George Harrison[nb 1] MBE (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was an English musician, singer-songwriter, music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles. Often referred to as "the quiet Beatle", Harrison embraced Indian culture and helped broaden the scope of popular music through his incorporation of Indian instrumentation and Hindu-aligned spirituality in the Beatles' work. Although the majority of the band's songs were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, most Beatles albums from 1965 onwards contained at least two Harrison compositions. His songs for the group included "Taxman", "Within You Without You", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something".
Harrison's earliest musical influences included George Formby and Django Reinhardt; Carl Perkins, Chet Atkins and Chuck Berry were subsequent influences. By 1965, he had begun to lead the Beatles into folk rock through his interest in Bob Dylan and the Byrds, and towards Indian classical music through his use of the sitar on "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)". Having initiated the band's embracing of Transcendental Meditation in 1967, he subsequently developed an association with the Hare Krishna movement. After the band's break-up in 1970, Harrison released the triple album All Things Must Pass, a critically acclaimed work that produced his most successful hit single, "My Sweet Lord", and introduced his signature sound as a solo artist, the slide guitar. He also organised the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh with Indian musician Ravi Shankar, a precursor to later benefit concerts such as Live Aid. In his role as a music and film producer, Harrison produced acts signed to the Beatles' Apple record label before founding Dark Horse Records in 1974 and co-founding HandMade Films in 1978.
Harrison released several best-selling singles and albums as a solo performer. In 1988, he co-founded the platinum-selling supergroup the Traveling Wilburys. A prolific recording artist, he was featured as a guest guitarist on tracks by Badfinger, Ronnie Wood and Billy Preston, and collaborated on songs and music with Dylan, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr and Tom Petty, among others. Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 11 in their list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". He is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee – as a member of the Beatles in 1988, and posthumously for his solo career in 2004.
Harrison's first marriage, to model Pattie Boyd in 1966, ended in divorce in 1977. The following year he married Olivia Arias, with whom he had a son, Dhani. Harrison died from lung cancer in 2001 at the age of 58, two years after surviving a knife attack by an intruder at his Friar Park home. His remains were cremated and the ashes were scattered according to Hindu tradition in a private ceremony in the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in India. He left an estate of almost £100 million.
Harrison at the White House in December 1974
|Born||25 February 1943|
|Died||29 November 2001 (aged 58)|
Los Angeles, California, US
Harrison was born at 12 Arnold Grove in Wavertree, Liverpool, on 25 February 1943. He was the youngest of four children of Harold Hargreaves (or Hargrove) Harrison (1909–1978) and Louise (née French; 1911–1970). Harold was a bus conductor who had worked as a ship's steward on the White Star Line, and Louise was a shop assistant of Irish Catholic descent. He had one sister, Louise (born 16 August 1931), and two brothers, Harold (born 1934) and Peter (20 July 1940 – 1 June 2007).
According to Boyd, Harrison's mother was particularly supportive: "All she wanted for her children is that they should be happy, and she recognized that nothing made George quite as happy as making music." Louise was an enthusiastic music fan, and she was known among friends for her loud singing voice, which at times startled visitors by rattling the Harrisons' windows. When Louise was pregnant with George, she often listened to the weekly broadcast Radio India. Harrison's biographer Joshua Greene wrote, "Every Sunday she tuned in to mystical sounds evoked by sitars and tablas, hoping that the exotic music would bring peace and calm to the baby in the womb."
Harrison lived the first four years of his life at 12 Arnold Grove, a terraced house on a cul-de-sac. The home had an outdoor toilet and its only heat came from a single coal fire. In 1949, the family was offered a council house and moved to 25 Upton Green, Speke. In 1948, at the age of five, Harrison enrolled at Dovedale Primary School. He passed the eleven-plus exam and attended Liverpool Institute High School for Boys from 1954 to 1959. Though the institute did offer a music course, Harrison was disappointed with the absence of guitars, and felt the school "moulded [students] into being frightened".
Harrison's earliest musical influences included George Formby, Cab Calloway, Django Reinhardt and Hoagy Carmichael; by the 1950s, Carl Perkins and Lonnie Donegan were significant influences. In early 1956 he had an epiphany: while riding his bicycle, he heard Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" playing from a nearby house, and the song piqued his interest in rock and roll. He often sat at the back of the class drawing guitars in his schoolbooks, and later commented, "I was totally into guitars." Harrison cited Slim Whitman as another early influence: "The first person I ever saw playing a guitar was Slim Whitman, either a photo of him in a magazine or live on television. Guitars were definitely coming in."
Although Harold Harrison was apprehensive about his son's interest in pursuing a music career, in 1956 he bought George a Dutch Egmond flat top acoustic guitar, which according to Harold, cost £3.10 (equivalent to £100 in 2019). One of his father's friends taught Harrison how to play "Whispering", "Sweet Sue" and "Dinah", and, inspired by Donegan's music, Harrison formed a skiffle group called the Rebels with his brother Peter and a friend, Arthur Kelly. On the bus to school, Harrison met Paul McCartney, who also attended the Liverpool Institute, and the pair bonded over their shared love of music.
Harrison became part of the Beatles with McCartney and John Lennon when the band were still a skiffle group called the Quarrymen. In March 1958, he auditioned for the Quarrymen at Rory Storm's Morgue Skiffle Club, playing Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith's "Guitar Boogie Shuffle", but Lennon felt that Harrison, having just turned 15, was too young to join the band. McCartney arranged a second meeting, on the upper deck of a Liverpool bus, during which Harrison impressed Lennon by performing the lead guitar part for the instrumental "Raunchy". He began socialising with the group, filling in on guitar as needed, and then became accepted as a member. Although his father wanted him to continue his education, Harrison left school at 16 and worked for several months as an apprentice electrician at Blacklers, a local department store. During the group's first tour of Scotland, in 1960, Harrison used the pseudonym "Carl Harrison", in reference to Carl Perkins.
In 1960, promoter Allan Williams arranged for the band, now calling themselves the Beatles, to play at the Indra and Kaiserkeller clubs in Hamburg, both owned by Bruno Koschmider. Their first residency in Hamburg ended prematurely when Harrison was deported for being too young to work in nightclubs. When Brian Epstein became their manager in December 1961, he polished up their image and later secured them a recording contract with EMI. The group's first single, "Love Me Do", peaked at number seventeen on the Record Retailer chart, and by the time their debut album, Please Please Me, was released in early 1963, Beatlemania had arrived. Often serious and focused while on stage with the band, Harrison was known as "the quiet Beatle". He had two lead vocal credits on the LP, including the Lennon–McCartney song "Do You Want to Know a Secret?", and three on their second album, With the Beatles (1963). The latter included "Don't Bother Me", Harrison's first solo writing credit.
Harrison served as the Beatles' scout for new American releases, being especially knowledgeable about soul music. By 1965's Rubber Soul, he had begun to lead the other Beatles into folk rock through his interest in the Byrds and Bob Dylan, and towards Indian classical music through his use of the sitar on "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)".[nb 2] He later called Rubber Soul his "favourite [Beatles] album". Revolver (1966) included three of his compositions: "Taxman", selected as the album's opening track, "Love You To" and "I Want to Tell You". His drone-like tambura part on Lennon's "Tomorrow Never Knows" exemplified the band's ongoing exploration of non-Western instruments, while the sitar- and tabla-based "Love You To" represented the Beatles' first genuine foray into Indian music. According to the ethnomusicologist David Reck, the latter song set a precedent in popular music as an example of Asian culture being represented by Westerners respectfully and without parody. Author Nicholas Schaffner wrote in 1978 that following Harrison's increased association with the sitar after "Norwegian Wood", he became known as "the maharaja of raga-rock". Harrison continued to develop his interest in non-Western instrumentation, playing swarmandal on "Strawberry Fields Forever".
By late 1966, Harrison's interests had moved away from the Beatles. This was reflected in his choice of Eastern gurus and religious leaders for inclusion on the album cover for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967.[nb 3] His sole composition on the album was the Indian-inspired "Within You Without You", to which no other Beatle contributed. He played sitar and tambura on the track, backed by musicians from the London Asian Music Circle on dilruba, swarmandal and tabla.[nb 4] He later commented on the Sgt. Pepper album: "It was a millstone and a milestone in the music industry ... There's about half the songs I like and the other half I can't stand."
In January 1968, he recorded the basic track for his song "The Inner Light" at EMI's studio in Bombay, using a group of local musicians playing traditional Indian instruments. Released as the B-side to McCartney's "Lady Madonna", it was the first Harrison composition to appear on a Beatles single. Derived from a quotation from the Tao Te Ching, the song's lyric reflected Harrison's deepening interest in Hinduism and meditation. During the recording of The Beatles that same year, tensions within the group ran high, and drummer Ringo Starr quit briefly. Harrison's four songwriting contributions to the double album included "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", which featured Eric Clapton on lead guitar, and the horn-driven "Savoy Truffle".
Dylan and the Band were a major musical influence on Harrison at the end of his career with the Beatles. While on a visit to Woodstock in late 1968, he established a friendship with Dylan and found himself drawn to the Band's sense of communal music-making and to the creative equality among the band members, which contrasted with Lennon and McCartney's domination of the Beatles' songwriting and creative direction. This coincided with a prolific period in his songwriting and a growing desire to assert his independence from the Beatles. Tensions among the group surfaced again in January 1969, at Twickenham Studios, during the filmed rehearsals that became the 1970 documentary Let It Be. Frustrated by the cold and sterile film studio, by Lennon's creative disengagement from the Beatles, and by what he perceived as a domineering attitude from McCartney, Harrison quit the group on 10 January. He returned twelve days later, after his bandmates had agreed to move the film project to their own Apple Studio and to abandon McCartney's plan for making a return to public performance.
