Publisher - Steve Ferguson
The South Marysburgh Mirror
3032 County Road 10,
PO Box 64,
Milford, ON K0K 2P0

Telephone: 613.476.9104

ISSN 1181-6333
(Print Edition)
ISSN 2292-5708
(Online Edition)


George Harrison

By Dave Tollington


(On 7 February, 1964 – almost exactly fifty years ago – at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City, the Beatles waved from the stairway of Pam Am Flight 101 and stepped onto North American soil for the very first time. Two days later, 73 million Americans tuned in to watch the ‘Fab Four’ on The Ed Sullivan Show – the group’s first live appearence on American televison. To put the event into perspective, the Sullivan ratings for the evening – adjusted for population growth – would beat any Superbowl ratings to date…and by a wide margin.

For countless teenagers at the time, life would never be the same.

In commemoration of The Beatles arrival to North American shores, retired music executive and frequent South Marysburgh visitor, Dave Tollington, recounts his 14  minutes and 50 seconds of fame with his favourite Beatle – George Harrison.)         

Everybody had one when I was a teenager. And mine was George Harrison. He was my favourite Beatle.

Even though he was the junior partner, shaking his mop-pop and essentially offering just guitar and the occasional middle harmony, George was my favourite. Paul had been obviously blessed with the lion’s share of raw talent but he was too self-consciously cutesy. Lennon had wit and imagination but there was an unsettling caustic element to him. And Ringo…well, Ringo was just Ringo. But there was George, the youngest of the quartet, the one who so quietly and with so much grace tried to squeeze into that small middle space. No question he knew where he stood – it couldn’t have been easy holding his own with those older alpha dogs. And so he tried harder, sussing out the group dynamic and encompassing the scene more intensely. In some ways, George really was the Fool On The Hill, the one who stood back and took in the Zen of the situation. And for that reason alone I related.

Though jazz (via my father’s collection of Miles, Benny, Glenn and Brubeck LP’s) was my first love in music, the Beatles opened me up not only to the riches of pop but to an ever changing contemporary lifestyle that became known as the Boomer Generation in all its kaleidoscopic forms. As such, I identified completely with the Beatles, during and well after the band’s relatively short career. More than anything else, the Beatles established the demarcation between us and them, the line that separated ourselves from our parents on a mass scale. Their steady gaze and mocking humour were the essence of our Baby Boomer clear-eyed vision that so often soared over our parents’ heads, lost as they were behind the veil of their own generation’s view of the world. That being said, I’m still not able to put into words what growing through my teenage years was really like with the Beatles. But every time I play one of their records, it’s all there with an internal smile and glowing soul flooding back in as I remember those times, if only through hormonal echoes and audio pheromones.

When the Beatles broke up in 1970, George Harrison quickly released in that same year his first solo album All Things Must Pass (of all the Beatle solo projects to come, that album still remains my favourite). After two more albums with EMI, George started his own record company – Dark Horse – in 1974, signing the label to Warner Bros. for distribution in 1976 and setting up an office in the basement of their Burbank, California headquarters. When I joined the company (WEA Canada) a year later as publicist, I would often hear about George from my cohort John Hearne, a friend who left the Canadian company a few months after I started and subsequently found work at Warner Bros. Burbank. For John, it wasn’t unusual to pass George in the hall or be standing next to him at the urinals. And on every occasion, Hearne would report that George had been as nice as pie, very approachable and always remembering my friend’s name.

While hearing about Hearne’s close encounters with Harrison over several years, my own first professional contact wouldn’t with George (albeit very long distant) wouldn’t arrive until 1981. I had been working late in the office on a Friday evening when a call came through from Burbank. Harrison was in the International Department office and I was told he was available – now! – for one, and only one, Canadian interview in support of his new album Somewhere In England. Were it not for Harrison’s Liverpudlian tones bouncing around in the background, I might have thought the call was a joke. But this was no joke and in today’s context, I was essentially being told the equivalent of the Queen of England was in the office and ready to speak to any journalist of my choosing in Canada right now. In short, royalty was waiting. And so I told Burbank I’d call right back with a suitable journalist.

