Musician, singer, songwriter. Born February 25, 1943, in Liverpool, England. George Harrison is a musician and songwriter who enjoyed particular prominence in the 1960s as a member of The Beatles. As a child, Harrison developed an appreciation for his father's record collection, which included works by American country music figures such as Jimmie Rodgers. While still a youth, Harrison obtained his first acoustic guitar. He soon made the acquaintance of Paul McCartney, an older student who shared Harrison's enthusiasm for music. Harrison and McCartney regularly played music together, and they soon began performing in the Quarry Men, a rock band formed by John Lennon. By the mid- to late 1950s, Harrison had begun playing electric guitar. The Quarry Men, meanwhile, had been renamed Johnny and the Moondogs, and after losing their drummer began appearing as a trio comprised of Harrison, McCartney, and Lennon.
While playing with Lennon and McCartney, Harrison also appeared in other combos, including the Les Stuart Quartet, while his mates performed together as the Nurk Twins. In 1958, Harrison, Lennon, and McCartney began performing with drummer Ken Browne. After Browne left, the band added Stuart Sutcliffe, a bassist and art student who had become friends with Lennon. This lineup, which played as the Silver Beatles, obtained work in 1960 supporting pop performer Johnny Gentle during a brief tour of Scotland. That same year, the group changed names to become the Beatles, and after adding drummer Pete Best received an extended booking at the Indra Club, a nightspot in Hamburg, West Germany.
In Hamburg, the Beatles developed a sizeable following that relished the band's raw sound, borrowed from Carl Perkins and Chuck Berry, and its considerable intensity, which sometimes led to all-night sets. Before the end of 1960, the Beatles moved to a larger club, the Kaiserkeller, where they continued to win raves with their energy and musicianship. The band's success in Hamburg was interrupted only briefly when Harrison was discovered to be a minor and, moreover, a musician who had been workingóas had Lennonówithout a proper permit.
The Beatles were compelled to come home to Liverpool, and in early 1961 they began playing at a jazz club, the Cavern, where they soon duplicated the success they had enjoyed in Hamburg. That spring, the band returned to Hamburg, then contracted to support rocker Tony Sheridan in a recording studio, where they played such tunes as "Cry for a Shadow," an instrumental written by Harrison and Lennon. Later that year, after another successful stint at the Cavern, the band met music-store owner Brian Epstein, who advised the musicians to diminish the rawness of their personal appearance and performances. He also encouraged them to sign a recording contract with EMI's Parlaphone Records. After signing with Parlaphone, the band changed drummers, hiring Richard Starkey, who went by the name Ringo Starr.