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George Harrison. (2009, January 20). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:47, January 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=George_Harrison&oldid=265243375

George Harrison[1] MBE (25 February 1943 "" 29 November 2001)[2] was an English rock guitarist, singer-songwriter and film producer. He achieved international fame as lead guitarist in The Beatles, and is listed #21 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of "The 100 Best Guitarists of All Time."[3][4] Often referred to as "the quiet Beatle", or "The Dark Horse"[3] Harrison embraced Indian mysticism, and helped broaden the horizons of the other Beatles as well as their Western audience.[5] Following the band's breakup, he had a successful career as a solo artist and later as part of the Traveling Wilburys, and also as a film and record producer.

Although the majority of The Beatles' songs were written by Lennon and McCartney, Harrison generally wrote one song per side from the Help! album onwards.[6] His later compositions with The Beatles include "Here Comes the Sun," "Something" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." After the band's breakup, Harrison continued writing, releasing the acclaimed and successful triple album, All Things Must Pass, in 1970, from which came the #1 single "My Sweet Lord". In addition to his solo work, Harrison co-wrote two hits for Ringo Starr, another ex-Beatle, as well as songs for the Traveling Wilburys "" the supergroup he formed in 1988 with Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison.

Harrison embraced Indian culture and Hinduism in the 1960s, and helped expand Western awareness of sitar music and of the Hare Krishna movement. With Ravi Shankar he organised a major charity concert with the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh, and is the only Beatle to have published an autobiography, with I Me Mine in 1980.

Besides being a musician, he was also a record producer and co-founder of the production company Handmade Films. In his work as a film producer, he collaborated with people as diverse as Madonna and the members of Monty Python.[7] His interests included gardening and motor racing. He was married twice, to the model Pattie Boyd in 1966, and to the record company secretary Olivia Trinidad Arias in 1978, with whom he had one son, Dhani Harrison. He had a close friendship with Eric Clapton. He died of cancer in 2001.

Harrison was born in Liverpool, England, on 25 February 1943,[8][9] the last of four children to Louise and Harold Harrison.[10]

He had one sister, Louise, born 16 August 1931; and two brothers, Harry, born 1934, and Peter, born 20 July, 1940. His mother, Louise (née French), was a Liverpool shop assistant, and his father, Harold Hargreaves Harrison, was a bus conductor who had worked as a ship's steward on the White Star Line. The family was Roman Catholic;[8] his maternal grandfather, John French, was born in County Wexford, emigrating to Liverpool where he married a local girl, Louise Woollam.[11]

Harrison was born in the house where he lived for his first seven years: 12 Arnold Grove, Wavertree, Liverpool, which was a small 2 up, 2 down terraced house in a cul-de-sac, with an alley to the rear. The only heating was a single coal fire, and the toilet was outside. In 1950 the family were offered a council house,[12] and moved to 25 Upton Green, Speke.[13]

His first school was Dovedale Road Infants & Juniors School, very close to Penny Lane;[14] the same school as John Lennon who was a couple of years ahead of him.[15] There he passed his 11-plus examination and achieved a place at the Liverpool Institute for Boys (in the building that now houses the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts), which he attended from 1954 to 1959.[16] While at the Liverpool Institute, Harrison formed a skiffle group called The Rebels with his brother Peter and a friend, Arthur Kelly.[17] It was also at the school that he met Paul McCartney, one year older, who played in a band called The Quarrymen.[18]

Harrison became part of The Beatles when they were still a skiffle group called The Quarrymen. McCartney had told Lennon about his friend George Harrison, who could play "Raunchy" on his guitar. Though Lennon considered him too young to join the band,[19] Harrison hung out with them and filled in as needed. By the time he was 16 Lennon and the others had accepted him as one of the band;[20] though because Harrison was the youngest member of the group, he was looked upon as a kid by the others for another few years.[21]

When The Beatles were offered work in Hamburg in 1960, Harrison quit his job at local department store Blacklers in order to go along. His intention at this time was to work as a musician for a few years, then possibly try to get into art school.[22] The musical apprenticeship that Harrison went through playing at the Kaiserkeller, including guitar lessons from Tony Sheridan, laid the foundations of The Beatles' sound, and of Harrison's quiet, professional role within the group;[23] a role that would contribute to his reputation as "the quiet Beatle".[24] However, the first trip to Hamburg was shortened when Harrison was deported for being underage.[25]

