Sunday, 1 January 2012

More Memories of George

Here are some more of the great interviews that DIDN’T make our George special.  

The Harrison Exclusive tribute magazine will be available next week, but orders can be placed now via the BBFC Shop by clicking here.

We would like to thank those who gave their time to give us reminiscences of George.

David Jacobs, who was the host of the hit BBCTV music show ‘Juke Box Jury’, recalls the apprehension of The Beatles as they returned to Liverpool for the premiere:

"I travelled to Liverpool with The Beatles for the first night showing of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ in their home city.

On the flight, George in particular was worried, as were the other Beatles, about returning to Liverpool. They thought their home city would reject them because of the fame they had achieved and leaving their original fans.

 As we flew into Liverpool Airport, George looked out through a window and said “Look at all that down there, it looks like black tar”.

In fact it was the heads of all the fans that had turned out to greet them on their return to their home city!

I sat with Brian Epstein in the car from the airport taking us to the city centre. To see the look on people’s faces that had just seen The Beatles, who were in the car ahead of us, was simply amazing."

(Our thanks to David Jacobs for granting the BBFC an interview in August 2010)
Leslie Cavendish, the Beatles hairdresser, recalls the occasion when he visited George in hospital when his tonsils were removed.

"I remember going to the hospital when he had his tonsils out in February 1969 at the London University Hospital. This was a few years after Ringo had his out.

I was asked by Derek Taylor to go and wash and cut George's hair because it was making him feel uncomfortable. When I got to the hospital the press were there waiting for news. As I walked in they approached me and asked I would tell them what George had said after I saw him.

I went upstairs to his room and told him that I had never seen so many press people before. He told me this was normal and he just gets on with it. I mentioned that they would like me to tell them what was happening or say something. As it wasn't my job to tell the press anything, when I left I told them (“no comment”) I've always wanted to do that. George had this very special peaceful aura around him and the times I had been in his company you felt it.

It was SOMETHING in the way he smiled."

(The BBFC would like to thank Leslie Cavendish for granting an interview August 2010)
Victor Spinetti shared this special memory with the BBFC:

"I was spending the day with George at his bungalow in Esher.

Whilst sipping some green tea he said,” Come, I’ve just bought something and I’d like you to see it.”

He led me into another room which was all white-a white fitted carpet, white walls and floor to ceiling white muslin curtains gently rippling in the breeze from an open window over which they were drawn.

George was also in white-a loose fitting Indian type garment, comprising of an open shirt and loose fitting trousers.

On the floor of this room was a beautiful ivory studded musical instrument, this was he explained to me a thousand year old sitar.

Without warning he sat behind it and started playing. I too sat on the floor, cross legged as was George, I had previously taken off my shoes, and George was already in bare feet.

As he played, the white curtains rippling behind him, the music in the all white room seemed as though the two of us had been transported to some far off spiritual retreat.

I had been telling George earlier that I couldn’t get it together with Indian music.

“You don’t listen to it Vic, you just let it happen to you”, he said.

So there I was ,letting this whole experience of George, the thousand year old sitar, the amazing music , the all white room ,happen.

He finished playing as suddenly as he begun. We were both quite as the music faded into the stillness of the room.

I reached out and impulsively touched his foot.

“How did you know?” he asked

“Know what?” I replied.

“To touch my foot? This is the custom in India when a musician finishes playing”

I didn’t know of course I’m only glad I did the right thing ,it just seemed the gentle thing to do in order to thank him…to thank my teacher for this one amazing afternoon, To thank my own personal guru in teaching me the ways of Indian music, George Harrison."

(With thanks to Victor Spinetti, February 7, 2011)

In 1969 the Apple band Badfinger would have a huge hit with the Paul McCartney song ‘Come and Get It’, which was part of the soundtrack to Ringo Starr’s up and coming film ‘The Magic Christian’, also starring the former Goon, Peter Sellers.  Joey Molland, of Badfinger, recalls walking into Apple, just after the single became a hit.

“I remember walking into the Apple offices in London, just after ‘Come and Get it’ became a hit. As I walked in there was George Harrison. He turned and congratulated us on having a huge hit, and told me- “You do now realise you will be playing this for the rest of your life, don’t you?.” How right he was.”

(Thanks to Joey Molland- Liverpool August 2010)

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