Though it might have been late afternoon in Burbank (being three hours behind Toronto), the time in Toronto was around six or seven, and on a Friday night. The odds of finding a major entertainment journalist at a newspaper still at work in the office were slim. And that wasn’t my biggest problem. Even if I did find a journalist, how would I explain to all but the one I did reach that I hadn’t called them first? Then again, letting politics dictate that I turn away the great George Harrison was not an option. And so I immediately started working the phones, feverishly calling every major journalist I knew in the country. As suspected, all I got was voice mail at every turn – which in retrospect was quite an egalitarian turn of events, being that all I had to do was wait for the first journalist to return my call. And I didn’t have to wait long. Within a few minutes, my phone rang and it was Peter Goddard returning my call. Peter was the entertainment writer for the Toronto Star – the largest newspaper in the country. Bingo! And of course he wanted to speak to Harrison, even with no preparation, and especially if it was to be a Canadian exclusive. Accordingly, I called Burbank back and gave them Goddard’s number.

And as my friend John had told me the past four years, George proved once again to be a gentleman. With Burbank being notoriously myopic as the centre of their own universe, no one there had realized that I was in the office well after hours, trying to put the interview together. But George knew and I heard him ask in the background if there was anything he could do for me by way of a small gesture of thanks. I don’t remember if someone suggested an autograph or I had simply blurted out the first thing that came to mind, but in the next pouch from Burbank on Monday, there was an envelope addressed to me with a picture of George Harrison inside, signed “To Dave – Best Wishes, George Harrison”.

Goddard’s interview with George turned out to be a lengthy one with his exclusive story spreading over several pages the next day. Of course, every other journalist in the country for whom I left a message that night hadn’t been quite so happy. I can only imagine how they felt when they came in the Monday morning with their editor screaming in one ear: “How the hell did the Star get this exclusive!” while a phone message from me played on in the other ear, offering them the same exclusive if they called me back first. With WEA being the largest record company in the world at the time, I usually didn’t have any problems getting calls returned but from that day on, I was quickly loaded with every office and home phone number from all concerned as a result of Goddard’s exclusive. And no one ever neglected to return a call from me ever again, not matter the time – they never knew if next time I might have a Beatle with me again.

With the memory still fresh of that close encounter, I was contacted by Burbank again about George in 1988 with the news that he would actually be coming to Toronto and for only one dreaded interview again. This time, the exclusive interview would pose a problem of gargantuan proportions. Not only would all the major dailies be battling for the one interview, now I would have all the media competing with each other. The thought of trying to decide between the Star and CTV News, or CBC-TV and CHUM radio, was daunting to say the least. Even then, how could I let TV or a newspaper run with it and not throw a bone to radio? After all, George would be here in order to promote his new album, Cloud Nine, and the straight line to record sales was massive radio play.

Within a few days, word leaked out that Harrison was coming to town and I was inundated with frantic calls. Some even threatened to have me fired if I didn’t give them the interview. Under such circumstances, a controlled press conference would have been the answer, where everyone would be able to ask one question. In pitching the notion, I argued with Burbank that the experience for George would be essentially that of one interview, if a somewhat fractured one, with such a press conference. But Harrison was adamant. One fifteen-minute interview. And only one interviewer.

I mulled over my options for several days but the answer to my dilemma had been obvious from the beginning. And it scared the hell out of me. I would do the interview and make it available to anyone who wanted it. Though this would surely kill a big newspaper spread as with Goddard’s exclusive in 1981, I could quickly dub off cassette copies and distribute them to the media almost simultaneously. Within twenty-four hours, everyone in Canada would know that George Harrison had a new album – which was the whole point of the exercise anyway. Furthermore, I wouldn’t have to suffer months, maybe years, of hard feelings in retaliation for having given someone an exclusive again. George may have been coming to Toronto for a day, but I had to live with the media here for years to come.

Normally for such a mission, I would have just rented a good microphone and a professional portable Nagra tape recorder, pressed the record button and handled it all myself. But knowing this would be only a one-shot deal, a technical malfunction was not an option. Besides, my increasing nervousness dictated that I needed a clear mind, one not preoccupied with sound levels and making sure that the machine was indeed  recording. And so I decided I needed someone to press the record button and ride the levels. And not just anyone. Being that this was a Beatle, I would need not only a true technical master but someone who would appreciate the moment. As such, only one name came to mind: the legendary David Pritchard, if he agreed to participate in the adventure.

