No Private Life - But We Live It!

By George Harrison  

August 29 1963

George Harrison in the dressing roomI first bought a guitar from a fellow who used to go to junior school with me - Raymond Hughes, and a while later, when I was at Liverpool Institute, I got to know Paul, who lived by me in Speke. I used to travel on the bus with him each morning.

He bought a trumpet - that was a laugh, and we played together at Paul's house - his Dad used to play piano with us, too.

When Paul bought a guitar he found he couldn't play it and sing at the same time.

Paul moved out of Speke but we still kept in contact. He introduced me to John, whose group he joined. At that time I had a skiffle group of my own, but we only played one booking every blue moon and disbanded. Then I joined up with John and Paul. We used to sit at home and play for amusement.

We went on the Liverpool Stadium show on a bill with Gerry, Cass and Rory. By this time Stuart Sutcliffe, a friend of John's from the art college, sold a painting to John Moore and with the money bought a bass and teamed up with us.

We decided to get a drummer to make us into a proper group. Cass got us one, but he was no good. We went to Scotland and came back, but we didn't do much. Pete joined and we went to Hamburg - and the only Shadows number we ever played in Hamburg was 'Apache.' We worked such long hours that we played everything from waltzes to quicksteps, anything we could think of because we were playing for so long.

It's true that we've changed. The differences financially and socially change you in every way. People point at us in the street, and we have no private life - just public life. We're just property, but we like it. We wouldn't do anything else.


Editor's note: The skiffle group that George mentioned was the Rebels, which he formed in 1957. His mother Louise had originally given him £3 to buy the guitar from Raymond Hughes but this was upgraded when his mother saved up the housekeeping money and bought him a better instrument for £30.

George then formed the Rebels, bringing in his brother Peter on guitar and vocals, their friend Arthur Kelly, also on guitar and vocals, and two other friends - one on mouth organ, the other on tea-chest bass.

George was to recall, "I remember the Rebels had a tea chest with a lot of gnomes around it. One of my brothers had a five-shilling guitar, which had the back off. Apart from that it was all fine. Just my brother, some mates and me. I tried to lay down the law a bit, but they weren't having any of that."

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