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El Chavalito

Ciertamente, durante la primera época de The Beatles, George era el chaval, sobre todo para John. Durante el primer viaje de los fabulososo a Hamburgo, george fue deportado a casa por ser menor de edad. De esto y de otras cosas interesantes habla Paul McCartney en una entrevista aparecida en el último número de la revista británica “Mojo”, que dedica su portada a Harrison e incluye un disco con versiones de sus canciones. Todo por el décimo aniversario de su muerte – el próximo noviembre – y por la inminente aparicion del documental de Scorsese.

McCartney, a pesar de ser un genio musical, nunca ha sido de mi agrado. Simplemente, su excesiva corrección, afabilidad y su evidente egolatría, me producen inquietud y molestia. Pero, él estuvo allí y, a pesar de las distorsiones propias de su ego, cuenta cosas jugosas

Os transcribo la entrevista.

MOJO: Louise Harrison [George’s sister] told me that their parents taught them to be trusting and that when George was young, he was a very trusting person. She implied that it made him vulnerable. Does that ring true?

PAUL McCARTNEY: I would think of it more like loyal. Trusting? Mmm, I don’t know. His elder sister would see him differently than his contemporary mates on the street would. So it depends what you’re talking about. If it was charlatans, he would definitely not be trusting and he was quick to spot them. But he was a very loyal guy; anybody he liked he was very loyal to. [laughs] But there were a lot of things he didn’t trust. He was super-canny. He had an eye out for the fakes.

MOJO: Years ago, John [Lennon] was quoted as saying that George was ‘the kid’ when the Beatles began and that John treated George as such. How long did that last?

PAUL: It probably lasted a couple of years. Just because of his age, in a group of men who’ve grown up together, particularly round about their teenage years – age matters. In John’s case, who was three years older than George – that meant a lot. John was probably a bit embarrassed at having sort of ‘a young kid’ around, just ‘cos that happens in a bunch of guys. It lasted for a little while. It was particularly noticeable when George got deported from Hamburg [in November 1960] for being underage. Otherwise, when he first joined the group, he was a very fresh-faced looking kid. I remember introducing him to John and thinking, Wow, there’s a little bit of an age difference. It wasn’t so much for me ‘cos I was kind of in the middle. But as we grew up it ceased to make a difference. And those kind of differences iron themselves out.

MOJO: I’m curious about George’s process in the studio. Do you recall any stand-out moments where George brought something in or made a song click?

PAUL: Oh yeah, sure. There were quite a few. I would think immediately of my song And I Love Her which I brought in pretty much as a finished song. But George put on do-do-do-do [sings the signature riff] which is very much a part of the song. Y’know, the opening riff. That, to me, made a stunning difference to the song and whenever I play the song now, I remember the moment George came up with it. That song would not be the same without it.

I think a lot of his solos were very distinctive and made the records. He didn’t sound like any other guitarist. The very early days we were really kids and we didn’t think at all professionally. We were just kids being led through this amazing wonderland of the music business. We didn’t know how it went at all – a fact that I’m kind of glad of ‘cos I think it meant that we made it up. So we ended up making things up that people then would later emulate rather than us emulating stuff that we’d been told.

In the very early days, it was pretty exciting. I remember going to auditions at Decca and each of us did pretty well, y’know. We were in a pub afterwards having a drink and kind of debriefing and coming down off the excitement, but we were still pretty high off it all. And I remember sitting at the bar with George and it became kind of a fun thing for us for years later. I would say, [adopts awed voice] When you sang [Goffin & King’s] Take Good Care Of My Baby, it was amazin’ man!’ I’m not sure we said ‘man’ or even ‘amazing’ in those days, but… That was a special little moment and it just became a thing between me and him: [awed voice again] ‘When you sang Take Good Care Of My Baby…’

MOJO: George played a classical nylon-string guitar on And I Love Her. I recall George getting into Andrés Segovia for a bit. Does that ring a bell?

PAUL: I think ‘for a bit’ is the operative phase. We fell in love with the guitar and we didn’t discriminate. It could be a Spanish guitar, a classical guitar. It could be a Gretsch, a Fender, a Gibson. We kind of loved them all. It was like a dream, it was like walking through Santa’s grotto. There was a great sense of wonder for us. I remember so clearly being at Pete Best’s mother’s club – the Casbah in West Derby in Liverpool – and George came in and he opened up this long, rectangular box. It turned out to be a guitar case. We wouldn’t have guessed there was a guitar in there ‘cos till then you hadn’t seen these long rectangular cases which are now perfectly normal; we’d seen guitar-shaped cases. And he opened up this long box and in there was… I’m not sure if it was a Fender. I think it might have been a look-alike, a cheaper copy. But man, it looked good. It looked so glorious. Moments like that were very special. We were in love with guitar, of any kind.

George and I used to do this little thing, which is the J.S. Bach thing. I think it’s called Fugue or something. [sings Bach’s Bourrée in E-Minor] We didn’t know it all but we learned the first little bit. We made the end up. What we liked about it was that it was harder than some of the stuff we were playing, it was part of our development, ‘cos it was two lines working against each other. You’ve got the melody [sings] and then you get a sort of [sings] bass line working against it. I tell audiences now that that was what gave me the start of Blackbird. It’s not the same notes but I took the style of there being a bass melody and a treble melody in the same guitar piece and made up the song Blackbird from that. I clearly remember George and I used to sit around doing our own version of this Bach thing. It was like a little party piece: it was a little something to show that we weren’t just [adopts pompous voice] one-dimensional. It was a little show-off thing. The point I’m coming back to is that, Yeah, we were aware of classical guitar players. I was a big fan of Julian Bream – who was a British classical guitarist – and I think George was too.

We used anything we could get our hands on for ideas. The other very influential piece was a piece by Chet Atkins that we tried to learn called Trambone. That is a nice little bit of country picking. And that’s the same thing – there’s two things going on. You got a bass line and the treble line. None of us quite mastered that except a guy called Colin [Manley] out of [Merseybeat contemporaries] the Remo Four. For us that was the high spot of their act when Colin just did this instrumental. But the point I’m making is that all these lovely little things were little turn-ons and we assimilated them all into our music. So we definitely weren’t snobs.


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