George Harrison’s Son, Dhani, Was Upset He Didn’t Play Chuck Berry During His 1987 Prince’s Trust Performance

As a kid, George Harrison‘s son, Dhani, fell in love with one of his father’s idols, Chuck Berry. Of course, George was thrilled that his son liked older rock musicians like him. However, Dhani’s love of Berry grew so big that it became greater than his love for his father’s music.

Dhani was upset George didn’t play Berry during his set at the Prince’s Trust Concert in 1987.

George Harrison performing at the Prince's Trust Concert in 1987.
George Harrison | Dave Hogan/Getty Images

How George Harrison’s son, Dhani, started listening to Chuck Berry

George never sat his son down and told him about The Beatles. Like most children, Dhani learned about his father’s famous band by watching Yellow Submarine. However, George didn’t tell his son much about his former band.

So, Dhani formed his musical interests, which weren’t far from George’s. According to Rolling Stone, Dhani fell in love with The Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ U.S.A.” after hearing it in the 1985 Michael J. Fox film Teen Wolf.

Dhani’s mother, Olivia, dug out a copy for him. However, George educated Dhani on where The Beach Boys got “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” Chuck Berry.

George told Rolling Stone, “I said, ‘That’s really good, but you want to hear where that came from,’ and I played him ‘Sweet Little Sixteen.’ I made him a Chuck Berry tape, and he takes it to school with his Walkman.”

George’s son, Dhani, was upset he didn’t play Chuck Berry during his 1987 Prince’s Trust performance

By the time he was nine years old, George’s son’s love for Berry was bigger than his love for George’s music. However, that was because George hardly showed him The Beatles. The first time Dhani saw his father perform was in 1987 when George played the Prince’s Trust Concert.

Instead of being amazed at seeing his father perform for the first time, he was upset George didn’t play any Berry songs.

“When I did that Prince’s Trust concert last June — that was the first time he ever saw me hold a guitar onstage in front of people,” George told Rolling Stone. “He’s got to know a bit about the Beatles, but I’ve never pushed that on him, or tried to say, ‘Look who I used to be.’

“I did my two cute songs: ‘Here Comes the Sun’ and ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps.’ He came back after the show, and I said, ‘What did you think?’ He said, ‘You were good, Dad, you were good [slight pause]. Why didn’t you do ‘Roll Over Beethoven,’ ‘Johnny B. Goode’ and ‘Rock & Roll Music’?’ I said, ‘Dhani, that’s Chuck Berry’s show you’re talking about!'”

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The former Beatle said his son’s love of old music was part of a cultural phenomenon

George approved of his son’s interest in older artists but recognized it was part of a broader cultural phenomenon at the time. Dhani’s generation started bringing older artists to the forefront again.

“I think primarily it’s nostalgia,” George said. “There’s a lot of young kids who are starting to go back in time and listen and say, ‘Hey!’ Where maybe ten years ago, the Beatles were, like, nowhere to these kids, now the new generation latches onto them.”

In George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviews and Encounters, George explained, “Because the media, not just with the Beatles twenty years ago, but the media always, whether it be five years since something or ten years since… We’ve just had ten years since Elvis died, so we’ve got all Elvis movies, all nice, old clips of him, never seen, put together into a film, on TV.

“Or whether it’s thirty years or forty years since the Battle of Britain, you know. It’s history and they like to–it’s a good way of having repeats and filling in time in magazines and on radio and television. But it’s also the people—we all have our nostalgia. Like you said, everybody can remember where they were when the Beatles sang ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ on the Ed Sullivan Show.”

George stayed nostalgic for the rest of his life. He didn’t care much for current music. On the other hand, Dhani grew up with many different types of music. However, it’s safe to say he loves his father’s music the best.