Relations among the Beatles were more cordial, though still strained, when the band recorded their 1969 album Abbey Road. The LP included what Lavezzoli describes as "two classic contributions" from Harrison – "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something" – that saw him "finally achieve equal songwriting status" with Lennon and McCartney. During the album's recording, Harrison asserted more creative control than before, rejecting suggestions for changes to his music, particularly from McCartney. "Something" became his first A-side when issued on a double A-side single with "Come Together"; the song was number one in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and West Germany, and the combined sides topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. In the 1970s Frank Sinatra recorded "Something" twice (1970 and 1979) and later dubbed it "the greatest love song of the past fifty years". Lennon considered it the best song on Abbey Road, and it became the Beatles' second most covered song after "Yesterday".[nb 5]
In May 1970 Harrison's "For You Blue" was coupled on a US single with McCartney's "The Long and Winding Road" and became Harrison's second chart-topper when the sides were listed together at number one on the Hot 100. His increased productivity meant that by the time of their break-up he had amassed a stockpile of unreleased compositions. While Harrison grew as a songwriter, his compositional presence on Beatles albums remained limited to two or three songs, increasing his frustration, and significantly contributing to the band's break-up. Harrison's last recording session with the Beatles was on 4 January 1970, when he, McCartney and Starr recorded his song "I Me Mine" for the Let It Be soundtrack album.
Before the Beatles' break-up, Harrison had already recorded and released two solo albums: Wonderwall Music and Electronic Sound, both of which contain mainly instrumental compositions. Wonderwall Music, a soundtrack to the 1968 film Wonderwall, blends Indian and Western instrumentation, while Electronic Sound is an experimental album that prominently features a Moog synthesizer. Released in November 1968, Wonderwall Music was the first solo album by a Beatle and the first LP released by Apple Records. Indian musicians Aashish Khan and Shivkumar Sharma performed on the album, which contains the experimental sound collage "Dream Scene", recorded several months before Lennon's "Revolution 9".
In December 1969, Harrison participated in a brief tour of Europe with the American group Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. During the tour that included Clapton, Bobby Whitlock, drummer Jim Gordon and band leaders Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, Harrison began to write "My Sweet Lord", which became his first single as a solo artist. Delaney Bramlett inspired Harrison to learn slide guitar, significantly influencing his later music.
For many years, Harrison was restricted in his songwriting contributions to the Beatles' albums, but he released All Things Must Pass, a triple album with two discs of his songs and the third of recordings of Harrison jamming with friends. The album was regarded by many as his best work, and it topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.[nb 6] The LP produced the number-one hit single "My Sweet Lord" and the top-ten single "What Is Life". The album was co-produced by Phil Spector using his "Wall of Sound" approach, and the musicians included Starr, Clapton, Gary Wright, Preston, Klaus Voormann, the whole of Delaney and Bonnie's Friends band and the Apple group Badfinger.[nb 7] On release, All Things Must Pass was received with critical acclaim; Ben Gerson of Rolling Stone described it as being "of classic Spectorian proportions, Wagnerian, Brucknerian, the music of mountain tops and vast horizons". Author and musicologist Ian Inglis considers the lyrics of the album's title track "a recognition of the impermanence of human existence ... a simple and poignant conclusion" to Harrison's former band. In 1971, Bright Tunes sued Harrison for copyright infringement over "My Sweet Lord", owing to its similarity to the 1963 Chiffons hit "He's So Fine". When the case was heard in the United States district court in 1976, he denied deliberately plagiarising the song, but lost the case, as the judge ruled that he had done so subconsciously.
In 2000, Apple Records released a thirtieth anniversary edition of the album, and Harrison actively participated in its promotion. In an interview, he reflected on the work: "It's just something that was like my continuation from the Beatles, really. It was me sort of getting out of the Beatles and just going my own way ... it was a very happy occasion." He commented on the production: "Well, in those days it was like the reverb was kind of used a bit more than what I would do now. In fact, I don't use reverb at all. I can't stand it ... You know, it's hard to go back to anything thirty years later and expect it to be how you would want it now."
Harrison responded to a request from Ravi Shankar by organising a charity event, the Concert for Bangladesh, which took place on 1 August 1971. The event drew over 40,000 people to two shows in New York's Madison Square Garden. The goal of the event was to raise money to aid starving refugees during the Bangladesh Liberation War. Shankar opened the show, which featured popular musicians such as Dylan, Clapton, Leon Russell, Badfinger, Preston and Starr.
A triple album, The Concert for Bangladesh, was released by Apple in December, followed by a concert film in 1972.[nb 8] Credited to "George Harrison and Friends", the album topped the UK chart and peaked at number 2 in the US, and went on to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Tax troubles and questionable expenses later tied up many of the proceeds, but Harrison commented: "Mainly the concert was to attract attention to the situation ... The money we raised was secondary, and although we had some money problems ... they still got plenty ... even though it was a drop in the ocean. The main thing was, we spread the word and helped get the war ended."
Harrison's 1973 album Living in the Material World held the number one spot on the Billboard albums chart for five weeks, and the album's single, "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)", also reached number one in the US. In the UK, the LP peaked at number two and the single reached number 8. The album was lavishly produced and packaged, and its dominant message was Harrison's Hindu beliefs. In Greene's opinion it "contained many of the strongest compositions of his career". Stephen Holden, writing in Rolling Stone, felt the album was "vastly appealing" and "profoundly seductive", and that it stood "alone as an article of faith, miraculous in its radiance". Other reviewers were less enthusiastic, describing the release as awkward, sanctimonious and overly sentimental.
In November 1974, Harrison became the first ex-Beatle to tour North America when he began his 45-date Dark Horse Tour. The shows included guest spots by his band members Billy Preston and Tom Scott, and traditional and contemporary Indian music performed by "Ravi Shankar, Family and Friends". Despite numerous positive reviews, the consensus reaction to the tour was negative. Some fans found Shankar's significant presence to be a bizarre disappointment, and many were affronted by what Inglis described as Harrison's "sermonizing". Further, he reworked the lyrics to several Beatles songs, and his laryngitis-affected vocals led to some critics calling the tour "dark hoarse". The author Robert Rodriguez commented: "While the Dark Horse tour might be considered a noble failure, there were a number of fans who were tuned-in to what was being attempted. They went away ecstatic, conscious that they had just witnessed something so uplifting that it could never be repeated." Simon Leng called the tour "groundbreaking" and "revolutionary in its presentation of Indian Music".
In December, Harrison released Dark Horse, which was an album that earned him the least favourable reviews of his career. Rolling Stone called it "the chronicle of a performer out of his element, working to a deadline, enfeebling his overtaxed talents by a rush to deliver a new 'LP product', rehearse a band, and assemble a cross-country tour, all within three weeks". The album reached number 4 on the Billboard chart and the single "Dark Horse" reached number 15, but they failed to make an impact in the UK.[nb 9] The music critic Mikal Gilmore described Dark Horse as "one of Harrison's most fascinating works – a record about change and loss".
Harrison's final studio album for EMI and Apple Records, the soul music-inspired Extra Texture (Read All About It) (1975), peaked at number 8 on the Billboard chart and number 16 in the UK. Harrison considered it the least satisfactory of the three albums he had recorded since All Things Must Pass. Leng identified "bitterness and dismay" in many of the tracks; his long-time friend Klaus Voormann commented: "He wasn't up for it ... It was a terrible time because I think there was a lot of cocaine going around, and that's when I got out of the picture ... I didn't like his frame of mind". He released two singles from the LP: "You", which reached the Billboard top 20, and "This Guitar (Can't Keep from Crying)", Apple's final original single release.
Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976), Harrison's first album release on his own Dark Horse Records label, produced the hit singles "This Song" and "Crackerbox Palace", both of which reached the top 25 in the US.[nb 10] The surreal humour of "Crackerbox Palace" reflected Harrison's association with Monty Python's Eric Idle, who directed a comical music video for the song. With an emphasis on melody and musicianship, and a more subtle subject matter than the pious message of his earlier works, Thirty Three & 1/3 earned Harrison his most favourable critical notices in the US since All Things Must Pass. The album peaked just outside the top ten there, but outsold his previous two LPs. As part of his promotion for the release, Harrison performed on Saturday Night Live with Paul Simon.
In 1979, Harrison released George Harrison, which followed his second marriage and the birth of his son Dhani. Co-produced by Russ Titelman, the album and the single "Blow Away" both made the Billboard top 20. The album marked the beginning of Harrison's gradual retreat from the music business, with several of the songs having been written in the tranquil setting of Maui in the Hawaiian archipelago. Leng described George Harrison as "melodic and lush ... peaceful ... the work of a man who had lived the rock and roll dream twice over and was now embracing domestic as well as spiritual bliss".
The murder of John Lennon on 8 December 1980 disturbed Harrison and reinforced his decades-long concern about stalkers. The tragedy was also a deep personal loss, although Harrison and Lennon had little contact in the years before Lennon was killed.[nb 11] Following the murder, Harrison commented: "After all we went through together I had and still have great love and respect for John Lennon. I am shocked and stunned." Harrison modified the lyrics of a song he had written for Starr in order to make the song a tribute to Lennon. "All Those Years Ago", which included vocal contributions from Paul and Linda McCartney, as well as Starr's original drum part, peaked at number two in the US charts. The single was included on the album Somewhere in England in 1981.
