Get to Know the Beatles: George Harrison

The Beatles are well known as being one of the most influential bands of all time, something Beatles tribute bands like Britishmania strive to keep alive for new and life-long fans alike. The talent of each of the band’s four members was essential to its incredible success, and lead guitarist George Harrison was no exception.   Born February 25, 1943 in Liverpool, George Harrison was Harold and Louise Harrison’s fourth child. Harrison’s mother was exceptionally encouraging when it came to his pursuit of music, as she could tell that music brought him the greatest happiness. Harrison began his schooling at the age of five at Dovedale Primary School and later entered the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys where music was offered among the courses. One day in 1956, a bike ride took him past a house playing Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel” which ignited his desire to become involved in rock and roll. It was while on a bus ride to the Liverpool Institute that George Harrison and Paul McCartney originally met and quickly bonded over their passion for music. McCartney told John Lennon about his new found friend, and in 1958 Harrison auditioned to join “the Quarrymen,” precursor to the Beatles. Harrison was not initially accepted into the Beatles, but continued to associate with the band and was eventually made an official member. In 1960 the group was known by the name revered worldwide—the Beatles—and set out on their first tour of Scotland. The Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do,” reached spot seventeen on the Record Retailer charts, and when their debut album Please Please Me came out in 1963, Beatlemania was in full swing. Harrison’s first solo writing credit for “Don’t Bother Me” appeared on With the Beatles, the group’s second album. Over time, Harrison began to deeply embrace Hinduism and meditation, which became apparent in his musical endeavors. He brought folk rock and an influence of non-Western instruments to the Beatles as his interest in classical Indian music grew. Harrison was married to Pattie Boyd, a model he met on the set of A Hard Day’s Night, from January 1966 to 1977. In September of 1978, he married Olivia Trinidad Arias, with whom he had one son, Dhani, born a month before they wed. On January 10, 1969, Harrison made the decision to leave the Beatles due to disharmony in the group. However, he agreed to come back to the band 12 days after. The Beatles’ last record, Abbey Road, featured two compositions by Harrison that would become world famous: “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something.” Despite the tremendous success of these hits, only a couple of his compositions were included on the Beatles albums, which was a big factor in the break-up of the band. January 4, 1970 marks the last time Harrison recorded with the Beatles, as they worked on his song “I Me Mine.” After his departure from the Beatles, Harrison released a triple album called All Things Must Pass, which included a slew of songs that hadn’t been included on Beatles’ albums, with the third disc featuring jam sessions. He released several other best-selling albums and worked on various projects, including the release of two albums with the band the Traveling Wilburys. Harrison was an active humanitarian and political activist all his life. After his death in 2001 at age 58, Harrison’s body was cremated and his ashes scattered in the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in India. His son Dhani worked with Jeff Lynne to finish and release Harrison’s last album Brainwashed (2002). He received a number of honors posthumously, including being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Madison Square Garden Walk of Fame, and receiving a star on the Walk of Fame, solidifying Harrison’s significant contribution to music history, as honored by Beatles tribute bands like Britishmania.  

Get to Know the Beatles: Paul McCartney

 

Many people are familiar with the name Paul McCartney, but few know about the man who holds the name. As the co-founder of the world- famous Beatles, McCartney has created a lasting legend in the music industry that has transcended time, and will continue to live on through a Beatles tribute band. Born James Paul McCartney on June 18, 1942 in Liverpool, England to Jim and Mary McCartney. Like Lennon, McCartney’s father was also absent at the time of his birth, working as a volunteer firefighter during World War II.

McCartney attended Stockton Wood Road Primary School in Speke, England from 1947 till 1949, when he transferred to the Joseph Williams Junior School in Belle Vale due to overcrowding at Stockton Wood. Four years later, McCartney and three other students took the 11-Plus exam, granting them acceptance to the Liverpool Institute, a prestigious grammar school. Theirs were the only passing scores of the 90 who took the exam. It was during his years at the Liverpool Institute that he met George Harrison while on the bus from his home in Speke.

