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The John Lennon Series
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George Harrison Portfolio

George Harrison was born February 25, 1943, making him the youngest Beatle. The only Beatle who's childhood was not marred by divorce or death, he had two brothers, Harold Jr. and Peter, and a sister, Louise. His father, Harold, was a bus driver, and his mother a housewife, who all the kids in the neighborhood knew and liked.

George attended Dovedale Primary school, two forms behind John Lennon, and then Liverpool Institute, one form below Paul McCartney. He showed his independant nature at an early age, defying his school's age-old dress code by wearing jeans and growing long hair. His strict parents did not condone his disrespectful attitude and George soon learned to tone down his rebellion. When the skiffle craze hit Liverpool, George and his brother Peter formed a Skiffle band, but because they were so young, they had to sneak out of the house to play their first engagement.

George and Paul took the same bus to school, and soon found they had music and guitars in common. They spent many hours together at each other's homes practicing guitar. In 1956, Paul introduced the skinny and pimple-faced George to the Quarrymen. George was only 14 at the time. Not old enough to join the group, George hung around with the boys, and came to idolize John, doing everything he could to emulate him. George stood in the back of the room at all their shows with his guitar. A few times he filled in for the regular guitarist who didn't show up, and the boys were also welcomed in George's house by his mother to practice and for an occasional "jam buttie", encouragement which infuriated John's Aunt Mimi. Gradually, George became a member of the group, which by then had come to be called Johnny and the Moondogs.

From the very start of the Beatles' popularity, George was as major a vocalist as John and Paul. As the songwriting of Lennon and McCartney became world-known, George started to concentrate more on writing songs as well, although many of the early songs written while with the Beatles went unrecorded. The first Beatles song written by George was Don't Bother Me. George became a very serious musician who worked dilgently to perfect his playing. His concentration to his playing was apparent while on stage, especially compared to the wild antics of John and Paul.

George almost missed the Beatles' biggest appearance in America, the Ed Sullivan Show, on February 9, 1964, because of a sore throat. He met teenage model Patty Boyd while filming A Hard Day's Night and they got married on January 21, 1966.

In His Own Words

At their first session, when the Beatles were asked by George Martin if there wasn't anything they didn't like, George replied:

"Well, I don't like your tie for a start."

About Indian music and philosophy, George said:

"After 'Norwegian Wood', I met Ravi Shankar at a friend's house in London, for dinner. He offered to give me instructions in the basics of the sitar, like how to sit, how to hold it, and the basic exercises. It was the first time I had ever really learned music with a bit of discipline. Then I started to listen to Indian music for the next two years, and hardly touched the guitar, except for recordings. Having all these material things, I wanted something more. And it happened that at just the time I wanted it, it came to me in the form of Ravi Shankar, Indian music, and the whole Indian philosophy."

[SOUND] In this sound clip, George talks about Skiffle Music and his musical beginnings.

[SOUND] This is a sound clip of George talking about being in Hamburg and why they wore black leather jackets.

[SOUND] George talks a funny story about coming back from Hamburg and the local fans thinking they were a German band.

[SOUND] In this clip, George talks about just wanting to be musicians and how it was all changed by their fame.

[SOUND] George talks about song writing, why he started and how he learned.

Biographical info from the book Shout! by Philip Norman, The Love You Make by Peter Brown and Steven Gaines, and The Beatles A To Z by Sue Weiner.

This page last modified September 1, 2008.

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