Sunday, February 17, 2019


Marker Details

Historical Marker:

The First Beatle In America George Harrison

Capitol City Park, Benton, Illinois
Dedication Date:
Dedication By:
The Franklin County Historic Preservation Society, The Illinois State Historical Society, and Beatles Fans Everywhere

Marker Description:
In the late summer of 1963, four musicians from Liverpool, England - John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr - collectively known as the Beatles, were poised to conquer pop culture and music history. With three hit singles in England, the Band anticipated their first number one record in America by taking separate holidays. Lennon to Paris, McCartney and Starr to Greece, and Harrison to America. Traveling with his older brother, Peter, Harrison came to Southern Illinois to visit their sister, Louise Harrison Caldwell, for a fortnight in the small mining town of Benton, Illinois. While in "Egypt" Harrison stayed in his sister's home at 113 McCann Street. Jammed with several local musicians, performed at a VFW Hall in Eldorado with the Four Vests, bought a guitar in Mt. Vernon, sang "Happy Birthday" at a Bocce Ball Club in Benton, and went camping in the Garden of the Gods and other sites in the Shawnee National Forest. Many of the Beatles' first recordings were played over the radio station WRFX-AM in West Frankfort and Harrison was interviewed by a local teenager, Marcia Schafer the first interview by a Beatle in America. Harrison returned to England and came back to America with Beatles the following February after "I Want To Hold Your Hand" rose to number one on the U.S. charts. Harrison went on to write such classic songs as "Taxman", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", and "Something." the second most recorded song in the Beatles catalog. He died in 2001.

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