Monday, February 25, 8943

George Harrison (1943-2001) - Within

[Let It Be (1970) - John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison]

George Harrison (1943-2001)

Within You Without You (1967)

George Harrison, MBE (February 25, 1943 - November 29, 2001) was an English rock guitarist, singer-songwriter, author, film producer, and sitarist best known as the lead guitarist for The Beatles. Following the band's breakup, Harrison had a successful career as a solo artist and later as part of the Traveling Wilburys super group. He was the first Beatle to have a number one solo album (All Things Must Pass). He also co-founded the production company Handmade Films, and in his work as a film producer, collaborated with people as diverse as Madonna and the members of Monty Python. After Harrison embraced Hinduism in the 1960's, his spiritual convictions were often evident in his music and public activities.

Although John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote the majority of the Beatles songs, Harrison generally wrote and sang lead on a few songs per album. His later compositions included hits such as Here Comes the Sun, Something, and While My Guitar Gently Weeps. After the band's breakup, Harrison became the first ex-Beatle to achieve a #1 single (My Sweet Lord).

Besides his talents as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and sitarist, he was also a record producer and music innovator, and as Harrison forged his own identity and drifted away from the Beatles he became a fine songwriter, musical pioneer, and catalyst for a generation's interest in Indian culture.

Harrison was born in Liverpool, England, on 25 February 1943 to Louise and Harold Harrison, parents of a Roman Catholic family with deep roots in Ireland.

His maternal grandparents hailed from County Wexford in Ireland.

As a child, Harrison lived at 12 Arnold Grove, Wavertree, Liverpool, until 1950, when the family moved to 25 Upton Green, Speke. He first attended school at Dovedale Road Infants & Juniors School, very close to Penny Lane. There he passed his Eleven-plus examination and achieved a place at the Liverpool Institute for Boys (in the building now housing the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts), where he attended from 1954 to 1959 and where he met Paul McCartney.

He formed a skiffle group called 'The Rebels' with his brother Peter and a friend, Arthur Kelly.

In the early days of the Beatles (when the band was still called the Quarrymen), McCartney asked Harrison to join. Harrison was the youngest member of the group, initially looked upon as a kid by the others.

In actuality, he was never officially asked to join the group, but rather he hung out with the others and filled in as needed; he was soon looked upon as one of the group.

During the early years of the group's rise to local fame, Harrison's mother often cheered him on from the audience, much to the consternation of Lennon's Aunt Mimi; she complained that they could all live "lovely peaceful lives" but for Mrs. Harrison's encouragement of the group. While McCartney was termed the "cute Beatle" and Lennon considered the leader, Harrison consistently ranked a favourite of the female fans. At some concerts, the group was occasionally showered with Jelly Babies, which Harrison had said to be his favourite sweet. Unfortunately, American fans could not get hold of this soft British confection, replacing them instead with the harder jelly beans, much to the group's discomfort.

Harrison was not regarded as a virtuoso guitarist in the early days of The Beatles' recording career. Other Harrison solos were directed or modified by producer George Martin. Martin admitted years later, "I was always rather beastly to George."

In the 1970's and thereafter, his slide work became his signature sound.

Harrison turned out to be the first of the Beatles to arrive on American soil, when he visited his sister, Louise, in Benton, Illinois, in September 1963, some five months before the group appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Despite his "quiet Beatle" image, Harrison also had a slightly wild side. Once, at a bar, a photographer got on Harrison's bad side. He got too close, and Harrison proceeded to throw his drink at the offending press member.

During The Beatles' first trip to the U.S., in February 1964, Harrison received a new "360/12" model guitar from the Rickenbacker company; this was a 12-string electric but its unusual headstock design meant it looked at first glance like a 6-string. He began using the 360 extensively in the studio soon after. Roger McGuinn liked the effect Harrison achieved so much that it became his signature guitar sound with the Byrds.

Harrison wrote his first song, Don't Bother Me, during a sick day in 1963, as an exercise "to see if I could write a song," as he remembered. Don't Bother Me appeared on the second Beatles album (With the Beatles) later that year, on Meet the Beatles! in the U.S. in early 1964, and also briefly in the film A Hard Day's Night. Although he wrote a song for the Beatles for Sale album, it was not used and 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 was the lead vocal on all The Beatles songs that he wrote by himself. He also sang lead vocal on other songs. During an American tour in 1965, his friend David Crosby of the Byrds introduced him to Indian classical music and the work of sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar.

Harrison became fascinated with the instrument, immersed himself in Indian music and played a pivotal role in popularising the sitar in particular and Indian music in general in the West.

Buying a sitar himself as The Beatles came back from a Far East tour, he became the first Western popular musician to play one on a pop record, on the Rubber Soul track Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown). He championed Shankar with Western audiences and was largely responsible for having him included on the bill at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967. After a few initial lessons with Pandit Ravi Shankar, Harrison was placed under the tutelage of Shambhu Das.

