Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My kid brother's band --- a book review





Lou and Paul just last month


I remember being excited that Louise Harrison was going to be one of the speakers at my very first Beatlefest.  The year was 1994 and I had never been around anyone who had met one of the Beatles much less the only full blooded sister of one!    I was excited to hear Louise tell stories about her brother.   Imagine my extremely disappointment when she refused to talk about George and talked the entire time about the charity she had created to help the environment.   She even had a trash can passed around the auditorium for donations.   I went to a Q&A with her the next year at the Fest and experienced much of the same.   I recall one fan asking her if she and George still exchanged Christmas or birthday cards or gifts.  Instead of really answering the question, she went on a discussion about how all of those greeting cards are bad for the environment.     She always would say that she would not talk about George because she wanted to respect his privacy.    Personally I never understood how talking about events (such as the Ed Sullivan show) that were common knowledge was an invasion of his privacy.  It wasn't like she was telling us his addresses or flight schedules or anything intimate about affairs he had or whatever.     In the 1990's, I always had the impression that she and George were not on speaking terms, something that she denies in this book.  Of course after George's death, Louise opened up a bit more about her little brother and even shared some old family photos with the Daily Mail, so I wasn't sure what to expect of this book.

I think the title, My Kid Brother's Band aka the Beatles! is a great name.   In 1963, when Louise lived in the United States and she was going around to radio stations, trying to get the Beatles some airplay, that is what she referred to the Beatles as:  My Kid Brother's band.    Louise shares some very nice and interesting stories about George and the Beatles in this book.   I learned a few new things and it was especially interesting to read about George being sick during the Ed Sullivan show from Louise's point of view.    I enjoyed reading about how she went to many of the Beatles concerts in America and of course I loved reading about George's visit to see her in Benton, Illinois.      You can't help but admire and love the senior Louise and Harold Harrison even more after reading this book.   The Harrison parents raised good kids and were so kind hearted to Beatle fans around the world.  

However, I had a lot of issues with Louise's book.   She went on what I would call "tangents" throughout the book.   She would be telling about the Beatles in 1964 and then she would put in parentheses something about politics, health care, the environment, phonics vs. whole language, how much she loves the president, taking jobs away from people, etc etc.    Now the woman is free to have her thoughts and opinions, but I am not sure if a book about her brother is the right outlet for that.  Nonetheless, even if she wanted to leave it in, the way it was dispersed throughout the book made it almost impossible for me to read.    It was so disjointed and confusing.    Many of her opinions I agreed with and some I did not, but I wish the book was layed out differently

She did make a few mistakes that us Beatle geeks will notice.   Two that stood out to me was that she put the British Embassy event where Ringo's hair was snipped before the Washington D.C. concert and she said that George and Paul Simon appeared on Saturday Night Live in the 1980's.   But those are minor things, especially considering that she isn't writing as a Beatles historian.  

For me it was worth spending almost $40 on this book for the photo of Louise, Peter, George and Leslie (Louise's daughter)  standing on the square in Benton, Illinois.    That color photo alone is amazing!   (well it is to me because I live near there).  

One thing that REALLY stood out is that she does not mention Olivia by name at all.  One time she refers to her as "Dhani's mother."   And there are some strong words against the "Harrison estate" whom she says "are not real Harrisons."    So if you are an Olivia Harrison fan, then this won't be a book for you!

So---should you get this book?   I would say that this book is for those of you who are BIG George Harrison fans.  He is your favorite and you can't get enough information about George.  Or if you are (like me) a Beatles book completest and must have all Beatle books.

The only way you can order this book is through the Liverpool Legend's website:  http://liverpoollegends.com/kidbrother.html    the book does come autographed by Louise Harrison.

23 comments:

  1. There have been so many stories the last couple of years before George passed and even now about his and Lou's relationship. I remember when he first came out here to see her in the 60's and it was seemed great to me. Now however her book is really just a cry for money and disappointing. And Olivia and Dhani are Harrisons.

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  2. I'm a huge George fan, but I don't think I'll be getting this book, if only because I've come to really dislike Louise. For her to say Olivia and Dhani aren't "real Harrisons" is awful, and I think George would be very upset with her for saying such a thing.

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    1. Here is a direct quote form page 304 this is after she has said how her pension had been cut off after George's death. "Thanks so much Harrison Family Estate! I guess with (as far as I know) no real Harrisons involved, years of Harrison family integrity was easy to dismiss?" on page 302 she also states that "a bunch of people -- none of which were biological Harrisons, but called themselves "the Harrison estate"...

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    2. I'm a little confused by her wording. Is she referring to Olivia and Dhani or not?

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    3. Who else would be in the Harrison Family Estate and be in charge of George's money? Although Dhani is a biological Harrison---maybe she is talking about Olivia and her lawyers?

