Soul jazz singer and guitarist George Benson has said he “didn’t like all the attention” when he became famous in the 70s and “couldn’t go anywhere without being swamped”.

The star, 76, hit the big time when he won three Grammys in 1977.

He said in an interview with The Big Issue that winning the awards was “a gigantic step into the big time and a real change of life”.

But he added: “When I got famous I didn’t like all the attention, to tell you the truth.

“I wasn’t used to that.

“I had enough attention from my girlfriends and I had a wonderful time.

“I married a nice lady and I had a great life, and then my children started to be born.

“So life was great for me, I didn’t need all the extra attention.”

“After a while I couldn’t do anything or go anywhere without being swamped by people,” he added.

“So that part was not so enjoyable.”

Benson also told how his late mother – who he says “gave me my morals” – once turned down a “fabulous” house that he had bought for her.

He said: “My mother finally realised I could buy her anything. I asked her what she wanted most, and she said ‘I want my own house’. I said, ‘Go and pick it’. She picked a house that was not so nice to me.

“So on my own I went and found another house, a bigger house, a fabulous house with a swimming pool.

“I tried to give it to her, but she would not accept it.

“She said I don’t want to leave my house. I said, ‘But Mama, this is a much better house!’

“And she said, ‘Mmm-mmm, I am not going to leave my house.’

“So I had to sell the other house and take a loss.”

The full interview is available in next week’s new edition of The Big Issue, sold by vendors to lift themselves out of poverty. It is available to buy across the UK from June 3, priced £2.50.


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