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 his embracing 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; a meditation technique similar to the Roman Catholic rosary), and he remained associated with it until his death.

When, 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, others report he did leave a sum of 20 million pounds.

Harrison formed a close friendship with Eric Clapton in the late 1960's, and they co-wrote the song Badge, which was released on Cream's Goodbye album in 1969. Someone-- variously reported as Harrison, Starr, or Clapton -- misread Harrison's handwritten "bridge" as "badge,"and this became the title. 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. Harrison's 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 the slide guitar.

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"). Harrison later said that he always had difficulty getting the band to record his songs.

Notable 1963-70 Harrison compositions include Don't Bother Me; I Need You; You Like Me Too Much; Think for Yourself; If I Needed Someone; Taxman; Love You To; I Want to Tell You; Within You Without You; Blue Jay Way; The Inner Light;

While My Guitar Gently Weeps
(featuring lead guitar by Eric Clapton); Piggies (later featured inadvertently in the notorious Charles Manson murder case); Long, Long, Long; Savoy Truffle; Only a Northern Song; It's All Too Much; Old Brown Shoe; Something; Here Comes the Sun; I Me Mine; and For You Blue (about his then-wife Patti Boyd, featuring lap steel guitar by John Lennon).

He also had co-writing credit on Flying and Dig It, and had arrangement credits on Maggie Mae. Harrison gained even more Beatles credit when the Beatles Anthology albums were released. All the Beatles, including Harrison, were credited with co-writing Free as a Bird, Los Paranoias, 12-Bar Original, and Real Love. Harrison co-wrote In Spite of All the Danger with Paul McCartney, and co-wrote Cry for a Shadow with John Lennon. Also off the Anthologies solely credited to him is All Things Must Pass, Not Guilty, and You Know What to Do.

Friction among Harrison, Lennon, and McCartney increased markedly during the recording of The Beatles, as Harrison threatened to leave the group on several occasions. Between 1967 and 1969, McCartney on several occasions expressed dissatisfaction with Harrison's guitar playing.

Tensions came to a head during the filming of rehearsal sessions at Twickenham Studios for what eventually became the Let It Be documentary film. Conflicts between Harrison and McCartney appear in several scenes in the film, including one in which Harrison retorts to McCartney, "OK, well, I don't mind. I'll play whatever you want me to play or I won't play at all if you don't want me to play. Whatever it is that'll please you, I'll do it." 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 January 10. He returned on January 22 after negotiations with the other Beatles at two business meetings.

The group's internal relations had been more cordial (though still strained) during recordings for the album Abbey Road. The album included Something and Here Comes the Sun, probably Harrison's most popular Beatles songs. Something is considered to be one of his best works and was recorded by both Frank Sinatra (who deemed it "the greatest love song of the last 50 years") and Elvis Presley. 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.

When Harrison was asked years later what kind of music The Beatles might have made if they had stayed together, he answered to the point: "The solo stuff that we've done would have been on Beatle albums." Harrison's assessment is confirmed by the fact that many of the songs on their early solo albums premiered at various times during The Beatles' recording sessions but were not actually recorded by the group.

Harrison was only 26 years old at the time of The Beatles' last recording session on January 4, 1970 (Lennon, who had left the group the previous September, did not attend the session).

In 1969, Harrison commented: "I believe that if I'm going to sing songs on record, they might as well be on my own."


Sly Stone (born Sylvester Stewart, March 15, 1943, Denton, Texas) is an American musician, songwriter, and record producer, most famous for his role as frontman for Sly & the Family Stone, a band which played a critical role in the development of soul, funk and psychedelia in the 1960s and 1970s. Sly & the Family Stone was started in San Francisco, California.


[The Yardbirds - Heart Full of Soul (1965)]

Jim McCarty (born James Stanley McCarty, 25 July 1943 in Liverpool, England) is an English musician, best known as the drummer for The Yardbirds and Renaissance.

The Yardbirds are an English rock band that had a string of hits in the mid 1960's, including For Your Love, Over Under Sideways Down, and Heart Full of Soul. The group is notable for having started the careers of three of rock's most famous guitarists: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page

A blues-based band that broadened its range into pop and rock, The Yardbirds were pioneers in the guitar innovation of the '60s: fuzz tone, feedback, distortion, backwards echo, improved amplification, etc. Pat Pemberton, writing for Spinner, holds that the Yardbirds were "the most impressive guitar band in rock music."

After the Yardbirds broke up in 1968, their current lead guitarist Jimmy Page founded what became Led Zeppelin.

The bulk of the band's most successful self-written songs came from bassist/producer Paul Samwell-Smith who, with singer/harmonica player Keith Relf, drummer Jim McCarty and rhythm guitarist/bassist Chris Dreja, constituted the core of the group. The band reformed in the 1990s, featuring McCarty, Dreja and new members. The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.

[8943 Jagger / 8943 George Harrison / 8942 Summers]