I didn't know that..Geo Harrison content

hellbender

Member
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23,785
1. He visited the United States before any of his fellow Beatles, and played a show with another band.

Americans regard the Beatles' arrival at the newly renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport on February 7th, 1964, as a seismic event in popular culture, but only a handful of citizens realized that one of the Fabs had already walked among them. "I'd been to America before, being the experienced Beatle that I was," Harrison recalled in 1995's Beatles Anthology documentary. "I went to New York and St. Louis in 1963, to look around, and to the countryside in Illinois, where my sister was living at the time."

The Beatles had exploded on the British scene by September 1963 thanks to a string of Number One hits and a chart-topping debut album, Please Please Me. Flush with their newfound success after years of toiling in obscurity, they decided it was time for some much needed R&R. John Lennon took his then-wife Cynthia to Paris, while Paul McCartney opted for the sunny shores of Greece. Ringo Starr had originally planned on joining Harrison on his trip across the pond, but ultimately decided to travel with McCartney instead. So on September 16th, Harrison became the first Beatle to touch down on American soil, accompanied by his older brother, Peter.

The pair stayed at their elder sister Louise "Lou" Caldwell's home at 113 McCann Street in Benton, Illinois, where she had recently immigrated with her husband Gordon, an engineer at a nearby coal mine. The quiet town was a welcome respite for Harrison, who dreaded dealing with the hassles of "Beatlemania" raging back home in Britain. In the States, he could come and go as he pleased, moving freely with total anonymity. The siblings spent several happy nights camping at the Shawnee National Forest. They even ate at a burger joint, where a fascinated Harrison gaped at the sight of waitresses on roller skates.

Louise introduced Harrison to her friend Gabe McCarty, an employee at the local dry cleaner who worked nights in a band called the Four Vests. The two musicians hit it off, and McCarty became Harrison's guide for much of his stay in Benton. They visited the town's only record store, where Harrison gleefully snapped up a stack of albums and singles. "I bought Booker T and the M.G.'s' first album, Green Onions, and I bought some Bobby Bland, [and] all kind of things," he says in the Anthology. He also purchased a record called "Got My Mind Set on You" by James Ray, which he would cover almost 25 years later.

When Harrison asked the sales clerk if they had any Beatles records in stock, he was met with a confused blank stare. So he was forced to bring his own copy to the WFRX-AM radio station in West Frankfort, where he hitchhiked with Caldwell to plug the Beatles' recent overseas smash, "She Loves You." DJ Marcia Schafer, then just 17, dutifully played the song. "Louise came to the station several times over the summer asking us to play the Beatles' music, which up to that time had only been available in England," she told the Illinois Times in 2013.

More than the music, it was his outfit – jeans, white shirt and sandals – that made an impression on her. "He was unusual-looking. He dressed differently than the guys here. He was very soft-spoken and polite." Later she conducted Harrison's first Stateside interview, which would be printed in her high school newspaper. When asked about his favorite things, the 20-year-old Beatle replied: "Small blondes … , driving, sleeping … , Eartha Kitt, eggs and chips, and Alfred Hitchcock movies."

Music was a major theme of Harrison's trip. On the hunt for a new American-made guitar, Harrison, along with McCarty and his Four Vests bandmate Vernon Mandrell, traveled 40 miles to Fenton's Music Store, where the Englishman laid down 400 dollars for a Rickenbacker 425 solid body. Harrison wasn't crazy about the red Fireglo finish, so he had it painted black to match Lennon's guitar. It would remain in his onstage arsenal until being replaced by the more famous Rickenbacker 360 12-string prototype the following year.

Now that he had a new guitar, he needed a place to play it. So McCarty and Mandrell invited Harrison to sit in at their upcoming gig at a VFW Hall in Eldorado, Illinois. That Saturday, September 28th, the Four Vests welcomed "the Elvis of England" to the stage. Though he had also jammed at Benton's Boccie Ball Club and on the sales floor of Fenton's Music Store, this would be the first real performance by any of the Beatles in the United States. Harrison had given the band a few Beatle records, but they decided to stick to the classics: "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins' "Matchbox," and Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart."

