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Who gave John his first harmonica?
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mithveaen
Sitarday's room
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6 October 2012 - 5.14am

HI guys

 

Two of my students have a question about how John got his first harmonica. Was it a present from his uncle (Mimi's husband) or did he steal it??

 

Thanks!!

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meanmistermustard

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6 October 2012 - 9.31am

Wiki.answers comes up with this (it was the first site i came across in a search to give an answer)

John Lennon was given a harmonica by his uncle George when he was a child, and  after his uncle's death began to teach himself. Having played harmonica through  early Beatles gigs, John developed his technique in 1962 when the Beatles were  on tour with Bruce Channel, and Bruce's harmonica player Delbert McClinton's  gave John some tips which influenced John's playing on the Beatles' debut single  'Love Me Do".

John stole the harmonica he used on Love Me Do from a shop in Arnhem in 1960 (From Joe's entry for 16th August 1960).

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mr. Sun king coming together
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6 October 2012 - 1.43pm

The first harmonica was given to John from George Smith (Mimi's husband). He later nicked one in Germany because he had had the first one for a very long time (at least ten years).

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goodbyehello
The Jersey Shore-yeah, that one....
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6 October 2012 - 5.25pm

I read somewhere that years ago some fans had managed to track the place down that John Lennon had stolen the harmonica from and paid the shop owner for it.

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Zig
The Toppermost of the Poppermost

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6 October 2012 - 8.39pm

goodbyehello said
I read somewhere that years ago some fans had managed to track the place down that John Lennon had stolen the harmonica from and paid the shop owner for it.

 

If that is true, it is an epic gesture. Can you recall your source?

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Joe
Pepperland
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6 October 2012 - 9.01pm

I didn't know the fans had paid the owner, but they've done all right out of the connection. Some links:

The Beatles at Bergmann

Buy a harmonica with an Imagine written on it (for some reason) and get a "stolen one" certificate

And from the comments on this page:

Today, on a Dutch talkshow an old lady who still runs a music instrument shop in Arnhem told that in the 80's she heard the story of John stealing a mouth organ in Arnhem and realised that this had happened in her shop. She remembered some very strange looking English boys coming to her shop in the 60's, wanting to look at some instruments, but buying nothing. Later she missed a mouth organ.
She nows sells the same model as 'The Stolen One'.

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goodbyehello
The Jersey Shore-yeah, that one....
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6 October 2012 - 9.09pm

I saw that too- I was googling to find my source. I want to say I read it in a "twist of Lennon"- but I have read so many books I really am not sure which one it was. It stood out to me though because I thought it was an awesome gesture.

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mithveaen
Sitarday's room
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7 October 2012 - 4.36am

Thanks so much for your answer!! I already posted the info to my 2 young Beatlefriends a-hard-days-night-john-2a-hard-days-night-john-2apple01apple01apple01

Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie……

Something in the way she moves…..attracts me like a cauliflower…

Bop. Bop, cat bop. Go, Johnny, Go.

Beware of Darkness… 

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Beatleva
In my life
665 Posts
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13 April 2014 - 3.05pm

mr. Sun king coming together said
The first harmonica was given to John from George Smith (Mimi's husband). He later nicked one in Germany because he had had the first one for a very long time (at least ten years).

Just one thing, John Lennon actually stole the harmonica in Arnhem, which is in The Netherlands/Holland. He did it when he was on his way to Germany, I think.

 

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Ahhh Girl
sailing on a winedark open sea

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4 September 2015 - 8.23am

meanmistermustard said

Wiki.answers comes up with this (it was the first site i came across in a search to give an answer)

John Lennon was given a harmonica by his uncle George when he was a child, and  after his uncle's death began to teach himself. Having played harmonica through  early Beatles gigs, John developed his technique in 1962 when the Beatles were  on tour with Bruce Channel, and Bruce's harmonica player Delbert McClinton's  gave John some tips which influenced John's playing on the Beatles' debut single  'Love Me Do".

(snip)

I came across this article that goes along with the answer mmm provided.

Delbert McClinton explains the myth and legends, including John Lennon’s harmonica lesson

Now, as far as that story about him teaching Lennon how to play the harmonica, McClinton says history doesn’t really support the legend.

It was the early ’60s and McClinton was playing England as part of the backing band for American singer Bruce Channel, who had a huge hit with Hey Baby, on which McClinton played harmonica. The Beatles were opening for Channel.

McClinton says that Lennon already knew how to play and that he just gave him some tips.

“These things are getting romanticized by everyone,” he says. “They [The Beatles] were just another group of guys. They hadn’t yet changed the world. [But] we were all going to change the world, every one of us. And there was no doubt about it.”

castironshore
112 Posts
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6 September 2015 - 5.35am

I heard that a bus driver who was taking john to scotland when he was a kid had heard him practicing (presumably with the one his uncle gave him) ,and impressed by his efforts gave him a proper hohner model. 

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