Harrison did not release any new albums for five years after 1982's Gone Troppo received little notice from critics or the public. During this period he made several guest appearances, including a 1985 performance at a tribute to Carl Perkins titled Blue Suede Shoes: A Rockabilly Session.[nb 12] In March 1986 he made a surprise appearance during the finale of the Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert, an event organised to raise money for the Birmingham Children's Hospital. The following year, he appeared at The Prince's Trust concert at London's Wembley Arena, performing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Here Comes the Sun". In February 1987 he joined Dylan, John Fogerty and Jesse Ed Davis on stage for a two-hour performance with the blues musician Taj Mahal. Harrison recalled: "Bob rang me up and asked if I wanted to come out for the evening and see Taj Mahal ... So we went there and had a few of these Mexican beers – and had a few more ... Bob says, 'Hey, why don't we all get up and play, and you can sing?' But every time I got near the microphone, Dylan comes up and just starts singing this rubbish in my ear, trying to throw me."
In November 1987 Harrison released the platinum album Cloud Nine. Co-produced with Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), the album included Harrison's rendition of James Ray's "Got My Mind Set on You", which went to number one in the US and number two in the UK. The accompanying music video received substantial airplay, and another single, "When We Was Fab", a retrospective of the Beatles' career, earned two MTV Music Video Awards nominations in 1988. Recorded at his estate in Friar Park, Harrison's slide guitar playing featured prominently on the album, which included several of his long-time musical collaborators, including Clapton, Jim Keltner and Jim Horn. Cloud Nine reached number eight and number ten on the US and UK charts respectively, and several tracks from the album achieved placement on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart – "Devil's Radio", "This Is Love" and "Cloud 9".
In 1988, Harrison formed the Traveling Wilburys with Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. The band had gathered in Dylan's garage to record a song for a Harrison European single release. Harrison's record company decided the track, "Handle with Care", was too good for its original purpose as a B-side and asked for a full album. The LP, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1, was released in October 1988 and recorded under pseudonyms as half-brothers, supposed sons of Charles Truscott Wilbury, Sr. It reached number 16 in the UK and number 3 in the US, where it was certified triple platinum. Harrison's pseudonym on the album was "Nelson Wilbury"; he used the name "Spike Wilbury" for their second album.
In 1989, Harrison and Starr appeared in the music video for Petty's song "I Won't Back Down". In October that year, Harrison assembled and released Best of Dark Horse 1976–1989, a compilation of his later solo work. The album included three new songs, including "Cheer Down", which Harrison had recently contributed to the Lethal Weapon 2 film soundtrack.
Following Orbison's death in December 1988, the Wilburys recorded as a four-piece. Their second album, issued in October 1990, was mischievously titled Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3. According to Lynne, "That was George's idea. He said, 'Let's confuse the buggers.'" It peaked at number 14 in the UK and number 11 in the US, where it was certified platinum. The Wilburys never performed live, and the group did not record together again following the release of their second album.
In December 1991, Harrison joined Clapton for a tour of Japan. It was Harrison's first since 1974 and no others followed.[nb 13] On 6 April 1992, Harrison held a benefit concert for the Natural Law Party at the Royal Albert Hall, his first London performance since the Beatles' 1969 rooftop concert. In October 1992, he performed at a Bob Dylan tribute concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City, playing alongside Dylan, Clapton, McGuinn, Petty and Neil Young.
In 1994 Harrison began a collaboration with McCartney, Starr and producer Jeff Lynne for the Beatles Anthology project. This included the recording of two new Beatles songs built around solo vocal and piano tapes recorded by Lennon as well as lengthy interviews about the Beatles' career. Released in December 1995, "Free as a Bird" was the first new Beatles single since 1970. In March 1996, they released a second single, "Real Love". Harrison refused to participate in the completion of a third song. He later commented on the project: "I hope somebody does this to all my crap demos when I'm dead, make them into hit songs."
Following the Anthology project, Harrison collaborated with Ravi Shankar on the latter's Chants of India. Harrison's final television appearance was a VH-1 special to promote the album, taped in May 1997. Soon afterwards, Harrison was diagnosed with throat cancer; he was treated with radiotherapy, which was thought at the time to be successful. He publicly blamed years of smoking for the illness.
In January 1998, Harrison attended Carl Perkins' funeral in Jackson, Tennessee, where he performed a brief rendition of Perkins' song "Your True Love". In May, he represented the Beatles at London's High Court in their successful bid to gain control of unauthorised recordings made of a 1962 performance by the band at the Star-Club in Hamburg. The following year, he was the most active of his former bandmates in promoting the reissue of their 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine.
On 30 December 1999, Harrison and his wife were attacked at their home, Friar Park. Michael Abram, a 34-year-old man suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, broke in and attacked Harrison with a kitchen knife, puncturing a lung and causing head injuries before Olivia Harrison incapacitated the assailant by striking him repeatedly with a fireplace poker and a lamp. Following the attack, Harrison was hospitalised with more than 40 stab wounds, and part of his punctured lung was removed. He released a statement soon afterwards regarding his assailant: "He wasn't a burglar, and he certainly wasn't auditioning for the Traveling Wilburys. Adi Shankara, an Indian historical, spiritual and groovy-type person, once said, 'Life is fragile like a raindrop on a lotus leaf.' And you'd better believe it."[nb 14]
In May 2001, it was revealed that Harrison had undergone an operation to remove a cancerous growth from one of his lungs, and in July, it was reported that he was being treated for a brain tumour at a clinic in Switzerland. While in Switzerland, Starr visited him but had to cut short his stay in order to travel to Boston, where his daughter was undergoing emergency brain surgery, prompting Harrison to quip: "Do you want me to come with you?" In November 2001, he began radiotherapy at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City for non-small cell lung cancer which had spread to his brain. When the news was made public, Harrison bemoaned his physician's breach of privacy, and his estate later claimed damages.[nb 15] On 12 November in New York, Harrison, Starr and McCartney came together for the last time.
On 29 November 2001, Harrison died at a friend's home in Los Angeles, aged 58. He was cremated at Hollywood Forever Cemetery and his funeral was held at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades, California. His close family scattered his ashes according to Hindu tradition in a private ceremony in the Ganges and Yamuna rivers near Varanasi, India. He left almost £100 million in his will.
Harrison's final album, Brainwashed (2002), was released posthumously after it was completed by his son Dhani and Jeff Lynne. A quotation from the Bhagavad Gita is included in the album's liner notes: "There never was a time when you or I did not exist. Nor will there be any future when we shall cease to be." A media-only single, "Stuck Inside a Cloud", which Leng described as "a uniquely candid reaction to illness and mortality", achieved number 27 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. The single "Any Road", released in May 2003, peaked at number 37 on the UK Singles Chart. "Marwa Blues" went on to receive the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, while "Any Road" was nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
Harrison's guitar work with the Beatles was varied and flexible. Although not fast or flashy, his lead guitar playing was solid and typified the more subdued lead guitar style of the early 1960s; his rhythm guitar playing was as innovative, such as using a capo to shorten the strings on an acoustic guitar, as on the Rubber Soul album and "Here Comes the Sun", to create a bright, sweet sound. Eric Clapton felt that Harrison was "clearly an innovator" as he was "taking certain elements of R&B and rock and rockabilly and creating something unique". Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner described Harrison as "a guitarist who was never showy but who had an innate, eloquent melodic sense. He played exquisitely in the service of the song". The guitar picking style of Chet Atkins and Carl Perkins influenced Harrison, giving a country music feel to many of the Beatles' recordings. He identified Chuck Berry as another early influence.
In 1961 the Beatles recorded "Cry for a Shadow", a blues-inspired instrumental co-written by Lennon and Harrison, who is credited with composing the song's lead guitar part, building on unusual chord voicings and imitating the style of other English groups such as the Shadows. Harrison's liberal use of the diatonic scale in his guitar playing reveals the influence of Buddy Holly, and his interest in Berry inspired him to compose songs based on the blues scale while incorporating a rockabilly feel in the style of Perkins.[nb 16] Another of Harrison's musical techniques was the use of guitar lines written in octaves, as on "I'll Be on My Way".
By 1964 he had begun to develop a distinctive personal style as a guitarist, writing parts that featured the use of nonresolving tones, as with the ending chord arpeggios on "A Hard Day's Night". On this and other songs from the period, he used a Rickenbacker 360/12 – an electric guitar with twelve strings, the low eight of which are tuned in pairs, one octave apart, with the higher four being pairs tuned in unison. His use of the Rickenbacker on A Hard Day's Night helped to popularise the model, and the jangly sound became so prominent that Melody Maker termed it the Beatles' "secret weapon".[nb 17] In 1965 Harrison used an expression pedal to control his guitar's volume on "I Need You", creating a syncopated flautando effect with the melody resolving its dissonance through tonal displacements. He used the same volume-swell technique on "Yes It Is", applying what Everett described as "ghostly articulation" to the song's natural harmonics.
In 1966 Harrison contributed innovative musical ideas to Revolver. He played backwards guitar on Lennon's composition "I'm Only Sleeping" and a guitar counter-melody on "And Your Bird Can Sing" that moved in parallel octaves above McCartney's bass downbeats. His guitar playing on "I Want to Tell You" exemplified the pairing of altered chordal colours with descending chromatic lines and his guitar part for Sgt Pepper's "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" mirrors Lennon's vocal line in much the same way that a sarangi player accompanies a khyal singer in a Hindu devotional song.
Everett described Harrison's guitar solo from "Old Brown Shoe" as "stinging [and] highly Claptonesque". He identified two of the composition's significant motifs: a bluesy trichord and a diminished triad with roots in A and E. Huntley called the song "a sizzling rocker with a ferocious ... solo". In Greene's opinion, Harrison's demo for "Old Brown Shoe" contains "one of the most complex lead guitar solos on any Beatles song".