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    4. Ouch, that's harsh. Is this all because George didn't leave much to Louise? I'd heard he was angry at her for using his music for something or another. I don't know if that's hearsay though.

      (Thanks for the review btw. I didn't know whether to buy this or not - I won't be now.)

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    5. By saying the "Harrison Estate", isn't that usually meaning the lawyers who represent the estate? That's my interpretation. Not the actual family.

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  3. money that's all I (they)want

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  4. Really Louise, did it ever occur to you that people might just expect you to speak ABOUT George at a Beatles convention and also that he never had to give you a pension? How sad for you.

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  5. She was the sister to the wrong Beatle if she wanted to spend her life basking in reflected glory and being involved with (sometimes) tacky things that are above the quality-control of her kid brother's band! (It IS a great title though!)

    I feel a little sorry for her though, but you can see why George (and family) kept a distance.

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    1. I cannot say as much as I know...but I know more than enough to unquestionably side with Dhani and Olivia in their decision. Having received information from primary sources (and having to live with it since), I do not have even a milligram of pity for Louise or anyone in her side of the family. Disgust would be the more appropriate word. They would be lucky to even receive a breath of regard from Olivia or Dhani at all.

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  6. About George's mum & dad - they were wonderful people and always most gracious to his fans. Great parents.

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  7. Louise Harrison is senile,if at this late date she hasn't woken up about Obama,she is a complete,self hating moron.

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  8. The Harrisons (those born Harrison and otherwise) have nothing to do with Louise. And, despite what she might have said in her book, there was a very long period of time when George had nothing to do with her. She has milked the Beatles since the very early days and continues to do so. I had to laugh when I saw her refer to the money George gave her as her "pension". If he had wanted her to have a "pension" after his death, it would have been mentioned in his will. This wasn't something those "Harrisons" put together after his death. George knew what he was doing. $40 for her book is nothing more than lining for her pockets.

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  9. Was Pattie and even Cynthia (U.S tour) mentioned?

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    1. Cynthia was mentioned some in the book. Very little about Pattie. I do not think Louise knew her at all. Just mentions of her in ways like, "Pattie and George were living in Friar Park."

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    2. Louise says she's shocked Pattie said in her book that she wrote letters to George pre-success saying he should get a real job. She thought they had a good sisters-in-law relationship...Tend to believe Pattie (or should I say what George told Pattie) Her explanation to me is her trying to prop up her theory of how much she helped the Beatles. I personally don't think it would have been that terrible if she did. No one could have known how successful the Beatles would be,, especially a sister who lived thousands of miles away who hadn't see her brother since he was 9 years old.

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  10. Sara, the book is available on Amazon for about $22...your review was right on target. She likes to give the impression she was left out of George's Estate but she says here she was left enough to pay up 80,000 in credit card debt and two mortgages after she signed a non-disclosure clause (which in cases like this are pretty routine) "under duress". She says she wouldn't want to be a millionaire then implies she thinks George's Estate should have been split between all his relatives, or maybe I'm reading it wrong. It seems to me she can't trade on her connection to the Beatles if she bashes her brother so she blames the non-biological Harrison. The book itself was worth it for me for the few Harrison family photos but i must say reading between the lines it becomes obvious why she frustrated her brother so much.

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    1. It wasn't available on Amazon when I ordered it, but I am glad to see that it is a bit cheaper through them now. As I said in the review---the price of the book for me was well worth it because of the photo from Benton in 1963. I have paid more for worse photos. I just thought it was a poorly written book. Even if she felt however she felt, the way the book was written wasn't well organized and I almost gave up on it because it was frustrating and not professionally published.

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  11. I think that Louise suffers from selective memory.

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  12. Thank you so much for this honest review which explains quite a few things to me. I , along with other long term George fans, was very, very uneasy for a number of reasons when I read the 'disinheritance' story in Daily Mail a couple of years ago. I felt there was a lot more to the story and a number of things did not sit well with me. But the comnents you report in this book explain much and actually confirm my suspicions. All I will say is as a George fan of 30 years my love, respect and sympathy for Olivia, who was there for George every day of their 27 years together has increased yet again . However Louise has gone way down in my sympathy. Olivia has had to deal with savage trolling because of this story ... after years of dealling with death threats and hate mail against George and herself during his lifetime and after

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  13. I also think it is telling that George and Olivia got on well with George's brothers Harry and Pete and their wives Irene and Pauline (they lived on the Friar Park estate and Pete and his wife lived there until retirement ..ie sone years after George's death.. when he moved to near the estate).

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  14. All you people, stop bashing George's sister! None of us know all the personal facts and I'm sure George would be appalled.

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