In August, 1965, I had an idea: promote the music store where I worked by giving George Harrison, not the key to the city of Minneapolis, but the key to a guitar case, a Rickenbaker 12-string. James Lopes, the owner of B-Sharp Music, liked the idea, so I set about contacting radio stations, because that’s how we’d get the publicity machine started, in the pre-Internet era.
After a lot of calling and approaching radio personalities at gigs, I finally got myself a slot at the press conference. A young photographer, Bill Carlson, was also there and he eventually published a book with photos of the Beatles stay in Minneapolis. A video has come and gone and been put back on Youtube from the actual event.
Bill Carlson’s book, The Beatles: One Night Stand in the Heartland, is available at Amazon. For some reason, Carlson did not publish his photos right away, but I contacted him a number of years later and he gave me some internegative copies of the three I am in.
The story of whether this particular guitar was used on any recordings or whether it was stolen from George, both theories being available on online guitar forums, is unclear. According to TheBeatlesOnline.com,
“George acquired his second Rickenbacker 360-12, identical to the replica photographed above, during the group's '65 US tour. The 1965-model was given to him at a press conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. George later used the guitar on the recording of ‘If I Needed Someone’, using a capo on the seventh fret.”
Wikipedia cites the book Beatles Gear: All the Fab Four's Instruments from Stage to Studio as saying, “This 12-string's whereabouts are unknown, as it was stolen at some point after the band ceased touring.”
Only two Beatles are left, since John Lennon was murdered in New York on December 8, 1980 and George Harrison died on November 29, 2001, in Los Angeles, of lung cancer. The unique opportunity of meeting all four Beatles will always be with me.