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Author Topic: Louise Harrison reminisces about brother George Harrison and the Beatles  (Read 2159 times)

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Louise Harrison reminisces about brother George Harrison and the Beatles

By Gerry Galipault, Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Monday, November 28, 2011

http://www.ticketsarasota.com/2011-11-28/featured/louise-harrison-remembers-brother-george-harrison-and-the-beatles/


George Harrison holds his infant son, Dhani, who was born on Aug. 1, 1978. (Photo provided by Walt Kane)


Louise Harrison sits inside George Harrison's ornate estate. (Photo provided by Walt Kane)


Toddler Dhani Harrison sits on his father George's shoulders. (Photo provided by Walt Kane)


George Harrison sits on a motorcycle in front of his estate, with Louise Harrison and Walt Kane. (Photo provided by Walt Kane)

For more than 40 years, Beatles fans have asked Louise Harrison to write a book about her famous younger brother, George. Now she has finally relented.

The 80-year-old former Sarasota resident has finished most of the text for a book to be released next year or 2013. Now she’s scanning never-before-published photos, letters and documents that will fill the rest of the pages.

“So much garbage has been written about George and the Beatles,” Harrison says from her home in Branson, Mo., where she created Beatles tribute band Liverpool Legends six years ago and oversees its stage production.


“So much garbage has been written about George and the Beatles,” Harrison says from her home in Branson, Mo., where she created Beatles tribute band Liverpool Legends six years ago and oversees its stage production.

“Half of the stuff has been written by people who spent maybe an hour on a plane with the Beatles. Now I think it’s my duty to get the truth out. There’s been all kinds of myths and fantasies written about them. At least I have some facts to go on, because I was there — from even before they were the Beatles.”

George Harrison died 10 years ago Tuesday from lung cancer at age 58. For Louise, memories of her “kid brother” remain intact.

“We were very fortunate to have such great parents,” Louise says. “They kept us grounded. Even when George became a public figure, as did I, so to speak, my parents would receive thousands of letters from fans all over the world thanking them for having George. They took very good care to answer them all — they felt they were creating a global family for Beatles fans.

“They had so much love within them, and they shared that love with everyone.”

Louise Harrison doesn’t want to give away too many details about her involvement with the Beatles’ meteoric rise to fame (“You’ll have to read the book,” she says, with a laugh). But she will say she had a finger on the pulse of the United States in the early 1960s.

“That’s because I was already living in the U.S. in 1963,” she says. “I would relay information over to (Beatles manager) Brian Epstein. I told him that the Beatles weren’t getting any airplay over here, that they really needed to play on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show,’ which they had never heard of but it was the most popular show on television, and that they needed to find a major record label here.”

When the Beatles performed on “Ed Sullivan” in 1964, kicking off the British Invasion, George Harrison was quickly dubbed the “quiet Beatle.” There was a reason for that, Louise says.

“First off, he wasn’t quiet,” she says, laughing. “But the weekend they flew into New York to do ‘Ed Sullivan,’ George was very sick. They were staying at the Plaza Hotel, and we got him to see the hotel doctor, Dr. Gordon. Dr. Gordon said, ‘This is a very sick kid. He’s got a 104-degree temperature and has strep throat.’

“He was given some shots and vaporizer treatments, and I was in charge of watching over him. George was told to use his voice as little as possible. That’s why at all the press conferences he was so quiet, and so the press thought he was the quiet one. George used to have a good laugh about it.”

For her book, Louise Harrison is getting help from an unlikely source: ex-husband Walt Kane.

The two were introduced at a bar in New York City, married in 1973 and divorced in 1983. They moved to Sarasota in 1980, and Kane has lived here ever since.

“I loved George Harrison,” Kane says. “He was a very nice man. I can’t say enough good things about him.”

The 66-year-old Kane, now retired from a career in sales and marketing, has fond memories of hanging out backstage with Paul Simon and Lorne Michaels during Harrison’s “Saturday Night Live” appearance in November 1976, and staying at Harrison’s sprawling English manor in Henley-on-Thames.
In addition to recounting his marriage to Louise Harrison and memories of George for the book, Kane is providing her with his unpublished photos of George, including some taken at his estate and such personal moments as George holding his newborn son, Dhani, in 1978.