When Brian Epstein became The Beatles manager in December 1961 after seeing them perform at The Cavern Club in November,[26] he changed their image,[27] and secured them a recording contract with EMI. The first single, "Love Me Do", with Harrison playing a Gibson J-160E,[28][29][30] reached #17 in the UK chart in October 1962,[31] and by the time their first album, Please Please Me, was released in early 1963, The Beatles had become famous and Beatlemania had arrived.[32]

Harrison was very popular with the girls, getting an estimated 30,000 gifts and cards for his 21st birthday. After he revealed in an interview that he liked jelly babies, audiences would shower him and the rest of the band with the sweets at live concerts and fans would send boxes of them as gifts.[33] Unfortunately American fans could not get a hold of this soft British confection, replacing them with the harder jelly beans instead, much to the groups discomfort, they were occasionally pelted with them during concerts while in America.

The popularity of The Beatles led to a successful tour of America, the making of a film, A Hard Day's Night (during which Harrison met his future wife Pattie Boyd), and in the 1965 Queen's Birthday Honours, all 4 Beatles were appointed Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).[34] Harrison, whose role within the group of the careful musician who checked the instruments were tuned,[35] was by 1965 and the Rubber Soul album, developing further into musical director when he led the others into folk-rock, via his interest in The Byrds and Bob Dylan,[36] and into Indian music with his exploration of the sitar.[37][38] Harrison's musical involvement and cohesion with the group reached its peak on Revolver in 1966 with his contribution of three songs and new musical ideas.[39][40] By 1967, Harrison's interests appeared to be more outside The Beatles, and his involvement in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band mainly consists of his one song, Within You Without You, on which no other Beatle plays,[41] and which stands out as not in keeping with the rest of the album.[42]

During the recording of The White Album in 1968 tensions were present in the band;[43] these surfaced again during the filming of rehearsal sessions at Twickenham Studios for the Let it Be album. Frustrated by ongoing slights, the poor working conditions in the cold and sterile film studio, and Lennon's creative disengagement from the group, Harrison quit the band on 10 January. He returned on 22 January after negotiations with the other Beatles at two business meetings.[44]

Relations between the Beatles were more cordial (though still strained) during recordings for the album Abbey Road.[45] The album included "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something", which was later recorded by Frank Sinatra, who considered it "the greatest love song of the last fifty years".[46] Harrison's increasing productivity, coupled with his difficulties in getting The Beatles to record his music, meant that by the end of the group's career he had amassed a considerable stockpile of unreleased material.[47] Harrison's last recording session with The Beatles was on 4 January 1970. Lennon, who had left the group the previous September, did not attend the session.[48]

Harrison's guitar work with The Beatles was varied, flexible and occasionally innovative; though not fast or flashy, his guitar playing was solid and typified the more subdued lead guitar style of the early 60s.[49] The first notable Harrison guitar solo was the sensitive extended acoustic guitar work of "Till There Was You" for which Harrison purchased a José Ramírez nylon-stringed classical guitar.[50][51][52] Toward the end of the 60s and into the 1970s his guitar work developed, particularly his slide guitar playing,[53] which was first recorded during an early session of "If Not for You" for Dylan's New Morning.[54]

Harrison's first electric guitar was a Czech built Futurama/Grazioso,[55] which was a popular guitar among British guitarists in the early 60s.[56] However, the guitars Harrison used on early recordings were mainly Gretsch played through a Vox amp.[57] He used a variety of Gretsch,[58] including a Gretsch Duo Jet - his first Gretsch, which he bought in 1961 second hand off a sailor in Liverpool;[59] a Gretch Tennessean,[60] and the Gretsch Country Gentleman, bought new for *234 in April 1963 at the Sound City store in London, which he used on "She Loves You", and on The Beatles 1964 appearance on the Ed Sullivan TV show.[59]

