Tuesday, February 4, 2014

25 Days Of Harrison Day 4- Meeting Paul and John

"It took from four o'clock to five to get home in the evening outskirts of the Speke estate and it was on that bus journey that I met Paul McCartney, because he, being in the same school, had the same uniform and was going the same way as I was so I started hanging out with him."- George Harrison
George Harrison and Paul McCartney
Paul and George at the time only lived one stop apart from each other at what they called 'The Trading Estates' in Speke. On these bus rides George had found out that Paul played the trumpet and was getting a guitar and Paul found out that George played guitar, the two would get together at night and played from what Paul remembers songs like "Besame Mucho" and "Don't Rock me Daddy O" . George tells the story as he was walking on the bus he saw a kid making faces in the bus window looking at his reflection and thinking that this was interesting.

Paul and George became friends fast even taking a hitchhiking trip to Whales.
"One year, Paul and I decided to go hitchhiking. It's something nobody would ever dream of these days. Firstly, you'd probably be mugged before you got through the Mersey Tunnel, and secondly everybody's got cars and is already stuck in a traffic jam. I'd often gone with my family down South to Devon, to Exmouth, so Paul and I decided to go there first."- George Harrison
The two were only teenagers and didn't have much money, and carried bags and a little stove with them, stopping at stores along the way for canned food.They would 'top and tail it' in beds at bed- and- breakfast's they'd find along the way. Both remember being in this one town where a lady had offered the two a place to stay at her house, her two sons were away and had extra room in her house, so the boys went with her.
"So she took us to hers - where we beat her, tied her up and robbed her of all her money! Only joking; she let us stay in her boy's room and the morning cooked us breakfast. She was really nice. I don't know who she was - the Lone Ranger?"- George Harrison
Their journey continued towards Exmouth, where they met a character from John's later book A Spaniard in the Works, a drunk in a pub who's name was Oxo Whitney. Anyways, the two continued to Paignton where the had no money and had to sleep on the beach. On the move again the boys walked to a Ferry boat that would take them to a relative of Paul's in South Wales. Desperate for sleep, when the two arrived at Chepstow they went to the police station asking if they could sleep in a cell where the police told them to go sleep in the football grandstand, and they did. George and Paul got up and hiked north through Wales where they tracked down a truck and got a ride for a while.
"The trucks didn't have a passenger seat in those days so I sat on the engine cover. Paul was sitting on the battery. He had on jeans with zippers on the back pockets and after a while he suddenly leapt up screaming. His zipper had connected the positive and negative on the battery, got red hot, and burnt a big zipper mark across his arse." -George Harrison
Then they finally arrived at Butlins and couldn't get in. George compared it to a German prisoner-of-war camp. That there were barbed-wire fences saying they had to break in.

The following video is of Paul McCartney talking about bits of the trip;

"Now George came through Paul"- John Lennon
By this time Paul McCartney had joined a band that called themselves The Quarrymen, named after Quarrybank School where lead singer, John Lennon and the rest of the band had attended (Read more about The Quarrymen here and about Paul and John's meeting here ). Paul had told John that he had this friend who he played guitar with and said that they had to hear him.
"They said, 'OK, lets hear him then.'" - Paul McCartney
George and John met on a top of a double decker bus with Paul and the rest of the band. John was about eighteen and George fifteen. Paul encouraged George to take out his guitar and play the American classic "Raunchy".
"George could play 'Raunchy' so well it sounded like the record."- Paul McCartney
All impressed by his playing John was a little uneasy about letting him in the band, he was too young. John even said that George looked younger than Paul and Paul at the time looked like he was ten! But they knew George was good, loads better than what the others were playing and he was excepted into the band and not only made the group stronger but taught the others the correct chords on guitar, especially John who was playing his like a banjo with five strings and banjo chords.
"Paul introduced me to George and I had to make the decision whether to let George in. I listened to him play and said ,'Play "Raunchy".' I let him in and that was the three of us then, and the rest of the group was thrown practically together."- John Lennon
"I don't know what I felt about him when I first met him; I just thought he was OK. At that age I only wanted to get into music. I think that's with anybody you meet who sings or is into music like that, you just buddy with them instantly"- George Harrison  on meeting John
 After that meeting George and John saw a lot of each other but at the beginning John thought he was too young even saying at first "George was too young. I didn't want to know at first.". George use to go to John's and ask to go to the movies with him but John would act as if he was busy. Paul had thought he was young looking too, he recalls one experience of the two wanting to see The Blackboard Jungle in theaters but they were both under aged, Paul was in between the 'young' look and the 'about the appropriate age' look so he could easily bluff and say he was of age. George on the other hand looked too young, Paul came up with the idea of going into the Harrison's garden and rubbed some dirt on George's upper lip making it look like a mustache. They got into the movie.
"I didn't dig him until I got to know him." -John Lennon
 When John got to know George most of the time John would go to the Harrison's home for two reasons; one, John was embarrassed by his aunt Mimi (read about her here). and two, Mrs. Harrison loved music and loved having them around.There's even one memory George has when he was younger of him going to visit John at his aunt Mimi's home. Everyone then were trying to look like Teddy Boys, with the greased hair and the leather.
"I must of looked pretty good, because Mimi didn't like me at all. She was really shocked and said, 'Look at him! Why have you brought this boy round to my house? He looks dreadful, like a Teddy boy.' and he'd say, 'Shut up Mary, Shut up.'"- George Harrison on visiting John
 John even says that Mimi always said George had a low Liverpool voice followed by the remark,
"You always seem to like lower -class types, don't you, John?"
It was at a party at Les Stewart's home where John finally gained respect to George. Les Stewart was a banjo, mandolin, guitar player for the second band George was in (he was in two bands at this time). There was a blonde haired girl with pigtails at the party, "Bardot type", who George took interest to.
"...and I pulled her and snogged her. Somehow John found  out, and after that he was a bit more impressed with me."- George Harrison
The rest of the band would soon fall apart leaving it just John, Paul and George for a while. John at the time was attending Art College, which was connected to the Institute where George and Paul were. George and Paul had lunches off and weren't aloud to leave the school with a dismissal note, they would leave anyway and go around the corner taking off as much of their school uniforms as possible and walk into the college to meet John. The three would later form a stronger group with drummer Pete Best and bassist and John's best friend Stuart Stutcliffe which lead to various names from The Quarrymen, Johnny and The Moondogs, Long John and the Silver Beetles, Silver Beetles, to finally The Beatles.

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