“George was always happiest at his estate, which he renamed ‘Crackerbox Palace,’” Kane says. “It was a beautiful place, 30-plus acres of moats and caves and gardens. It was a maze of shrubbery. It had 120 rooms and a huge recording studio. And there were no locks on the doors.”

That changed when Harrison’s former Beatle band mate, John Lennon, was gunned down by an obsessed fan in December 1980.

“After Lennon was killed, George electrified the fences and hired a bodyguard,” Kane said. “He said, ‘It takes only one maniac to take me out.’ He got tired of the fame; he just wanted to be a gardener. He said he was planting for the next generation.”

Despite the increased security at Harrison’s mansion, an intruder broke into his home and stabbed him in late 1999.

Louise Harrison says her brother became more cautious but not paranoid.

“But he did say to me, ‘Don’t be too out in the public, because I don’t want some lunatic to have their 15 minutes of fame.’ He was more worried about his family than himself. That was George.”

UPDATE:

A few days after this article was posted online and published in print, Louise Harrison said she wanted to convey to readers that she disapproved of Kane providing his personal photos of George Harrison to TicketSarasota.com, particularly the one of the former Beatle holding his infant son Dhani.

“All my life I have tried to protect my brother,” she said in a statement. “I have never TALKED ABOUT HIS CHILDHOOD, which was the only private part of his life. Also, I would never agree to make a peep-show out of a private and tender moment in my brother’s life. THIS is why I feel betrayed. I assumed Walter had a little more sensitivity, but unfortunately, as someone — not a biological part of the family — he cannot understand my perspective. However, he is a decent man and I guess he meant well. It is MOST important that my non-participation in the exposure of that photograph be publicly known. Beatle fans who have known me for decades understand my protectiveness and I want them to know — I have not changed.”


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In My Life

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Re: Louise Harrison reminisces about brother George Harrison and the Beatles
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2011, 06:33:47 PM »

In addition to recounting his marriage to Louise Harrison and memories of George for the book, Kane is providing her with his unpublished photos of George, including some taken at his estate and such personal moments as George holding his newborn son, Dhani, in 1978.

A few days after this article was posted online and published in print, Louise Harrison said she wanted to convey to readers that she disapproved of Kane providing his personal photos of George Harrison to TicketSarasota.com, particularly the one of the former Beatle holding his infant son Dhani.

Interesting. I would think that in the course of their collaberation on this project she would have already made her wishes known on the subject of what's okay to release.
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Kelley

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tkitna

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Re: Louise Harrison reminisces about brother George Harrison and the Beatles
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2011, 01:46:43 AM »

Louise rubs me the wrong way.

blmeanie

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Re: Louise Harrison reminisces about brother George Harrison and the Beatles
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2011, 03:16:32 AM »

Louise rubs me the wrong way.

yeah, something is off, don't want to be too cynical but something is off
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Jazz_Singing_Apple

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Re: Louise Harrison reminisces about brother George Harrison and the Beatles
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2011, 07:09:30 AM »

I've only seen the first part of Living in the Material World but I thought it was interesting that Louise wasn't interviewed with George's brothers.
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Gary910

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Re: Louise Harrison reminisces about brother George Harrison and the Beatles
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2012, 04:21:37 AM »

It is interesting that there are negative feelings about "Lou" (that is what she prefers to be called). I have met her several times, and I can't say as I was real fond of her. Oh she was interesting to talk to and she has some interesting stories. There is something about her that didn't sit well with me. I think I have met her a total of three times and definitely the first two times I wasn't impressed. The last time I met her, probably about 20 years ago now, she was nicer than she had been before. (She seemed to slightly remember me.)

I don't know what her motives are for what she does, so I have to give her the benefit of the doubt. She could be good hearted, or she could be using the fact that she is George's sister to promote her causes.

I do know that for many years she and George were not on speaking terms. What the cause of that was I do not know. I am under the impression that She and George made peace before George died. So all is forgiven as far as I am concerned.
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