For anyone living in late 60′s/early 70′s Toronto, David Pritchard was a legend, a radio pioneer of the first degree. When CHUM-FM switched formats from classical to progressive rock in 1968, David was the trippy all-night host. Sounding as if he was on drugs with what he said, how he said it and the choice of music he played, David became an institution over the seven years he held that post, and all without ever once going near a single joint or anything else. The truth was that David was practically born into radio. Like so many of his generation, he had been fascinated by the medium though his enthusiasm went significantly further than the normal punter. Later when I spent hours in his studio working on various WEA projects, David would tell me about his high school years when he figured out how to “broadcast” his own radio station, using a microphone, turntables and an amplifier hooked up to his parent’s phone. By driving enough current down the telephone line, the entire neighbourhood was able to pick up his signal on their own FM radios (a technique known as “carrier current”). In fact, David even managed to rig up his high school so that it was able to receive his homemade radio station. At one point, he even broadcast a “remote” from the school, calling in the show into his house and running it back on another telephone line to the school. The system proved quite popular until someone alerted the Department of Communications, who then paid a serious visit to his parents.

Always the pioneer, David left CHUM-FM in 1975 in order to set up Q-107, a new rock station soon to be launched in Toronto. A year later, I stepped in to fill David’s 2am to 6am all-night slot at CHUM-FM (replacing Steve Moore who had relieved Pritchard just months before). And for the next six months working that shift, I would receive packages from record companies that were still addressed to David Pritchard. The following year, events in our radio lives had moved quickly. David left Q-107 before it signed on in May and he moved over to the new alternative rock station CFNY as program director, bringing the station on the air by July. And in August, I left CHUM-FM for WEA. Somewhere in there, David managed to write and record an album for Island Records called Nocturnal Earthworm Stew, a tour de force pastiche of sounds edited the old radio way with razor blades and tape. Unfortunately, radio itself was becoming too constrictive for the highly creative Mr. Pritchard and he left the business altogether a year later. For the next thirty years he would run Sonic Workshop, a studio that produced audio documentaries and commercials – which is where I first met David. And every time I showed up to edit my own documentaries and artist interviews for my WEA publicity job, he never ceased to impress me with his incredible stories and child-like enthusiasm for everything in the business. Especially the Beatles.

Throughout his entire career, David had been a massive Beatles fan. While at CHUM-FM, he produced an on-going Beatles feature called A Night In The Life which mixed Beatles music with Beatles interviews from various sources, including one from Paul McCartney which he had managed to snag himself in 1969. The program accordingly ran through the breakup of the Beatles in 1970, during which David mourned the loss with his audience. Later at Sonic Workshop, he would produce his own 30-hour Beatles radio documentary with partner Alan Lysaght, culling various sources from around the world. In short, Prtichard was not only a great radio producer but a world-wide authority on the Beatles as well. Without question, David would be the perfect tape-op for my Harrison project.

Accordingly, I called David and asked if he’d stoop to handle such a lowly function in such high circumstances. Quite breathlessly, David said yes. Though by now I knew Pritchard quite well, he was still one of my radio heroes and I was quite relieved to discover that he shared the implied humour in my request. Unfortunately when the news got around that David would be punching the record button for me, a few others in the business responded with a certain degree of hostility, challenging why David had been chosen. Despite these calls being both annoying and embarassing, I was glad to have them as reminder of the cascading grief that would have poured endlessly over my head had I given the interview to just one member of the media.

On the day of the big event, a few us from the company were ushered into a day room at the Sutton Place  Hotel in Yorkville. Though I was too busy organizing my notes to remember exactly who was present, I would assume the usual suspects would have been there: honchoes from both the Canadian record company and most probably various and sundry representatives from Warner Bros. in Burbank. Not that any of these senior people were needed, but George was important and they all had to be there to offer their own version if anything went wrong. Besides, though they were all very careful not to be detected anywhere on the groupie scale, every one would have admitted, at least privately, to being big George Harrison fans.

Around noon, George was brought into the room. I remember the first thing I thought was how small he looked. At 5′ 10″, he wasn’t much shorter than me. But with his slim build, I was taken aback when it came time for handshakes: I suppose I was subconsciously expecting a giant and was surprised to be looking down slightly at him.  Though on the Cloud Nine cover George was sporting a mustache and goatee, I also distinctly remember being surprised by a clean-shaven face.

Pleasantries and general discussion didn’t last long with George obviously eager to get down to business right away. Pritchard, sitting on the floor between George and I with the Nagra and headphones, signaled the go-ahead (David’s iconic baritone voice can be heard on the introduction to the interview). And though I don’t remember who then left or stayed in the room, the sound of a garbage can being tripped over is featured prominently over Harrison’s answer to my first question.