McCartney’s mother worked as a midwife and was the primary wage earner in the family. His father was a trumpet player and pianist who led Jim Mac’s Jazz band in the 1920s. His father kept an upright piano in the family’s home and encouraged his sons to be musical, take piano lessons and learn to play. McCartney preferred to learn music by ear instead of taking lessons. When McCartney turned fourteen, his father gave him a nickel-plated trumpet, that he later traded in when rock and roll became popular, for a £15 Framus Zenith (model 17) acoustic guitar, so that he would be able to sing while playing. In the beginning, he found it difficult to play the guitar right-handed, until he saw Slim Whitman played left-handed, then McCartney reversed the order of the strings. It is with this guitar that McCartney first composed “Lost My Little Girl” and composed “When I’m Sixty-Four” on the piano.

When McCartney was fourteen, his mother Mary passed away from an embolism, that later became a point of connection between him and John Lennon, who lost his mother at the age of seventeen. A year later at the age of fifteen, McCartney first met Lennon when he was playing with his band the Quarrymen at the St. Peter’s Church Hall. Soon after, the band invited McCartney to join as a rhythm guitarist where he formed a close working relationship with Lennon. In the ensuing years, The Beatles were born!

For the next ten years, McCartney was devoted to the Beatles, writing and performing songs alongside his bandmates, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison. During his years with The Beatles, McCartney was not only a songwriter, but an instrumentalist, arranger, producer, and de factor musical director for The Beatles. In 1966, The Beatles performed their final commercial concert at the end of their US tour. Later that same year, McCartney completed his first musical project apart from The Beatles. McCartney produced a film score for the UK production The Family Way, which McCartney won an Ivor Novello Award for Best Instrumental Theme. In August 1967, Epstein passed away, leaving a void within the group which McCartney stepped in to fill, essentially becoming the leader of the group that Lennon started. McCartney remained with The Beatles until April 1970, when amidst business disagreements with his bandmates, McCartney announced his departure from the group. He then filed suit for the band’s formal dissolution on December 31 of that same year.

In 1969, McCartney married Linda Eastman, and then in August they had their first child, Mary, named after McCartney’s late mother. Together they had four children, Linda’s daughter Heather (legally adopted by McCartney), Mary, Stella, and James. They were married until Linda’s death from breast cancer at the age of 56 in 1998.

In the years following the dissolution of the Beatles, McCartney continued to be involved in music. McCartney released a solo album, self-entitled McCartney, that became a US number-one album. Other than Linda’s vocal contributions, the album was McCartney’s solo work. He provided the compositions, instrumentation and vocals. In 1971, with the addition of Denny Seiwell on the drums and Linda providing vocals, McCartney released a second album, Ram which became a UK number one and a US number five album. Later that same year, guitarist Denny Laine joined the group to officially form the group Wings. The group lasted until 1981 when the group was disbanded, after having toured and having many hit songs.

McCartney has continued to cultivate his musical talents by collaborating with various artist, such as Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and various others. He has continued to perform live at various events and stadiums. In 2002, McCartney performed during the National Football League’s Super Bowl pre-game show, and again in 2005, headlined the Super Bowl halftime show. McCartney has made many guest appearances, and performances around the globe. Needless to say, McCartney has continued to share his music talents with the world for younger generations to experience!

 

Meet Britishmania: The Man Who Started It All!

