How Arnold Grove conquered the world via Wavertree

George Harrison has a cup of tea in his father's house in Appleton in 1976. He tells the Liverpool Echo's reporter: "I'm just off to Bombay for a wedding after seeing a few friends in Wales."
-Credit: (Image: Mirrorpix)

If you were to see the name Arnold Grove on a hotel check in sheet during the 1960s, you may not have given it a second thought.

However, the pseudonym that travelled from Wavertree to the far corners of Bangladesh would leave a legacy that would extend far beyond a scribble on a page. As his widow Olivia revealed as a plaque was unveiled at his childhood home, Arnold Grove was the moniker of “quiet Beatle” George Harrison.

The guitarist, who was lauded for his humanitarian work in later life, spent the first seven years of his life at the modest Victorian terrace just off Wavertree High Street.

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The youngest member of the Beatles, George was just 17 when the band embarked on their trip to Hamburg in 1960, staying with the band for a decade. Music was an early interest, encouraged by his parents, although George did not actively start learning guitar until he was in his teens.

He met and befriended the Indian composer Ravi Shankar in 1965 and became influenced by eastern music and philosophy.

After the Beatles split up, Harrison went on to achieve great success as a solo artist, producing the highly acclaimed triple album All Things Must Pass in November 1970, with hits including ‘My Sweet Lord’. As co-founder of Handmade Films, George was also involved in films such as Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979), Time Bandits (1981) and Mona Lisa (1986).

He was the first Beatle to score a number one single in the UK music charts after the band split up. His other famous works include ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ (1968), ‘Here Comes the Sun’ and ‘Something’ (both 1969).

Harrison was the first Beatle to score a number one single in the UK music charts after the band split up. He also arranged The Concert for Bangladesh in 1971, which was a music industry pre-cursor to the renowned Live Aid campaign.

In 1988 he formed the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys with Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, who all appeared under pseudonyms on the band’s albums. Much like his own, inspired by home.

Born on February 25, 1943, George was the youngest of four children whom he shared the home with and maintained strong connections to Wavertree. His parents were born and grew up in the area while his maternal grandparents lived in the adjacent road, Albert Grove.

He later wrote of the house: “To look at, it is just like ‘Coronation Street’: no garden, door straight on to the street … It was OK that house, very pleasant being little and it was always sunny in summer.”

Speaking as she unveiled the plaque, his widow Olivia, said he left a “footprint in this street” that would travel with them amid his growing global fame six decades ago. She said: “His values were established here.

“He grew up where he could see the horizon and when we travelled and went on tour he would always be Mr Arnold Grove.” Olivia, 76, who was flanked by family and dignitaries, said the blue plaque “brought his name back home.”

The plaque is the third of its kind to recognise members of the Beatles, with sites at 34 Montagu Square, Marylebone, London and the other is at 251 Menlove Avenue, Liverpool carrying inscriptions for John Lennon.

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