"Give me love, give me peace on earth, Give me light, give me life, keep me free from birth, Give me hope, help me cope, with this heavy load, trying to touch and reach you with heart and soul"
George Harrison (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was the lead guitarist for The Beatles, and a musical legend in his own right.For instance, not only was Harrison great with the guitar, but he also introduced the band to new instruments like the sitar that gave the band whole new sounds to use. He endeavoured to write his own songs, but he found that his efforts weren't being taken seriously by John and Paul and he was relegated to one or two tracks on each album. However, he persisted and by the time of the band's final produced album, Abbey Road, he firmly proved that he was their equal with the classic songs, "Something" and "Here Comes The Sun." Still, he finally got to fully stretch his wings post-breakup with his solo album, All Things Must Pass, the biggest selling ex-Beatle solo album to date. In addition to his artistic rise, he also used music to do direct social good, most famous for creating the first rock benefit concert, Concert for Bangladesh, to help that poverty stricken country recover from a devastating typhoon in the early 1970s. He also was a member of the late-1980s supergroup The Traveling Wilburys.In addition, he became a film producer by founding HandMade Films to produce Monty Pythons Life Of Brian when it suddenly lost its backer. The company continued on after he left it in the late 1980s.A documentary directed by Martin Scorsese, George Harrison: Living in the Material World, was released in October 2011.
Badass Pacifist: How many other vegetarian hippie musicians are memorialised in a Liberation War Museum, as Harrison is in Bangladesh?
Berserk Button: He really, really, really, really seemed to hate "Maxwell's Silver Hammer."
Big Ol' Eyebrows: His most distinguishing feature from the other Beatles during the moptop era.
Call Back: "This Guitar (Can't Keep From Crying)" and "Here Comes The Moon" were obviously tips-of-the-hat to a couple beloved songs he did with The Beatles.
Cover Version: Although his version of "Got My Mind Set on You" is considered the definitive version, it was originally written by Rudy Clark as a James Ray song. Additionally, George covered Bob Dylan's "If Not for You" on All Things Must Pass.
Dead Artists Are Better: While not as beatified in popular culture as John, George's own contributions to rock music, charity, religion and film have certainly have been more appreciated after his death.
Deadpan Snarker: Granted, this was more or less a requirement to be a Beatle. George was perhaps the most deadpan of them, however.
Distinct Double Album: All Things Must Pass was a distinct triple album. The first two records were filled with songs (including the title track) that George had originally offered to the Beatles but didn't get recorded because Lennon and McCartney were unwilling to let him have more than his two-songs-per-record quota. The third record is mostly jam-session recordings.
Executive Meddling: His album Somewhere In England was delayed because the higher ups wanted another cover and some songs removed, so Harrison had to write new songs to fill the void. However, he made both a Lampshade Hanging and a Take That against them in the song "Blood from a Clone".
George was pressured by EMI to rush to finish Dark Horse in time for its scheduled release date and accompanying tournote which was disastrous enough to dissuade him from ever touring again, except on one tour with Eric Clapton and his band that ended up being recorded and released on Live in Japan, George's sole solo live album, despite being stricken with laryngitis at the time (as well as throughout the tour), leading to its extremely scratchy, gritty vocals and the nickname "Dark Hoarse" from the critics.
Gallows Humor: Harrison was making snarky statements about his near-fatal stabbing about 24 hours after it happened. And according to his friend Eric Idle, as the bloodied Harrison was being taken away by EMTs in the immediate aftermath of the attack, he happened to catch sight of a groundskeeper he had hired only a week earlier. Reportedly George deadpanned, "So, how do you like the job so far?"
So much so that at the "Concert for George," Harrison's wife Olivia quipped to Paul McCartney that with Dhani up onstage alongside Paul, Ringo, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, and George's other friends, "it looks like George stayed young and everyone else got old."
Heck, after they patched thing up they would refer to each other as husbands-in-law.
Interfaith Smoothie: The backing vocals of "My Sweet Lord" transition effortlessly from chanting "Hallelujah" to chanting "Hare Krishna," and eventually become a Vedic prayer to Vishnu.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: At least publicly, he took this attitude toward Patti Boyd and Eric Clapton's marriage (and even attended their wedding, giving the bride away and calling himself "the husband in law").
Properly Paranoid: After bandmate John Lennon's murder, George retreated to his home and installed a seemingly crazy number of security features. Reportedly his staff was known for hiding or throwing away hate mail/death threats because they knew how much it would freak him out. Unfortunately, in 1999, a crazed attacker did successfully break into his home and very nearly murdered George and his wife Olivia.
Also claimed in 'The Beatles Anthology' that when going on an American tour, he refused to ride in a Ticker Tape Parade, citing the proximity of the tour to the assassination of President Kennedy.
Protest Song: "Bangladesh." It may not sound like one today, but at the time, merely calling the country Bangladesh (instead of "East Pakistan") was a political statement that directly went against U.S. policy.
Reclusive Artist: George was never one for touring or performing concerts. There were two notable concerts, however, that he was involved in. One was The Concert for Bangladesh, a charity concert for the benefit of Bangladesh that he organised, and the other was a tour with Eric Clapton and his band in 1992, out of which came the live album Live in Japan which ended up being George's last new album released during his life, with Brainwashed being posthumously released.
Renaissance Man: Specifically as musician, George could play 26 instruments: guitar, sitar, 4-string guitar, bass guitar, arp bass, violin, tanpura, dobro, swordmandel, tabla, organ, piano, Moog synthesiser, harmonica, autoharp, glockenspiel, vibraphone, xylophone, claves, African drum, conga drum, tympani, ukulele, mandolin, marimba, and Jal-Tarang.
That of course doesn't include his work, as a composer, actor and film producer.
Uncle Pennybags/Promoted Fanboy: Financed Monty Pythons Life Of Brian after the original producers got freaked out by the "religiously offensive" content and backed out. For no reason except that he was a massive Monty Python fanboy (and friend of them) and just wanted to see the movie. Eric Idle called it "the most expensive movie ticket ever purchased", at least $4 million.note Which is nearly twice what they charge at the average multiplex these days.
Ur Example: The Concert for Bangladesh, which George Harrison organised, was the first all-star charity concert.
Observation On Originality: The hard part was getting the money where it was supposed to — not because of dishonesty, but because this sort of thing had never been done before. The IRS got in the way for a few years.
Violently Protective Wife: The knife-wielding maniac who nearly killed George in 1999 was subdued when Olivia Harrison smashed a lamp over his head. Soon after the incident, George got a message from his good pal Tom Petty saying "Aren't you glad you married a Mexican girl?"
We Used to Be Friends: George and Paul had been boyhood friends before The Beatles, but wound up probably being the most estranged pair of the group after the breakup.