Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts with the label George Harrison

What was George Harrison's first guitar?

When he was thirteen, George was admitted to hospital with what turned out to be a minor kidney problem. As with Ringo, a spell on the children’s ward proved to be the catalyst for obtaining his first musical instrument.  To cheer up his sick son, his father agreed to buy an old classmate’s Dutch Egmond flat-top acoustic guitar. Dutch Egmond Acoustic — George Harrison’s first guitar What George would later describe as a ‘cheapo, a horrible little guitar’ had a selling price of £3 ($4). This was a large sum for a poorly paid bus driver, though it would prove an inspired long-term investment. In 2003 it was sold for $800,000 at auction. Progression This Egmond proved very difficult to master. His mother, Louise, observed his painful struggle with it. George tried to teach himself [the guitar]. But he wasn’t making much headway. ‘I’ll never learn this,’ he used to say. I said, ‘You will, son, you will. Just keep at it.’ Early progress was also hampered by an ill advised experiment. Curiou

When did George Harrison stop taking LSD? Why?

The Beatles famously brought LSD to public attention. Less well known is that George Harrison became rapidly disillusioned about the effects of the drug on young people exposed to it. On 7 August 1967, George Harrison flew with his then wife Patti, Neil Aspinall and Derek Taylor to San Francisco.   They were there to visit George's sister, Jenny but also wanted to visit the  increasingly famous 'Hippy Heaven' area of Haight Ashbury.   Not so many flowers Are you going to  San Francisco/Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair Scott McKenzie released his single in May 1967. A huge hit, it acted as a siren call to those attracted by the ideas of the counter culture.  Young runaways began arriving in large numbers. Drug dealing petty criminals moved in to exploit them.  By August the situation in Haight Ashbury was spiralling out of control.  The atmosphere was especially tense during the weekend of their arrival. Four days earlier two dealers had been murdered in horrific

Which Beatles song was directly influenced by Bach?

During their early musical education, The Beatles steered clear of classical music. Paul tells how his father 'a jazzer' would pointedly turn off the radio when a classical piece was broadcast. His son metaphorically followed suit, as did his bandmates. It was not for them. Bach - but not as he wrote it George had, however, learned one classical 'party-piece' at an early age. He did not know the title but had the vague idea that it was by Bach. George then taught this partial, inaccurate version of  BourrĂ©e from the E Minor Lute Suite, to Paul. Here it is played according to original score: In 1968 McCartney used the BourrĂ©e as a starting point for what would become one of his most admired compositions. Would Bach have been due a Chiffons-style copyright infringement payday if he had had hung around for another 240 years? It seems very unlikely. McCartney acknowledges that Bach provided the 'original inspiration' for Blackbird - but argues that musically he took

Which Beatle had two birthdays?

George Harrison spent most of his life believing his birthday was February 25, 1943.

First use of sitar on a Beatles track?

Indian restaurant scene from Help! (1965 The first time George Harrison saw a sitar was on the set of Help in April 1965. A group of Indian musicians had been recruited to add an authentic Indian ambience to the restaurant scene. They played a  a Beatles medley ('Another Hard Day’s Night')   using   sitar, flute, tabla, ghunghroo and tanpura.  Listening to session musicians cranking out Beatles covers was a not particularly novel experience for the group. India was, however, one of the few countries that bypassed Beatlemania. It had its own musical traditions and Harrison was fascinated by the instrumentation he heard Rubber Soul Over the next few months Harrison began researching traditional Indian music. He  discussed his new interest with David Crosby, who toured the UK with The Byrds in August 1965.  Crosby told him about Ravi Shankar, then virtually unknown outside India. He also lent Harrison a Shankar LP that he 'carried in his suitcase'.  It was love at first li

Who auditioned for The Beatles on the top of a bus?

In 1954 twelve-year old Paul McCartney notices a younger boy with a guitar on his bus journey to school.

Which Beatles almost came to blows over a biscuit?

Until 1968 it was an unwritten rule of The Beatles that wives and girlfriends did not attend recording sessions. This was unilaterally abandoned by John who insisted on Yoko being with him at all times. The others clearly resented this, especially when Yoko offered unsolicited advice on the music they were producing. Mostly this resentment was unspoken. But according to Geoff Emerick, it exploded into the open during one particularly fraught recording session for Abbey Road. On this occasion a bed had been introduced into the studio to allow a flu-stricken, Yoko to participate. "...I noticed that something down in the studio had caught George Harrison’s attention. After a moment or two he began staring bug-eyed out the control room window… Yoko had gotten out of bed and was slowly padding across the studio floor, finally coming to a stop at Harrison’s Leslie cabinet, which had a packet of McVitie’s Digestive Biscuits on top. Idly, she began opening the packet and delicately

How did 'Granny Smith' help to create world music?

George Harrison always struggled with lyrics, particularly titles. 'Granny Smith'  would become 'Love You To', the first serious attempt to fuse the Indian classical and western pop traditions. The extraordinary story behind this pioneering recording  here . Taken from  The Beatles Teaching Pack   (£3.99) 

When do we first hear an Indian influence on a Beatles record?

In June 1966 the great Indian musician Ravi Shankar visited George Harrison at his Surrey home - and played for the assembled Beatles. Two months later they recorded George's composition I WANT TO TELL YOU.  Harrison later explained that the song expressed 'an avalanche of thoughts that are so hard to write down or say' and Ian Macdonald spots the 'underlying Hindi outlook in the lyric - a karmic reference to time in the final lines ... confirmed by a descending melisma in the fade out'.  Neil Innes - who later collaborated with George Harrison on the celebrated Beatles spoof mockumentary  The Rutles   - happened to be in Abbey Road Studio as they were recording. He tells the story here:

Labels

Show more