Harrison's playing on Abbey Road, and in particular on "Something", marked a significant moment in his development as a guitarist. The song's guitar solo shows a varied range of influences, incorporating the blues guitar style of Clapton and the styles of Indian gamakas. According to author and musicologist Kenneth Womack: "'Something' meanders toward the most unforgettable of Harrison's guitar solos ... A masterpiece in simplicity, [it] reaches toward the sublime".
After Delaney Bramlett inspired him to learn slide guitar, Harrison began to incorporate it into his solo work, which allowed him to mimic many traditional Indian instruments, including the sarangi and the dilruba. Leng described Harrison's slide guitar solo on Lennon's "How Do You Sleep?" as a departure for "the sweet soloist of 'Something'", calling his playing "rightly famed ... one of Harrison's greatest guitar statements". Lennon commented: "That's the best he's ever fucking played in his life."
A Hawaiian influence is notable in much of Harrison's music, ranging from his slide guitar work on Gone Troppo (1982) to his televised performance of the Cab Calloway standard "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" on ukulele in 1992. Lavezzoli described Harrison's slide playing on the Grammy-winning instrumental "Marwa Blues" (2002) as demonstrating Hawaiian influences while comparing the melody to an Indian sarod or veena, calling it "yet another demonstration of Harrison's unique slide approach". Harrison was an admirer of George Formby and a member of the Ukulele Society of Great Britain, and played a ukulele solo in the style of Formby at the end of "Free as a Bird". He performed at a Formby convention in 1991, and served as the honorary president of the George Formby Appreciation Society. Harrison played bass guitar on numerous tracks, including the Beatles songs "She Said She Said", "Golden Slumbers", "Birthday" and "Honey Pie". He also played bass on several solo recordings, including "Faster", "Wake Up My Love" and "Bye Bye Love".
During the Beatles' American tour in August 1965, Harrison's friend David Crosby of the Byrds introduced him to Indian classical music and the work of sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. Harrison described Shankar as "the first person who ever impressed me in my life ... and he was the only person who didn't try to impress me." Harrison became fascinated with the sitar and immersed himself in Indian music. According to Lavezzoli, Harrison's introduction of the instrument on the Beatles' song "Norwegian Wood" "opened the floodgates for Indian instrumentation in rock music, triggering what Shankar would call 'The Great Sitar Explosion' of 1966–67". Lavezzoli recognises Harrison as "the man most responsible for this phenomenon".[nb 18]
In June 1966 Harrison met Shankar at the home of Mrs Angadi of the Asian Music Circle, asked to be his student, and was accepted. Before this meeting, Harrison had recorded his Revolver track "Love You To", contributing a sitar part that Lavezzoli describes as an "astonishing improvement" over "Norwegian Wood" and "the most accomplished performance on sitar by any rock musician". On 6 July, Harrison travelled to India to buy a sitar from Rikhi Ram & Sons in New Delhi. In September, following the Beatles' final tour, he returned to India to study sitar for six weeks with Shankar. He initially stayed in Bombay until fans learned of his arrival, then moved to a houseboat on a remote lake in Kashmir. During this visit, he also received tutelage from Shambhu Das, Shankar's protégé.
Harrison studied the instrument until 1968, when, following a discussion with Shankar about the need to find his "roots", an encounter with Clapton and Jimi Hendrix at a hotel in New York convinced him to return to guitar playing. Harrison commented: "I decided ... I'm not going to be a great sitar player ... because I should have started at least fifteen years earlier." Harrison continued to use Indian instrumentation occasionally on his solo albums and remained strongly associated with the genre. Lavezzoli groups him with Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel as the three rock musicians who have given the most "mainstream exposure to non-Western musics, or the concept of 'world music'".
Harrison wrote his first song, "Don't Bother Me", while sick in a hotel bed in Bournemouth during August 1963, as "an exercise to see if I could write a song", as he remembered. His songwriting ability improved throughout the Beatles' career, but his material did not earn full respect from Lennon, McCartney and producer George Martin until near the group's break-up. In 1969, McCartney told Lennon: "Until this year, our songs have been better than George's. Now this year his songs are at least as good as ours". Harrison often had difficulty getting the band to record his songs. Most Beatles albums from 1965 onwards contain at least two Harrison compositions; three of his songs appear on Revolver, "the album on which Harrison came of age as a songwriter", according to Inglis.
Harrison wrote the chord progression of "Don't Bother Me" almost exclusively in the Dorian mode, demonstrating an interest in exotic tones that eventually culminated in his embrace of Indian music. The latter proved a strong influence on his songwriting and contributed to his innovation within the Beatles. According to Mikal Gilmore of Rolling Stone, "Harrison's openness to new sounds and textures cleared new paths for his rock and roll compositions. His use of dissonance on ... 'Taxman' and 'I Want to Tell You' was revolutionary in popular music – and perhaps more originally creative than the avant-garde mannerisms that Lennon and McCartney borrowed from the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Luciano Berio, Edgard Varèse and Igor Stravinsky ..."
Of the 1967 Harrison song "Within You Without You", author Gerry Farrell said that Harrison had created a "new form", calling the composition "a quintessential fusion of pop and Indian music". Lennon called the song one of Harrison's best: "His mind and his music are clear. There is his innate talent, he brought that sound together." In his next fully Indian-styled song, "The Inner Light", Harrison embraced the Karnatak discipline of Indian music, rather than the Hindustani style he had used in "Love You To" and "Within You Without You". Writing in 1997, Farrell commented: "It is a mark of Harrison's sincere involvement with Indian music that, nearly thirty years on, the Beatles' 'Indian' songs remain the most imaginative and successful examples of this type of fusion – for example, 'Blue Jay Way' and 'The Inner Light'."
Beatles biographer Bob Spitz described "Something" as a masterpiece, and "an intensely stirring romantic ballad that would challenge 'Yesterday' and 'Michelle' as one of the most recognizable songs they ever produced". Inglis considered Abbey Road a turning point in Harrison's development as a songwriter and musician. He described Harrison's two contributions to the LP, "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something", as "exquisite", declaring them equal to any previous Beatles songs.
From 1968 onwards, Harrison collaborated with other musicians; he brought in Eric Clapton to play lead guitar on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" for the 1968 Beatles' White Album, and collaborated with John Barham on his 1968 debut solo album, Wonderwall Music, which included contributions from Clapton again, as well as Peter Tork from the Monkees. He played on tracks by Dave Mason, Nicky Hopkins, Alvin Lee, Ronnie Wood, Billy Preston and Tom Scott. Harrison co-wrote songs and music with Dylan, Clapton, Preston, Doris Troy, David Bromberg, Gary Wright, Wood, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty, among others. Harrison's music projects during the final years of the Beatles included producing Apple Records artists Doris Troy, Jackie Lomax and Billy Preston.
Harrison co-wrote the song "Badge" with Clapton, which was included on Cream's 1969 album, Goodbye. Harrison played rhythm guitar on the track, using the pseudonym "L'Angelo Misterioso" for contractual reasons. In May 1970 he played guitar on several songs during a recording session for Dylan's album New Morning. Between 1971 and 1973 he co-wrote and/or produced three top ten hits for Starr: "It Don't Come Easy", "Back Off Boogaloo" and "Photograph". Aside from "How Do You Sleep?", his contributions to Lennon's 1971 album Imagine included a slide guitar solo on "Gimme Some Truth" and dobro on "Crippled Inside". Also that year, he produced and played slide guitar on Badfinger's top ten hit "Day After Day", and a dobro on Preston's "I Wrote a Simple Song".[nb 19] He worked with Harry Nilsson on "You're Breakin' My Heart" (1972) and with Cheech & Chong on "Basketball Jones" (1973).
In 1974 Harrison founded Dark Horse Records as an avenue for collaboration with other musicians. He wanted Dark Horse to serve as a creative outlet for artists, as Apple Records had for the Beatles. Eric Idle commented: "He's extremely generous, and he backs and supports all sorts of people that you'll never, ever hear of." The first acts signed to the new label were Ravi Shankar and the duo Splinter. Harrison produced and made multiple musical contributions to Splinter's debut album, The Place I Love, which provided Dark Horse with its first hit, "Costafine Town". He also produced and played guitar and autoharp on Shankar's Shankar Family & Friends, the label's other inaugural release. Other artists signed by Dark Horse include Attitudes, Henry McCullough, Jiva and Stairsteps.
Harrison collaborated with Tom Scott on Scott's 1975 album New York Connection, and in 1981 he played guitar on "Walk a Thin Line", from Mick Fleetwood's The Visitor. His contributions to Starr's solo career continued with "Wrack My Brain", a 1981 US top 40 hit written and produced by Harrison, and guitar overdubs to two tracks on Vertical Man (1998). In 1996 Harrison recorded "Distance Makes No Difference With Love" with Carl Perkins for the latter's album Go Cat Go!, and in 1990 he played slide guitar on the title track of Dylan's Under the Red Sky album. In 2001 he performed as a guest musician on Jeff Lynne and Electric Light Orchestra's comeback album Zoom, and on the song "Love Letters" for Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings. He also co-wrote a new song with his son Dhani, "Horse to the Water", which was recorded on 2 October, eight weeks before his death. It appeared on Jools Holland's album Small World, Big Band.
When Harrison joined the Quarrymen in 1958 his main guitar was a Höfner President Acoustic, which he soon traded for a Höfner Club 40 model. His first solid-body electric guitar was a Czech-built Jolana Futurama/Grazioso. The guitars he used on early recordings were mainly Gretsch models, played through a Vox amplifier, including a Gretsch Duo Jet that he bought secondhand in 1961, and posed with on the album cover for Cloud Nine. He also bought a Gretsch Tennessean and a Gretsch Country Gentleman, which he played on "She Loves You", and during the Beatles' 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1963 he bought a Rickenbacker 425 Fireglo, and in 1964 he acquired a Rickenbacker 360/12 guitar, which was the second of its kind to be manufactured. Harrison obtained his first Fender Stratocaster in 1965 and first used it during the recording of the Help! album that February; he also used it when recording Rubber Soul later that year, most notably on the song "Nowhere Man".