During The Beatles' first trip to the U.S., in February 1964, Harrison acquired a Rickenbacker 360/12 guitar. He had tried out the 12-string electric guitar during an interview with a Minneapolis radio station, and was given the guitar either by the Rickenbacker company or the radio station.[61] The 360/12 was an experimental 12-string guitar with the strings reversed so that the lower pitched string was struck first, and with an unusual headstock design that made tuning easier.[57] Harrison used the guitar extensively during the recording of A Hard Day's Night, and the jangle sound became so popular that the Melody Maker termed it "the beat boys' secret weapon".[62] Roger McGuinn liked the effect Harrison achieved so much that it became his signature guitar sound with the Byrds.[63]

He got his first Fender Stratocaster in 1965 and used it for the recording of the Rubber Soul album, most notably on the "Nowhere Man" track, where he played in unison with Lennon who also had a Stratocaster.[64] Lennon and Harrison both had Sonic Blue Stratocasters, which were bought second hand by roadie Mal Evans.[65] Harrison painted his Stratocaster in a psychedelic design that included the word "Bebopalula" painted above the pickguard and the guitar's nickname, "Rocky", painted on the headstock. He played this guitar in the Magical Mystery Tour film and throughout his solo career.[66][67]

Perhaps his greatest contribution to the guitar was George's slide method. Unlike previous Rock and Pop players and many of his contemporaries, Harrison used the slide not in a purely Blues context, but as a means of expanding his voice as a guitarist. Harrison's playing weaved in and out of his songs, becoming such an integral part that many of his solo compositions are nearly unrecognizable without their signature slide parts. He also broke ground with his slide guitar harmonies, which could reach from the bottom to the top of the neck and incorporate as many as four separate parts. George's influence on today's slide guitarists can be heard in acts as diverse as Sheryl Crow, Derek Trucks, and A Perfect Circle.

After David Crosby of the Byrds introduced him to the work of sitar maestro Ravi Shankar in 1965,[68] Harrison played a sitar on the Rubber Soul track "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)", and expanded the already nascent Western interest in Indian music.[69] Harrison listed his early influences as Carl Perkins,[70] Bo Diddley,[71] Chuck Berry[72] and the Everly Brothers.[73]

Harrison wrote his first song, "Don't Bother Me", while sick in a hotel bed in Bournemouth during August 1963,[74] as an exercise "to see if I could write a song", as he remembered.[75] "Don't Bother Me" appeared on the second Beatles album (With the Beatles) later that year, then on Meet the Beatles! in the U.S. in early 1964, and also briefly in the film A Hard Day's Night. The group did not record another Harrison composition until 1965, when he contributed "I Need You" and "You Like Me Too Much" to the album Help!.

Harrison's songwriting improved greatly through the years, but his material did not earn respect from his fellow Beatles until near the group's breakup. McCartney told Lennon in 1969: "George's songs this year are at least as good as ours".[76][77] Harrison had difficulty getting the band to record his songs.[78][79]

Harrison performed the lead vocal on all Beatles songs that he wrote by himself. He also sang lead vocal on other songs, including "Chains" and "Do You Want to Know a Secret" on Please Please Me, "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Devil in Her Heart" on With the Beatles, "I'm Happy Just to Dance with You" on A Hard Day's Night, and "Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby" on Beatles for Sale.

Before The Beatles split up in 1970 Harrison had already recorded and released two solo albums, Wonderwall Music and Electronic Sound. These albums, however, were mainly instrumental. Wonderwall Music was a soundtrack to the Wonderwall film in which Harrison blended Indian and Western sounds;[80] while Electronic Sound was an experiment in using a Moog synthesiser.[81] It was only when Harrison was free from The Beatles that he released what is regarded as his first "real" solo album, the commercially successful and critically acclaimed All Things Must Pass.[82]

After years of being restricted in his song-writing contributions to The Beatles, All Things Must Pass contained such a large outpouring of Harrison's songs that it was released as a triple album,[82] though only two of the discs contained songs - the third contained recordings of Harrison jamming with friends.[83] [47] The album is regarded as his best work;[84] it was a critical and commercial success, topping the charts on both sides of the Atlantic,[47][85] and producing the number-one hit single "My Sweet Lord" as well as the top-10 single "What Is Life." The album was co-produced by Phil Spector, and the musicians included Eric Clapton, Dave Mason, Billy Preston, and Ringo Starr.[47]

