George Harrison reveals Beatles’ fear of jelly babies

May 15, 2009
Jonathan Harwood

A 46-year-old letter from the Beatle to a fan contains a plea for an end to sweet-throwing

A letter that lay hidden in a shoebox for 46 years has shed new light on the early days of the Beatles - and how they were terrorised by fans who bombarded them with jelly babies.

The revelations come in a letter from George Harrison in 1963 to fan Lynn Smith who, as a 15-year-old schoolgirl, wrote to him with a list of questions. At the end of the letter Harrison begged her and her friends not to throw the sweets at the band, claiming he had been struck in the eye during a concert by a boiled sweet and was not amused.

Before they hit the big time their devoted fans had taken up the habit of pelting the band with jelly babies after Harrison mentioned in an interview that he liked them. The practise even spread to the United States where something was apparently lost in translation and fans threw hard jelly beans that could inflict a painful injury.

I was hit in the eye once with a boiled sweet, and it’s not funny!

"We don't like jelly babies, or fruit gums for that matter," wrote Harrison. "So think how we feel standing on stage trying to dodge the stuff, before you throw some more at us.

"Couldn't you eat them yourself, besides it is dangerous. I was hit in the eye once with a boiled sweet, and it's not funny!"

In the same letter he admits to singing the wrong lyrics during the recording of the song I'll Get You in answer to a question about the tracks he sings on. He also claims that the other band members wanted Ringo Starr to come out from behind his drum kit and perform a dance routine but he was "too scared".

Smith, who is now 61 and lives in Salisbury, Wiltshire, said she and her friends would write to the Fab Four at venues where they were playing and that she was ecstatic to get the letter from Harrison, who was her favourite Beatle.

She kept the letter in a shoebox in the attic and recently dusted it off for the first time in 30 years. She has now decided to sell the letter which is expected to fetch up to £800 at an auction on June 17.

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