Thursday, April 9, 2015

H is for Harrison


George Harrison was born in 1943 in Liverpool, Lancashire, England and that's already more introduction that necessary. This entire post represents just a drop in the bucket in the life and career of George Harrison.

It all started with George's audition for the Quarrymen at a club owned by Rory Storm. His friend, Paul McCartney had already joined the group that included John Lennon. After playing his best tunes, Lennon thought he was too young - George was just 15 at the time. At a second meeting with McCartney on the top deck of a Liverpool bus, he won Paul over by playing "Raunchy." Soon, he was moving in the Lennon/McCartney circles and filling in where he could when his guitar skills were needed. By the age of 16, he had left school and was touring a bit with his new pals.

By 1960, they were calling themselves "The Beatles" and by December of 1961, they signed with Brian Epstein and he polished them up, gave them their look and got them a recording contract. The stories of Hamburg and Liverpool's "Cavern" nightclub are widely known; but this is about George. I supposed it's best to say that the Beatles took the world by storm in the early sixties and changed the face of music. They'd be imitated, copied, but never duplicated. But this is not about Beatlemania.

George Harrison was a talented multi-instrumentalist, who could play, sing, and write songs - but always seemed to take a backseat to Lennon/McCartney. This Beatle was different, in my mind. George always seemed to look deeper at the world and seemed to be drawn to religion and the search for meaning in life. Hinduism and eastern philosophy drew him in. He was also influenced by the music of India and the sitar stylings of Ravi Shankar. As time went by, it became clear that he was going a different way.

We all know how the story ends. Harrison had his last recording session with the Beatles in January of 1970.

A few thoughts:

In a way, the best thing that came out of the break up of the Beatles was the solo career of George Harrison. His first single, "My Sweet Lord", followed quickly and his album, All Things Must Pass, came out in November 1970. Many more followed.  His philanthropy and concern for the less fortunate lead to the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971 and many charitable works.

One of my favorite albums was Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976) which included "Crackerbox Palace." Friend Eric Idle, of Monty Python, pulled George into several cameos in his projects. I always liked the lighter side of Harrison.

Jump to 1988, and George was a member of The Traveling Wilburys. His band mates were legends in their own right: Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. A lot of new fans raised their eyebrows and sat up to take notice of some of their hits, like "Handle with Care" and "End of the Line."

George survived a nut breaking into his house and attacking him with a knife in December of 1999; he was hospitalized with more that forty stab wounds.

The most devastating news came in 1997 when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Though it was originally thought that it had been cured with radiation, that would not be the case. It spread to his brain. The old gang, McCartney, Star, and Harrison, met for the last time in George's hotel in New York on November 12, 2001. George died on November 29, 2001 and his ashes were scattered over two sacred rivers in India. 

In the end, it's true; all things must pass. 

This was George Harrison's last televised (and unplanned) performance in 1997.


He did know how to laugh at himself:



The Traveling Wilburys




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48 comments:

  1. Ha!-Ha! I very nearly missed that.

    "Pick ONE"?!
    But I want (and I'm owed) ALL TEN o' them!
    [I've been drinking heavily tonight:-]

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. I have nothing against drinking delicious ice cream based drinks...in fact, I encourage it. I'm sure that's what you mean. I hope you don't get an ice cream headache; they're the worst. :-)

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    2. Oh, yeah, "ice cream headaches" ARE the worst. The "morning after" usually requires "a little milk of the cow that bit ya".

      ~ D-FensDogG

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  2. I recognized the song by The Traveling Wilburys but did not know the history of the group. Interesting on how the word wilbury came to be. (wikipedia)

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    1. I really like them; what a combination of talent.

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  3. He was always my fave amongst the Fab Four.

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    1. He didn't get enough attention while in the Fab Four.

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  4. He may have been the most interesting and least sung of the Fabulous Four.

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    1. Amen! Musically, I think he was number one. Admittedly, I'm a huge Lennon fan, too.

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  5. I don't think I've ever listened to any of George's solo music. Now I feel bad!

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    1. Good news! It's recorded! It's not too late.

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  6. They all wrote songs for the Beatles, but most people think of Lennon and McCartney.
    The solo song I know best is All Those Years Ago.

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    1. I think there were a whole lot more Lennon/McCartney songs (and they were awesome) than George or Ringo put together...I can understand it, but that is why I'm glad he had a solo career.

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  7. He sure had quite the career. I never heard many of his solo songs before

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    1. It's pretty amazing at how creative and productive he was.

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  8. Love George Harrison. I'll YouTube his live stuff from time to time, like this one ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8OgkjcW0g4

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  9. I love the music. I listened to a lot of Beatles growing up. I do respect his musical talent :)

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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    1. Thanks, my Hungarian historian friend!

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  10. I'm a bit late to yesterday's party, and would have bet real money (a small amount) that Peter Gabriel would be your pick, but I want to thank you for introducing me to Glen Hansard. Great music!
    Now onto George...All Things Must Pass is one of my all time favorite albums and I was so glad that George's voice was finally allowed to take center stage with its release. One of my favorites, Wah-Wah, the back story of its development is heartbreaking to me. His total frustration with the long time discouragement from John and Paul is clear in the power of the song's performance. I understand George was disappointed with Phil Spector's production, claiming it sounded beautiful in the studio as they played, but muddy on the recording with all the full force added reverb and echo. I do love the sound as is, but I would also like to hear it as George intended.