Harrison was later sued for copyright infringement over the single "My Sweet Lord" because of its similarity to the 1963 Chiffons single "He's So Fine", owned by Bright Tunes. Harrison denied deliberately stealing the song, but he lost the resulting court case in 1976 as the judge accepted that Harrison had "subconsciously" plagiarised "He's So Fine". When considering liable earnings, "My Sweet Lord"'s contribution to the sales of All Things Must Pass and The Best of George Harrison were taken into account, and the judge decided a figure of $1,599,987 was owed to Bright Tunes.[86] The dispute over damages became complicated when Harrison's manager Allen Klein changed sides by buying Bright Tunes and then continuing the suit against Harrison. In 1981, a district judge decided that Klein had acted improperly, and it was agreed that Harrison should pay Klein $587,000, the amount Klein had paid for Bright Tunes - so he would gain nothing from the deal, and that Harrison would take over ownership of Bright Tunes, making him the owner of the rights to both "My Sweet Lord" and "He's So Fine" and thus ending the copyright infringement claim. Though the dispute dragged on into the 1990s, the district judge's decision was upheld.[86][87]

Harrison would not again release an album that came close to the critical and commercial achievements of All Things Must Pass. Although 1973's Living in the Material World initially did well, holding #1 on the U.S. album chart for 5 weeks, and the album's single, "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)", was also successful reaching #1 in the U.S., neither could match the sales of All Things Must Pass and "My Sweet Lord". The Dark Horse album of 1974, which was accompanied by a tour of North America, made the Top 5 in the U.S. album chart, but failed to chart in the UK. The song "Dark Horse" was released as the second single and reached #15 on Billboard.[88]

His final studio album for EMI (and Apple Records) was Extra Texture (Read All About It), featuring a diecut cover. The album spawned two singles, "You" which reached the Billboard top 20 and "This Guitar (Can't Keep From Crying)", which became Apple's final original single release in 1975. [89] It was also the first solo Beatles single that failed to chart in the U.S. Following the former Beatle's departure from Capitol, the record company was in a position to license releases featuring Beatles and post-Beatles work on the same album, using Harrison for this experiment. The Best of George Harrison (1976) combined his Beatles songs with a selection of his solo Apple work.

Thirty Three & 1/3 his first Dark Horse release, was his most successful late-1970s album, reaching #11 on the U.S. charts in 1976, and producing the singles "This Song" (a satire of the "My Sweet Lord"-"He's So Fine" court case ruling) and "Crackerbox Palace". However, he could not finish the production work as he was suffering from hepatitis.[90] After his second marriage and the birth of son Dhani Harrison, Harrison's next released a self-titled album. 1979's George Harrison included the singles "Blow Away", "Love Comes to Everyone" and "Faster". Both the album and "Blow Away" made the Billboard top 20.

On 23 November 1971, Harrison appeared on an episode of The Dick Cavett Show in a band called Wonder Wheel performing a song written by Gary Wright called "Two Faced Man". George Harrison played slide guitar in this band as a favour since Wright had played piano on Harrison's album All Things Must Pass. The episode can be viewed on DVD "The Dick Cavett Show: Rock Icons: Disc 3".[91]

In addition to his own works during this time, Harrison co-wrote or produced two hits for Starr ("It Don't Come Easy" and "Photograph") and appeared on tracks by Lennon "How Do You Sleep?", "Oh My Love" and "Gimme Some Truth", Harry Nilsson ("You're Breakin' My Heart"), Badfinger ("Day After Day") on which he played slide guitar, as well as working with Billy Preston ("That's the Way God Planned It", 1969 and "It's My Pleasure", 1975) and Cheech & Chong ("Basketball Jones").

