What George did and saw during that visit is chronicled in a book titled 'Before He Was Fab, George Harrison's First American Visit' by Jim Kirkpratrick.
GJ: Jim, I would think that George's first visit to America is a rather obscure part of The Beatles story. How did you first hear about it?
JF: Well, back in 1995 there was an effort to tear down the house that George Harrison visited. It was next to the Illinois Dept. of Mines and Minerals service, in Benton. They wanted to expand their area, and build a huge parking lot. Bob Bartel from Springfield got involved. They wanted to tear it down. He said this house is historically significant. He called Louise (George's sister). Louise, who was living in Sarasota, Florida at the time, came back in an effort to save the house. So, that's how I got involved in it.
GJ: After your initial curiosity was aroused, where did you begin to research this story. Did you go right to Louise?
JF: A friend of mine, Bob Ray, was President of Franklin County Tourism. We got talking about Louise and the really unique stories she told about how George bought this guitar in Mount Vernon and how he had played with a local group, at a local Hall, and the first Beatle record played in the United States was at the radio station WFRX in West Frankfort. We thought these are really interesting stories. As someone who's interested in history I thought, well, if you look at all the people who are involved in this story who are still alive, most of them are in their fifties or sixties. We thought if this is not preserved it's going to be lost in time.
It's primarily a story about his two week vacation to Southern Illinois. After Bob and I had talked I thought I would make an effort to talk to as many people as I could, that met George Harrison duning his visit here. Louise was coming back here for a benefit concert for DARE. Before I embarked on anything, I thought Louise was the core of this whole thing. I needed to get her to talk. After I did that, everything else seemed to fall into place.