The interview itself was not that in-depth. As a company man, I certainly didn’t want to challenge George in any way. And being that he was here to promote the new album, I made sure there were not many personal or Beatlely questions. And so I started off with references specific to the new album, which was off to a good start with “Got My Mind Set On You” already a huge hit single. Not having made an album since his 1982 flop Gone Troppo, George had been exploring life as a film-maker with his Handmade Films company before returning to the record business. In making the new album, he had utilized his Friar Park mansion as a studio and invited old friends to play on the record: Ringo, Eric Clapton and Elton John amongst others. Jeff Lynne from the Electric Light Orchestra (or ELO as they now were known) was brought in to co-produce and the results had been spectacular, surprising even George with “Got My Mind Set On You” reaching #1 in the US – the first time Harrison had been to the top in fifteen years.

And so the first question I asked was whether he knew this album was going to be so successful, to which George predictably answered no, though he had suspected the songs were good. I then said that the album genuinely felt like a true collaboration with such old friends on board. As such, I asked if his individualism afoot after the Beatles break-up had dissipated. George replied that all the guests had essentially played on only three tracks and only on one day, and that the rest of the material had been recorded with just himself and Jeff Lynne. Still, he said that working with Jeff was the first time he’d actually co-written with anyone for an album since The Beatles, and that working with Lynne alone actually felt like a group anyway.

Having been quoted five years ago that he was tired of the music business, I asked him what had changed to bring him back. George referenced the 1979 energy crisis during the Iranian Revolution and how “the record companies cut corners as well as a lot of staff and artists. And radio seemed to me to be going crazy – there was no direction, and general confusion was going on. I was making a record at the time and this staff producer from Burbank (Warners) said they had a street consensus from kids as to what constituted a hit record and and found out it was love gained and lost amongst 13 to 19-year olds. I thought if this is what they’re expecting me to write, it shows there’s a general conflict going on here. And so I decided to take a few years off until they sorted themselves out.” At that point I said I was glad we sorted ourselves out.

My next question referenced the guitar duet with Eric Clapton on the title track, his own prowess as a slide player in later years and what his relationship to the instrument was now. George replied, “When I was a kid, it was the main thing that saved me from boredom – it was the only job that I really wanted to do. And so the guitar has always been important to me. Then during the Beatle years, it was the way I made my living. The slide part came about in the late-sixties. I never really got involved in that but I listened to some blues slide players. But when Delaney and Bonnie asked me to play Dave Mason’s part on “Coming Home”, that’s the first time I really tried and I said what’s this – let’s see what happens here. There was another parallel situation because I played sitar for about three years, learning from Ravi Shankar, during which time I neglected the guitar a lot. And I felt a little left behind when I got back on the guitar and found that with the slide, which sort of appears more towards the end of the Beatles and my first solo albums, was a sound I could easier make that sounded quite pleasing. After a while people just got used to it and some even tried to copy that sound. But I don’t really feel like a great slide player. I can play some nice things on it – I can use it to its advantage. But I still hear some great players like Ry Cooder who impress me more than I impress myself.”

Keeping with the guitar theme, I mention the old Gretsch that he was holding on the album cover, which is the guitar he once said was the first good American guitar that he owned, one that went back to the old Hamburg days. And I so I asked if the guitar was symbolic of the album’s attitude. He said, “I think so. The reason I wanted someone like Jeff was because I didn’t want anyone who would try to make me into something I wasn’t. I wanted somebody I could respect, who had some sort of decent track record. Also someone who would respect me for what I’ve done in the past. And Jeff fitted that totally because coming from a similar city as me, same sort of background, he’s had his own thing with ELO as everybody knows, but he’s also a great songwriter, arranger, producer and guitar player and singer. So we have a lot in common there.”