Harrison was deeply shocked by the December 1980 murder of John Lennon. The crime reinforced his decades-long worries about safety from stalkers. It was also a deep personal loss, although unlike former bandmates McCartney and Starr, Harrison had little contact with Lennon in the years before the murder. Harrison modified the lyrics of a song he had written for Starr to make it a tribute song to Lennon. "All Those Years Ago" received substantial radio airplay, reaching #2 on the U.S. charts.[92] All three remaining Beatles performed on it, although it was expressly a Harrison single. "Teardrops" was issued as a follow-up single, but was not nearly as successful. Both singles came from the album Somewhere in England, released in 1981. Originally slated for release in late 1980, Warner Bros. rejected the album, ordering Harrison to replace several tracks, and to change the album cover as well. The original album cover that Harrison wanted was used in the 2004 reissue of the album. In 1981, Harrison played guitar on one track of Mick Fleetwood's record The Visitor and Lindsey Buckingham's song "Walk a Thin Line".

Aside from a song on the Porky's Revenge soundtrack in 1984 (his version of a little-known Bob Dylan song "I Don't Want To Do It"), Harrison released no new records for five years after 1982's Gone Troppo received apparent indifference. In 1985, Harrison made a rare public appearance on the Showtime special Carl Perkins and Friends along with Starr and Clapton among others. He only agreed to appear because he was a close admirer of Perkins.

In 1987 Harrison returned with the critically acclaimed platinum album Cloud Nine, co-produced with Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra, and enjoyed a hit (#1 in the U.S.; #2 in the UK) when his rendition of James Ray's early 1960s number "Got My Mind Set on You" was released as a single; another single, "When We Was Fab", a retrospective of The Beatles' days complete with musical flavours for each bandmate, was also a minor hit. MTV regularly played the two videos, and elevated Harrison's public profile with another generation of music listeners. The album reached #8 and #10 on the U.S. and UK charts, respectively. In the U.S., several tracks also enjoyed high placement on Billboard's Album Rock chart - "Devil's Radio," "This Is Love" and "Cloud 9" in addition to the aforementioned singles.

Early in 1989, Harrison, Lynne and ex-Beatle Ringo Starr all appeared on Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" music video, although Starr did not actually play on the track;[93] Harrison played acoustic guitar. The same year also saw the release of Best of Dark Horse 1976""1989, a compilation drawn from his later solo work. This album also included two new songs, "Poor Little Girl", and "Cockamamie Business" (which saw him once again looking wryly upon his Beatle past), as well as "Cheer Down", which had first been released earlier in the year on the soundtrack to the film Lethal Weapon 2, which starred Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. Unlike his previous greatest hits package, Harrison made sure to oversee this compilation. In 1989 Harrison played slide guitar on the "Leave a Light On" song from Belinda Carlisle's third album "Runaway Horses". The song was a commercial success worldwide.

In 1988, Harrison played an instrumental role in forming the Traveling Wilburys with Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, and Tom Petty when they gathered in Dylan's garage to quickly record an additional track for a projected Harrison European single release.[94] The record company realised the track ("Handle With Care") was too good for its original purpose as a B-side and asked for a full, separate album. This had to be completed within two weeks, as Dylan was scheduled to start a tour. The album, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1, was released in October 1988 and recorded under pseudonyms as half-brothers (supposed sons of Charles Truscott Wilbury, Sr.). Harrison's pseudonym on the first album was "Nelson Wilbury"; he would use the name "Spike Wilbury" for the Traveling Wilburys' second album.

After the death of Roy Orbison in late 1988 the group recorded as a four-piece. There is speculation the band approached Del Shannon to fill the vacant slot; however, this rumour has not been confirmed or denied by the surviving members.[95] Though Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 was their second release, the album was mischievously titled Vol. 3 by Harrison. According to Lynne, "That was George's idea. He said, 'Let's confuse the buggers.' " [96] It was not as well received as the previous album, but did reach #14 in the UK and #11 in the US where it went platinum, while the singles "She's My Baby", "Inside Out", and "Wilbury Twist" got decent air play.

Harrison launched a major tour of the United States in 1974. Critical and fan reaction panned the tour for its long mid-concert act of Pandit Ravi Shankar & Friends and for Harrison's hoarse voice. Harrison had hired filmmaker David Acomba to accompany the tour and gather footage for a documentary. Due to Harrison's hoarse voice throughout most of this tour, the film was not released, but in 2007 Acomba placed a newly revised director's cut in the Harrison archive.

