George Harrison Plea 'Don't Throw Us Jelly Babies' May 17, 2009 13:07:31 GMT -5
Post by yerblues1968 on May 17, 2009 13:07:31 GMT -5
The Beatles at Service House, Monmouth Street, London,
October 1963. From Australian TV Week, page 16. From
left to right: Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, John Lennon,
and George Harrison.
GEORGE HARRISON'S 1963 PLEA: STOP THROWING JELLY BABIES AT BEATLES
Simon de Bruxelles
May 14, 2009
Tom Jones is pelted with ladies' underwear. Punk rockers the Sex Pistols and the Clash had to dodge gobs of phlegm. But in the innocent days of 1963, the Beatles, the world’s first supergroup, were worried about flying jelly babies.
The Beatles’ fear of being injured by the “dangerous” sweets that were lobbed at them by adoring fans has been revealed for the first time in a letter which has spent the last 46 years in a shoebox.
It was written by George Harrison in response to Lynn Smith, a devoted Beatles fan, then a 15-year-old schoolgirl, who wrote to him with a list of questions. As a postscript, Harrison, who died in 2001, begged her and her friends not to bombard the band with sweets, claiming he had been struck in the eye during a concert and “it’s not funny”.
Beatles fans, largely screaming teenage girls, began pelting the band with sweets after Harrison made the mistake of mentioning in an interview that he loved jelly babies. The habit even spread to the United States where jelly babies were unknown and the hard jelly beans that fans threw instead could inflict a painful injury.
Mrs. Smith was “ecstatic” that her letter, sent to him care of the concert hall in Bournemouth where she saw the band play, received a reply. It was in 1963, the year the band released their first album Please Please Me, before they reached the height of their fame.
Mrs. Smith, now 61 and living in Salisbury, Wiltshire, said: “George was my favourite Beatle and my friends and I would find out what theatres they were playing at and write to them there.
“I was ecstatic when he wrote back. I must have asked him some questions that were very important to me then - like whether they all had leather overcoats.
“My friends and I would also find out when the Beatles were at the BBC recording and we would wait outside for them. We also saw them play.
“This letter I received was after I wrote to him when they played in Bournemouth. He said that they didn’t like jelly babies being thrown at them, but everyone thought they did.
“I had not seen that letter for 30 years but a few months ago I got it out from a box in the attic and it brought back lots of memories.”
The jelly babies were clearly a sore point with the guitarist, who was known as the “quiet Beatle”. After answering a string of questions he added: “We don’t like jelly babies, or fruit gums for that matter, so think how we feel standing on stage trying to dodge the stuff, before you throw some more at us.
“Couldn’t you eat them yourself, besides it is dangerous. I was hit in the eye once with a boiled sweet, and it’s not funny!”
In the same letter he confesses to singing the wrong lyric during the recording of the song I’ll Get You in response to a question about the tracks he sings on. He wrote: “I sing in the chorus, and on every other line of She Loves You, i.e. I saw her yesterday - and she told me what to say, etc. and the harmony which suddenly appears in the middle part of I’ll Get You (singing wrong words, if you listen closely).” He also claims that the other band members tried to persuade Ringo Starr to come out from behind his drum kit and perform a dance routine but he was “too scared”.
The Beatles sing "I'll Get You." (1:59 minutes)
Harrison said: “The general public always seems to think that John, Paul and I shove Ringo at the back, don’t let him sing, smile, or do anything, which is not very true, as we are always telling him to sing... we even suggested him singing and dancing (as he can do all the dances) at the front of the stage ... but Ringo wouldn’t do it, as I think he was a bit scared.”
Jamie Bowman, from the Beatles Story, a visitor attraction in Liverpool, said the anecdote about the jelly babies rang true. He said: “George said in one interview that he liked jelly babies so fans used to throw them at him and send boxes and boxes in the post.
“When they went to America they didn’t have jelly babies as we know them and all their jelly beans were hard. Here at the Beatles Story we put boxes of jelly babies out for the visitors on George’s birthday.”
Mrs Smith has decided to sell the letter which is expected to fetch up to £800 on June 17.
Liz Merry, from Woolley and Wallace auctioneers in Salisbury, said: “This is a wonderful, personal letter during the early fame of The Beatles and it shows how George Harrison appreciated his fans. He must have received many similar letters but he has taken time out to reply to all the sender’s questions.
“This wonderfully touching letter is a highly desirable piece of memorabilia and there will be lots of collectors wanting to get their hands on it.”