The crowd was electrified – stamping their feet, clapping their hands and showing all the early symptoms of Beatlemania. One friendly man approached Harrison after the 40-minute set. "With the right breaks, you could really go places," he encouraged. The experience was so enjoyable that Harrison vowed to return to the VFW with his own band sometime the next year. It wouldn't quite happen like that.

The next day, Harrison and his new friends left Benton to visit St. Louis and New York City. Like good tourists they snapped lots of photos, which have since taken on a surreal quality. In the images, Harrison sports the familiar mop-top, tailored suit and knitted tie that he would soon make famous, yet he looks oddly alien amid his fellow sightseers. As he scopes out the Empire State Building observation deck, Liberty Island, and the terrace of a midtown high-rise, he is completely ignored. When he returned to the city just a few months later, it would mark the beginning of the unprecedented chaos that continued for the rest of his life.
 

Tommy Biggs

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,142
1. He visited the United States before any of his fellow Beatles, and played a show with another band.

Americans regard the Beatles' arrival at the newly renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport on February 7th, 1964, as a seismic event in popular culture, but only a handful of citizens realized that one of the Fabs had already walked among them. "I'd been to America before, being the experienced Beatle that I was," Harrison recalled in 1995's Beatles Anthology documentary. "I went to New York and St. Louis in 1963, to look around, and to the countryside in Illinois, where my sister was living at the time."

The Beatles had exploded on the British scene by September 1963 thanks to a string of Number One hits and a chart-topping debut album, Please Please Me. Flush with their newfound success after years of toiling in obscurity, they decided it was time for some much needed R&R. John Lennon took his then-wife Cynthia to Paris, while Paul McCartney opted for the sunny shores of Greece. Ringo Starr had originally planned on joining Harrison on his trip across the pond, but ultimately decided to travel with McCartney instead. So on September 16th, Harrison became the first Beatle to touch down on American soil, accompanied by his older brother, Peter.

The pair stayed at their elder sister Louise "Lou" Caldwell's home at 113 McCann Street in Benton, Illinois, where she had recently immigrated with her husband Gordon, an engineer at a nearby coal mine. The quiet town was a welcome respite for Harrison, who dreaded dealing with the hassles of "Beatlemania" raging back home in Britain. In the States, he could come and go as he pleased, moving freely with total anonymity. The siblings spent several happy nights camping at the Shawnee National Forest. They even ate at a burger joint, where a fascinated Harrison gaped at the sight of waitresses on roller skates.

Louise introduced Harrison to her friend Gabe McCarty, an employee at the local dry cleaner who worked nights in a band called the Four Vests. The two musicians hit it off, and McCarty became Harrison's guide for much of his stay in Benton. They visited the town's only record store, where Harrison gleefully snapped up a stack of albums and singles. "I bought Booker T and the M.G.'s' first album, Green Onions, and I bought some Bobby Bland, [and] all kind of things," he says in the Anthology. He also purchased a record called "Got My Mind Set on You" by James Ray, which he would cover almost 25 years later.

When Harrison asked the sales clerk if they had any Beatles records in stock, he was met with a confused blank stare. So he was forced to bring his own copy to the WFRX-AM radio station in West Frankfort, where he hitchhiked with Caldwell to plug the Beatles' recent overseas smash, "She Loves You." DJ Marcia Schafer, then just 17, dutifully played the song. "Louise came to the station several times over the summer asking us to play the Beatles' music, which up to that time had only been available in England," she told the Illinois Times in 2013.

More than the music, it was his outfit – jeans, white shirt and sandals – that made an impression on her. "He was unusual-looking. He dressed differently than the guys here. He was very soft-spoken and polite." Later she conducted Harrison's first Stateside interview, which would be printed in her high school newspaper. When asked about his favorite things, the 20-year-old Beatle replied: "Small blondes … , driving, sleeping … , Eartha Kitt, eggs and chips, and Alfred Hitchcock movies."

Music was a major theme of Harrison's trip. On the hunt for a new American-made guitar, Harrison, along with McCarty and his Four Vests bandmate Vernon Mandrell, traveled 40 miles to Fenton's Music Store, where the Englishman laid down 400 dollars for a Rickenbacker 425 solid body. Harrison wasn't crazy about the red Fireglo finish, so he had it painted black to match Lennon's guitar. It would remain in his onstage arsenal until being replaced by the more famous Rickenbacker 360 12-string prototype the following year.