In 1986, Harrison made a surprise performance at "Heartbeat '86", a concert event to raise money for the Birmingham Children's Hospital. Harrison played and sang the finale "Johnny B. Goode" along with Robert Plant, The Moody Blues, and Electric Light Orchestra, among others.[97]

In 1991, Harrison staged a tour of Japan along with Eric Clapton. It was his first tour since the 1974 U.S. tour, but no other tours followed. The Live in Japan recording came from these shows. In October 1992, Harrison played three songs ("If Not for You", "Absolutely Sweet Marie", and "My Back Pages") at a huge Bob Dylan tribute concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City.[98]

Harrison organised a major charity concert, The Concert for Bangladesh, with Ravi Shankar on 1 August 1971, drawing over 40,000 people to two shows in New York's Madison Square Garden.[99] The aim of the event was to raise money to aid the starving refugees during the Bangladesh Liberation War. Ravi Shankar opened the proceedings, which included other popular musicians such as Bob Dylan (who rarely appeared live in the early 1970s), Eric Clapton, who made his first public appearance in months (due to a heroin addiction which began when Derek and the Dominos broke up), Leon Russell, Badfinger, Billy Preston and fellow Beatle Ringo Starr. Tax troubles and questionable expenses tied up many of the concert's proceeds.[99] Apple Corporation released a newly arranged concert DVD and CD in October 2005 (with all artists' sales royalties continuing to go to UNICEF), which contained additional material such as previously unreleased rehearsal footage of "If Not for You", featuring Harrison and Dylan.

In 1994""1996, Harrison reunited with the surviving former Beatles, and Traveling Wilburys producer Jeff Lynne for The Beatles Anthology project, which included the recording of two new Beatles songs built around solo vocal and piano tapes recorded by John Lennon in the late 1970s, as well as the lengthy interviews on The Beatles' history.[100] The single "Free as a Bird", was the first Beatles single since "The Long and Winding Road" in 1970.[101][102]

In 1996, Harrison recorded, produced and played on "Distance Makes No Difference With Love" with Carl Perkins for his Go-Cat-Go record.

Harrison's final television appearance was not intended as such; in fact, he was not the featured artist, and the appearance had been intended to promote Chants of India, another collaboration with Ravi Shankar released in 1997, at the height of interest in chant music. John Fugelsang, then of VH1, conducted the interview, and at one point an acoustic guitar was produced and handed to Harrison. When an audience member asked to hear "a Beatles song," Harrison pulled a sheepish look and answered, "I don't think I know any!" Harrison then played "All Things Must Pass" and "Any Road", a song which subsequently appeared on the 2002 Brainwashed album.

In January 1998, Harrison attended the funeral of his boyhood idol, Carl Perkins, in Jackson, Tennessee. Harrison played an impromptu version of Perkins' song "Your True Love" during the service.[103] That same year he attended the public memorial service for Linda McCartney. Also that same year, he appeared on Ringo Starr's Vertical Man, where he played both electric and slide guitars on two tracks.

In late 1999 Harrison survived a knife attack by an intruder in his home. On the evening of 30 December 1999, Michael Abram broke into the Harrisons' Friar Park home in Henley-on-Thames and stabbed George multiple times, ultimately puncturing his lung. Harrison and his wife, Olivia, fought the intruder and detained him for the police.[104] 35-year-old Abram, who believed he was possessed by Harrison and was on a "mission from God" to kill him, was later acquitted of attempted murder on grounds of insanity, but was detained for treatment in a secure hospital. He was released in 2002 after 19 months detention.[105] Traumatized by the invasion and attack, Harrison rarely appeared in public afterwards.

