REMEMBERING GEORGE HARRISON
The youngest member of the Beatles died on November 29, 2001, of lung cancer, in Beverly Hills. He was 58.
Most Beatles albums included at least one Harrison song, including ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps‘, ‘Here Comes the Sun’ and ’Something’, which became the Beatles’ second-most-covered song.
After the Beatles broke up, Harrison was the first of them to have a No. 1 hit as a solo artist with ‘My Sweet Lord’ in December 1970.
The lead guitarist of the Beatles played 26 other instruments — the sitar, four-string guitar, bass guitar, arp bass, violin, tamboura, dobro, swordmandel, tabla, organ, piano, moog synthesizer, harmonica, autoharp, glockenspiel, vibraphone, xylophone, claves, African drum, conga drum, tympani, ukulele, mandolin, marimba and Jal-Tarang.
In 1962, Harrison and The Beatles recorded a song, ‘Love Me Do’, that landed in the U.K. Top 20 charts. Early that following year, another hit, ‘Please Please Me,’ was released, followed by an album by the same name.
“Beatlemania” was in full swing across England, and by early 1964, with the release of their album in the U.S. and an American tour, it had swept across the States as well.
Known as the “Quiet Beatle” Harrison took a back seat to Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr.
JOURNEY TO INDIA
Harrison’s interest in eastern spiritualism prompted him to take the Beatles on a journey to northern India in 1968 to study transcendental meditation under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
In January of 1970 the group recorded Harrison’s ‘I Me Mine’ — the last song the four would ever record together. Three months later, McCartney announced he was leaving the band and the Beatles were officially over.
After the breakup of the Beatles, Harrison pursued a solo career. He assembled a studio band including Ringo Starr, guitar legend Eric Clapton and keyboardist Billy Preston to record all the songs that had never made it on to the Beatles catalog.
In 1988, Harrison formed the Traveling Wilburys, an English-American “super group” consisting of Bob Dylan, Ray Orbison Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne that and turned out two successful albums. In 1992, the new group went on its first international tour.
Harrison put together a series of ground-breaking benefit concerts at New York City’s Madison Square Garden in 1971 to raise money for refugees in Bangladesh.
CONCERT FOR BANGLADESH
The “Concert for Bangladesh”, featuring Bob Dylan, Leon Russell and Ravi Shankar, raised $15-million for UNICEF. It also produced a Grammy-winning album, a successful documentary film and laid the groundwork for future benefit shows like “Live Aid” and “Farm Aid”.
ATTACKED IN HIS HOME
In 1988, a deranged 33-year-old Beatles fan managed to get through Harrison’s security system and broke into his home, attacking the musician and his wife Olivia with a knife.
Harrison was treated for a collapsed lung and minor stab wounds. Olivia suffered several cuts and bruises.
In 1997, Harrison, a longtime smoker, had been successfully treated for throat cancer, but four years later the cancer returned. The lung cancer had spread to his brain. That autumn, he traveled to the Unites States for treatment and was eventually hospitalized at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.
He died November 29, 2001, at Paul McCartney’s house in Los Angeles, at aged 58, with his wife and son at his side.
Harrison was cremated within hours of his death, and in accordance with his last wishes, his ashes were scattered along the Ganges River in India.
— IMDb biography: Gary Richard Collin.
“Everything else can wait, but the search for God cannot wait.” — George Harrison