sultan of my heart

10

my top 10 ottoman imperial ladies 

George Harrison and Joe Brown, and a few fairly recognizable guitars. Photo courtesy of Genesis Publications, presumably © Harrison Family.

“When The Spacemen became Joe [Brown]’s backing band The Bruvvers the hits began to roll in, with Joe headlining tours that featured Del Shannon, Dion, The Crystals… and a new young band called The Beatles. ‘No one realised back then how big The Beatles were going to be but I could see they were very different,’ he says. ‘They’d been through the gamut of rock ’n’ roll in those German clubs where they were playing eight or nine hours a day.

‘They were great: George played beautiful guitar, John was an aggressive rocker and Paul was just so full of talent. Individually there were loads of musicians around who were better than them but here’s the thing… they were a great band.

‘George was a real chord merchant.

‘In fact, Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits paid tribute to him in Sultans Of Swing in that line “Guitar George, he knows all the chords.” Later I moved to where George lived, Henley-on-Thames, and he phoned me up one day and said “we should get together”. Soon I was round his house almost every other day and we loved playing the ukulele together.

‘What we had in common was that neither of us was a musical snob. Music was music and if it came from the heart, it was good. We liked music that went way back – like George Formby, Hoagy Carmichael. Real music.’ What made George Harrison such a true friend? ‘Ukuleles!’ says Joe. ‘We both love ukuleles. George ended up as my best man and he certainly was an’ all. He was a wonderful friend and I miss him every day. I don’t seem to be able to think about him in the past tense, I always figure he’s still around.’” - “Singer Joe Brown: I’m still rocking at 75” by Chris Roycroft-Davis, Express, 11 October 2016