In 2001, Harrison performed as a guest musician on the Electric Light Orchestra album Zoom. He played slide guitar on the song "Love Letters" for Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings, and remastered and restored unreleased tracks from the Traveling Wilburys. He also co-wrote a new song with his son Dhani, "Horse to the Water". The latter song ended up as Harrison's final recording session, on 2 October. It appeared on Jools Holland's album Small World, Big Band.[106]

Harrison's final album, Brainwashed, was completed by Dhani Harrison and Jeff Lynne and released on 18 November 2002. It received generally positive reviews in the United States, and peaked at #18 on the Billboard charts. A media-only single, "Stuck Inside a Cloud", was heavily played on UK and U.S. radio to promote the album (#27 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart), while the official single "Any Road", released in May 2003, reached #37 on the British chart. The instrumental track, "Marwa Blues" went on to receive the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, while the single "Any Road" was nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.[107]

HandMade Films was formed in 1979 when Harrison and business partner Denis O'Brien financed the Monty Python film Life of Brian after EMI Films, the original financiers, pulled out.[108]

The first film started under the company was Time Bandits in 1981. Harrison produced twenty three films with Handmade including Mona Lisa, Shanghai Surprise, and Withnail and I. He made several cameo appearances in these movies, including appearing as a nightclub singer in Shanghai Surprise and as Mr Papadopolous in Life of Brian.[109] He sold the company in 1994.[110]

During a Beatles American tour in 1965, Harrison's friend David Crosby of the Byrds introduced him to Indian classical music and the work of sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.[68] Harrison became fascinated with the instrument, immersed himself in Indian music and played a pivotal role in expanding the emerging interest in the sitar in particular and Indian music in general in the West.[111]

Buying a sitar himself as The Beatles came back from a Far East tour, he played one on the Rubber Soul track "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)", which was influential in the decision to have Ravi Shankar included on the bill at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967.[111] After a few initial lessons with Pandit Ravi Shankar, Harrison was placed under the tutelage of Shambhu Das.[112]

During the filming of the movie Help!, on location in the Bahamas, a Hindu devotee presented each Beatle with a book about reincarnation. Harrison's interest in Indian culture expanded to Hinduism. During a pilgrimage to Bombay, India with his wife, Harrison studied sitar, met several gurus and visited various holy places, filling the months between the end of the final Beatles tour in 1966 and the commencement of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band recording sessions.

In the summer of 1969, he produced the single "Hare Krishna Mantra", performed by the devotees of the London Radha Krsna Temple. That same year, he and fellow Beatle John Lennon met A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder - acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Soon after, Harrison embraced the Hare Krishna tradition (particularly japa-yoga chanting with beads), and he remained associated with it until his death.

While during his lifetime, Harrison bequeathed to ISKCON his Letchmore Heath mansion (renamed Bhaktivedanta Manor) north of London, some sources indicate he left nothing to the organisation,[113] others report he did leave a sum of 20 million pounds.[114]

Harrison formed a close friendship with Eric Clapton in the late 1960s, and they co-wrote the song "Badge," which was released on Cream's Goodbye album in 1969.[115] Harrison also played rhythm guitar on the song. For contractual reasons, Harrison was required to use the pseudonym "L'Angelo Misterioso", meaning "The Mysterious Angel" in Italian.[116] Harrison wrote one of his compositions for The Beatles' Abbey Road album, "Here Comes the Sun", in Clapton's back garden. Clapton also guested on the Harrison-penned Beatles track "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". Through Clapton, Harrison met Delaney Bramlett, who introduced Harrison to slide guitar.[117]

Harrison married model Pattie Boyd on 21 January 1966, at Leatherhead and Esher registry office, with Paul McCartney as best man and only other Beatle present.[118] They had met during the filming for A Hard Day's Night, in which the 19 year old Boyd was cast as a schoolgirl fan.[119] After Harrison and Boyd split up in 1974, she moved in with Eric Clapton and they subsequently married. Harrison and Clapton remained close friends, and referred to each other as "husbands-in-law".[120]

Harrison married for a second time, to Dark Horse Records secretary Olivia Trinidad Arias on 2 September 1978. They had met at the Dark Horse offices in Los Angeles in 1974. They had one son, Dhani Harrison. After the 1999 stabbing incident in which Olivia subdued Harrison's assailant nearly single-handedly, Harrison received a fax from his close friend Tom Petty that read: "Aren't you glad you married a Mexican girl?"[121]

Through his appreciation of Monty Python he met Python member Eric Idle. The two became close friends, with Harrison appearing on Idle's Rutland Weekend Television series and in his Beatles spoof, The Rutles' All You Need Is Cash.[122] Idle also performed at the Concert for George, held to commemorate Harrison.