Now that he had a new guitar, he needed a place to play it. So McCarty and Mandrell invited Harrison to sit in at their upcoming gig at a VFW Hall in Eldorado, Illinois. That Saturday, September 28th, the Four Vests welcomed "the Elvis of England" to the stage. Though he had also jammed at Benton's Boccie Ball Club and on the sales floor of Fenton's Music Store, this would be the first real performance by any of the Beatles in the United States. Harrison had given the band a few Beatle records, but they decided to stick to the classics: "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins' "Matchbox," and Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart."

The crowd was electrified – stamping their feet, clapping their hands and showing all the early symptoms of Beatlemania. One friendly man approached Harrison after the 40-minute set. "With the right breaks, you could really go places," he encouraged. The experience was so enjoyable that Harrison vowed to return to the VFW with his own band sometime the next year. It wouldn't quite happen like that.

The next day, Harrison and his new friends left Benton to visit St. Louis and New York City. Like good tourists they snapped lots of photos, which have since taken on a surreal quality. In the images, Harrison sports the familiar mop-top, tailored suit and knitted tie that he would soon make famous, yet he looks oddly alien amid his fellow sightseers. As he scopes out the Empire State Building observation deck, Liberty Island, and the terrace of a midtown high-rise, he is completely ignored. When he returned to the city just a few months later, it would mark the beginning of the unprecedented chaos that continued for the rest of his life.


Nice! Thanks. do you have a link to any place that has some of those tourist photos?
 

Thinsocks

Member
Messages
2,442
Read about this a long time ago, but your post made me look on Google maps at where Benton, IL is located. I'm going to try and stop there next month when I drive to St Louis, since Benton is on the way.
 

Tommy Biggs

Silver Supporting Member
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7,142
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Big L

Member
Messages
240
Buddy of mine sold Ferraris in Houston during 80s 90s and I was able to ride in several really rare ones
they let me sit in the P3 which has steering wheel in the center and 2 seats either side of that it was dark blue and had black suede leather stitched Dash and corderoy <sp> seats.. When the Beatles anthology came out up drives George with Paul and Ringo in that car ! I fell off the couch when I saw that.. What a car that was.. Those are quite rare... Not really street legal either lol this place had a full race 512 boxer riveted shell and 5 point harness seat belts with fire extinguisher near front seat... that one was really not street legal but it was driven on the highway anyway .. we were riding in a one off Ferrari and that car went by us at about 150 miles an hour and just unjolted us all I was not driving of course but the driver was cussing the entire way cause it scared us both to death when that roared bye.. anyway shortly after that we see DPS in full chase and then we see the guy going the other way at about 150 mph then back.. lol they hid the car at the destination and they showed up wanting the driver and we all said hmmm what we have not seen any such car mad was an understatement lol
anyway they never caught him.. Ringo bought a mercedes from the same guy at later date he was driving around Houston in some beat up car which no one would think a Beatle would be driving.. Ringo had been in a bad wreck and the car saved his life so he flew into Houston and bought another one the wrecked car was crushed into a cube and set on Ringos fireplace hearth as a conversation piece... Thats as close as I ever got too a Beatle and no my buddy did not call me to come meet him....
George just shipped the P3 to Houston as it was a ship channel and money was no object... all ya need is love love all you need is love..... I just read Paul played the iconic riff on Paperback Writer always thought it was George... who knew...?
 

DustyRhodesJr

Member
Messages
12,169
I knew these facts because of this book that I read a few years ago- it pretty much tells you
exactly what the Beatles did each and every day from the time they started until when they
broke up.

Great read.

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Thinsocks

Member
Messages
2,442
Read about this a long time ago, but your post made me look on Google maps at where Benton, IL is located. I'm going to try and stop there next month when I drive to St Louis, since Benton is on the way.

I'm bringing this thread back from the dead because I stopped in Benton back in January to look at George's sisters old house. It was later in the evening and it was starting to rain/snow, so the pics are not the best.

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