Showing posts with label Louise Harrison. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Louise Harrison. Show all posts

Monday, October 2, 2017

Artifact: Vintage letter and photo to Beatles' fan from George's mum

Found on eBay, here is a 1965 letter from George Harrison's mother, Louise, to an American fan. It includes a photo of Louis and other members of the Harrison family - but no George!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Not enthused by the Beatles, Benton nixes George Harrison mural

City leaders in Benton, Ill., where George Harrison took a brief pre-"Ed Sullivan Show" vacation in 1963, have voted not to fund a Beatles-themed mural in the community.

California rtist John Cerney planned to paint the 16-foot mural in a piece of city-owned property near Interstate 57 and asked the city to pay him $2,000 for travel and motel costs while he was in Benton.

Most City Council members weren't crazy about the idea:
"What is that going to benefit the city?" questioned Commissioner Donnie Wyant after city attorney Tom Malkovich reported he and Gartner contacted the artist to confirm Cerney's intentions.
"We're kind of hoping they (visitors) would want to stop and get a picture of the mural and spend some time and dollars in our communities, whether it be our restaurants or antique shops," Commissioner Dennis Miller said.
"The Beatles don't enthuse me at all, so I'm going to vote no," Wyant said.
"I'd rather put that money toward a police officer," said Police and Fire Commissioner Donald Storey.
Harrison's sister, Louise, lived in Benton with her family when George and his brother Pete visited the community in September 1963.

While in town, George bought a new Rickenbacker guitar; accompanied the family on a camping trip; sat in with a local group, the Four Vests, at the VFW hall; did a radio interview, and bought some records including James Ray's "Got My Mind Set on You," which he covered years later.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Beatles Bits: Weekly news roundup

Billboard looks at the creators of the hit tune "Black Beatles" and the song's Paul McCartney connection.
Mike Will Made-It: You know what’s crazy. When I was first running around with Rae Sremmurd, they came to my DJ set at Coachella. This was my first time at Coachella, this was their first time at Coachella and we went to go see OutKast. The one person that we met backstage was Paul McCartney and we were like, what the f--k? It was crazy ‘cause when he saw us, he knew who I was and I was like, 'This man don’t know who I am' but he was showing love, went out of his way to chop it up with us and dipped out of nowhere. So a couple of years later, I think that’s why Jxmmi felt so comfortable to say “Black Beatles, this man Paul McCartney related.” We just know he was actually like a super cool dude when we met him.

Slim Jxmmi: This was early in our career so I didn't really speak to [Paul] because I was enchanted by his presence. He's a big figure and I couldn't believe I was really seeing Paul McCartney. This was really me being new to the industry so I wasn't used to seeing stuff like that so it was amazing ... He solidified us because I said [on the song] "Black Beatles me and Paul McCartney related." Because you know we is. All of us is just people. I really feel like it's bridging the gap between hip-hop and people having this stigma on hip-hop. I feel like it's a certain way that a rap record has to be and I think we're proving that there's no rules.

Ringo Starr's copy of the White Album, stamped #1, is the world's most valuable vinyl album, according to this tally.


Fifteen years after her brother's death, Louise Harrison tells the Daily Mail she's been cut off from receiving financial help from his estate and that she was kept in the dark about George's cancer.
'I was in Toronto two weeks before he died when I finally heard that he was ill. I drove through New York, so I could try and get a chance to see him.

'As luck would have it, I was able to get in touch with his doctor who gave me the information to go to see him and I was able to see him for a couple hours.

'But the person who was in charge of him did not let his brothers or me know that he was sick.'

Speaking of George, Rolling Stone posted a better-than-most listicle detailed "10 Things You Didn't Know George Harrison Did" feature. Good info about George's many, often under-appreciated accomplishments.


Ringo Starr is among celebrities donating old eyeglasses to a "specs appeal" charity auction to benefit Sightsavers, an organization that provides eye screenings and glasses to those who need them.


A new book recounts John Lennon and Paul McCartney's 1975 near reunion in New Orleans.
"McCartney's premise for his old partner's visit to Sea-Saint was: come down and visit us, and watch us record," White writes. "Having already spent two weeks in the Crescent City, Paul would happily welcome John back into the creative fold. Pang was convinced that if Lennon reached Louisiana, something new could be initiated. She also felt sure that McCartney would do the rest and bring Lennon back into the studio. It's possible that Paul, and John, too, privately anticipated an opportunity to play, write or even record together again."

Al Brodax, producer of the Beatles' animated "Yellow Submarine" film, died Nov. 24 at age 90.
In 2010 and 2012, he appeared at the Westport Arts Center to discuss his Beatles film and the 2004 book he wrote about the experience, “Up Periscope Yellow: The Making of the Beatles Yellow Submarine.”

Friday, July 15, 2016

Beatles Bits: Weekly news roundup

A "psychedelic eye" mosaic that once graced the bottom of John Lennon's swimming pool has been restored and will be displayed in an upcoming museum display in London, the Kenwood blog reports.