An accomplished gardener, Harrison restored the English manor house and grounds of Friar Park,[123] which once belonged to Victorian eccentric Sir Frank Crisp. Purchased in 1970, the home is the basis for the song "Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)".[124] Several Harrison videos were also filmed on the grounds, including "Crackerbox Palace"; in addition, the grounds served as the background for the cover of All Things Must Pass. Harrison took great solace working in the garden, and his autobiography "I, Me, Mine" is dedicated "to gardeners everywhere".[125]

The autobiography, I Me Mine, published in 1980, is the only full autobiography by an ex-Beatle.[126] Former Beatles' publicist Derek Taylor helped with the book, which was initially released in a high-priced limited edition by Genesis Publications.[125] The book said little about The Beatles, focusing instead on Harrison's hobbies, such as gardening and Formula One automobile racing. It also included the lyrics to his songs and some photographs with humorous captions.[127]

Harrison had an interest in sports cars and motor racing; he was one of the 100 people who purchased the McLaren F1 road car,[128] and would often attend Formula One races. He had collected photos of racing drivers and their cars since he was young; when he was 12 he attended his first race, the 1955 British Grand Prix at Aintree, in which Stirling Moss won his first Grand Prix.[128][129] He wrote "Faster" as a tribute to the formula 1 racing drivers Jackie Stewart and Ronnie Peterson. Proceeds from its release went to the Gunnar Nilsson cancer charity, set up following the Swedish driver's death from the disease in 1978.[130] Harrison's first "important" car was recently sold at auction in Battersea Park, London. The 1964 Aston Martin DB5 was bought new and delivered to Harrison personally in 1965 at his Kinfauns estate in Esher, Surrey, England.[131]

Blamed by Harrison on his smoking in the 1960s, he developed throat cancer which was discovered in 1997 after a lump on his neck was analysed.[132] Despite radiotherapy the cancer spread, and he underwent an operation at the Mayo Clinic in the US during the early part of May 2001, to remove a growth from one of his lungs.[133] Three months later, in July 2001, it was revealed that Harrison was receiving radiotherapy for a brain tumour at a clinic in Switzerland.[134] Despite the treatments and operations, Harrison died on 29 November 2001 in a Hollywood Hills mansion that was once leased by McCartney and was previously owned by Courtney Love.[135] His death was listed on his Los Angeles County death certificate as "metastatic non-small cell lung cancer".[136] He was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Ganges River by his close family in a private ceremony according to Hindu tradition.[137] [138] [139] He left almost $155 (*105) million in his will.[140]

On the first anniversary of Harrison's death in 2002, a Concert For George at the Royal Albert Hall, was organised by Clapton, and included performances by many of Harrison's musical friends. The profits from the concert went to Harrison's charity, the Material World Charitable Foundation.[141]

Harrison's first official honour was when The Beatles were appointed Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1965, and received their insignia from the Queen at an investiture at Buckingham Palace on 26 October.[153] Another award with The Beatles came in 1970 when they won an Academy Award for the best Original Song Score for Let It Be.[154]

A significant music award as a solo artist was in December 1992, when he became the first recipient of the Billboard Century Award - presented to music artists for significant bodies of work.[155] The minor planet 4149, discovered on 9 March 1984 by B. A. Skiff at the Anderson Mesa Station of the Lowell Observatory, was named after Harrison.[156] In 2003, Harrison was ranked #21 in Rolling Stone's list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.[157] Harrison was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist on 15 March 2004 by his Traveling Wilburys friends Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty.[117] He was inducted into the Madison Square Garden Walk of Fame on 1 August 2006 for the Concert for Bangladesh.[158][159]

Harrison featured twice on the cover of Time magazine, initially with The Beatles in 1967,[160] then on his own, shortly after his death in 2001.[161] In June 2007, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced that Harrison would receive a star on the Walk of Fame in 2008.[162] Meanwhile, that same month, portraits of Harrison and John Lennon were unveiled at The Mirage Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, where they will be on permanent display. In September 2007, Variety announced that Martin Scorsese would make a film about Harrison's life.[163]

George Harrison. (2009, January 20). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:47, January 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=George_Harrison&oldid=265243375

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