When her son, George Harrison, rose to fame alongside the other members of The Beatles during the 1960s, Louise Harrison was blasted with fan mail from young women all over the world. She sweetly responded to each and every one, and several of her letters to one fan, in particular, are going up for auction along with other Beatles memorabilia. These letters have revealed some of Mrs. Harrison’s feelings about her son’s fame.
The ‘Beatlemania’ craze lasted for three years
The Beatles originally formed in 1960, and they quickly rose in popularity in their hometown of Liverpool. Eventually, the band was touring the entirety of the United Kingdom, and a phenomenon that came to be known as ‘Beatlemania’ took over the teenage population.
Beatlemania was the frenetic female-led fan culture that developed among so many young ladies in admiration of the Beatles. Between 1963 and 1966, girls all over the UK screamed for the band at every single show. The only thing that brought an end to Beatlemania was their final stadium concert, which took place at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on August 29, 1966.
Mrs. Harrison’s letters revealed much about herself and her son
During the Beatlemania years, members of the band received plenty of fan mail – and so did their families. Between 1963 and 1966, George Harrison‘s mother received thousands of letters in fan mail at her home, where she answered each one diligently.
One teenager, Janet Gray, continuously wrote to Mrs. Harrison throughout those three years, and her return correspondence shows how she took much interest in Gray’s personal life. She also used the letters as an opportunity to discuss the exploits of her son and his band.
In November 1963, Mrs. Harrison wrote to Gray, saying “Dear Janet, I don’t know anything about your mother’s letter. I did not have one yet. I do hope my writing to you is not the cause of any trouble at home. For if so, I will definitely not write any more.” The discussion then took a turn, and she described how she felt about the whole Beatlemania craze.
“Last Wednesday, I went to Manchester and I was really disgusted at the way the so-called fans just screamed right through the whole of the Beatles act,” Mrs. Harrison wrote. “Nobody with any sense would pay and queue for a ticket just to stand on a seat and scream, and not hear one sound from the stage. I was really ashamed I was a female.”
Mrs. Harrison kept up correspondence with Gray
For the next couple of years, Mrs. Harrison and Gray continued to write to one another. In July 1964, Mrs. Harrison wrote of the plane crash the Beatles experienced. “Dear Janet, this will have to be short. George was home for two days or rather nights – out all day rehearsing at Blackpool. George was not hurt, thank God, in crash.”
She then went on to discuss what is likely the theory that circulated shortly afterward that Paul McCartney died in the crash and was replaced with a lookalike. She wrote to Gray, “Oh, I’m surprised at you believing rot about Paul. What on Earth makes you believed it, I don’t.”
In a later letter to Gray, dated September 1964, she told her how George was doing, writing that he “was [in Surrey for] five days before I came home. He is very thin but OK.” Their personal connection shines through her next sentences, as she wrote to the young girl, “Glad to hear you have a boyfriend. Hope you pass the GCE OK. I’m so busy I could scream. 3000 letters to answer at least. So I’ll say cheerio for now.”
The Gray family put a series of 25 of these letters received from Mrs. Harrison up for sale.