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A GUITAR played by George Harrison while The Beatles were in Hamburg before they were famous is set to fetch £300,000 at auction.

The Czech-made Futurama Resonet has been unseen since 1964 when it was first prize in a magazine competition. The winner, AJ Thompson, of Saltdean, Sussex, chose cash because he didn’t play and the magazine kept it.

George, who died in 2001, recalled going, aged 16, with Paul McCartney to buy the guitar in Liverpool in 1959. His mother had to sign the purchase agreement which was later paid off by Beatles manager Brian Epstein.

‘Huge interest’ is expected by auctioneers Bonhams at the sale in London on June 12.



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This mighty Mercedes-Benz 500SEL AMG once belonged to George Harrison.
From exotic Ferrari Dinos to elegant Jaguar E-types, Harrison had taste when it came to flash motors, but even more so when it came to being a little more incognito. His black-on-black Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL AMG will be up for grabs at an Anglia Car Auctions sale next January. For those times when a red Ferrari wasn’t appropriate, this still potent — yet more subtle — Mercedes fit the bill for Harrison. It provided all of the comfort and luxury of a contemporary German saloon, while also delivering thundering performance via the talented work of tuner AMG.

This V8 super saloon received additional upgrades at Harrison’s request with items such as lower suspension, subtly aggressive bodywork, those distinctive Penta alloy wheels, and a wired phone.

George clearly loved his AMG as it is one of the few cars he kept for a prolonged period of time — some 18 years. He covered over 30,000 miles in the car before passing it on to fellow musician Ray Cooper, just a year prior to the Beatles legend dying in 2001.

Between 2013 and 2017 the car was stored, but has undergone some restoration work within the past year to the tune of £10,000 ($12,600). Today it has 61,000 miles on its odometer and comes complete with an extensive history file and original service book, not to mention a letter from the DVLA confirming the car’s rock star provenance. The car actually made a brief cameo in the Beatles music video of ‘Real Love’, adding to its classic car fame.

According to the lot description, the Mercedes is only for sale due to ‘a change of direction of the collection it resides within.’ The AMG hits the auction block on 26 January 2019 with an estimate of £50,000 – £70,000 ($63,000 – $88,500). Acquiring an ex-Beatles car with some serious performance under the bonnet would certainly make us want to ‘Twist and Shout’.


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A guitar played by George Harrison during The Beatles’ early days in Hamburg is heading for auction at Bonhams later this year. The vintage Futurama guitar will hit the auction block in London on June 12, with an estimate of £200,000 – £300,000 ($260,000 – $390,000).The guitar will be offered for sale for the very first time, having remained hidden in a private collection for 55 years.

George Harrison originally bought the guitar at Hessy’s music shop in Liverpool in November 1959, and recalled the moment in the Beatles ‘Anthology’ book: “Paul came with me when I bought the Futurama.  It was on the wall with all the other guitars, and Paul plugged it into the amp but he couldn’t get any sound out of it, so he turned the sound right up.  The guitar had three rocker switches, and I just hit one and there was an almighty boom through the amplifier, and all the other guitars fell off the wall.”

As Harrison was still only 16 at the time, his mother had to sign the purchase agreement for him, and records show the account was later paid off by Brian Epstein when he became the band’s manager.

In August 1960 Harrison took the guitar with him to Germany, as The Beatles embarked on an 18-month adventure in the port of Hamburg.It was there, in venues like the Indra Club, the Kaiserkeller, the Top Ten Club and the Star Club, that The Beatles cut their teeth as a working band, playing for hours on end to drunken crowds of sailors, gangsters and prostitutes. John Lennon later said “I might have been born in Liverpool – but I grew up in Hamburg”, and Harrison himself said “I’d have to say with hindsight that Hamburg bordered on the best of Beatles times.”

Lennon, McCartney and Starr, along with original members Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe, were photographed during the period by Sutcliffe’s German girlfriend Astrid Kirchherr, who heavily influenced the band’s developing style. In several of Kirchherr’s photographs Harrison can be seen dressed in his black leather jacket and clutching the same Futurama guitar now headed for sale with Bonhams. (In 2012 Bonhams also sold Harrison’s leather jacket from the period, for $143,670.)

Eventually Harrison was deported back to England for being underage, but by the time the whole band returned to Liverpool in December 1962 they were a well-oiled rock and roll machine – and ready to take on the world. Harrison quickly upgraded another guitar, later describing the Futurama as “a dog to play”, and in 1964 he gave it to Beat Instrumental Magazine to offer as a competition prize. However, the winner of the competition chose to receive a cash prize rather than the guitar, and it remained in the collection of the magazine’s publisher Sean O’Mahoney, who also published the official Beatles Monthly fan magazine.

More than half a century on, the guitar has now been consigned by one of O’Mahoney’s relatives and is completely fresh to the market. “It is both rare and exciting to see a Beatles’ guitar of this nature come onto the market,” said Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia specialist, Claire Tole-Moir.George Harrison is one of the biggest names in Rock and Roll history, and we are privileged to be handling such a special guitar that dates from an early period in the Beatles’ history, when the band were learning their craft and developing their sound that was soon to sweep the world.It has been treasured for so many years and comes to auction for the very first time. I anticipate huge interest from collectors.”

In recent years, Beatles guitars from the band’s formative years have regularly achieved huge sums at auction. They include John Lennon’s Gibson J-160E, used to write some of the band’s most famous songs in the early 1960s, which sold in 2015 for $2.4 million; the Rex acoustic guitar on which Paul McCartney first learned to play, which sold in 2006 for $633,440; and Harrison’s 1962 Rickenbacker 425, bought during his first visit to American, which sold in 2014 for $610,000.