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    1. I knew you'd like Glen Hansard, Gary!!

      "Wah-wah" is a favorite of mine, too.

      You can really see his frustration in the recording studio films towards the end. I'll never forget George telling Paul something like he could play it how he wanted or he wouldn't play at all, it didn't matter. A sad ending to a great collaborative effort that was legendary!

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  11. When I think of George Harrison, I immediately think of the video for "Got My Mind Set on You," where he was in that study, surrounded by strange moving objects. The part that was REALLY out of place was when he started dancing during the musical part about 3-4ths of the way through the song. It was VERY obvious it was a guy wearing a wig and George didn't dance at all...but the disturbing part was just how out of place it was for him to just break into dance!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_niy2ZM5Jo

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    1. That song and "Crackerbox Palace" were awesome; I loved the videos for them.

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  12. You make a very good point. It could be argued that the best of George came after the breakup of the Beatles.
    My favorite? "My Sweet Lord" although I'm sure I'm not the only one.

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    1. I neglected to mention "Something", too - that was a big hit (and rightly so!).

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  13. George was my wife's favorite Beatle. I think she still has a crush on him.

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    1. ...but then she found you...and YOU can paint. Let her have a little crush. :-)

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  14. He is my favourite Beatle:) I love that he went into producing films like "Time Bandits"-one of my favs. I also love that he was an avid gardener and would spend hours at his home and had quite the huge garden. I wonder what has happened to it?

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    1. He had more than one home; I'll bet his family keeps it up. Or I hope they do.

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  15. Cherdo, great tribute to this Beatle man. Isn't it interesting that both two of the Beatles were attacked by someone who wanted them dead? Really a mystery to me. Sounds like he had an awful death, and "My Sweet Lord" says it all.

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    1. Fame makes nuts even nuttier, I guess. It's a shame, really.

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  16. Wonderful post today.
    My favorites were always Ringo and George.
    I also thought that George was able to go off and really spread his wings, possibly for the first time to be able to sign how and what he wanted to.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. They were all so talented - and so different.

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  17. Hi, dear Cherdo!

    I'm off the road and just now getting on the comp for the first time today, reporting to you from my new facilities at Glacier's Edge, Greenland. I made the dreadful mistake of writing my comment a day in advance, overconfident once again that I knew which "H" music act you were going to profile today. I don't want the little ditty I wrote to go to waste, so here goes:

    I'm Shady Del the eighth, I am
    Shady Del the eighth, I am, I am
    I got married to the Junebug next door
    She's been married seven times before
    And every one was a Shady Del (Shady Del)
    She wouldn't have a Willy (Dunne Wooters) or a Sam (No Sam)
    I'm her eighth old man, I'm Shady Del
    Shady Del the eighth I am

    S-H-A-D-Y
    Shady Del (Shady Del)
    Shady Del (Shady Del)
    Shady Del the eighth I am, I am
    Shady Del the eighth I am
    Yeah!

    Fortunately, I have heard of George Harrison, the quiet Beatle, the introspective, spiritual Beatle. I could listen to George's music all day long and never tire of it and I can't help wondering how many wonderful songs he had left in him when his life was cut short by illness.

    Thank you very much for saluting George Harrison, dear friend Cherdo. I'll see you tomorrow!

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    1. If you want more of George, take a look at his son, Dhani...between his voice and look, you can't help but see George in him.

      The same can be said for Sean Lennon. One video that really reminded me of John was "Dead Meat." For some reason, it channeled John in a big way for me.

      Julian Lennon also sounds so much like John.

      Genetics...awesome.

      Thanks, Shadyroooni, and I'll see you tomorrow with I! Any guesses?

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  18. If John and Paul weren't such dueling egos, they might have seen what they had in George and made even better music.

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    1. There seemed to be a lot of that ego floating around. But who am I to say?

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  19. He was very spiritual. I admired his philanthropic work and his music.

    Love,
    Janie

    P.S. I just wrote this comment. It disappeared. Did you block me?

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    1. Well, there I be. Second time around is better.

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    2. How can I read a comment with the words "it disappeared"....it didn't. Janie, Janie, Janie - wine is not your friend.

      (I did the same thing on Shady's blog the other day...wrote a big comment and poof!)

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  20. Hi! My first time here and you had me laughing (at your banner and 'about you'). Great post on George Harrison. I didn't follow the Beatles much after their breakup, so it was fun listening to the videos. Sad we lost George so soon. Lung cancer took people faster back then. My dad died of the same at the same age.

    Inventions by Women A-Z
    Shells–Tales–Sails

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    1. Ha ha ha - glad you liked it. Thanks for stopping by,Sharon!

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  21. Dear Cherdo,

    I have to be honest in saying that you are touching on a topic that I know so little of, hence my few and far between responses. George Harrison...yes, I always liked him and, even though Sir Paul was always my favourite Beatle, I would to say that George is my second favourite. After that would be John, and last, Ringo. I always thought Ringo was a very talented drummer...however, I didn't think he was a great singer, but that is my personal opinion. My favourite songs by George Harrison are: My Sweet Lord and What is Life? :)

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    1. My Sweet Lord is a great one, but I didn't want to address the lawsuit for plagarizing He's So Fine.

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  22. Ah... George Harrison... The Beatles. I really wish they could've "worked it out"... you know because they said "we can work it out."

    H... Other contenders: Huey Lewis & The News and Hall & Oates.

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    1. All good H potential!! Love Hall and Oates.

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Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo