Music: George Harrison

"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 Python's 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.

Studio and Live Discography:

  • 1968 - Wonderwall Music
  • 1969 - Electronic Music
  • 1970 - All Things Must Pass
  • 1971 - The Concert For Bangladesh
  • 1973 - Living In The Material World
  • 1974 - Dark Horse
  • 1975 - Extra Texture (Read All About It)
  • 1976 - Thirty Three & 1/3
  • 1979 - George Harrison
  • 1981 - Somewhere In England
  • 1982 - Gone Troppo
  • 1987 - Cloud Nine
  • 1992 - Live In Japan
  • 2002 - Brainwashed

George Harrison provides examples of:

  • Author Existence Failure: Brainwashed.
  • Badass Beard: A short one around the time of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; another between 1969-72.
  • Badass Moustache
  • 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.
  • Chick Magnet: Everybody was trying to be his baby.
  • Creator Breakdown: The record Dark Horse, recorded not long after his wife Patti Boyd left him for his best friend Eric Clapton.
  • 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. He once said that being a Beatle had "certainly been no hindrance on his career".
  • 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 , 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.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish: His obsession with India.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Harrison was a vegetarian as well as being a well-known hippie.
  • 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?"
  • Garnishing the Story: Harrison's guest appearance on Rutland Weekend Television as Bob the Pirate (including speaking the lingo), culminating in him performing a sea shanty instead of My Sweet Lord.
  • Generation Xerox/Identical Son: His son Dhani is an eerily dead ringer.
    • 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."
  • God Is Love Song: Several.
  • Grief Song: "You said it all/Though not many had ears/All those years ago".
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Let's be honest, George Harrison and Eric Clapton's relationship had to have been extremely close for it to survive Clapton stealing George's wife away.
    • 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").
  • It's Been Done: The Trope Namer thanks to his guest appearance on The Simpsons.
  • Love Triangle: Himself, his wife Patti Boyd, and Eric Clapton. Eric won.
  • New Year Has Come: "Ding Dong, Ding Dong".
  • Paper-Thin Disguise / Gratuitous Foreign Language: "L'Angelo Misterioso" plays guitar on several albums by George's friends, even writing the last big Cream hit.
  • 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.
  • The Quiet One
  • 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.
      • He also took up car racing and gardening.
  • Self-Deprecation: Like all The Beatles, he was a master of it. He famously described himself and Ringo Starr as "economy-class Beatles", and in the 1980s referred to himself easily as "a middle-aged ex-pop star." He also achieved a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment when asked about John Lennon's murder, by half-joking that he wasn't important enough to try to kill.
  • Self-Titled Album
  • Separated by the Wall: The cover to his album Wonderwall Music (note the hole in the wall).
  • Solo Side Project: "Wonderwall Music" and "Electronic Sound", both released while he still was a member of the Beatles.
  • Super Group: Not just any Super Group: THE Super Group. Harrison founded The Traveling Wilburys, consisting of Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Jim Keltner and Harrison himself. The group came about because Harrison had called up his friends to record a B-Side for his single "This Is Love", but his record company saw the potential in the song and encouraged the group to do more with it than make it "filler".
  • Take That:
    • "Taxman" was quite the shot against the British tax system of the time.
    • "This Song" was written about the "unconscious plagiarism" George allegedly committed against Bright Music and The Chiffons' "He's So Fine" in writing "My Sweet Lord".
    • "Sue Me, Sue You Blues" was one to the judicial system he had to put up with during the lawsuits filed through the Beatles' breakup.
  • This Is a Song: "This Song"
  • Trademark Favorite Food: He came to regret announcing that he liked Jelly Babies after fangirls throwing them at him and the other Beatles became a regular feature of life on the road. It was even worse in America, where the fans couldn't find the soft Jelly Babies and instead purchased jelly beans: "Imagine waves of rock-hard little bullets raining down on you from the sky." It got to the point where he feared that one might hit him in the eye and blind him.
  • Uncle Pennybags/Promoted Fanboy: Financed Monty Python's 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 
  • Unplugged Version: Harrison recorded a well-known acoustic version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." It finally got released with The Beatles Anthology.
  • 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.