George Harrison

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George Harrison
Black-and-white shot of a mustachioed man in his early thirties with long, dark hair.
George Harrison in 1974
Background information
Birth name George Harrison
Also known as Carl Harrison
L'Angelo Misterioso
Hari Georgeson
Nelson/Spike Wilbury
George Harrysong
George O'Hara-Smith
Born 25 February 1943(1943-02-25)
Liverpool, England
Died 29 November 2001(2001-11-29) (aged 58)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Rock, folk rock, Indian
Occupations Musician, songwriter, record producer, movie producer
Instruments Guitar, vocals, ukulele, sitar
Years active 1958–2001
Associated acts The Quarrymen, The Beatles, Traveling Wilburys
Website GeorgeHarrison.com

George Harrison, MBE (25 February 1943[1] – 29 November 2001) was an English musician. He was born and grew up in Liverpool, England, and was first famous as a member of The Beatles. After the group broke up in 1970, he had a solo career. He made many albums and worked with other musicians including Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Phil Spector, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Ravi Shankar. He was also interested in Eastern mysticism and charitable causes.

Solo music[change | change source]

George's best-known album was All Things Must Pass, which he made just after the Beatles broke up. Harrison owned a mansion in England called Friar Park, where he lived from 1970 until he died. He built his own recording studio inside the mansion, which for a time was better than Abbey Road Studios, where the Beatles had made their records. Having a private studio meant Harrison could work on songs and recordings anytime he wanted.

Ravi Shankar came to Harrison during 1971 with news about a war in Bangladesh, where thousands of people had died and millions more were refugees and starving. Shankar asked for Harrison's help to give a benefit show to buy food for them. Harrison called on many of his musician friends, who put together an all-star charity concert to help the refugees. The Concert for Bangla Desh, a live recording, became a best-selling album, raised money for the refugees, and brought worldwide attention to the problems in their country. It also inspired later benefits, including Live Aid in the 1980s.

Harrison found a new musical partner in the 1980s, when Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra began to write and record songs with him. The two men worked well together and became close friends. Harrison and Lynne formed another band, the Traveling Wilburys, with fellow musicians Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Roy Orbison. The Traveling Wilburys recorded two albums, which became hits.

Personal life[change | change source]

In 1966, Harrison married a model, Pattie Boyd, but they were divorced in 1971, and had no children. Boyd left Harrison to be with his friend, guitarist Eric Clapton, but all three remained friends. Harrison married again in 1978, to American-born Olivia Trinidad Arias, who had worked for his record company. Arias became the mother of Harrison's son Dhani, whose name is comprised of the names of two notes in the Indian music scale. Dhani grew up to be a musician like his father, fronting the band thenewno2. He went to Brown University in the United States.

In the late 1970s Harrison formed a movie production company, Handmade Films, which produced movies including Monty Python's Life of Brian and Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits.

The grounds of Harrison's home, Friar Park, had been more or less open to the public, until the murder of his former bandmate John Lennon late in 1980. Harrison was very hurt and shocked by Lennon's death, and was afraid someone might try to harm him or his family. Afterwards, the gates were locked, and no-entry notices were posted. In December, 1999, an intruder broke into his home, stabbing him with a knife. Harrison and his wife Olivia stopped the intruder and called the police. Harrison recovered. The man who attacked him is schizophrenic and was acquitted of attempted murder by reason of insanity in November 2000 at Oxford Crown Court. He was sent to a mental hospital and released in 2002.[2]

Death[change | change source]

In the 1990s, decades of smoking cigarettes caused Harrison to develop throat cancer. He later developed lung cancer, which caused his death in 2001. His family issued a last statement from him: "Everything else can wait, but the search for God cannot wait, and love one another." Even music was not as important to Harrison as his wanting people to learn to get along with each other, and to make the world a better place.

A year after Harrison's death, Jeff Lynne, Dhani Harrison, the two remaining Beatles (Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr), and other musicians held the Concert for George, which remembered Harrison's music, his life, and his gifts to humanity. All the profits from the concert were given to charity.

Best-known songs[change | change source]

In the Beatles[change | change source]

  • "I Need You" (appeared in the movie Help!)
  • "If I Needed Someone"
  • "Taxman"
  • "Within You, Without You" (a raga from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band)
  • "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
  • "Something"
  • "Here Comes the Sun"
  • "I Me Mine" (featured in the movie Let It Be)

Solo[change | change source]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Harrison discovered in a family diary that he was actually born late on the 24th; official documents say the 25th, including his death certificate
  2. Attacker sorry