George Harrison’s childhood was pleasant. However, one moment in his youth didn’t quite go to plan. Receiving his first record should have been a happy memory, but it turned out to be one of George’s most troubling. He never forgot.
George Harrison’s childhood was full of small gigs
From a young age, George loved giving little performances to his family.
According to Joshua Greene Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrisonone of George’s earliest memories was of “standing on a leather stool and singing folk singer Josh White’s ‘One Meatball,’ to the great delight of his family.”
“He had these animal dolls,” said his sister Louise, “and he did skits with them for us. He was fun and outgoing and the family adored him.”
George wrote goofy songs like “I’m a Pink Toothbrush, You’re a Blue Toothbrush” and yodelled with Hank Williams on “Blue Yodel 94”.
When he got home from school, he turned on the radio. He heard tunes by Jimmie Rodgers, Big Bill Broonzy, Slim Whitman and various English music hall numbers.
In 1992, George told Timothy White (per George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviews and Encounters), “I think the first person that really got me interested in guitar was Jimmie Rodgers – ‘The Singing Brakeman’.
“And my father had some records, and he used to go to sea a lot, and he brought this big wind-up gramophone and Jimmie Rodgers records. It was “Waiting for a train” and “Blue Jodel”. And so I always remember when I was a little kid of about eight or seven.
“Later on, when I was a little older, there was this guy from Florida who was a big hit in England in the ’50s and his name was Slim Whitman. Again there was a singer with a guitar. And then it became Bill Haley. And then we had this big trend in the UK called skiffle music, which grew out of a traditional jazz, which is a kind of Dixieland jazz.”
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One of George’s most disturbing childhood memories was of the first record he ever bought
Around 1956 George started listening to rock ‘n’ roll on the radio.
“The main thing that really got me excited I remember, even before I heard Elvis, was Fats Domino’s ‘I’m in Love Again,'” George told White. “When I heard Elvis’ ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, I rode my bike past someone’s house and it must have been playing a gramophone. I could not believe the sound of that record.”
Buying his first record wasn’t as happy an experience as hearing the new genre of music for the first time.
“I can tell you something that was a real disappointment,” George said. “I had the money and I wanted Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around the Clock’ and I asked someone, someone in my family, to get it for me, and I couldn’t wait to get that record.
“They said they would buy it for me because I was so excited for this record. Because to me, all the saxophones and Franny Beecher, that guitarist on the Bill Haley album, was just amazing. And they came home and gave me this record and said, ‘Oh, they sold out Bill Haley, so I got you this.’
“It was the Deep River Boys. I thought, ‘Oh no, damn it!’ It was such a disappointment. That was the first record I didn’t get. Before I had money, my brother had a record player, but he had records like West Side Story and music like that. I think I have a Lonnie Donegan record.”
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He started playing guitar like his idols
Buying his first album should have been one of George’s happiest childhood memories. However, the purchase of his first guitar made up for it.
George wanted to act like Rodgers and all his other childhood idols. His friend offered to sell him a guitar for three pounds, 10 shillings. He asked his mother Louise for the money.
He practiced on the cheap beginner’s guitar until it broke, but Louise had to buy him a better one. Eventually he got good enough to impress his future bandmates Paul McCartney and John Lennon.
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https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/1-george-harrisons-most-upsetting-childhood-memories-involved-first-record-ever-bought.html/ One of George Harrison’s most disturbing childhood memories was of the first record he ever bought