In early 1966 Harrison and Lennon each purchased Epiphone Casinos, which they used on Revolver. Harrison also used a Gibson J-160E and a Gibson SG Standard while recording the album. He later painted his Stratocaster in a psychedelic design that included the word "Bebopalula" above the pickguard and the guitar's nickname, "Rocky", on the headstock. He played this guitar in the Magical Mystery Tour film and throughout his solo career. In July 1968, Clapton gave him a Gibson Les Paul, which Harrison nicknamed "Lucy". Around this time, he obtained a Gibson Jumbo J-200 acoustic guitar, which he subsequently gave to Dylan to use at the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival. In late 1968 Fender Musical Instruments Corporation gave Harrison a custom-made Fender Telecaster Rosewood prototype, made especially for him by Philip Kubicki.[nb 20] In August 2017, Fender released a "Limited Edition George Harrison Rosewood Telecaster" modelled after a Telecaster that Roger Rossmeisl originally created for Harrison.
Harrison helped finance Ravi Shankar's documentary Raga and released it through Apple Films in 1971. He also produced, with Apple manager Allen Klein, the Concert for Bangladesh film. In 1973, he produced the feature film Little Malcolm, but the project was lost amid the litigation surrounding the former Beatles ending their business ties with Klein.
In 1973 Peter Sellers introduced Harrison to Denis O'Brien. Soon after, the two went into business together. In 1978, in an effort to produce Monty Python's Life of Brian, they formed the film production and distribution company HandMade Films. Their opportunity for investment came after EMI Films withdrew funding at the demand of their chief executive, Bernard Delfont. Harrison financed the production of Life of Brian in part by mortgaging his home, which Idle later called "the most anybody's ever paid for a cinema ticket in history". The film grossed $21 million at the box office in the US. The first film distributed by HandMade Films was The Long Good Friday (1980), and the first they produced was Time Bandits (1981), a co-scripted project by Monty Python's Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin. The film featured a new song by Harrison, "Dream Away", in the closing credits. Time Bandits became one of HandMade's most successful and acclaimed efforts; with a budget of $5 million, it earned $35 million in the US within ten weeks of its release.
Harrison served as executive producer for 23 films with HandMade, including A Private Function, Mona Lisa, Shanghai Surprise, Withnail and I and How to Get Ahead in Advertising. He made cameo appearances in several of these films, including a role as a nightclub singer in Shanghai Surprise, for which he recorded five new songs. According to Ian Inglis, Harrison's "executive role in HandMade Films helped to sustain British cinema at a time of crisis, producing some of the country's most memorable movies of the 1980s." Following a series of box office bombs in the late 1980s, and excessive debt incurred by O'Brien which was guaranteed by Harrison, HandMade's financial situation became precarious. The company ceased operations in 1991 and was sold three years later to Paragon Entertainment, a Canadian corporation. Afterwards, Harrison sued O'Brien for $25 million for fraud and negligence, resulting in an $11.6 million judgement in 1996.
Harrison was involved in humanitarian and political activism throughout his life. In the 1960s, the Beatles supported the civil rights movement and protested against the Vietnam War. In early 1971, Ravi Shankar consulted Harrison about how to provide aid to the people of Bangladesh after the 1970 Bhola cyclone and the Bangladesh Liberation War. Harrison hastily wrote and recorded the song "Bangla Desh", which became pop music's first charity single when issued by Apple Records in late July. He also pushed Apple to release Shankar's Joi Bangla EP in an effort to raise further awareness for the cause. Shankar asked for Harrison's advice about planning a small charity event in the US. Harrison responded by organising the Concert for Bangladesh, which raised more than $240,000. Around $13.5 million was generated through the album and film releases, although most of the funds were frozen in an Internal Revenue Service audit for ten years, due to Klein's failure to register the event as a UNICEF benefit beforehand. In June 1972, UNICEF honoured Harrison and Shankar, and Klein, with the "Child Is the Father of Man" award at an annual ceremony in recognition of their fundraising efforts for Bangladesh.
From 1980, Harrison became a vocal supporter of Greenpeace and CND. He also protested against the use of nuclear energy with Friends of the Earth, and helped finance Vole, a green magazine launched by Monty Python member Terry Jones.[nb 21] In 1990, he helped promote his wife Olivia's Romanian Angel Appeal on behalf of the thousands of Romanian orphans left abandoned by the state following the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. Harrison recorded a benefit single, "Nobody's Child", with the Traveling Wilburys, and assembled a fundraising album with contributions from other artists including Clapton, Starr, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Donovan and Van Morrison.
The Concert for Bangladesh has been described as an innovative precursor for the large-scale charity rock shows that followed, including Live Aid. The George Harrison Humanitarian Fund for UNICEF, a joint effort between the Harrison family and the US Fund for UNICEF, aims to support programmes that help children caught in humanitarian emergencies. In December 2007, they donated $450,000 to help the victims of Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh. On 13 October 2009, the first George Harrison Humanitarian Award went to Ravi Shankar for his efforts in saving the lives of children, and his involvement with the Concert for Bangladesh.
By the mid-1960s Harrison had become an admirer of Indian culture and mysticism, introducing it to the other Beatles. During the filming of Help! in the Bahamas, they met the founder of Sivananda Yoga, Swami Vishnu-devananda, who gave each of them a signed copy of his book, The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga. Between the end of the last Beatles tour in 1966 and the beginning of the Sgt Pepper recording sessions, he made a pilgrimage to India with his wife Pattie; there, he studied sitar with Ravi Shankar, met several gurus, and visited various holy places. In 1968 he travelled to Rishikesh in northern India with the other Beatles to study meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.[nb 22] Harrison's use of psychedelic drugs encouraged his path to meditation and Hinduism. He commented: "For me, it was like a flash. The first time I had acid, it just opened up something in my head that was inside of me, and I realized a lot of things. I didn't learn them because I already knew them, but that happened to be the key that opened the door to reveal them. From the moment I had that, I wanted to have it all the time – these thoughts about the yogis and the Himalayas, and Ravi's music."
In line with the Hindu yoga tradition, Harrison became a vegetarian in the late 1960s. After being given various religious texts by Shankar in 1966, he remained a lifelong advocate of the teachings of Swami Vivekananda and Paramahansa Yogananda – yogis and authors, respectively, of Raja Yoga and Autobiography of a Yogi. In mid-1969, he produced the single "Hare Krishna Mantra", performed by members of the London Radha Krishna Temple. Having also helped the Temple devotees become established in Britain, Harrison then met their leader, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, whom he described as "my friend ... my master" and "a perfect example of everything he preached". Harrison embraced the Hare Krishna tradition, particularly japa-yoga chanting with beads, and became a lifelong devotee.[nb 23]
Regarding other faiths he once remarked: "All religions are branches of one big tree. It doesn't matter what you call Him just as long as you call." He commented on his beliefs:
Krishna actually was in a body as a person ... What makes it complicated is, if he's God, what's he doing fighting on a battlefield? It took me ages to try to figure that out, and again it was Yogananda's spiritual interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita that made me realise what it was. Our idea of Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield in the chariot. So this is the point – that we're in these bodies, which is like a kind of chariot, and we're going through this incarnation, this life, which is kind of a battlefield. The senses of the body ... are the horses pulling the chariot, and we have to get control over the chariot by getting control over the reins. And Arjuna in the end says, "Please Krishna, you drive the chariot" because unless we bring Christ or Krishna or Buddha or whichever of our spiritual guides ... we're going to crash our chariot, and we're going to turn over, and we're going to get killed in the battlefield. That's why we say "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna", asking Krishna to come and take over the chariot.
Before his religious conversion, the only British performer known for similar activities had been Cliff Richard, whose conversion to Christianity in 1966 had gone largely unnoticed by the public. "By contrast," wrote Inglis, "Harrison's spiritual journey was seen as a serious and important development that reflected popular music's increasing maturity ... what he, and the Beatles, had managed to overturn was the paternalistic assumption that popular musicians had no role other than to stand on stage and sing their hit songs."
Harrison married model Pattie Boyd on 21 January 1966, with McCartney serving as best man. Harrison and Boyd had met in 1964 during the production of the film A Hard Day's Night, in which the 19-year-old Boyd had been cast as a schoolgirl. They separated in 1974 and their divorce was finalised in 1977. Boyd said her decision to end the marriage was due largely to George's repeated infidelities. The last infidelity culminated in an affair with Ringo's wife Maureen, which Boyd called "the final straw". She characterised the last year of their marriage as "fuelled by alcohol and cocaine", and she stated: "George used coke excessively, and I think it changed him ... it froze his emotions and hardened his heart." She subsequently moved in with Eric Clapton, and they married in 1979.[nb 24]
Harrison married Dark Horse Records' secretary Olivia Trinidad Arias on 2 September 1978. They had met at the A&M Records offices in Los Angeles in 1974, and together had one son, Dhani Harrison, born on 1 August 1978.
