Early Beatles History Revealed in Salisbury
18 Jun, 2009
didn't like jelly babies, all had leather overcoats and they never
deliberately pushed Ringo to the back of the stage.
fascinating, if slightly esoteric, insights into early Beatle's
history are revealed in a wonderful three page letter written by
George Harrison that was sold yesterday for £7,500 (plus premium).
The letter was written in response to a piece of fan mail sent to
him by the vendor (then a young girl living in
George wrote it
from Bournemouthon 23rd August 1963, when the Fab Four
were doing a six-day stint at the town's Gaumont Theatre (now the
Odeon Cinema). The band's preferred hotel seems to have been the
Palace Court Hotel (on whose headed paper the letter is written);
they stayed there again in November of the same year when
performing at the Winter Gardens, and the album cover for With the
Beatles was photographed in the hotel
In response to
questions asked by his fan, George details the harmonies he sings
in 'She Loves You' and in 'I'll Get You' - admitting to singing the
wrong words in the middle part of the latter. These songs (an A and
B side) were actually released as a single on the day George
Harrison wrote this letter; half a million advance orders had
already been received and the band had already had hits earlier
that year with 'Please Please Me' and 'Love Me Do'. 'She Loves You'
reached number 1 in the UKcharts on 4th September.
by his fan of keeping Ringo Starr hidden at the back of the stage,
George goes on to insist that he, John Lennon and Paul McCartney
had in fact tried to push Ringo into the limelight by offering to
play the drums for some numbers so he could join in the dance
routines and singing. Ringo, it appears, politely declined. In
George's opinion, "I think he was scared".
One of the most
personal insights into what it was like onstage with the Beatles
comes in the post script of the letter, where George gently
chastises his correspondent for throwing jelly babies and wine gums
onto the stage at their concerts, "think how we feel trying to
dodge the stuff before you throw some more at us…. I was hit in the
eye once with a boiled sweet, and it's not funny!"
complete with stamped and postmarked envelope, was sold in the
Paintings, Books and Manuscripts sale, where it made tenfold its
conservative mid-estimate. Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn refers
to 1963 as "the year that it all went beserk", when the band turned
from a pub quartet into the Fab Four, and it is this, coupled with
the insights it provides into their early history, which surely
made it such an appealing piece.