Britishmania leader Jon Ferris is the man behind the famous Beatles Tribute Band that has been playing and delighting audiences for years. Ferris explains how it all started at a young age, when he watched the Beatles perform on Sunday night on the Ed Sullivan Show, and the frenzy that instilled the next day among his peers. For Ferris, playing as a member of a Beatles Tribute Band is more than recreating the Beatles for younger generations to experience, it is about keeping the spirit and legacy of the Beatles alive!  Here is the transcript of a recent interview that Ferris did about Britishmania.   Do you remember the first time you listened to Beatles music? Vaguely. I was very young and was fortunate enough by accident to see them. I was in kindergarten and the Ed Sullivan Show was on Sunday nights. My mom and dad turned it on and there they were. They didn’t make any real impression on me, other than that they looked weird! My dad got up and turned the station and that was my first experience with seeing the Beatles. Those were the days. The next day, at school recess, everyone was talking about the Beatles. It was a frenzy! It stayed with me through that period. As I grew up, by high school, the Beatles were done. Then Beatlemania happened in 1977, instilling a new injection of a “WOW” factor. Then again, when John Lennon died, the whole world turned to the Beatles once again.   How did Britishmania get started? I’ve always had a passion for music my whole life. I was not a musician, not professionally, until Britishmania. Back in the mid 80’s, I saw a Beatles tribute band, that blew me away. But before that when John Lennon had passed away in 1980, I really started to listen to Beatles music from the musician side—the whole composition of the songs. Things started to change even more around 1999 and 2000. I got more interested in their music, listened more intently with a heightened awareness of The Beatles of just how great they really were. I started out playing with some local guys who wanted to get together and play and learn the music. This set me out on a journey to break down all the little nuances of the music (lead and backing vocal parts, guitar, bass, and drum parts) for each song. The guys I was learning with had no aspiration for turning it into something more than playing at some local bars which I really wasn’t interested in doing. I was looking at something much bigger what I could do beginning a true tribute. The original guys eventually dropped off and more high level talent began working with Britishmania.   What is your favorite Beatles song to perform? There are so many great ones! There are so many that I love for so many different reasons, for the song structure, and many other reasons. It is a tough one to answer. I would have to go with “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. It was the first big hit that hit America. It has a lot of meaning as far as what America knows the Beatles as. “Please Please Me”—is another favorite to perform. “Please Please Me” was the biggest hit in England the year before I Want to Hold Your Hand became a hit in America in 1964. What about the Beatles makes you want to keep their legacy alive? The love of the Beatles music is number one. I think for me, personally, it is about loving to play and sing the music and seeing the reaction you get from people and the compliments. The legacy is something that I feel obligated to do. I want to bring every nuance that I can bring and inject into Britishmania to let people relive what it must have been like. If I can pass that on to people of all ages then I feel like Britishmania is marking a viable mark in the world. I want to make sure the young kids get what The Beatles were all about. It will make their legacy even greater.   What is the best part of being part of a Beatles Tribute Band for you? The best part is getting on stage wanting people to believe that I’m John Lennon of the Beatles and seeing people sing, smile, and dance. People from 7-75 come out and enjoy our show.  I’m very humble, grateful and thankful  that I am able to do this.   What has been your favorite performance? I would have to say one of the most memorable performances was a 2 ½ week performance at Laguna Beach Playhouse, Laguna Beach, CA in 2013. We had a show every day for 2 ½ weeks, with a matinee one day. We put together our second CD during that show. We were able to work with the best in the business, and got to learn a lot about the business, and my character during that time.   What bands, if any, do you think capture the same spirt of music as the Beatles? I mean, I’m sure there are many, many bands that capture an essence of what the Beatles were doing. If you look at a lot of famous musicians/bands, they all know about the Beatles. It is like learning about Mozart. If you want to learn about people that have longevity, and that shows up in a lot of bands, you learn about the Beatles. Each band is going to take their own interpretation of the structure, on how they build and write a song.   Any advice for young aspiring musicians? I would say, keep playing for the love of the music and keep learning as much as you can about music. The whole composition process, learn an instrument, then learn another if you can, learn to sing. Learn all the aspects of music. It is a PRICELESS gift to have, it is something that someone can have with them their whole lives.   Anything else you would like to add? I think that from all the reviews that Britishmania has had over the years, all the venues and events we’ve played, I would tell people to come out and see what Britishmania is all about. They will find that we really look at the details and really hone in on what the Beatles were like on stage, and we try to reproduce some of the songs from studio. We are all about authentic. Come out and see us!

