Friday, May 25, 2012

Marco and George in 1988

On May 24, 1988, Marco Mallagoli, the well-known Brazilian Beatles fan did something that every Beatle fan dreams of doing.   He won a contest to go to L.A. and spend 2 hours with George Harrison.  His story and photos appeared in the very last ever issue of 'With a Little Help from my Friends.'

Marco and George

Reading through Marco's newsletter, Revolution

A woman from Warner Called “P.G.” picked me up at my hotel and she went with me to the house where George was staying.  When we arrived, the vice president of Warners pulled up in another car at the same time.  He was very kind, and as we walked up to the house, he called out for George, who had been taking a shower.  George appeared in the window and told us to come in and to wait for a moment.  We walked into the house.  There was a Gretsch guitar (I think the one he got on ‘Rockline’) and on the other side of the room another different Gretsch, an old one he acquired recently.   There were some –shirts from Gretsch, and some magazines telling about Gretsch guitars.
When George came into the room, it was a wonderful moment.  We shook hands and began to talk.  He asked me about the contest I won.  I told him as president of the Revolution fan club, we sent 50,000 letters to the radio station, and so I won it.  He kept telling people in the house, “He won me in a contest!”
He told me he loved Brazil when he was there in Feb. ’79, and I had to show him a photo of him taken there that I was in too, and then he remembered me.  He’s a very good person.  He gave me his complete attention.  He’d shaved, has no beard or mustache, and his hair’s shorter.

He was very friendly and he talked easily about the Beatle days.  He said that in ’64 when the Beatles came to New York for the first time, the factory gave him some guitars, but with time, most of them got stolen.  He told me about the guitar on the cover of “Cloud Nine” I have him a newsletter of “Revolution” where on the first page there’s a photo of him at the Cavern with the same guitar, and he told me it was great to see that picture.  He liked the other photos in the newsletter and some drawings by Paulo Balk.
I have him some gifs and some for Dhani, and he loved them.  He told me Dhani is playing piano very well and that he likes some Beatles’ songs.  He said he’s writing new songs with Jeff Lynne and that toward the end of this year or the beginning of next year he hopes to start a new LP.

I asked if Paul is or is not in “When We Was Fab” and George said, “Yeah.  Well, he didn’t want to be seen.”  I said, “But he was playing the walrus with the mask and everything?”  George:  “Yeah.  Pretending.”  I asked, “So you, Paul and Ringo played together in the video?”  “Yeah” George said again, “But in secret!”  When I asked if the media stories going around lately that he might write a song with Paul were true, he said, “Maybe.”  I asked if he, Paul and Ringo would ever do a song together and he said, “Maybe just a couple of songs…we wouldn’t make an album but maybe if we did ever finish a film. You know, some of this old Beatle film stuff (The Long and Winding Road??) then maybe we’d write a new song for it. 

He said he isn’t planning doing Prince’s Trust on the Nelson Mandela concerts in June as he won’t be in London either time, and he also didn’t know that according to the press he’s supposed to be participating in HBO’s Robbie Robertson special in a segment he was supposedly taping in N. Y. in June!

I  played for him the tape my friend Marcus Rampazzo recorded, playing George’s songs on guitar and George seemed impressed, saying he was a great guitar player.  He said Marcus can play songs that he can’t even remember how to play anymore, and he knows they’re among the most difficult songs to play on guitar that he’s written. He heard the entire tape and asked if he could keep it to play for Jeff Lynne, he thought Jeff wouldn’t believe how good it was! 
He played some bits of songs on his guitar like the solo of “Something,” but he wouldn’t let me record it.  There were some papers with some lyrics he’d written to some new songs.  I looked at it but couldn’t get a copy (unfortunately!).

I asked why “This is Love” was the new single in America as I’d thought the next one would be “Devil’s Radio.”  George said, “Well, in America, you see…they put out, all over the world, they usually put the same single, because it’s easy to go with the same song.  In America, ‘Devil’s Radio’ can’t be a single because they already played it so much on FM radio.  You, when the album first came out they played it to death!  So in America I don’t’ know if they could put it as a single.  So therefore … maybe it will come to the rest of the world sometime. “

It was fantastic to talk to him for those two hours. 


  1. I'm jealous... and a bit surprised His Georgeness would put himself up as a prize. He certainly got around a bit in those Cloud9/Wibury years. Is the beardy man the same beardy man with John outside the Dakota, 1980?

  2. db: It is surprising that he would put himself as a radio prize, but I think that George at times enjoyed meeting with fans on a one-on-one basis. And yes...this is the same man who met John in 1980 and he also met Paul in either 1989 or 1990.

    JR: I am sorry that Marco does not fit what you think a person should look like. But that does not make him a "cripple." I assume you are trying to make a Beatles-joke, but I don't think it worked.

  3. The Beatles reference to "cripples" had nothing to do with Marco per se, it is what the Beatles would say when they felt overwhelmed by overbearing fans so that Mal and Neil would get the offending parties out of the Beatles' faces. Looking at George's face and knowing what I know about George's feelings about "Beatle people", I could just imagine him bawling "MAL!!! CRIPPLES!!!"

  4. Still a right dumb comment to make, Mr Clark, "knowing what you know about George's feelings" Yeah, right.