Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have shared tributes to late The Beatles bandmate George Harrison on the 20th anniversary of the latter’s passing.
Harrison, died of lung cancer on November 29, 2001 at the age of 58.
McCartney took to Twitter to share an old image of himself and Harrison in the studio with a caption reading: “Hard to believe that we lost George 20 years ago. I miss my friend so much. Love Paul.”
Ringo Starr also took to Instagram to share an image of him and Harrison smoking cigars, saying: “Peace and love to you George I miss you man. Peace and love Ringo”.
George also received a tribute from his widow, Olivia Harrison, who shared a video to her Instagram page that featured a psychedelic photo of Harrison’s face set to his song ‘Within You Without You’, and ended with the words, “We love you, George.”
Meanwhile Peter Jackson’s Disney+ documentary – The Beatles: Get Back – was released last week and garnered a glowing five-star review from NME.
“It is precisely because of Get Back‘s lax editorial policy that it succeeds. You might not be able to say anything new about The Beatles in 2021, but Jackson hasn’t tried. He’s shown us instead,” wrote NME’s Alex Flood.
Earlier this month, Paul addressed the “misconception” that he broke up The Beatles. “I think the biggest misconception at the end of The Beatles was that I broke The Beatles up, and I lived with that for quite a while,” he said. “Once a headline’s out there, it sticks. That was a big one – and I’ve only finally just gotten over it.”
The Harrison family moved into 25 Upton Green when George was just six. The three bedroom terraced house in the heart of Speke where George Harrison grew up is set to be sold at auction.
George moved into the terraced house when he was just six years old, and remained there until the 1960s.
It was during his time at the house that George met Paul and John, and the three held some of their first rehearsals. The three bedroom family home still bears some of the period features from when the Harrisons were residents including its bath, sink, some original doors, hanging rails in wardrobes and outbuildings complete with original doors and decor.
Paul Fairweather, Auctioneer of Omega Auctions said: “It’s truly an honour to have a chance to sell a property which played an important role in the early career of the Beatles. “George will have learned to play the guitar in this house and the photos of the group gathering there in the early 1960s are amazing to see.
“We think it’s a steal at £160k, especially with the ‘Get Back’ film due out soon and the option coming up to apply for a blue plaque at the property. We can’t wait to see how it goes. ”
Jonathan Brown, heritage and tourism consultant, said: “The city has become nonchalant toward the legacy of The Beatles. The homes where George, Paul, John and Ringo grew up in are touchstones that we should honour.
“Lets remember The Beatles changed lives and changed the world.”
The auction is set to take place later this month and the property is expected to attract bids of around £160,000.
Dallas-based Heritage Auctions is handling the sale, which concludes on Nov. 6. On Dec. 5, 20 years will have passed since Steve Blow, then a columnist for The Dallas Morning News, wrote a piece that brought together two unlikely entities — Beatles great George Harrison and First Baptist Dallas, which today has a congregation of more than 13,000 members.
Blow wrote about Dallas collector Charles Heard having acquired a New Testament Bible, one of several given to the Beatles during their only visit to Dallas on Sept. 18, 1964, less than a year after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Elm Street.
Fast forward to Nov. 6, 2021, when Heard’s prized possession will be sold at auction by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions. So far, the bidding has reached $3,000. Heard told Blow that he bought the pocket-sized New Testament from another Beatles fanatic, a dentist in Little Rock, Ark., soon after the Arkansan purchased it in 2001.
“My husband and I are lifelong Beatles fans,” Sherry Heard, 60, said from the home in Lakewood she shares with her husband, 71, where the couple have lived for 30 years.
Their devotion to the Fab Four has taken them all over the world to see dozens of Paul McCartney concerts, where, during one once-in-a-lifetime show, the Beatles great invited them onstage. “Our favorite shared interest is our Beatles interest.”
Sherry Heard said they purchased the Bible “years ago, because of its tie to Dallas. We also love Dallas history. This was a nice tie-in for us because it was Dallas and the Beatles.”
“I am assuming that all four got a Bible,” Heard said in 2001. “But this is the only one known to still exist.” At the time Heard declined to say what he paid for it.
As Blow wrote, “The Bible is inscribed in the back in red pencil, in what appears to be a teen’s awkward cursive: ‘To George! From: Teenagers/First Baptist Church Dallas.”
But the front of the Bible carries an inscription from Harrison himself: “To Brian/Happy Birthday from George, Paul, Ringo & John.”
As Heard tells it, Epstein — the Beatles’ legendary manager — turned 30 the day after the Beatles’ concert in Dallas. “Apparently George saved this Bible from the kids at First Baptist Church and presented it to Brian at that time,” Heard said in 2001.
“But here’s the kicker: Brian Epstein was Jewish. The New Testament was clearly given as a gag gift,” Heard said. “It just shows you the wicked, offbeat sense of humor that George had.”
So, why sell it? “It is time,” said Charles Heard, “to let somebody else enjoy it.” Nearly 20 years ago, Heard shared with Blow how Harrison ended up with the rare gift from First Baptist Dallas. As Blow wrote: During their Dallas visit in 1964, “The boys were virtual prisoners inside their hotel the whole time. But somehow, some way the youth of Dallas’ First Baptist Church managed to deliver little New Testament Bibles to the Beatles.”