Get to Know the Beatles: John Lennon

blog-image If you are a diehard Beatles fan, then you are familiar with the man who is co-responsible with starting it all—John Lennon. Born John Winston Lennon on October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England, to Alfred and Julia Lennon, he was named after his paternal grandfather John “Jack” Lennon, and England’s Prime Minister at the time of his birth, Winston Churchill. John did not have an easy childhood. His father, Alfred Lennon, was a merchant seaman who was away at the time of John’s birth. It was not uncommon for his father to be away for extended periods of time, but he sent regular paychecks to John’s mother, Julia. His aunt, Mimi Smith, had complained twice to Liverpool’s Social Services concerning John’s welfare at home with his mother. After the second complaint, Julia then turned the care of John over to his aunt Mimi, who took care of John through childhood and adolescence. While living with his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George Smith, Lennon was first introduced to arts and music. Mimi purchased volumes of short stories, while George purchased a mouth organ. It can be said that because of this exposition to musical instruments, John’s musical interest really took off. In 1956, Lennon’s mother, Julia purchased a Gallotone Champion acoustic guitar, Lennon’s first guitar. Julia “lent” the guitar to Lennon on the condition that the guitar be delivered to her home, and not Mimi’s, because Mimi was not supportive of Lennon’s musical aspirations. In fact, Mimi was very skeptical of Lennon’s claim that he would be famous one day, often telling Lennon, “The guitar’s all very well, John, but you’ll never make a living out of it.” In September 1956, at the age of 15, Lennon formed the skiffle group “The Quarrymen”. On July 6, 1957, when performing with The Quarrymen in Woolton, England, Lennon first met Paul McCartney, who Lennon would later ask to join his band. And so, the beginning formation of the Beatles had started—officially becoming a band in 1960! The band accepted a 48-night residency to perform in Hamburg, Germany, in August of 1960. Aunt Mimi was horrified when Lennon told her about the trip, begging him to return to school and continue with his art studies. After nearly a decade of performing around the world with the group that he had formed, Lennon left the Beatles in September of 1969, but did not inform the media of his departure. In the years following the Beatles, Lennon married Yoko Ono and settled in Manhattan, New York. Together, the two formed the Plastic Ono Band, and produced several songs together. In 1975, Lennon’s second son, Sean Lennon, was born. Lennon then took a five-year hiatus from the music industry to stay home and raise his son. He officially announced his break from music in 1977 while in Tokyo, saying, “We have basically decided, without any great decision, to be with our baby as much as we can until we feel we can take time off to indulge ourselves in creating things outside the family.” Lennon’s final singles were produced and released in 1980. “(Just Like) Starting Over” was released in October 1980, followed by the album Double Fantasy in November of the same year. The album contained songs written during a trip that Lennon took to Bermuda on a 43-foot sailing boat the previous June. The album reflected the newfound fulfilment that Lennon found from a stable family life. On the night of December 8, 1980, Lennon and Ono were returning to their New York apartment in the Dakota, when Lennon was shot four times in the back by Mark David Chapman. Chapman lurked in the shadows before stepping out, shooting and fatally wounding Lennon. He was taken to nearby Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival. The day after his passing, Ono released a statement: “There is no funeral for John. John loved and prayed for the human race. Please do the same for him.” The legend that started with Lennon continues on today through Beatles Tribute Bands. They introduce a whole new generation to the music and genre that Lennon invented, through his talents and years of performing alongside the Beatles. His legacy and the Beatles live on, through Beatles Tribute Bands.  Performing the well-loved music that Lennon helped to create allows us to never forget John Lennon’s incredible contributions to music, and the world.

The Beatles Experience Can Still Be Yours

In the early years of the 1960s, four young men sat down together to discuss the prospect of their self-starring band succeeding in the vast world of the music industry. No doubt the relatives and other local small-timers who had heard them play expressed assured confidence in their skill and relayed encouraging messages about their success in the “real world.” Continue reading “The Beatles Experience Can Still Be Yours”

Why You Need this Beatles Tribute Band in Your Life

There’s absolutely nothing like seeing your favorite band live—just ask any die-hard music fan. But what if the unthinkable has happened, and your favorite musicians have disbanded for one reason or another? You’re either stuck browsing internet videos, or, if that band happens to be the Beatles, you’re in luck!… Continue reading “Why You Need this Beatles Tribute Band in Your Life”

SEE YOUR FAVORITE BANDS PERFORM MINUS THE HASSLES OF ARRANGING FOR TICKETS

If you have been hankering to see your favorite band playing Live before you for some time now but simply do not know a way to achieve this, book a cover band. Groups such as the Beatles tribute band can fulfill your long seated wish. You will experience live performances from close distances without worrying about long lines and tickets. With something as popular… Continue reading “SEE YOUR FAVORITE BANDS PERFORM MINUS THE HASSLES OF ARRANGING FOR TICKETS”

Tribute Bands For A Delightful Performance

Are you looking to fill up the halls and give a roaring and fantastic time to your audience? Why don’t you sign up a Beatles cover band to perform on stage? While the 1960s may be long gone, the legacy from that time remains in the form of the new generation Beatles fans that cannot have enough of the songs and performance. Call them copycats or successful… Continue reading “Tribute Bands For A Delightful Performance”