George Harrison's Sister Has Scoop On Fab 4
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Beatles got their first glimpse of the United States in February 1964, or so the story goes. One member of the iconic band had actually been here a year earlier to visit his older sister in downstate Illinois.
"When he came to see me in the fall of '63, there was a little garage band I was friends with, and their lead guitar player played with the Grand Ole Opry," said Louise Harrison. "And George was impressed. 'Oh, wow, this guy has been at the Grand Ole Opry.' George was still 20 years old at the time."
Louise Harrison was 11 years old when her baby brother George was born. Once he started playing music, she was his cheerleader and song plugger, knocking on radio station doors across the American Midwest.
"I started going 'round to radio stations with the singles that had come out and saying, 'This is my kid brother's band, and it's No. 1 in England. Would you like to play it?'" Harrison said.
No one took her up on the offer until the "Ed Sullivan Show." Harrison said she looks at the film of the show now knowing something no one else might notice: Her Beatle brother was sick as a dog.
"He had the strep throat and 104-degree temperature when he came into New York to do the 'Ed Sullivan Show,'" Harrison said. "I know how ill he was; he was almost reeling on his feet, and some reporter had the gall to write, 'Three Beatles are out in Central Park while the other one was overcome with over-indulgence.'"
For the next 18 months she was on the Beatles beat for American radio: 21 major stations relied on her for the inside scoop on the Fab 4.
Though her brother has been gone about nine years, Harrison said not a day goes by that she doesn't hear her little brother's voice.
George was the first role she cast in her own Beatles tribute band, Liverpool Legends.
She offered this advice for all the other sisters, mothers or brothers of aspiring musicians in Nashville:
"My advice would be don't worry about the fact that you're struggling. Be thankful you're not a millionaire," said Harrison. "Once you're a millionaire, you don't ever know who your real friends are."
She said the biggest misconception about her brother George is that he was the quiet Beatle; she said he was as boisterous and fun as any of the others.
Another Beatle, Paul McCartney, has a concert Monday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Thirty-six years ago, McCartney and his band Wings spent a few weeks in rural Wilson County and recorded a song called "Junior's Farm." But they never did a show in Nashville.