joe atkin

George Harrison during a rehearsal at The Cavern Club, Liverpool, 22 August 1962 (Courtesy of The Source: Savage Young Beatles)

Photo: Bill Connell/Les Chadwick

The following is an excerpt I’ve typed up from Joe Flannery’s book Standing In The Wings: The Beatles, Brian Epstein and Me, regarding George (and his parents)… It’s quite lengthy, but offers a wonderful insight into George, his love of music and cars, and his personality, in 1962. Hope you enjoy!

“That summer of 1962 still ‘looms large in my lunchtime’, as the Beatles might have said. […] [W]hen the early morning light dawned over Gardner Road and a Beatle or two had, yet again, stayed overnight, it was up to me - ‘the Colonel’ as John and George often called me - to get them home and make sure they were safe in the arms of their families once again. I didn’t simply have to do this, I felt committed to doing it. Brian [Epstein] and I had standards and Liverpool has always been a city in which one had to keep one’s wits about oneself. It’s difficult to remember those four lads as lads, after all this time. But that’s exactly what they were […].

Dawn in Liverpool, at least in the summer months when it isn’t raining, can be spectacular. A big sky full of promise, streaked and blotched with clouds of red and amber fire, can be a rude awakening to a young, bleary-eyed musician who had come off stage a 2 in the morning and slept perhaps an hour or so on an overstuffed chair in front of the fire. No sooner had that fresh, moist, salty air and dramatic half-light hit George or John or Paul than they were immediately awake, talking thirteen to the dozen about the previous night. No sooner, however, had they piled into my lovely Vauxhall Cresta than the fresh air coupled with the heat from the interior of the car sent them into a sleep-induced trance once again - except for George, that is. The Speke district of Liverpool, where George’s family lived, was usually last on my list of drops. It was a council estate on the outskirts of the south end of the city, built alongside the river on the road towards Widnes and Runcorn. It was quite a drive from the Stoneycroft area which housed my flar and, shortly before reaching Harrison’s home, George would eagerly persuade me to allow him to have a little drive of the Cresta. It was a big car, but George was fascinated by vehicles and speed, and was determined to learn to drive as soon as possible.

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