My love affair with George Harrison began when my elder brother Ozie with the help of my Dad brought home The Beatles album A Hard Days Night. My brother was a big influence in our lives for introducing The Beatles songs to us and there was no turning back after that.
Fascination with George Harrison
I don’t know why it was George Harrison that was my favourite of The Beatles but I guess it was his quiet disposition that attracted me to him. They also called him The quiet Beatle. In my opinion he was also a quiet genius. I only noticed or realized and appreciated later once The Beatles had disbanded and George started writing his own songs. He released his solo albums like the rest of his band friends did. He was the lead guitarist of the band and the youngest member too. The Beatles went on to become one of the greatest rock bands in the history of music.
In 1965 George Harrison introduced folk rock in songs because of his love for Bob Dylan‘s style of music and that of The Byrds. Harrison’s song writing contributions to the Double Album included While my guitar gently weeps. By late 1966, George Harrison was slowly moving away from The Beatles music. No other Beatles member contributed to his album Within you, Without You!
George Harrison’s love for Indian culture
He got deeply involved with the mysticism of India and taught himself to play the sitar and used his skills in the song Norwegian Wood. He also got involved with the Hare Krishna Movement by introducing The Beatles to Transcendental Meditation around the year 1967. In 1968 he traveled to Rishikesh in northern India with other Beatles members to study meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
In the year 1971, George Harrison, together with Pandit Ravi Shankar, who was also a great influence on him, organised the famous concert called The Concert for Bangladesh to raise money for the people of Bangladesh. Saul Swimmer directed the film The Concert for Bangladesh in 1972.
George who was influenced by the maestro and sitar player Pandit Ravi Shankar, had immense respect and admiration for him. I managed to see this beautiful film The Concert for Bangladesh a couple of times during my teenage years.
In June 1965, George Harrison and the other Beatles were appointed as the Members of the Order of the British Empire. They received this most prestigious decoration from the Queen at a ceremony at the Buckingham Palace.
In 1966, George Harrison married Pattie Boyd (a British model) who he met during the filming of A Hard Day’s Night but the marriage did not work out for several reasons and so they divorced in 1977. He had composed the song Something to show his love for her.
Pattie later married Eric Clapton who was a good friend of George, but that too ended in a divorce. Harrison and Clapton always remained good friends. Later, Harrison married Olivia Trinidad Arias in 1978 and they had a son together. They called him Dhani who is also a good singer like his father and a replica of him.
The unfortunate Beatles Breakup
George was very upset when The Beatles broke up. It took him a long time to get over it.
The Beatles were each others best friends and nobody could deny that. They loved each other and had great times together.
George Harrison immersed himself in his music after The Beatles split up. He came out with his solo hits My Sweet Lord, Give Me Love (Give me Peace on Earth) and All Things Must Pass was his best solo album to date.
In 1988, Harrison formed the Traveling Wilburys together with Jeff Lynne, Roy Obison, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. The band had gathered in Dylan’s garage to record a song for a Harrison European single release.
George’s passion for sports cars and guitars made him an avid collector and he had quite a collection of both.
The Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 11 in their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. His autobiography called I, Me, Mine was about his hobbies and music and which he had said was dedicated to gardeners every where as he felt more at ease in his garden than anywhere else in the world.
My Love Affair With George Harrison Continues
And so continued my love affair with George Harrison who I took great interest in and tried to get to know him better for the beautiful person that he was by devouring all I could get hold of from magazines etc and learn all about his life and what made him tick. Everything I read about him just fascinated me.
He was like my guru and in his quiet way he blew my teenage mind and I just loved everything about him besides his music, and his smile was like sunshine on a rainy day.
Sadly, in 1997 the doctors diagnosed Harrison with lung cancer. Attributed to years of smoking he succumbed to it on 29th November 2001, at the age of 58.
His last words: Love one another
What a beautiful legacy to leave behind to the world with those beautiful last words which has meant a great deal to me over the years!
All things must pass and Life goes on within you and without you. Thank you George Harrison for these beautiful words and thank you for the music!
I will always love you!
Edited by: Himesh Saraf