Thursday, September 11, 2008

On Lead Guitar: George Harrison

George Harrison and barbers don't get on well. He constantly says that his pet hate is having his hair cut. He first met fellow Beatle John Lennon in the fish-and-chip shop by his school and his immediate reaction was: "He's a good lad. He doesn't get his hair cut, either."

Quick to smile, alert, George operates on lead guitar but is also efficient on drums and piano. Guitar is the main hobby of his life, though, and he says: "One day I want to sit down, give it a lot of thought--and come up with a completely revolutionary idea for a new guitar. They could call it the Harrison Guitar . . ."

Spare Time

"Chet Atkins is, for me, the greatest instrumentalist of 'em all. A fabulous technique. But I'm also very fond of the Duane Eddy group. Duane is a fine musician, too. Really, that's how I spend most of my spare time, just listening to records by favourite artists--and they inspire me to get out my own guitar and play a little just to an audience of only me."

George, at school, found it easy to express himself in art classes but slumped badly when it came to marks for subjects like mathematics or history. At Dovedale Road Primary School in Liverpool, he was a sports fanatic. Any sports: soccer, cricket, athletics, swimming. Had he persisted, he could have reached quite a high standard. "But by the time I went to Liverpool Institute High School, I'd lost all interest in sports," he says.


"I suppose I quite enjoyed those school-days--what a long time off they all seem now. But I must say my version of the school uniform didn't go down very well with the masters, specially the headmaster. I used to do myself up in tight trousers, waistcoat and suede shoes. I reckoned it was all very fashionable, but obviously the ones in charge had a different view of what should be worn."

George is just short of six feet tall, weighs more than a stone less than the other two at 5 ft. 11 in. He weighs in at 10 stone 3 lb. He has a sister, Louise, and two brothers, Peter and Harry. And he was born on February 25, 1942, just four months before Beatle Paul McCartney.

"Apart from girls, and listening to records with girls, I put driving as my big hobby. I thoroughly enjoy a long drive, but though I rate myself good behind the wheel, I'm not so sure the police agree."

One Day

"Now the money is coming in, I can indulge myself that bit more than before. But I'm not a big spender. One day, I'd like to buy a big house somewhere quiet, but for the meantime I just buy whatever I like in the way of clothes and records.

"S'Funny. Once I just used to date girls and that was that. Now people seem interested in why I like certain types of girls and they ask for tips and hints and that sort of thing.

"Well, my own tastes run to small blonde girls who can share a laugh with me. That sense of humour is all important to me, but I do like to be able to switch moods as quickly as I do. Anyway, I date as often as we get a night free, which doesn't add up to much dating these days! No, there's nobody regular. It wouldn't be fair on her, not with us as busy as we are right now."

Jelly Babies

George cops at least his fair share of the fan-mail for individual Beatles. His taste for jelly-babies--he shares this with John Lennon--caused panic at one time. Hundreds of pounds of "babies" poured in for him. He once sang a song called "Three Cool Cats" and was besieged by parcels containing china cats. And Teddy Bears--he gets plenty of those.

"With so much travelling, I sometimes get behind on answering fan-mail," he confesses. "I don't seem to get marriage proposals through the post, but I do try and answer any letters that really need an answer. Lots of girls ask what age I feel is best for marriage. The truth is there is no such age--it's just when you feel you ought."


George lavishes praise on his parents, Harold and Louise Harrison. Though not particularly musical themselves, they helped him a great deal . . . "simply by not complaining at the racket I kicked up when I first started learning instruments," he says. "I think they're very proud of all of us now."

Through R and B music figures so strongly on the Beatles' scene, George likes listening to C and W and to Spanish guitar, as long as both are well played. He's a perfectionist. He's a key figure in the Beatle sound. He's thoroughly likeable. And he's unhappy only when he HAS to go to get a haircut!

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