Album: The White Album – released November 22nd, 1968
“While John was busy experimenting with sounds, Paul started and finished the recording of ‘Blackbird’, a lovely new composition which featured his own lead vocal, double-tracked in places via an overdub, accompanied by his acoustic guitar and a metronome gently ticking away in the background. It was a straightforward recording – no reductions necessary – and was perfected by the 32nd run through, just 11 of which were complete.
There was one other addition to the four-track tape: chirruping blackbirds, courtesy of “Volume Seven: Birds of Feather”, from the Abbey Road taped sound effects collection, the doors of the trusty green cabinet already being open during this evening for raidings by John Lennon. “I taped that on one of the first portable EMI tape-recorders, in my back garden in Ickenham, about 1965,” recalls Stuart Eltham.
“There are two recordings, one of the bird singing, the other making an alarm sound when I startled it.” Six mono remixes of the song were made before the session in studio two ended, the sixth being ‘best’.”
- The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970. Mark Lewisohn
George Harrison, photographed for Cloud Nine in 1987 by Gered Mankowitz; via Gotta Have Rock and Roll.
George’s nicknames appreciation post, prompted by a previous ask:
Hazza (In 1958, when John, Paul and George hung out together very frequently and had nicknames for each other: Lennie, Macca and Hazza, as Mark Lewisohn states in All These Years: here)
Georgie [x] (The other three Beatles can be heard calling him that in interviews [for instance, x], Astrid Kirchherr, Klaus Voormann and Jürgen Vollmer refer to it, and Paul as relatively recently as 2005 [x]. George also signed at least one letter to Astrid that way [x]; and it’s also what Ken Mansfield recalls as George’s telegram code name [the other three are Jock, Porgie and Richie, as he remembers, x!])
Carl Harrison (Well, not a nickname per se, but George’s chosen stage name for the May 1960 Johnny Gentle tour of Scotland)
Geo, a nickname used by his mother Louise (Recalled by Arthur Kelly, in The Beatles - All These Years: Tune In’s extended version… pronounced “Joe.”)
The Beautiful One (What the Hamburg exis nicknamed George in 1960, x)
George Gretsch, as fans took to calling him after he’d purchased his beloved second-hand Gretsch Duo Jet in 1961 [x]
According to the New York Post’s 20 September 1964 issue, he was “called ‘The Bloody Sphinx’ by John Lennon and 'The Great Stone Face’ by Ringo Starr.” [x]
When George, Pattie, John and Cyn went on their May 1964 vacation to Tahiti, etc., code names were created for them, as Brian Epstein recounted in A Cellarful of Noise; George’s was Mr. Hargreaves (as in, his father, Harold Hargreaves Harrison).
Jack Lumber (George’s clearly Monty Python fanatic pseudonym for “hotels, security (and guitar picks),” as Eric Idle recalls x; when traveling with Olivia in the 1970’s and 1980’s, it was often as “Mr. and Mrs. Jack Lumber”.)
“[My] ‘L’Angelo Mysterioso’ credit [for playing on the co-written ‘Badge’] must have been thought up by Eric [Clapton]. I just saw it on the back of the album when it came! In those days, of course, if you played on anybody else’s album or even one track, EMI used to get funny about it, thinking, ‘Oh, the fabulous Beatles publishing catalogue,’ and try claiming royalties on it. So if we did that we always had to make up names. Ravi Shankar used to put on ’Hari Georgeson’ or ’Jai Raj Harisein.’ John [Lennon] preferred ‘George Harrisong.’” - George, Musician, November 1987
“[M]y Indian name for him was ’Jáyaraj.’” - Ravi Shankar, Concert for George, 29 November 2002
Arthur Wax, George O’Hara, George O’Hara-Smith, Onothimagen, P. Roducer, Nelson Wilbury, Spike Wilbury…for album credits, and in the case of Ohnothimagen, album promo.
When George, Olivia and Dhani stayed one night at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, on 28 October 1982, they had reservations under the name ‘Mr and Mrs Tannerhill’ (according to The Beatles Diary Volume 2: After The Break-Up 1970-2001).
“[In Hawaii, George was known to locals] “simply as Keoki.” [x]… it’s also one of Dhani’s tattoos: xx.