I then waded into some trickier water, asking about two songs on the album – “Devil’s Radio” and “Wreck of the Hesperus” – in which I contended he was actually attacking the press. I also mentioned that after all these years, he probably knew more intuitively about the media than Marshall McLuhan, with The Beatles having been so wrapped up in it. And so I asked how he felt about the media back in the Beatle days, how he thought it had changed and how he felt about it now. “Well back in the Beatle days when the mania started, we were on the front pages of most papers every day for those years and it became tiring – because it’s a game really that’s played. One game is to sell newspapers, so they put anyone on there who they think will sell papers. And the other game is to build people up into such a thing that’s so ridiculous that there’s nowhere left to go except to shoot them down. And so there’s this perpetual game that goes round and round. And they did that with the Beatles – they put us up, they put us down until it went through so many changes that it didn’t seem to matter. The worst press we ever had still didn’t seem to stop The Beatles from being…cute, ha, ha. And so we got away with that. In some ways, a lot of it can be innocent, harmless to a degree. Then there’s the other gutter snipers that come along. There’s a bunch of newspapers in England, in particular, which just write anything that comes into their heads – any sordid little story they want to come up with about anybody. And they pursue it. In one way, if you can rise above that, they can still say nasty things about me but I don’t really read the papers and I certainly don’t let it affect me because I know what I am myself. On the other hand, I think occasionally they need to be put into their place too. It’s certainly not harmful to have a little attack on them occasionally. Because most of it’s brainless. I view it more as a situation where they are read by so many people that it’s like a plot the keep these people’s consciousness down. That’s the moral shame of it all. That’s what I don’t like – where it’s real ignorance that doesn’t do our society any good. That’s why the gossip papers are the Devil’s Radio. It’s not really an attack on them – it’s just to remind them…and me, because I can gossip just like the rest…just to remind us all that gossip isn’t really good – it’s such a negative thing.”

I had sensed that poor George had struggled through that answer, obviously having strong feelings on the subject but not wanting to bite the hand that feeds too much. And so I turned back to the album and asked about the hit single, specifically where he had found the song. “There was a single back in about 1960 called ‘If You’re Gonna Make A Fool of Somebody’ that the Beatles liked a lot, by a guy called James Ray. We used to perform it in concerts. We might have performed it on a BBC recording but we never actually made a record of it. But I bought the album on that first trip to the States and the only other good song I could find on the album – though it had an arrangement a bit more jazz-like – was this song called ‘Got My Mind Set On You’. He had a fantastic voice and that song somehow just stuck with me throughout the years. And every few years I’d remember it and sing it to myself and this time I just put it down on this record.” At this point I interjected “…and it worked like crazy”, to which George replied, “It certainly did!”

I then moved on to another track from the album, “When We Was Fab”, that had a video briefly featuring George in the outfit he wore for the Sgt. Pepper album cover. And so I asked how much of that old Beatles gear he still had lying around: “I’ve got a few things. I have a few Beatle boots. Some ski boots from when we made the film ‘Help’. I’ve got some of those original Pierre Cardin collarless suits. I’ve got the jacket we wore at Shea Stadium. I’ve got my Sgt. Pepper suit. And a lot of sort of crazy psychedelic things which just look ridiculous now. Hysterical things – fancy dress.”

I’m sure I wasn’t the first one from the record company to broach the subject, but I asked George what it would take to get him to tour on this album: “Well…it’s timing really. I think I’m quite unprepared at the moment. I could do with a good rest right now. Touring would just…do me in, I’m afraid. What I’d like to do maybe later in the year or next, is to not do a situation where it’s my tour. I’d like to involve some of these friends of mine, or maybe do like we did with Prince’s Trust where you have a band made up of a bunch of people. And you can play as much or little as you like. In that way, everybody can do their own tunes and we can back up each other and it would be you know…the Traveling Wilburys or something, rather than George.”

At some point I fumbled, at least mentally, over a question, spacing out for a split second with the realization that this was a Beatle, and particularly George, my favorite. Up until then, I’d been too busy following the flow and pondering my next question, too locked into this nice English gentleman to be nervous or intimidated in any way. But that split second drop out almost silenced me. Luckily I recovered almost as quickly. But I think this next question was the one in which I lost it so briefly and yet so deeply, the question in which I tried to invoked the spiritual George. I mentioned that of all the Beatles, he seemed to be the one seeking, questioning. I asked if he had stopped questioning: “Well…not so much these days. You know, they say knock on the door and it will be opened or seek and ye will find. In those days we went through so much experience – almost like going through twenty years of experience all crammed into three, four years. And some of those experiences were pretty heavy. And it just made me feel like I wanted to know what was the point of all this. Because as you said, we made our money and fame and all that which is what most people regard as making it. But for me that wasn’t it. It was good fun for a while but it certainly wasn’t the answer as to what life was all about. And so I needed to know what that was about. If you know historically, I got involved with Ravi Shankar, with Indian music, I went to India, I did a bit of yoga and then I did a bit of meditation. And through all that experience somewhere down the line, the answers came to me as to what the point of life was and what are we doing in these bodies. And so I don’t really have so many questions any more.”