Given its provenance, its historic importance and its appearance in numerous iconic photographs, it would be no surprise to see Harrison’s Hamburg Futurama achieve a similar high six-figure sum.



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George Harrison’s sitar was damaged in an “unfortunate accident” at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Olivia Harrison, widow of the late Beatle, loaned the complex instrument to the famous institution.



A spokeswoman for the museum said that the sitar was repaired following the incident.
“In 2016, during preparation for a temporary exhibition an unfortunate accident occurred causing partial damage to a sitar on loan from Olivia Harrison,” the V&A said.

“The care and protection of objects entrusted to us is of the utmost importance and we take these matters extremely seriously. Following conservation assessment, one of the sitar’s gourds was fully repaired in consultation with leading experts, and no permanent damage was sustained. The sitar featured in the exhibition which opened in September 2016, alongside a number of other significant objects generously on loan from Mrs Harrison.”

George grew fascinated with the sitar, a long-necked string instrument that uses a bulbous gourd for its resonating chamber, and asked Ravi Shankar to teach him to play it properly. The instrument was adopted by the Beatles in many of the Fab Four’s tracks.

The sitar formed part of the V&A’s You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-70 exhibition, which also featured the original suit worn by Harrison on the cover of the Sgt Pepper album.





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Hal Blaine, a legendary drummer with the Los Angeles-based studio musicians known as The Wrecking Crew, died March 11.

These recordings included huge hit singles by the Beach Boys (including “Good Vibrations” and “I Get Around”), the Mamas and the Papas (“Monday Monday”), the Monkees, the Righteous Brothers (including “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”), Elvis Presley, Sonny and Cher, the Byrds (“Mr. Tambourine Man”), the Association, the Grass Roots, the Ronettes (“Be My Baby”) and countless others. Herb Alpert’s 1960s hit recordings featured The Wrecking Crew as the Tijuana Brass. He was also the principal drummer on the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album.

Among the 40 #1 hits on which he played were “He’s a Rebel” (The Crystals), “Surf City” (Jan and Dean), “This Diamond Ring” (Gary Lewis and the Playboys), “Eve of Destruction” (Barry McGuire), “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” (Nancy Sinatra), “Strangers in the Night” (Frank Sinatra), “Poor Side of Town” (Johnny Rivers), “Mrs. Robinson” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Simon and Garfunkel), “Dizzy” (Tommy Roe), “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” (the Fifth Dimension), “(They Long to Be) Close to You” (The Carpenters), “I Think I Love You” (The Partridge Family), “Indian Reservation” (Paul Revere and the Raiders), “Half Breed” (Cher), “Song Sung Blue” and “Cracklin’ Rosie” (Neil Diamond), “The Way We Were” (Barbra Streisand), “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” (John Denver). “Theme From Mahogany” (Diana Ross) and “Love Will Keep Us Together” (Captain and Tennille).

Blaine estimated that he played on 35,000 individual songs in all.

Hal Blaine was born Harold Simon Belsky on February 5, 1929, in Holyoke, Mass. He became a professional drummer in 1948 and joined the band of teen idol Tommy Sands in the late ’50s. Relocating to Los Angeles in the ’60s, he became the most in-demand session drummer in the city, playing on most of Phil Spector’s hits as well as Elvis Presley’s film soundtracks and many of the Beach Boys’ recordings.
His drums can also be heard on recordings by Steely Dan, Glen Campbell, Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole, Trini Lopez, the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, John Lennon, Dusty Springfield, Sammy Davis Jr., Emmylou Harris, Love, Dean Martin, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash and others.
Between 1966 and ’71 Blaine played on six consecutive Grammy Record of the Year winners: Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass in 1966 for “A Taste of Honey”; Frank Sinatra in 1967 for “Strangers in the Night”; The Fifth Dimension in 1968 and 1970 for “Up, Up and Away” and “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In”; Simon and Garfunkel in 1969 and 1971 for “Mrs. Robinson” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

Among the other prominent members of The Wrecking Crew were Plas Johnson, Earl Palmer, Leon Russell, Glen Campbell and Carol Kaye.
Blaine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. He received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.



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On this day in 1969…

Jackie Lomax recorded a version of Leiber and Stoller’s “Thumbin’ a Ride” on 11 March, as the B-side to “New Day” in America. “Thumbin’ a Ride” was produced by Paul McCartney and featured him on drums, along with George Harrison on guitars.

Recording for Is This What You Want? began at EMI Studios in London in June 1968 and continued through the summer in between Harrison’s work on the Beatles’ White Album.While working alone at Trident Studios, down the hall from where the band were recording, Lomax was invited to add backing vocals to “Dear Prudence” in late August; he had also joined the backing chorus for “Hey Jude” earlier that month. The songs recorded included “Sour Milk Sea” and “The Eagle Laughs at You”, for the A- and B-side of Lomax’s debut single on Apple, and “You’ve Got Me Thinking”.
Among the guest musicians on the London sessions, much of which would go unused, were Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Nicky Hopkins, Klaus Voormann and Paul McCartney. Other participants included drummers Bishop O’Brien and Pete Clark; the former was part of Apple artist James Taylor’s backing group, while Clark was the drummer for Lomax’s live band. Lomax performed several London gigs during this period.

Lomax recorded a version of Leiber and Stoller’s “Thumbin’ a Ride” on 11 March, as the B-side to “New Day” in America. “Thumbin’ a Ride” was produced by Paul McCartney and featured him on drums, along with Harrison (guitars), Preston (piano and organ) and Klaus Voormann (bass). In addition, “George & Patti and The Rascals” were credited as backing vocalists.