On 14 December 1984, George appeared on stage as a surprise guest with Deep Purple in Sydney, introduced as ‘Arnold Grove from Liverpool’ (a pseudonym he also used for hotels; as well as Rick Veda).
Once more for guitar picks, Sir Edmund Wilbury and Nakihama Wilbury (the latter during the 1991 Japan tour) [x]
While undergoing cancer treatment Stateside, George apparently checked in under the alias Jorge Arias, a nickname he also used on other occasions (x).
I thought I’d do a John and Cynthia Lennon appreciation post since I don’t see alot of them and everyone seems to think he only loved yoko, which is not true at all:
“We used to take the mickey out of her, but John always said he fancied her. He called her Miss Prim. He was certainly always attracted to her from the first time he saw her in the canteen.“ -Thelma Pickles (John’s ex)
"I hate the word, but posh best describes John’s first impressions of Cynthia. He was clearly attracted to her but hid that behind a regular barrage of bad jokes about her. She was the most important person to him for a long time but John did not want to look weak to his peers, to be soppy over a girl." -Pauline Sutcliffe (Stuart Sutcliffe’s sister)
One day, not long after we had first met Cyn, I was at Mendips with John and he told me that Cyn was coming from town on the bus. I was twelve then and I was looking forward to seeing her again, wondering what arty, studenty clothes she would be wearing. Mendips is right on the main road, which meant that you could see the bus stop if you looked through the upstairs windows, which is why John ran up and down the stairs to his bedroom whenever he thought he heard a bus engine. You could hear whether or not the bus stopped to let passengers on or off. When the bus did indeed deposit Cynthia on the pavement, John shouted ‘Yes!’ and then flung himself downstairs to watch for her coming through the gate. Then he sauntered through the kitchen, as if he didn’t even know she was coming and he was bumping into her in his own garden by sheer good luck! I couldn’t believe his cool. I loved it! Cynthia was dressed in black from head to toe, just like John. A couple of art students, in love and like art students…in love. It was tangible.” -Julia Baird (John’s sister)
“My feelings for John were very different from those I’d had for any other boy: more powerful, more exciting and totally unshakeable. And I sensed in John the same strong feelings. Perhaps each of us recognised and was drawn to a deep need in the other. But at the time I didn’t analyse it. I simply felt certain that this was no passing fling. It was real love.”- Cynthia
“I do remember John being told you don’t have to marry her John; you don’t have to do this. I know that Mrs Powell, that’s Cynthia’s mother, also told Cynthia, you don’t have to get married. So they didn’t get married because it was a shotgun wedding. They got married because they wanted to, because I remember John saying: ‘I want to marry her, what’s the matter with you all?’" -Julia Baird
"He used to tell me how he and Cyn planned to settle down and raise a family as soon as the Beatles began to pay off, and how much he missed being without her." -Pete Best
"Well, she’s beautiful, you know, and what people don’t know is how smart she is. No matter what’s happening, you know, she’s always there for me" -John
"After rehearsals or a gig, we would go to a bar in the West End. We would drink and talk. It would be late at night, but Cynthia was always waiting for him, always there to embrace him. She was sweetly sensitive, and I do believe most people have no idea what a central figure she was in terms of keeping him somewhat stable during that hard phase when no one knew if the boys were a passing fad or the real thing. I mean, John was the leader, but he was also scared all the time. People forget what a rock she was for him." -Tony Barrow
"I like to keep my work and my private life separate, which is why I keep Cynthia out of the picture. I took her to America, because a trip like that comes once in a lifetime, and she deserved it." -John
"A few days later John is in a taxi, passing a store that has a red night-shirt in the window. He tells the cab to stop, goes inside, and asks how much the night-shirt costs. ‘Six pounds,’ he is told. ‘That’s a lot,’ he says, ‘but I think Cyn would like it.’" -Michael Braun
"Lennon seemed to have a very traditional love for Cynthia and would call her nightly to check in and talk, in baby talk, to his son Julian. It was exciting to watch. Here was a Beatle, the idol of millions, savoring a few minutes on the phone with his wife." -Art Schreiber (Radio Broadcaster)
"During my first travels with the Beatles in 1964, John was eager to talk about his family of three. When the subject turned to Cynthia, his eyes, always mysterious and rarely revealing of his mood, would sparkle and dance.” -Larry Kane (Journalist)
"At Kenwood, Cyn kept herself busy looking after the cooking and the baby, and gave the Lennon household a sensibly, orderly, and almost bourgeois character that John, the non-conformist, the rebel, secretly found comforting”-Pete Shotton
“My wife married me not because I’m a Beatle, but because she loves me." -John
"I fell in love with Cynthia. It’s as simple as that." -John
"It was said I never loved Cyn. That’s far from the truth. We were young, bigheaded, and got into a physical relationship too soon. Perhaps if we took things slow, we would have made it. I know we would have made it.” -John (1974)
“The man I love the most died a tragic death.”- Cynthia
“Of course I love him. I love John as I loved him, you don’t change love. There’s no reason on earth why I should hate him.”- Cynthia
my boyfriend took me on a surprise day out last week and he wouldn’t tell me where we were going but we ended up in london and he took me to aBBEY ROAD because he couldn’t believe i hadn’t been there, CAN WE JUST
Photos: Harry Benson, The Beatles Book, Keystone-France, David Hurn, New York Daily News Archive, Alamy, Bill Zygmant, Don McCullin; screen caps from The Beatles Antholog, Living in the Material World
Q) Do you like tea?