Barry Tashian of Barry and the Remains recalls touring with the Beatles in 1966.
“I remember after the Toronto show, I went to George Harrison’s room and hung out with him for a while,” Tashian said. “I saw my first-ever cassette player that night; he played me Ravi Shankar. I also left my sunglasses in his room, and we got up early the next day, and I saw The Beatles arriving at the gig. I noticed that George was walking up the steps into the plane and came up the aisle, and he had on two pairs of sunglasses. I thought, ‘Wow, cool, he wore my sunglasses.’”

Gerald “Gabe” McCarty, who jammed with George Harrison in Benton, Ill., four months before the Beatles' American debut on the "Ed Sullivan Show" died July 3 at age 83.

Harrison was visiting his sister, Louise, who lived in Benton and ended up sitting in with McCarty's band, the Four Vests, while visiting the local VFW outpost.


The former Pigman Ranch in Missouri, where the Beatles spent a couple days relaxing during their 1964 U.S. tour is auctioning off a few items of Fab-related memorabilia ahead of the site becoming a state park.
Items for sale include household furniture and appliances in place when the Beatles visited the property for three days in September 1964: an antique fridge, antique chairs, original windows from the main house, an old green lamp, a yard swing, an old lantern, old doors, and occasional chairs.

The ranch was owned by the pilot of the Beatles' private plane for the tour, Reed Pigman. Several photos of the Beatles at the ranch ended up on the back cover of the band's Rubber Soul LP.
Pigman, meanwhile, suffered a cardiac event and crashed his plane in 1966. He and 82 of 98 other people on board the flight died as a result of the accident


Love, Love, Love: Various members of the Beatles clan are in Las Vegas this weekend celebrating the 10th anniversary - and re-vamping with new music and production pieces - of the "Beatles Love" show by Cirque de Soleil. Lots of media coverage, as you might expect, including this Guardian interview with Giles Martin, who created the mash-up music for the show with his late father, Beatles producer George Martin and two pieces from Variety: One on the show's makeover and another on the cast members.

Meanwhile, Sean Lennon tweeted this to prove he'd arrived in Sin City for the show.

And, based on the decor, it looks like Ringo's there, too:


Paul McCartney posed with Pennsylvania Highway Patrol officers during his tour stop in Philadelphia this week.


Roag Best, Pete's step-brother and son of Beatles assistant Neil Aspinall, told Beatles News Insider he's starting a new Beatles history museum in Liverpool.
"We bought a four-story building on Mathew Street between the Cavern Club and the Hard Day's Night Hotel," he said. The building faces the Cavern Club "so our position I think is pretty wonderful."
...The building will have displays of Beatles history going up through 1970 with memorabilia he inherited from his mother, Mona Best ("who was a hoarder") and from his father, Neil Aspinall (whose link to the Beatles should be known to anyone reading this) and stuff he has collected himself over a 30-year span. (Pete is not involved.)

An Australian man who pelted the Beatles with eggs when they visited that nation in 1964 is now a politician - and an eccentric one at that:
Mr Katter, a champion of Queensland farmers, has some unconventional views. He once claimed there were no homosexuals among his voters, promising to walk “backwards from Bourke to Brisbane” if any could be found.

He has called for the culling of bats because they carry so many diseases that they amount to the “greatest possible danger to human life”.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

History: Beatles Book Monthly March 1966

The March 1966 issue of of the Beatles' official magazine arrived just as the band was finishing up a relatively inactive period, but looking ahead at more recording dates, touring and a potential third film. There's not much in the way of news, but numerous nice photos - mostly from the Rubber Soul recording sessions the previous fall.

In the Beatles Talk section, John and Ringo talk about the Shea Stadium concert film, which was broadcast on BBC television March 1.

Several pictures of George and Pattie Harrison's Jan. 21 are featured, including this one of the couple with George's mother, Louise.

The letter section generated a couple of fan questions regarding "Norwegian Wood."

The Behind the Spotlight section looked back at March 1964, which saw the band starting to film "A Hard Day's Night."

The month's featured Beatles song was "I'm Looking Through You."

The new section included items about the band's planned third live-action film and a third book from John, neither of which was completed (though a third collection of John's writings through the 1970s was published after his death as "Skywriting By Word of Mouth").

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book review: My Kid Brother's Band a.k.a. The Beatles! by Louise Harrison

The Beatles' first visit to America was George Harrison's second - he'd already been here, in September 1963, to see his sister, Louise, in Benton, Illinois.

It's a bit of trivia not widely known outside Beatlemaniac circles, but one that's made Louise a fixture at Beatles conventions, where she's attracted her own faithful following.

Louise speaks engagingly about that visit and about her early efforts to plug the Beatles on her area radio stations, before everyone had heard "I Want to Hold Your Hand." For years, her own fans have been after her to write a book.