He restored the English manor house and grounds of Friar Park, his home in Henley-on-Thames, where several of his music videos were filmed including "Crackerbox Palace"; the grounds also served as the background for the cover of All Things Must Pass.[nb 25] He employed ten workers to maintain the 36-acre (15 ha) garden. Harrison commented on gardening as a form of escapism: "Sometimes I feel like I'm actually on the wrong planet, and it's great when I'm in my garden, but the minute I go out the gate I think: 'What the hell am I doing here?'" His autobiography, I, Me, Mine, is dedicated "to gardeners everywhere". The former Beatles publicist Derek Taylor helped Harrison write the book, which said little about the Beatles, focusing instead on Harrison's hobbies, music and lyrics. Taylor commented: "George is not disowning the Beatles ... but it was a long time ago and actually a short part of his life."
Harrison had an interest in sports cars and motor racing; he was one of the 100 people who purchased the McLaren F1 road car. He had collected photos of racing drivers and their cars since he was young; at 12 he had attended his first race, the 1955 British Grand Prix at Aintree. He wrote "Faster" as a tribute to the Formula One racing drivers Jackie Stewart and Ronnie Peterson. Proceeds from its release went to the Gunnar Nilsson cancer charity, set up after the Swedish driver's death from the disease in 1978. Harrison's first extravagant car, a 1964 Aston Martin DB5, was sold at auction on 7 December 2011 in London. An anonymous Beatles collector paid £350,000 for the vehicle that Harrison had bought new in January 1965.
For most of the Beatles' career the relationships in the group were close. According to Hunter Davies, "the Beatles spent their lives not living a communal life, but communally living the same life. They were each other's greatest friends." Harrison's ex-wife Pattie Boyd described how the Beatles "all belonged to each other" and admitted, "George has a lot with the others that I can never know about. Nobody, not even the wives, can break through or even comprehend it." Starr said, "We really looked out for each other and we had so many laughs together. In the old days we'd have the biggest hotel suites, the whole floor of the hotel, and the four of us would end up in the bathroom, just to be with each other". He added, "there were some really loving, caring moments between four people: a hotel room here and there – a really amazing closeness. Just four guys who loved each other. It was pretty sensational."
Lennon stated that his relationship with Harrison was "one of young follower and older guy ... [he] was like a disciple of mine when we started." The two later bonded over their LSD experiences, finding common ground as seekers of spirituality. They took radically different paths thereafter, Harrison finding God and Lennon coming to the conclusion that people are the creators of their own lives. In 1974 Harrison said of his former bandmate: "John Lennon is a saint and he's heavy-duty, and he's great and I love him. But at the same time, he's such a bastard – but that's the great thing about him, you see?"
Harrison and McCartney were the first of the Beatles to meet, having shared a school bus, and often learned and rehearsed new guitar chords together. McCartney stated that he and Harrison usually shared a bedroom while touring. McCartney has referred to Harrison as his "baby brother". In a 1974 BBC radio interview with Alan Freeman, Harrison stated: "[McCartney] ruined me as a guitar player". Perhaps the most significant obstacle to a Beatles reunion after the death of Lennon was Harrison and McCartney's personal relationship, as both men admitted that they often got on each other's nerves. Rodriguez commented: "Even to the end of George's days, theirs was a volatile relationship".
In June 1965, Harrison and the other Beatles were appointed Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). They received their insignia from the Queen at an investiture at Buckingham Palace on 26 October. In 1971 the Beatles received an Academy Award for the best Original Song Score for the film Let It Be. The minor planet 4149 Harrison, discovered in 1984, was named after him, as was a variety of Dahlia flower. In December 1992 he became the first recipient of the Billboard Century Award, an honour presented to music artists for significant bodies of work. The award recognised Harrison's "critical role in laying the groundwork for the modern concept of world music" and for his having "advanced society's comprehension of the spiritual and altruistic power of popular music". Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 11 in their list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
In 2002, on the first anniversary of his death, the Concert for George was held at the Royal Albert Hall. Eric Clapton organised the event, which included performances by many of Harrison's friends and musical collaborators, including McCartney and Starr. Eric Idle, who described Harrison as "one of the few morally good people that rock and roll has produced", was among the performers of Monty Python's "Lumberjack Song". The profits from the concert went to Harrison's charity, the Material World Charitable Foundation.
In 2004, Harrison was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist by his former bandmates Lynne and Petty, and into the Madison Square Garden Walk of Fame in 2006 for the Concert for Bangladesh. On 14 April 2009, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce awarded Harrison a star on the Walk of Fame in front of the Capitol Records Building. McCartney, Lynne and Petty were present when the star was unveiled. Harrison's widow Olivia, the actor Tom Hanks and Idle made speeches at the ceremony, and Harrison's son Dhani spoke the Hare Krishna mantra.
A documentary film entitled George Harrison: Living in the Material World, directed by Martin Scorsese, was released in October 2011. The film features interviews with Olivia and Dhani Harrison, Klaus Voormann, Terry Gilliam, Starr, Clapton, McCartney, Keltner and Astrid Kirchherr.
Harrison left £99,226,700, reduced to £98,916,400 after expenses, a High Court spokeswoman confirmed.
All Things Must Pass is a triple album by English rock musician George Harrison. Recorded and released in 1970, it was Harrison's first solo work following the break-up of the Beatles in April that year, and his third solo album overall. It includes the hit singles "My Sweet Lord" and "What Is Life", as well as songs such as "Isn't It a Pity" and the title track that had been turned down for inclusion on releases by the Beatles. The album reflects the influence of Harrison's musical activities with artists such as Bob Dylan, the Band, Delaney & Bonnie and Billy Preston during 1968–70, and his growth as an artist beyond his supporting role to former bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney. All Things Must Pass introduced Harrison's signature sound, the slide guitar, and the spiritual themes that would be present throughout his subsequent solo work. The original vinyl release consisted of two LPs of songs and a third disc of informal jams, titled Apple Jam. Several commentators interpret Barry Feinstein's album cover photo, showing Harrison surrounded by four garden gnomes, as a statement on his independence from the Beatles.
Production began at London's Abbey Road Studios in May 1970, with extensive overdubbing and mixing continuing through October. Among the large cast of backing musicians were Eric Clapton and Delaney & Bonnie's Friends band – three members of whom formed Derek and the Dominos with Clapton during the recording – as well as Ringo Starr, Gary Wright, Preston, Klaus Voormann, John Barham, Badfinger and Pete Drake. The sessions produced a double album's worth of extra material, most of which remains unissued.
All Things Must Pass was critically and commercially successful on release, with long stays at number 1 on charts around the world. The album was co-produced by Phil Spector and employs his Wall of Sound production technique to notable effect; Ben Gerson of Rolling Stone described the sound as "Wagnerian, Brucknerian, the music of mountain tops and vast horizons". Reflecting the widespread surprise at the assuredness of Harrison's post-Beatles debut, Melody Maker's Richard Williams likened the album to Greta Garbo's first role in a talking picture and declared: "Garbo talks! – Harrison is free!" According to Colin Larkin, writing in the 2011 edition of his Encyclopedia of Popular Music, All Things Must Pass is "generally rated" as the best of all the former Beatles' solo albums.During the final year of his life, Harrison oversaw a successful reissue campaign to mark the 30th anniversary of the album's release. Following this reissue, in March 2001, the set was certified six-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Among its appearances on critics' best-album lists, All Things Must Pass was ranked 79th on The Times' "The 100 Best Albums of All Time" in 1993, while Rolling Stone placed it 433rd on the magazine's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". In January 2014, All Things Must Pass was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.Brainwashed (George Harrison album)
Brainwashed is the twelfth and final studio album by English rock musician George Harrison. It was released posthumously on 18 November 2002, almost a year after his death at age 58. Recordings began over a decade before Harrison's death but were repeatedly delayed. The album's overdubs were completed by his son Dhani and longtime friend and collaborator Jeff Lynne.
Brainwashed reached the top 30 in the UK and the top 20 in the US, and received mostly favourable reviews. The album includes the singles "Stuck Inside a Cloud" and "Any Road". The instrumental "Marwa Blues" went on to receive the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, while "Any Road" was nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.Cloud Nine (George Harrison album)
Cloud Nine is the 11th studio album by English musician George Harrison. The album was recorded and released in 1987 after Harrison had taken a five-year hiatus from his career as a solo artist. The hit single "Got My Mind Set on You" from this album re-established Harrison as a critically acclaimed and commercially significant recording artist. Cloud Nine was the last studio solo album of Harrison's released during his lifetime.Concert for George
The Concert for George was held at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 29 November 2002 as a memorial to George Harrison on the first anniversary of his death. The event was organised by Harrison's widow, Olivia, and his son, Dhani, and arranged under the musical direction of Eric Clapton. The profits from the event went to the Material World Charitable Foundation, an organisation founded by Harrison.Dhani Harrison
Dhani Harrison (born 1 August 1978) is a British multi-instrumentalist musician, composer and singer-songwriter who is the only child of George and Olivia Harrison. Harrison debuted as a professional musician assisting in recording his father's final album, Brainwashed, and completing it with the assistance of Jeff Lynne after his father's death in November 2001. Harrison formed his own band, thenewno2, in 2002 and has performed at festivals including Coachella where Spin magazine dubbed their performance as one of the "best debut performance of the festival." The band also played Lollapalooza three times with Harrison joining the festival's founder Perry Farrell on a cover of The Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane" at 2010's event.In 2013, Harrison launched his career as a composer. Alongside his writing partner Paul Hicks, Harrison scored the Warner Bros. movie Beautiful Creatures. Harrison has gone on to score the music for the TV show Good Girls Revolt, AMC's The Divide, Seattle Road, Learning to Drive (film), and, most recently, for the Paul Giamatti-produced show Outsiders.. In 2018 Harrison and his writing partner Hicks received a nomination for 'Best Music Score' at the International Documentary Association Awards for their work on the Sundance Film Festival Award Winning documentary Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.. Most recently, Harrison wrote and recorded the title song for the Netflix original series Dogs and scored the new HBO four-part documentary series The Case Against Adnan Syed.