A) “Of course! Doesn’t everybody?”
- George Teen Screen Magazine, 1964 [x]
“I don’t think I can make it unless I have a cup of tea.” - George Harrison during the “Paperback Writer” recording session, KRLA Beat, 16 July 1966 [x]
“Well they give you lukewarm water and a crummy looking tea bag. And you know, you’ve got to try to make that into a cup of tea.” - George Harrison in response to a reporter asking how he drinks his tea, Boston, 12 September 1964 [x]
“When we were on the houseboat in Kashmir [in 1966], owned by a little old guy with a white beard called Mr Butt, it was really cold in the night because it was on a lake right up in the Himalayas. Mr Butt would wake us up early in the morning and give us tea and biscuits and I’d sit in bed with my scarf and pullover on, listening to Ravi, who would be in the next room doing his sitar practice - that was such a privileged position to be in.” - George Harrison, Raga Mala [x]
“I remember one time, at an airport, I was starting to worry whether we would get to the gate on time but George just smiled and said he wanted a cup of tea.
‘OK,’ I fretted, ‘but I don’t think we have time.’
'There’s always time for a cup of tea,’ he said.” - Sir Jackie Stewart, Winning Is Not Enough [x]
“[George] came to Hamburg to see a concert [Tom Petty in 1992] and he wanted to take me there but I couldn’t because I had the flu. So he came to my house and made me some tea. We just had a long talk and then he had to go.” - Astrid Kirchherr in an interview with Ken Sharp [x]
“I have one [a guitar] where it has a cupboard in the back with my sandwiches and tea.” - George Harrison joking in a Japanese interview, 1991 [x]
“To wake up at Friar Park to a cup of tea and a slice of lemon cake, to play with George, was magic.” - Jim Keltner, Mojo, November 2014 [x]
“[Ronnie Lobo] remembered the time when George Harrison, the lead guitarist of The Beatles, asked for a pot of tea and Shalimar biscuits. Lobo sent his staff all over Khan Market looking for Shalimar biscuits, but they couldn’t find the brand. With much anxiety, Lobo called up Harrison and asked where he had seen the biscuits, and he was informed that the ex-Beatle had seen it on a neon sign atop the ‘mosque on the sea’ (Haji Ali) in Mumbai. Harrison had no option but to have other biscuits with his tea.” - Indian Restaurant Spy, 27 April 2015 [x]
”[George] Harrison maintained the smallest staff of the three [McCartney, Ono and Harrison], centering his business interests around a handful of trusted aides. ‘He’s charming to the people who work for him,’ one revealed. 'He’ll bring you a cup of tea, and talk to you rather than shout at you.’" - You Never Give Me Your Money: The Battle For The Soul Of The Beatles by Peter Doggett [x]
“All senses were satisfied as incense blew in the morning breeze, mingling with the steam from hot cups of tea.” - Olivia Harrison, “A Few Words About George,” Harrison [x]
“Show me that I’m everywhere, and get me home for tea.” - “It’s All Too Much” (Harrison)
HAHAH i should have known this was coming! nah mate no problem i know this is sort of the quintessential question for anyone even remotely interested in the beatles so i appreciate even being asked my opinion.
