By Kimmy April 30, 2012
Apr 30, 2012
MORE GREAT PRESS IN NEW ENGLAND!
George Harrison’s sister, Beatles tribute band headed to Northampton
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012, 3:21 PM
By Keith O’Connor
Americans may recall The Beatles debut on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964, but it wasn’t George Harrison’s first time visiting the United States.
Back in September 1963 – just after “She Loves You” became their first million-selling single in the United Kingdom – the still unknown Beatle spent two weeks in the country visiting his sister, Louise Harrison, who lived in Benton, Illinois.
“Next year is the 50th anniversary of George’s trip to America, and they will be placing an historic marker on the house he visited in Benton,” said Louise Harrison, who now resides in Missouri.
That’s just one of the stories the late Beatles’ sister might share with fans Thursday night in Northampton when she brings her “Help Keep Music Alive” fund-raising effort to Northampton High School. The show will help raise funds for continuing music education at the school and feature Beatles’ tribute band “Liverpool Legends.” (Tcikets for the 7 p.m. show are priced between $25 and $45 and available by calling (800) 838-3006 or www.brownpapertickets.com)
“This event is both educational and a fun way for the Northampton High School Music Department to raise money for a great cause. My brother knew the importance of music education and the arts in our schools and how much it can help a young mind develop,” said Louise Harrison.
She developed “Help Keep Music Alive” in honor of her late brother. The Liverpool Legends, who were handpicked by Harrison, headline their own production five nights a week in Branson, Missouri, and have been voted Branson’s Best Show since 2006.
Harrison and the Liverpool Legends were nominated this year for a Grammy in the spoken word category for a compact disc titled “Fab Fans Memories.” Narrated by the famous Beatles’ sister, the disc is a collection of interviews with Beatles fans across the world telling personal stories about how the band affected their lives. The Liverpool Legends also recorded all of the songs on the compact disc.
Harrison’s life in America – where she moved in 1963 with her mining engineer husband she later divorced – was affected early on by her brother the Beatle.
“My mum was sending me singles the lads had been putting out, and I would travel to radio stations located within a 200-mile radius of my home in an effort to try and get them to play the Beatles’ records,” said Harrison.
“What I learned early on from program directors at these radio stations was that unless you had a major label behind you, it was hard to get your songs played on the radio. It wasn’t like in England where we had the BBC, which reached everyone, and if they played your song, then you were in. And, I started to let Brian Epstein and others involved know what the story was in America,” she added.
Harrison, who is now 80 years old, was 32 at the time her brother visited her, and said shortly after his visit when they were signed to Capitol Records, she “inadvertently stumbled into being a Beatles reporter.”
“I would go on the radio and tell listeners what was really happening with the Beatles, as opposed to some of the nonsense being told. Radio stations across the country would invite me to come in and be on the radio the night before the Beatles played in town, then again the morning after the concert. And, it was funny, because people who had called in the night before were now hoarse from screaming so much at the concert,” said Harrison.
While Harrison said she misses her brother since his death some 10 years ago – she saw him in Staten Island about a week before his death – she note she “doesn’t really feel like he’s gone, he’s still very much a part of my life.”
One of the reasons for her feeling that way is Marty Scott, who portrays George in the Liverpool Legends, whom Harrison has referred to as her “new baby brother.”
“We met just a few weeks after George’s death. He has so many of George’s characteristics and he has taken over the role of being my brother and caring for me in my old age. And, I’ve always felt that George’s spirit was looking after me,” said Harrison.4_30_12