Harrison's music collaborations span a diverse range of genres that have seen him tour with Eric Clapton, appear on the Wu-Tang Clan track "The Heart Gently Weeps", and join Pearl Jam live on stage several times over the years. One of Harrison's notable collaborations was in 2004 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where he appeared alongside Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and Prince on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", which was performed to mark the posthumous induction of his father. Harrison guests on the new UNKLE album The Road: Part II/Lost Highway, which is released worldwide March 29th 2019.
Harrison is named after the 6th and 7th notes of the Indian music scale, dha and ni. Dhani is also a raga in north Indian classical music.Friar Park
Friar Park is a 120-room Victorian neo-Gothic mansion in Henley-on-Thames, England, built in 1889. It was formerly owned by eccentric lawyer Sir Frank Crisp and purchased in January 1970 by musician George Harrison. The site covers about 62 acres (25 hectares). Features include caves, grottoes, underground passages, a multitude of garden gnomes, and an Alpine rock garden with a scale model of the Matterhorn.George Harrison (Irish republican)
George Harrison (1915–2004) was a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army.
Born in Shammer, Kilkelly, County Mayo, in western Ireland, Harrison emigrated to the United States in 1938. Finding work as an armed guard with Brinks, he joined Clan Na Gael, an organization sympathetic to the IRA.
In 1981, Harrison was arrested in an FBI sting code-named "Operation Bushmill". Harrison, Tom Falvey, Michael Flannery, Pat Mullin, and Danny Gormley were acquitted in a criminal trial held in New York City, which lasted from December 1980 to June 1981. Their acquittal was widely attributed to the unconventional efforts of Harrison's personal attorney, Frank Durkan; the men admitted to their activities but claimed that they believed the operation had Central Intelligence Agency sanction.Kinfauns
Kinfauns was a large 1950s deluxe bungalow in Esher, Surrey, England, on the Claremont Estate. From 1964 to 1970 it was the home of George Harrison, lead guitarist of the Beatles, and was where many of the demo recordings for the White Album were made. The bungalow has since been demolished, and another house built in its place.List of songs recorded by George Harrison
George Harrison (1943–2001) was an English musician who gained international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles. With his songwriting contributions limited by the dominance of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Harrison was the first member of the Beatles to release a solo album. Wonderwall Music (1968), a mostly instrumental soundtrack album combining Western and Indian sounds, was followed by Electronic Sound (1969), an experimental album containing two lengthy pieces performed on Moog synthesizer. Following the Beatles' break-up in 1970, Harrison released the triple album All Things Must Pass. Co-produced by Phil Spector, it included the hit singles "My Sweet Lord" and "What Is Life". The album featured musical contributions from Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr, both of whom collaborated regularly with Harrison throughout his solo career, and two signature elements of Harrison's work: his slide guitar playing and spiritually themed songwriting.While organising the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971, Harrison recorded the charity single "Bangla Desh". The Concert for Bangladesh live album included three of Harrison's best-known Beatles songs: "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something". Living in the Material World (1973) featured a pared-down sound and increasingly devout lyrics. It included the single "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)" and a title track in which contrasting sections of Indian music and Western rock mirrored Harrison's struggle to attain his spiritual goals. Dark Horse (1974) included songs inspired by the end of his marriage to Pattie Boyd and, particularly in the title track, vocal performances marred by Harrison contracting laryngitis – a result of overexertion as he prepared to launch his Dark Horse record label. Extra Texture (Read All About It) (1975) contained several songs in a downbeat soul style, reflecting his despondency following the mixed reception afforded his 1974 North American tour with Ravi Shankar. Largely recorded in Los Angeles, the album included "This Guitar (Can't Keep from Crying)", a sequel to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976) furthered the American soul influence and, with its singles "This Song" and "Crackerbox Palace", was a more buoyant collection than its predecessors. Marked also by a more subtle approach to religious pronouncements, the album typified Harrison's move towards love songs seemingly addressed to his deity as much as to a romantic partner. Co-produced by Russ Titelman, George Harrison (1979) reflected Harrison's contentment after a period spent travelling. It included the hit single "Blow Away", songs celebrating the tranquil surroundings he had discovered on Hawaii, and a tribute to Formula One racing drivers, "Faster". Somewhere in England was released in 1981 and featured "All Those Years Ago", a tribute to Lennon following his murder in December 1980. Gone Troppo (1982) included the single "Wake Up My Love" and "Circles", a song that, like "Not Guilty" from George Harrison, had originally been considered for the Beatles' White Album in 1968.After a four-year hiatus, Harrison returned with Cloud Nine (1987), co-produced by Jeff Lynne. It included a cover version of Rudy Clark's "Got My Mind Set on You" and the Beatles tribute "When We Was Fab". Harrison then formed the Traveling Wilburys with Lynne, Dylan, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty. He issued the 1989 compilation Best of Dark Horse, which included "Cheer Down", co-written with Petty. Harrison's 1992 album Live in Japan, recorded on tour with Clapton, included renditions of "Taxman", "If I Needed Someone" and several other Harrison compositions from the Beatles' catalogue. Harrison then reunited with Starr and McCartney for the Beatles Anthology multimedia project and collaborated extensively with Shankar, but he issued no further recordings under his own name before his death in November 2001. His final album, Brainwashed (2002), included the singles "Any Road" and "Stuck Inside a Cloud", and the slide-guitar instrumental "Marwa Blues".My Sweet Lord
"My Sweet Lord" is a song by English musician George Harrison, released in November 1970 on his triple album All Things Must Pass. It was also released as a single, Harrison's first as a solo artist, and topped charts worldwide; it was the biggest-selling single of 1971 in the UK. In America and Britain, the song was the first number-one single by an ex-Beatle. Harrison originally gave the song to his fellow Apple Records artist Billy Preston to record; this version, which Harrison co-produced, appeared on Preston's Encouraging Words album in September 1970.
Harrison wrote "My Sweet Lord" in praise of the Hindu god Krishna, while intending the lyrics as a call to abandon religious sectarianism through his blending of the Hebrew word hallelujah with chants of "Hare Krishna" and Vedic prayer. The recording features producer Phil Spector's Wall of Sound treatment and heralded the arrival of Harrison's slide guitar technique, which one biographer described as "musically as distinctive a signature as the mark of Zorro". Preston, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, and the group Badfinger are among the other musicians on the recording.
Later in the 1970s, "My Sweet Lord" was at the centre of a heavily publicised copyright infringement suit due to its similarity to the Ronnie Mack song "He's So Fine", a 1963 hit for the New York girl group the Chiffons. In 1976, Harrison was found to have subconsciously plagiarised the song, a verdict that had repercussions throughout the music industry. He claimed to have used the out-of-copyright "Oh Happy Day", a Christian hymn, as his inspiration for the melody.
Harrison performed "My Sweet Lord" at the Concert for Bangladesh in August 1971, and it remains the most popular composition from his post-Beatles career. He reworked it as "My Sweet Lord (2000)" for inclusion as a bonus track on the 30th anniversary reissue of All Things Must Pass. Many artists have covered the song, including Andy Williams, Peggy Lee, Edwin Starr, Johnny Mathis, Nina Simone, Julio Iglesias, Richie Havens, Megadeth, Boy George, Elton John, Jim James, Bonnie Bramlett and Elliott Smith. "My Sweet Lord" is ranked 460th on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". The song reached number one in Britain for a second time when rereleased in January 2002, two months after Harrison's death.Olivia Harrison
Olivia Trinidad Harrison (née Arias; born May 18, 1948) is an American author and film producer, and the widow of musician George Harrison of the Beatles. She first worked in the music industry in Los Angeles, for A&M Records, where she met George and then helped run his Dark Horse record label. In 1990, she launched the Romanian Angel Appeal to raise funds for the thousands of orphans left abandoned in Romania after the fall of Communism there. Following her husband's death in 2001, Harrison has continued his international aid efforts through projects in partnership with UNICEF, and is the curator of film, book and music releases related to his legacy. She represents his voice on the Beatles' Apple Corps board and is similarly a director of his charity organisation, the Material World Foundation (MWF). Under the auspices of MWF, she has sponsored the preservation of film history in collaboration with American director Martin Scorsese. These restoration projects include short films by Charlie Chaplin and works from 1940s Mexican cinema.
Harrison shared George's spiritual preoccupations and, from the mid 1970s, her influence was reflected in a renewed optimism in his music. At their Friar Park home in December 1999, she overpowered a knife-wielding intruder who had repeatedly stabbed George; her actions were recognized as having saved her husband's life. Among Harrison's film projects, her production of Concert for George won the Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video in 2005, and her co-production of Scorsese's 2011 documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World won an Emmy Award in the category "Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special". She authored books to accompany both these films, and in 2017 compiled a revised edition of George's 1980 autobiography, I, Me, Mine. She is the mother of his son Dhani Harrison, also a musician.Pattie Boyd
Patricia Anne Boyd (born 17 March 1944) is an English model and photographer. She was one of the leading international models during the 1960s and, with Jean Shrimpton, epitomised the British female "look" of the era. Boyd married George Harrison in 1966 and experienced the height of the Beatles' popularity as well as sharing in their embrace of Indian spirituality. She divorced Harrison in 1977. She later married Harrison's friend Eric Clapton in 1979 and they divorced in 1989. Boyd inspired Harrison's songs such as "If I Needed Someone", "Something" and "For You Blue", and Clapton's "Layla" and "Wonderful Tonight".