i think “john and yoko” happened at a very particular time in john’s life. i mean, all things of significance inevitably end up accruing retrospective portent (hence why a lot of people argue that “if yoko hadn’t happened” the beatles would have continued, therefore implying that she was the lynch pin to what happened afterwards). i’ll just briefly say that, in my opinion, there’s no doubt they had a very loving and spiritual relationship. i think yoko opened john’s mind up to a heck of a lot, especially with regards to his relationships to women, the world, and so on (turning john onto feminism was a big moment: he was an emotionally repressed northern man). i do think they completed each other in some capacity for a while, and i think they taught each other a lot (it’s incorrect to approach their relationship strictly as we have been taught it from john’s narrative, i.e. yoko as the all-knowing “mother”, because although she was older than him she was also human, and that dynamic assumes that john had nothing to teach yoko, which i think is incorrect). however there are elements of their relationship that, naturally, weren’t fantastic. their intense codependence, the enabling of negative behaviour, “us/them”, substance abuse, isolating john, et al. i think inasmuch as they had a healthy spiritual relationship they had a very, very damaging emotional relationship. they fulfilled something in each other for a very long time. i think the turning point came when yoko replaced the band in john’s mind, and with him at times being a bit of a black/white, changeable person, he simply went with whatever was working better (think “things with yoko are good” “yoko is good” etc - very polarizing language; what’s “bad”?)
as for “hating” yoko: absolutely not. it’s nonsensical. i’ve never met the woman. if anything i’m neutral. obviously i sort of wish she’d buggered off and left everyone in peace.. mainly because i’m on john’s side when it comes to this sort of thing. i think she’s an incredible person and a powerful conceptual artist; you’d have to really be daft not to understand the depth of her work. in terms of john+yoko, i’m ambivalent if leaning towards dislike. in terms of yoko herself, i definitely don’t hate her. i think i’ll just always be frustrated at the way her relationship with john manifested and played out, especially when we know that john, when he really loved someone, gave them his all. and i think it just so happened that giving yoko his own turned into something far deeper and more intense than he initially expected.
George Harrison, reading fan mail, and Neil Aspinall backstage, photographed for The Beatles Book’s July 1965 issue.
Photo: The Beatles Book
“Well, our parents, of course. Our families, you know. Honestly, all of them. Then there were people like Tony [Barrow], [Tony] Bramwell, Mal [Evans], Neil [Aspinall], Derek [Taylor], Brian [Epstein], and many people. George Martin. Oh, there is so much to remember. A woman, Astrid Kirchherr. And… a really fascinating guy… a bouncer… promoter and manager. His name was Horst [Fascher]. It was in Hamburg.” - George Harrison to Larry Kane in 1965 (in response to the question, “Who were the people who helped you the most?”), When They Were Boys [x]
* * *
“George was a year younger than Paul and I. And I met George probably when he was about 13, and I was 14, and - just behind the air raid shelters, smoking [in the Liverpool Institute playground]. […] It was an ideal place for the rebels to go and have a cigarette; so that’s where I met George.” - Neil Aspinall, Living in the Material World bonus features [x]
* * *
“Having lasted 40 years with The Beatles, Neil [Aspinall] is the only person who’s ever really been able to keep in contact with the four of us at the same time through all the various conflicts and whatever. And I met him when I was like 13 years old, smoking behind the air-raid shelters at the Liverpool Institute high school [big laugh].” - George Harrison, Billboard, 19 June 1999 [x]
* * *
“If he [George] were here, you know, he’d get a kick out of tonight, he’d be wanting to see everybody and party. But there would probably be a lot of people that he would thank and when you think of the span of his entire career, there’s so many people who are in this room tonight that he may want to mention, but I’m going to mention one that I’m sure of, and it’s the person in this room that George knew the longest in his life. That he met behind the air raid shelter when he was sneaking off to have his ciggie at school. Someone who looked after him, and all of them, from the time they were 13 till, for George, the end of his life. And that’s the mysterious Neil Aspinall. [applause]
Thank you, Neil, for holding it together for all these years because really, the whole phenomenon might not have happened or stayed together as long as it did without him. You know, he’s helped us, he’s helped his family and George loved him dearly, and many of you as well.” - Olivia Harrison, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 15 March 2004 [x]
* * *
“It was my privilege to have been his friend.” - Neil Aspinall on George Harrison, 2001 [x]