The result, "My Kid Brother's Band a.k.a. the Beatles!," isn't a tell-all about George, the most private of all the Beatles. But Louise does provide some nice details of the Harrison family and Liverpool during the 1940 and 1950s, before she left for Canada and the the U.S.

Twelve years older than George, she remembers a lot from those days. We get a clear picture of what it was like growing up in the free-spirited Harrison home. Louise clearly adored her parents.

Her father Harry,was a city bus driver and union leader with a good head on his shoulders and wicked, dry sense of humor. Her mother, also named Louise, was full of fun with love to spare for Beatles fans, who she regularly corresponded with, and for John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who'd both lost their mothers while growing up. She enjoyed playing mum to both, and had an especially close friendship with John.

We hear so much about the tough upbringing of the Beatles and their troubled family lives. The Harrisons, though they struggled economically, seem to be the exception. By Louise's account, this was a very happy home.

Later, in America, she describes a calm-to-boring, middle-class life in Illinois as an expatriate young mother - until the Beatles came along. Excited by her brother's growing success in Britain, she became America's first Beatles booster, energetically reaching out to her area radio stations and newspapers to plug the band. 

The book includes several letters to Louise from George Martin, Brian Epstein and Dick James thanking and encouraging her.  During George's visit to Benton, she secured him a radio interview and encouraged him to sit in with local band, the Four Vests, who were impressed by his guitar-playing and surprised by his long hair.

Louise later had a chance to meet Ed Sullivan, during the Beatles' first appearance on his show, and took care of her brother, who'd come down with strep throat shortly before the band landed in America.

As the Beatles took off in America, so did Louise's career as a booster. For a time, she hosted a syndicated radio spot, addressing fans' questions about the band and dispelling rumors.

She does a little of that in this book, too. For one, she provides evidence that psychic Jeanne Dixon's prediction that the Beatles would die in a plane crash never occurred, although it's been mentioned in numerous Beatles books. In the book, Louise publishes a letter from Dixon, written in 1964, saying she'd never made such a prediction.

But a big chunk of this book is about Louise, not the Beatles. We learn about her experiences settling in America and a troubled first marriage and a better second one that didn't last. She shares stories about her work as an environmental crusader and she relays her left-leaning views on a number of topics. It's a little like listening to an older aunt, who's fun and full of opinions, though some readers, no doubt, would rather hear more about George.

Though she lived on George's Friar Park estate for a time in the 1970s and was in contact with her brother throughout his life, we hear little about the Beatles post 1965, which leaves you wanting a little more. There's only passing mention of George's second wife, Olivia, and their son, Dhani, though Louise speaks fondly of George's first wife, Pattie.

Along the way, she promises a follow-up volume including letters her mother sent her during the Beatles' years, detailing the day-to-day activities of the group and their rising profile in Britain. I hope she'll come through, as that would be a great addition, as is this book, to what we already know about the band and its history.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Beatles book from George Harrison's sister

Louise Harrison, brother of George, has published a new book about her relationship with the Beatles, including her efforts - as an expat Brit living in Illinois - to help secure radio airplay her brother's group when they were still unknown in the U.S.


As a record 73 million viewers watched the Beatles American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show a half-century ago, the audience was largely unaware of the behind-the scenes efforts in the preceding weeks and months that made the historic Feb. 9, 1964 performance a reality.

Those efforts were spearheaded by Louise Harrison—sister of guitarist George Harrison—from her home in a small town in southern Illinois. In My Kid Brother’s Band a.k.a. The Beatles  Louise describes her tireless efforts to help promote the Beatles—who were already household names in England—and their records on this side of the Atlantic.

My Kid Brother’s Band a.k.a. The Beatles is the never-before-told story of the author’s crucial behind-the-scenes work as an American resident to guide Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein and producer George Martin and assist them in the effort to spread Beatlemania from Britain to the U.S. In the book, Louise Harrison describes and documents her efforts to establish nationwide contacts and help Epstein secure distribution agreements with Capitol Records and assist him in securing a meeting with CBS’s Ed Sullivan.

The book also describes her experiences in traveling with the Beatles on their first American tours in the summer of ’64, ’65 and ’66, including many untold episodes of the ever-present hysteria faced by brother George and band mates Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr and how they coped with Beatlemania.

In My Kid Brother’s Band a.k.a. The Beatles, Louise tells of the Harrisons’ Liverpool home becoming a regular hangout for the group, and how her parents provided a nurturing environment for George and the other Beatles.

The family principles, Louise says, helped to guide Harrison and the band through their unprecedented success during the ‘60s and through George’s solo career. “It’s important for you to know more about our parents and our upbringing, ”writes Louise, “so you can better understand how (George) became the man you love and admire.”

The book contains dozens of photos of George and the Beatles, as well as images of correspondence documenting her communication with Epstein and with radio and recording industry executives as she worked to give the group exposure in the months leading up to the landmark Sullivan appearance.
You can order the book from publisher Acclaim Press here.