The Beatles Hour


IN MEMORIAM: GEORGE HARRISON

30th November 2001:
It was the deepest sadness that I heard the news of George's passing, this morning. Though hardly surprising, it was no less shocking. I was a fan from the really early days, and though it may be a popular comment to make today, I have always said that he was my favourite Beatle, and that favouritism was reflected in my choice of songs I regularly played on The Beatles Hour radio programme.
I saw The Beatles at their Christmas Show at The Finsbury Park Astoria in 1963. George was the first of the Fab Four that I met, when I was a guest at an Apple Records Christmas party, in the early seventies. He was charming. I was privileged to acquire an advance copy of the "All Things Must Pass" triple album, and played it to everyone I knew, before it had reached the shops.
I was thrilled when he 'returned' with "Cloud Nine" and his association with my friend Jeff Lynne. I'll never forget bumping into Jeff in the bar at a football match at Wembley Stadium, and he told me he'd just formed a new band. "Who's in it", I enquired? He said, "We've got George and Tom Petty. Oh, and Bob Dylan, too." Somewhat astounded, I asked, "Who'll be the lead-singer?" "Oh, that'll be Roy Orbison" And, at that time, nobody knew anything about The Travelling Wilburys!
Let's not ignore his wonderful solo material nor his productions. Like Ronnie Spector's "Try Some But Some", Jackie Lomax's "Sour Milk Sea" and Doris Troy's "Ain't That Cute", to name but three.
I was at the Royal Albert Hall 'Natural Law' concert in 1992, and it was thrilling to see him walk on stage, guitar in hand, as he broke into "I Want To Tell You". There were no airs about him, that night. He spotted his friend Joe Brown in the audience, and implored him to get up on stage. Joe wouldn't - we'd all come to see and hear George. A light has gone out today, and another chapter has closed. If you can't cheer up - CHEER DOWN.


The Beatles Hour
This popular weekly programme ran for over five years on the late lamented SuperGold network. Unlike some of the pale imitations, this was a feature-driven radio programme in which any record with a Beatles connection was legitimate. These would include a regular Slice of Apple, Beatle-esque songs, Solo tracks, and listeners' four favourite tracks in My Fab Four.
Guests, over the years, included Paul McCartney, George Martin, Derek Taylor, Neil Aspinall, Denny Laine, Hamish Stuart, and authors Ray Coleman and Mark Lewisohn. I also made a special edition with Jeff Lynne, around the "Free As A Bird" recording and the Anthology project. My exclusive interview with Jeff was recorded at the launch of Anthology I, at London's Savoy.
I also presented The Beatles Hour on the Oldies Station in Leeds, in 1999.  
Back in 1978, when I was working for Jet Records, I attended an Awards Dinner at London's Grosvenor House Hotel, with Carl Perkins. Spotting Paul McCartney, Carl told me that he hadn't spoken to him since the day he attended the session at which The Beatles recorded his songs. I immediately took him over to Paul and Linda's table, and re-introduced him. From that meeting, Carl and Paul again grew close, with Carl accompanying him on "Get It" for the "Tug of War" album.
When Carl was invited to appear on the Bill of the Buddy Holly Week 20th Anniversary Concert, at London's Shepherds Bush Empire, on 7th September 1995, we three got back together again !

 
 
With Carl Perkins and Paul McCartney

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With Jeff Lynne at the launch of "Anthology"

 

 

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