In August 2007, Boyd published her autobiography Wonderful Today (titled Wonderful Tonight in the United States). Her photographs of Harrison and Clapton, titled Through the Eye of a Muse, have been exhibited in Dublin, Sydney, Toronto, Moscow, London, Almaty, Uppsala and throughout the United States.Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar (IPA: [ˈrɔbi ˈʃɔŋkɔr]; 7 April 1920 – 11 December 2012), born Rabindra Shankar Chowdhury, his name often preceded by the title Pandit (Master) and "Sitar maestro", was an Indian musician and a composer of Hindustani classical music. He was the best-known proponent of the sitar in the second half of the 20th century and influenced many other musicians throughout the world. Shankar was awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna in 1999.
Shankar was born to a Bengali Brahmin family in India, and spent his youth touring India and Europe with the dance group of his brother Uday Shankar. He gave up dancing in 1938 to study sitar playing under court musician Allauddin Khan. After finishing his studies in 1944, Shankar worked as a composer, creating the music for the Apu Trilogy by Satyajit Ray, and was music director of All India Radio, New Delhi, from 1949 to 1956.
In 1956, Shankar began to tour Europe and the Americas playing Indian classical music and increased its popularity there in the 1960s through teaching, performance, and his association with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and Beatles guitarist George Harrison. His influence on the latter helped popularize the use of Indian instruments in pop music in the latter half of the 1960s. Shankar engaged Western music by writing compositions for sitar and orchestra, and toured the world in the 1970s and 1980s. From 1986 to 1992, he served as a nominated member of Rajya Sabha, the upper chamber of the Parliament of India. He continued to perform until the end of his life.The Concert for Bangladesh
The Concert for Bangladesh (or Bangla Desh, as the country name was originally spelt) was the name given to two benefit concerts organised by former Beatles lead guitarist George Harrison and Indian sitar master Ravi Shankar. The concerts were held at 2:30 and 8:00 pm on Sunday, 1 August 1971, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The shows were organised to raise international awareness and fund relief efforts for refugees from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), following the Bangladesh Liberation War-related genocide. The concerts were followed by a bestselling live album, a boxed three-record set, and Apple Films' concert documentary, which opened in cinemas in the spring of 1972.
The event was the first-ever benefit concert of such a magnitude and featured a supergroup of performers that included Harrison, fellow ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Leon Russell and the band Badfinger. In addition, Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan – both of whom had ancestral roots in Bangladesh – performed an opening set of Indian classical music. Decades later, Shankar would say of the overwhelming success of the event: "In one day, the whole world knew the name of Bangladesh. It was a fantastic occasion."The concerts were attended by a total of 40,000 people, and raised close to $250,000 for Bangladesh relief, which was administered by UNICEF. Although the project was subsequently marred by financial problems – a result of the pioneering nature of the venture – the Concert for Bangladesh is recognised as a highly successful and influential humanitarian aid project, generating both awareness and considerable funds as well as providing valuable lessons and inspiration for projects that followed, notably Live Aid. By 1985, through revenue raised from the Concert for Bangladesh live album and film, an estimated $12 million had been sent to Bangladesh in relief.Sales of the live album and DVD release of the film continue to benefit the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF.The Concert for Bangladesh (album)
The Concert for Bangladesh (originally spelt The Concert for Bangla Desh) is a live triple album credited to "George Harrison & Friends" and released on Apple Records in December 1971 in America and January 1972 in Britain. The album followed the two concerts of the same name, held on 1 August 1971 at New York's Madison Square Garden, featuring Harrison, Bob Dylan, Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Leon Russell and Eric Clapton. The shows were a pioneering charity event, in aid of the homeless Bengali refugees of the Bangladesh Liberation War, and set the model for future multi-artist rock benefits such as Live Aid (1985) and the Concert for New York City (2001). The event brought Harrison and Starr together on a concert stage for the first time since 1966, when the Beatles retired from live performance, and represented Dylan's first major concert appearance in the US in five years.
Co-produced by Phil Spector, The Concert for Bangladesh features his Wall of Sound approach in a live setting. Besides the main performers, the musicians and singers include Badfinger, Jim Horn, Klaus Voormann, Alla Rakha, Jim Keltner, Jesse Ed Davis and Claudia Linnear. Minimal post-production was carried out on the recordings, ensuring that the album was a faithful document of the event. The box set's packaging included a 64-page book containing photos from the concerts; the album cover, designed by Tom Wilkes, consisted of an image of a malnourished child sitting beside an empty food bowl. The album was delayed for three months due to protracted negotiations between Harrison and two record companies keen to protect their business interests, Capitol and Columbia/CBS.
On release, The Concert for Bangladesh was a major critical and commercial success. It topped albums charts in several countries and went on to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in March 1973. Together with the 1972 Apple concert film directed by Saul Swimmer, the album gained Indian classical music its largest Western audience up until that time. It was reissued in 2005, four years after Harrison's death, with revised artwork. As of 2011, sales of the album continue to benefit the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF, which raised $1.2 million for children in the Horn of Africa, in a campaign marking the album's 40th anniversary.Traveling Wilburys
The Traveling Wilburys (sometimes shortened to the Wilburys) were a British–American supergroup consisting of Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty. Originating from an idea discussed by Harrison and Lynne during the sessions for Harrison's 1987 album Cloud Nine, the band formed in April 1988 after the five members united to record a bonus track for Harrison's next European single. When this collaboration, "Handle with Care", was deemed too good for such a limited release, the group agreed to record a full album, titled Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1. Following Orbison's death in December 1988, the band released a second album, which they titled Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3, in 1990.
The project's work received much anticipation given the diverse nature of the singer-songwriters. The band members adopted tongue-in-cheek pseudonyms as half-brothers from a fictional Wilbury family of travelling musicians. Vol. 1 was a critical and commercial success, helping to revitalise Dylan's and Petty's respective careers. In 1990, the album won the Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group.
Although Harrison envisaged a series of Wilburys albums and a film about the band, produced through his company HandMade, the group's final release was in February 1991. After several years of unavailability, the two Wilburys albums were reissued by the Harrison estate in the 2007 box set The Traveling Wilburys Collection. The box set included a DVD containing their music videos and a documentary on the band's formation.What Is Life
"What Is Life" is a song by the English musician George Harrison, released on his 1970 triple album All Things Must Pass. In many countries, it was issued as the second single from the album, in February 1971, becoming a top-ten hit in the United States, Canada and elsewhere, and topping singles charts in Australia and Switzerland. In the United Kingdom, "What Is Life" appeared as the B-side to "My Sweet Lord", which was the best-selling single there of 1971. Harrison's backing musicians on the song include Eric Clapton and the entire Delaney & Bonnie Friends band, with whom he had toured during the final months of the Beatles. Harrison co-produced the recording with Phil Spector, whose Wall of Sound production also employed a prominent string arrangement by John Barham and multiple acoustic rhythm guitars, played by Harrison's fellow Apple Records signings Badfinger.
An uptempo composition in the soul genre, "What Is Life" is one of several Harrison love songs that appear to be directed at both a woman and a deity. Harrison wrote the song in 1969 and originally intended it as a track for his friend and Apple protégé Billy Preston to record. Built around a descending guitar riff, it is one of Harrison's most popular compositions and was a regular inclusion in his live performances. Rolling Stone magazine has variously described it as a "classic" and an "exultant song of surrender"."What Is Life" has appeared in the soundtrack for feature films such as Goodfellas (1990), Patch Adams (1998), Big Daddy (1999), Away We Go (2009), This Is 40 (2012) and Instant Family (2018). Harrison's original recording was included on the compilations The Best of George Harrison and Let It Roll, and live versions appear on his album Live in Japan (1992) and in Martin Scorsese's 2011 documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World. In 1972, Olivia Newton-John had a UK hit with her version of the song. Ronnie Aldrich, the Ventures and Shawn Mullins are among the other artists who have covered the track.While My Guitar Gently Weeps
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1968 double album The Beatles (also known as "the White Album"). It was written by George Harrison, the band's lead guitarist. The song serves as a comment on the disharmony within the Beatles following their return from studying Transcendental Meditation in India in early 1968. This lack of camaraderie was reflected in the band's initial apathy towards the composition, which Harrison countered by inviting his friend and occasional collaborator, Eric Clapton, to contribute to the recording. Clapton overdubbed a lead guitar part, although he was not formally credited for his contribution.Harrison wrote "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" as an exercise in randomness inspired by the Chinese I Ching. The song conveys his dismay at the world's unrealised potential for universal love, which he refers to as "the love there that's sleeping". Harrison first recorded it with a sparse backing of acoustic guitar and harmonium – a version that appeared on the 1996 Anthology 3 outtakes compilation and, with the addition of a string arrangement by George Martin, on the Love soundtrack album in 2006. The full group recording was made in September 1968, at which point the song's folk-based musical arrangement was replaced by a production in the heavy rock style. The recording was one of several collaborations between Harrison and Clapton during the late 1960s and was followed by the pair co-writing the song "Badge" for Clapton's group Cream.
On release, the song received praise from several music critics, and it has since been recognised as an example of Harrison's continued maturity as a songwriter beside his Beatles bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Rolling Stone ranked "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" 136th on its list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time", seventh on the "100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time", and at number 10 on its list of "The Beatles 100 Greatest Songs". Clapton's performance was ranked 42nd in Guitar World's 2008 list of the "100 Greatest Guitar Solos". Harrison and Clapton often performed the song together live, during which they shared the lead guitar role over the closing section. Live versions featuring the pair were included on the Concert for Bangladesh album in 1971 and Live in Japan in 1992. Backed by a band that included McCartney and Ringo Starr, Clapton performed the song at the Concert for George in November 2002, a year after Harrison's death.
George Harrison singles discography
|Songs and singles|