The Beatles Became Popular in the U.S. With a Little Help From George Harrison’s Sister Louise

George Harrison on the set of The Beatles' film 'A Hard Day's Night' in 1964.
George Harrison | Max Scheler – K & K/Redferns

George Harrison’s sister Louise helped make The Beatles popular in the U.S.

In 1963, The Beatles decided to take a holiday. John Lennon took his wife Cynthia to Paris, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr went to Greece, and George

George Harrison had a lot of support from his family, especially his sister Louise when he joined The Beatles. His mother (also Louise) was his No. 1 fan. She answered fan mail, invited some of her son’s loyal fans to tea, and even became pen pals with one of them.

Initially, George’s father was less-than-enthusiastic about his son quitting his job to become a full-time musician. Yet, he was just as much involved with George’s fans as his wife.

However, George’s sister had an even bigger job; helping her little brother reach stardom.

George Harrison | Max Scheler – K & K/Redferns

George Harrison’s sister Louise helped make The Beatles popular in the U.S.

In 1963, The Beatles decided to take a holiday. John Lennon took his wife Cynthia to Paris, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr went to Greece, and George visited his sister in America. On Sept. 16, George flew to the States with his older brother, Peter, becoming the first Beatle to do so.

Louise ‘Lou’ Caldwell lived at 113 McCann Street in Benton, Illinois, at the time. Louise had recently immigrated there with her husband Gordon, a nearby coal mine engineer. Benton, Illinois, is a small town, but George welcomed the quiet after experiencing the first waves of Beatlemania. No one recognized him, and he could experience some American staples without hassle.

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Louise took her brothers camping at Shawnee National Forest, and they ate at burger joints. She also introduced George to Gabe McCarty, who was in the local band, the Four Vests. They hit it off, and McCarty brought George to the town’s record shop. The store didn’t have a single Beatles album.

According to Rolling Stone, George “was forced to bring his own copy to the WFRX-AM radio station in West Frankfort, where he hitchhiked with Caldwell to plug the Beatles’ recent overseas smash, ‘She Loves You.’ DJ Marcia Schafer, then just 17, dutifully played the song.”

However, that wasn’t the last time Schafer saw Louise. George’s sister kept coming back, requesting Schafer to play The Beatles. “Louise came to the station several times over the summer asking us to play the Beatles’ music, which up to that time had only been available in England,” Schafer told the Illinois Times in 2013.

So, thanks to Louise’s hounding, The Beatles slowly trickled through the radio stations of America, starting in Illinois of all places. Within the following year, her brother’s band became even more popular.

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Louise wrote to The Beatles’ manager suggesting he book the band on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’

During an interview courtesy of The Oklahoman Video Archive, Louise revealed that she tried getting The Beatles’ music on the radio in Illinois prior to George’s visit in 1963. She may have also been the mastermind behind one of The Beatles’ most famous performances.

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When asked if she traveled with The Beatles, Louise replied, “Well, I didn’t travel with them very much. …read more

Source:: Showbiz Cheat Sheet.

      

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