Thursday, May 1, 2014

This guitar makes me gently weep

I am sort of sad to see George Harrison's Rickenbacker guitar that he bought in 1963 up for auction right now.     George bought the Rickenbacker 425 guitar when he was in Benton, Illinois in September 1963 on holiday with his brother.    He and Gabe McCarty went to Red Fenton's music store in Mount Vernon, Illinois (which is the closest large town to Benton, even though Mount Vernon is pretty small).   They did not have the guitar in black.  George wanted it in black because it would match John's guitar.   So the guy at the shop told George to come back in a week and he would have the guitar refinished in black.    The shop owner was quite shocked that George paid him in cash because it was an expensive purchase and he didn't think by looking at George that he would have that much money on him in cash.  

George really didn't play the guitar for a very long time.   He is seen with on on the Ready Steady Go television performance from October 1963 and during the 1963 Swedish tour.   He also used it in the recording of I wanna hold your hand and This Boy.   Then George sort of moved on to other guitars.  In the late 1960's George gave the Rickenbacker to George Peckham, who worked with Apple and was a guitar player who needed a guitar.   George just gave him this guitar because it was a good rhythm  guitar and he handed it over without a guitar case or anything.  

I know I am showcasing George's guitar from RSG '63, but just check out the lovely fan in the background!  She is too adorable!   She is standing there all ready to get her book autographed. 

In 1999 this guitar was sold by Christie's auction house and George even verified that it had been his guitar and the whole story behind it was true.   The main place this guitar has been on display from 2000-2013 was at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.     I saw the guitar in person there in 2001 when I traveled to see the John Lennon exhibit.   It also appeared for a year at the John Lennon museum in Japan, but returned to the Rock Hall after that year.    It is currently on display in New York City as part of a Beatles Grammy display.   And I knew it was there, but I assumed that it would return once again to the Rock Hall.     I like this guitar because George bought it at a store near where I live.   I don't know....I feel bonded to it.    I liked the idea that if I really wanted to see it, then it was tucked away as part of the Beatles exhibit in Cleveland.

photo copyright

But I guess it just wasn't mean to be because right now it is up for auction with Julien's auction house as part of their "music icons, legends and rebels" auction that will take place on May 17, 2014.   I can only hope that another museum or the Hard Rock gets a hold of it.   I hate things like this going into a private collection because then us fans never get to see it.   The only private collection that would be reasonable is if it went back to Dhani Harrison.  

*much thanks goes to the book Beatles Gear by Andy Babiuk

No comments:

Post a Comment