you can do so online also, here)!
Rules // Just insert your answers to the questions below. Tag at least 10 followers.
Got tagged by georgeharrisonsbonestructure (thank you! :))!
Just a friendly post to let you know that this innocent petition is still going. thateventuality and I are making one last attempt to inform the Harrison family that their family photos and home video are being sold without proof of their consent.
We’d love some more signatures and words of support (by September 4th) if you haven’t signed already.
Thank you and may Peace and Love be with You.