But, as Blow noted, “Brian apparently thought enough of the gift to keep it. The New Testament was among his possessions sold at auction in an estate sale after his death in 1967.”
As Heritage notes in its description of the Bible, “Epstein kept it from 1964 until his death, and it is referenced in the book, The Brain Epstein Story.” At the time the Bible was sold at auction by Christie’s to the Little Rock dentist, it had belonged to Bryan Barrett, Epstein’s chauffeur and bodyguard for the last 14 months of his life.
“I’m not sure how the Bible was intended,” Heard said after acquiring it in 2001. “I can’t tell if it was just a friendly ‘Welcome to Dallas’ gift.
Soon after Blow’s column was published, The News received a letter to the editor that read: “At this moment I imagine George Harrison is wishing he had read that little New Testament instead of having given it away as a gag gift.”
The letter was signed by “Robert Jeffress, pastor, First Baptist Church, Wichita Falls.” The outspoken and often-controversial Jeffress, an ally of former President Donald J. Trump, is now the pastor of First Baptist Dallas and a Fox News contributor.
There are few albums more experimental in scope than George Harrison’s second solo offering, Electronic Sound. Despite its obvious difference from Harrison’s later solo work, the album marks an important milestone in the creative development of one of music’s great songwriters, the point at which Harrison embraced both the avant-garde and, importantly, the synthesiser.
The last of two LPs released via the Apple off-shoot label, Zapple, Electronic Sound is an avant-garde synth record Harrison made in 1968-1969. It comprises just two recordings, each around half an hour long: ‘Under The Mersey Bridge’ and No Time Or Space’. The Zapple label specialised in releasing avant-garde and experimental music.
As one of the first electronic music albums by a rock musician, it is less a collection of songs and more an exploration of the capabilities of synthesised sound. On release, Harrison’s 50-minute collection of mechanical sounds failed to capture the public’s imagination. Most felt it impossible to relate to, viewing it more as an exercise in self-gratification than an exploration into the untrodden recesses of the avant-garde.
Nevertheless, Electronic Sound has gone on to influence several notable musicians working in the land of pops and bleeps, including The Chemical Brothers’ Tom Rowland, who once claimed that he had a copy of Harrison’s 1969 LP having above his Moog modular synthesiser, “beaming inspiration straight to my brain”. It was one of these hefty pieces of electronic equipment with which Harrison would craft Electronic Sound and which he would later bring into The Beatles’ Abbey Road sessions for use on tracks such as ‘Here Comes The Sun’.
But let’s start at the beginning. When George laid eyes on the Moog, it was love at first sight. He was in Los Angeles in November 1968 to produce Jackie Lomax’s album Is This What You Want? for the Apple label. The sessions had seen Harrison work with The Wrecking Crew, a legendary group of Los Angeles-based session musicians who were employed for thousands of studio sessions throughout the 1960s and ’70s. On the last day of recording, Bernie Krause, a sales representative for Moog, arrived at the studio with a gargantuan electronic instrument encrusted in a hundred tiny knobs and filled with a tangle of wires. It may have looked like the control panel for some highly advanced fighter jet, but it was, in fact, the Moog 3.
In one Jackie Lomax session towards the end of the day, Bernie Krause demonstrated the Moog 3 by overdubbing a range of peculiar sounds on top of one another while twiddling the knobs and inserting the various wires into different modules. Harrison, who was looking for a new way to express himself outside of The Beatles, was utterly transfixed. After convincing Krause to stay on after the session and give him a lesson, Harrison asked the sound engineer to keep the tape rolling in the live room where the lesson was set to take place. The recordings of that first lesson would form the foundation of Electronic Sound, making up large chunks of ‘No Time or Space’.
George Harrison’s first and only synth lesson would – much to Krause’s delight – convince the musician to buy a Moog and ship it over to his house just outside London where he finished Electronic Sounds album. Following its completion, he moved the metal giant to Abbey Road in August of 1969, where The Beatles were putting the finishing touches to their album of the same name. With the help of Manfred Mann’s Mike Vickers, Harrison installed the enormous Moog 3 in room 43 of the legendary London studio. Having grown familiar with the Moog’s unique properties, George Harrison was the first Beatle to use the instrument on Abbey Road, employing it for the bridge section of John Lennon’s song ‘Because’.
Next up was Paul McCartney, who took to the Moog on the much-despised ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’, which had been giving The Beatles grief for months on end. But the arrival of the Moog heralded a way out of the gridlock The Beatles had found themselves in. Alan Parsons, one of the studio engineers working on Abbey Road, once recalled the impact the instrument made on The Beatles: “Everybody was fascinated by it,” he began.
“We were all crowding around to have a look. Paul used the Moog for the solo in ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ but the notes were not from the keyboard. He did that with a continuous ribbon-slide thing, just moving his finger up and down on an endless ribbon. It’s very difficult to find the right notes, rather like a violin, but Paul picked it up straight away. He can pick up anything musical in a couple of days.” Then there’s also that immortal, portamento synth line on George Harrison’s track ‘Here Comes The Sun’, a song that just wouldn’t be the same without the Moog.
George Harrison’s Electronic Sound is an important landmark in The Beatles sonic development.
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