George Harrison would have been 79 years old on Feb. 25. We don’t know how he would have celebrated the day. However, we know how George spent a milestone birthday. George received thousands of birthday cards from fans for his 21st birthday in 1964.
Later, George’s closest friends, and, of course, his fellow Beatles, joined him in celebration. It was definitely a memorable birthday.
George Harrison received 30,000 birthday cards and a door from fans for his 21st birthday
According to Beatles Bible, George received 52 mail sacks containing around 30,000 birthday cards from fans for his 21st birthday in 1964. Two fans even sent him a door for the thousands of 21st birthday keys he also received. In the U.K., it’s tradition to receive a key to your home. It signifies adulthood.
Although, George was already adult-like, playing in one of the most famous bands in the world at the time.
George looked through all the cards during an interview. He said, “I don’t really fancy 21, I much rather like 20. You know it’s a nice round figure and all that.” George also revealed that he got a four-foot-high cake from someone.
“I’d like to say thanks a lot anyway,” George continued, “because thousands of people sent me things. Thank you everybody!”
Even George’s parents received cards for their son. One fan even delivered a cake to Harold and Louise Harrison‘s house. The Harrisons excepted it all for George.
George spent his birthday in the recording studio with his fellow Beatles
Before George looked at thousands of birthday cards, he started his day in the studio with the rest of The Beatles.
According to The Beatles’ press officer, Derek Taylor’s Fifty Years Adrift, George’s first birthday greeting came from his mother. She called him from Liverpool at 12:10 a.m., the exact time he was born, and sang him “Happy Birthday to You.”
“I had a good laugh,” George said. “In America they have birthday operators singing to you and for a minute when my mother came on, I thought it was the operator.”
“After that it was just like any other working day,” the excerpt from Fifty Years Adrift read. “George went to the recording studio at 10am, where the group rehearsed numbers for their film: Beatlemania (sic). Then he found the strangest gift of all – six-foot high double doors which had been delivered by seven girls from Hove.”
In another interview from Feb. 25, 1964, George said he missed his mother and father the most on what turned out to be a hectic 21st birthday.
“Usually at home on your birthday,” George said. “You get fed at home off your mum and all that.”
George and friends had sit down dinner where they ate turtle soup, smoked salmon, and Chateaubriand steak
Although he couldn’t get a home-cooked meal from his mother, George still ate like a king on his 21st birthday.
After doing some work in the studio, looking through his many birthday cards, and giving a few interviews, George and his closest friends gathered to celebrate his birthday. That evening they sat down for a meal in a private party held in an upstairs room at the Ivy restaurant in London.
The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein presented George with a gold cigarette lighter. George and The Beatles were also joined by their producer, George Martin, their publishers, Dick James, Paul McCartney’s then-girlfriend, Jane Asher, John Lennon’s wife, Cynthia Lennon, and fellow artist, Cilla Black.
The party-goers dined on turtle soup, smoked salmon, and Chateaubriand steak.
Apparently, George did not receive anything from his fellow bandmates. “We’re not sentimental people,” George said.
Regardless of what gifts George received, he had a very memorable 21st birthday. We hope that he has a party for his 79th wherever he is.