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Illinois Town to Commemorate 50th Anniversary of George Harrison's First US Visit

Apple Corps Limited/courtesy of HBOA special marker will be unveiled next month in Benton, Illinois, commemorating the 50th anniversary of a visit George Harrison paid to the town.  The late Beatles member, along with his brother Peter, traveled to Benton in late September 1963 to see Harrison's sister, Louise Harrison Caldwell, who had moved to the town earlier that year with her husband.

The Illinois State Historical Society, one of the groups sanctioning to the marker, announced that a dedication and unveiling ceremony will take place on September 21 at Benton's Capitol Park.  According to The Southern Illinoisan, Harrison's sister is among the luminaries who'll be taking part in the event.  The dedication ceremony also will feature musical performances, souvenirs and Beatles-related memorabilia.

Harrison's Benton visit reportedly marked the first time any member of The Beatles had come to America.  George's band mates were vacationing in other parts of the world when he traveled to the U.S. and spent a reported three weeks in and around the town.  Among things he did while there was bring a copy of The Beatles' then-new single, "She Loves You," to a local radio station and have the DJ play the disc.  He also jammed with a group called The Four Vests at a VFW hall in Eldorado, Illinois, and joined the same band on stage at the Bocchi Ball Club in Benton.  In addition, Harrison bought a Rickenbaker electric guitar at a local music shop, an instrument he would eventually play with The Beatles.

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