Monday, May 26, 2014

Chicago promotion

George was a busy guy in the fall of 1976 and part of his busy schedule was to promote his new album at that time, 33 1/3.  With stops in Chicago and Boston, it was almost like a mini-tour to the fans during that time.   This story REALLY shows how managed to appear everywhere at once and stay one step ahead of one of the guys.     It sounds like a really fun time.

George 1976
Barb Clark
With a little help from my friends issue #17 (January 1977)

Knowing about the promotional party that Warner Brothers was having for George’s new album, 33 1/3 and knowing he’d show up, we—Tempy S., Kay P. and I packed our bags and drove to Chicago.  We went to O’Hare Airport thinking he’d get into town a few hours before the party.  There we met up with George Tebbens, Sharon U., and Carol or was it Nancy?  I got them mixed up.   They were sisters.  All of them were from Chicago.  We spent the day meeting all the flights coming from LA.  The flights came 15 to 25 minutes apart, which just gave us time to run to each one.  It started to get late.  The last flight we met, one guy got off with a Warner Brothers jacket on.  We thought, this is it!  The last person got off the plane.  No George.  Tebbens went home to get ready for the party.  We all went over to the hotel where George was staying and went into the lobby to wait.  Kept our eyes glued to the elevator door.  Tempy got up and moved closer.  We sat there a while.   A man came up to us and said we’d have to leave.  He asked who we were waiting for.  We didn’t answer.  He told us to go outside and stand – that he’d be coming out soon!  So we all went out front.  About 20 minutes later out George came; wearing a colored sweater, orange trousers which we later found out was a jumpsuit.   And he looked gorgeous!  Looked a bit like ’68 Yellow Sub. time.   He looked surprised to see all of us waiting for him.  He grinned that grin and said hello to everyone.  Signed some autographs, and then got into the limo and went off to the Ambassador.  We quickly got a cab.   The cab driver was cool—knew what was happening.  He said, “I think we can beat them!”  We got out, threw him some money, and stood in front of the Ambassador.  Three seconds later George arrived!  He rushed through the crowd while we stood around trying to come up with some way to get into the party.  Meantime the crowd started changing, “We want George, we want George!”  Some climbed up on the windows and looked in them – they were chased down.  Everyone still yelled, “We want George!”  And then the curtains opened and some man looked out.  Everyone yelled louder, “We want George!”  Meantime we’d met up with another friend of ours, Howard S. who had a room in there.  Everyone continued shouting “We want George!”  Finally the curtains opened and there stood George, grinning and waving to everyone.  After a b it he waved goodbye, and everyone yelled a bit louder.  It all felt like 1964 again, us yelling and him waving and grinning out the window at us all.  Finally he left the window.

Earlier a police car had arrived.  I thought they’d take us all away.  Overheard the cop saying he was there to arrest the doorman.  We did get into the hotel.  Howard having a room there, but that’s as far as we got.  They had a list of names and as you went into the party, they checked your name off.  So we didn’t get in.  Tebbens got in somehow of course.  Somehow we’d missed seeing George leave, but we all got together to celebrate what had happened, then called it a night and were to meet again the next morning in front of George’s hotel.

We met about 9am except for Howard and George.  Howard got there too late and George (as in Tebbens) had to work.  We stood around for an hour or so.  Char B. met up with us.  We all kept getting crazy remarks from the limo driver, “Why do you still do this?  “You stand out in the cold all this time?”  Someone said, “Yeah, all day if we’d have to.”  We told him where we were all from.  Tempy told him Boston, and he said “you should’ve stayed there, that’s where he’s going next.”  (You can imagine how she reacted to that.)  Kay went to put money into the meter while the limo driver watched her and said, “Is that your car?”  She said “yeah,” and the other guy with the limo driver wrote down her license plate number.  They brought out his luggage then and loaded it into the limo, and then out came George!  Looking surprised as ever, wearing a plaid tweed hat and an army jacket.  He grinned and said hello to us and got into the limo and signed some autographs.  And then the limo took off and so did we.  Tempy, Char, Kay and I ran to the car to follow him.  The limo was already 3 blocks away and almost lost in the traffic.  We had lost it earlier.  We’d found out he landed at Midway Airport in a private jet, so we took off for there.  Getting out of the traffic finally, and onto the Expressway doing about 80.  No sign of the limo.  Kay got it up to about 90.  Still no sign of the limo and then suddenly it came into sight.  We’d caught up with them!  We were all yelling and going mad.  We calmed down a bit, went off the exit with them, got a red light.  The driver looked into the rear view mirror and Kay waved at him.  George and the guy in the back seat then turned around and waved, and we slunk down into the seat.  They turned into the airport and went into a gate leading onto the field.  Tempy and Char jumped out of the car while Kay and I parked it in the middle of the road next to the gates.  WE all ran onto the field.  George was getting out of the limo and going up the stairs leading onto the plane.  He got to the top, stopped and turned around and waved to us.  We waved back and he disappeared into the plane.  Someone looked out the window, but the windows being dark, we couldn’t tell who it was.  The plane started up and we stood back watching it as it took off and disappeared from sight.  George was off for Boston and so was Tempy, as we took her to the airport.  By the way, remember the one who wrote our license number down?  He did that to clear it with the guards or whoever at the airport –otherwise, they would’ve stopped our car from following the limo up to where the plane was!


  1. My hometown! Thanks for posting. I love that they made sure their car could get through. Different times.