I found it incredible that while George had come all the way up to Toronto for this one interview, none of the high-priced minders could keep the room quiet for fifteen minutes. Throughout our conversation, phones had been ringing and people had been knocking on the door, both proving to be very distracting. Unfortunately, right about here was where I finally got the signal that time was up – right at that crucial moment when I had brought George right to the meaning of life. To my great regret to this day, I never did ask the question. Though time was up, I certainly could have rushed this last one through, especially a question so profound. But then perhaps it was the personal nature of the question that gave me pause. Perhaps I didn’t want to be disappointed with the answer. Then again, perhaps I sensed from George that the answer would be simply his answer, not necessarily relevant to anyone but him. Besides, he had been so thoroughly normal throughout and had led me far around the backside of The Beatles, back to a place where he and I could sit in a room in a most human way and just enjoy having a conversation – he with a fellow child of the Sixties and me with a nice musician from Liverpool.

And so I ended my interview by saying, “Well, I wish I had more time to ask…”, with George ending the sentence: “…what’s the meaning of life?” We both laughed, though I wasn’t quite sure if George had been joking or not.  Regardless, I said, “Next time…”, thinking perhaps a friendly laugh between two people might indeed have been the answer.

After 14 minutes and 50 seconds, even more robust activity resumed around the room with important people wanting Mr. Harrison to be elsewhere. But he stood his ground and motioned me over to a Walkman he held in his hands. “I want you to hear this – they’re musicians from India that I want to work with.” And so I shoved in the ear-buds and listened intently to this magical pulsating music George wanted to share with me. And as he watched my eyes light up, there was that old George Harrison sneer I recognized whenever he hit a good lick on the guitar with The Beatles. And that was the second time my brain snapped for half a second, pulling me into the world of the other that had so confused even George at the time.

I don’t remember if we were told not to have a photographer but there were no pictures taken. Despite sensitivity towards the groupie-meter, a picture with George would have guaranteed a career-enhancing placement in Billboard for everyone there and so there must have been a no-photography decree. Which was just as well – I think the spell would have been broken. And besides, the best memories reside in the mind, not in pictures which forever too narrowly define the moment. But I did get another “To Dave – Best Wishes, George Harrison”, written on the cover of the Cloud Nine LP that I had with me.

What none of us knew at the time was that Cloud Nine would be George’s last solo studio album in his lifetime (Brainwashed, a posthumous recording, would be released in 2002). Within a few months of the interview, George would hook up again with Jeff Lynne, along with Bob Dylan, Tom Betty and Roy Orbison. And collectively they would be known as the Traveling Wilburys, recording two albums that would spawn many hits. In my interview, George had mentioned that rather than embark on another solo project, he would rather form a band, “made up of a bunch of people…in which you can play as much or little as you like – everybody can do their own tunes and we can back up each other and it would be you know…the Traveling Wilburys or something”. Interestingly, the term “Wilbury” had been actually coined with Lynne during the recording of Cloud Nine. When occasional noises created by faulty equipment had ended up in the recording, Harrison had suggested to Lynne, “We’ll bury them in the mix.” The two then called all small performance errors there on as “Wilbury’s”. Later on, the actual Traveling Wilburys name in reference to the future friends’ project had been used by Harrison in response to a question by Bob Coburn on the American syndicated “Rockline” radio show in February of 1988, when he had asked a similar question to mine with regard to future projects. If only I could remember the date, or even the month, in which George was in Toronto, I might be able to claim that my interview was arguably the moment in which Harrison had coined the name. Either way, our interviews probably occurred within days of each other, which I suppose is close enough for rock ‘n’ roll, though most probably George already had been considering the name.

As for the interview itself, Pritchard helped dub off the copies and distribute them quickly to the media across the country. And as predicted, anyone with a radio or a newspaper over the next few days knew that George had been in the country and had a new album. Mission accomplished.

But unfortunately, David was to suffer a degree of undeserved controversy later when it came to the Beatles. Ten years after the interview, he and his partner would publish a book in 1998 called The Beatles: An Oral History. The New York Times would be harsh on the book, writing in their review that it was “a compilation of twice-told tales culled from interviews with the Beatles and their contemporaries and is more seriously in need of editing than the ‘White Album’. Far too much of this material has been told more vividly elsewhere”. What the New York Times didn’t know was, apart from David’s own McCartney interview, at least fourteen minutes and fifty seconds of research material had been heard first-hand by David as he sat there beside me with his Nagra recorder – a drop in the Beatles bucket perhaps, but first-hand nonetheless.

  (Dave Tollington, 2014)