The First 3 Rock ‘n’ Roll Songs George Harrison Ever Heard

The first three rock ‘n’ roll songs George Harrison heard changed his life forever. He never forgot the moment he heard them, especially when he made his own career in rock ‘n’ roll.

george harrison | K & K Ulf Kruger OHG/Redferns

Before hearing his first rock songs, George listened to all kinds of music

Coming home from school every day, George turned on the radio. He listened to tunes by Jimmie Rodgers, Big Bill Broonzy, Slim Whitman and various English music hall numbers.

In 1992, George told Timothy White (per George Harrison on George Harrison: interviews and encounters), “I think the first person who really got me interested in guitar was Jimmie Rodgers—’The Singing Brakeman.’

“And my dad had records, and he was going out to sea, and he brought back this big hand-cranked gramophone and some Jimmie Rodgers records. “Waiting for a train”, it was called, and “Blue Yodel”. And so I always remember that when I was a little kid about eight or seven years old.

“Later, when I was a little older than that, there was this guy from Florida, and he had huge success in England in the 1950s, and his name was Slim Whitman. Again, he there was a singer with a guitar. And then it became Bill Haley. And then in Britain we had this big craze called skiffle music, which came out of traditional jazz, which is a kind of Dixieland jazz .

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The first three rock ‘n’ roll songs George heard

Rock ‘n’ roll songs first appeared on the radio when George was 13. The genre entered the life of the future musician thanks to “I’m in Love Again” by Fat Domino, “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley and “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard. ”

In Here Comes The Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison, Joshua M. Greene wrote: “The music sent shivers down his spine and fueled the desire to join a band. At that time, anyone could start a band. One child drummed on a washboard, another shoved a broomstick bass, a third fiddled with chords on a guitar, another blew into an iron (that’s what they called a harmonica), and they dubbed themselves a band.

The three rock songs changed something in George. He never forgot the first time he heard them.

George told White, “But the main thing that really thrilled me, I remember, before I even heard Elvis, was ‘I’m in Love Again’ by Fats Domino.” I can even see exactly where I was when I heard that. There was this little place near my house called Wavertree – a neighborhood.

“And right there, at that time, there’s a thing called the Picton Clock Tower. It was just this tower in the middle of the road with this clock on it. And then there was this big old art deco cinema called l’Abbaye.

“And I was just crossing the road there somehow, and I was out there somewhere when I heard Fats Domino: [sings] “Yes it’s me, and I’m in love again!” It had to be on a radio or a record player somewhere. And it was like when I [later] heard Ravi’s music. It touched somewhere deep within me.

“When I heard Elvis’ ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, I was on my bike passing someone’s house, and they must have had a phonograph playing. I couldn’t believe the sound of that record.

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George started playing guitar soon after

Hearing rock songs made George want to become a musician. His friend offered to sell him a beginner’s guitar for three pounds, 10 shillings. George asked his mother, Louise, for the money and she agreed.

He practiced on the cheap beginner’s guitar until it broke down, but Louise had to buy him a better one. Eventually, he got good enough to impress his future bandmates, Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

Later, Indian music impressed George more than rock ever did, but he never forgot his roots.

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Grace D. Erickson