George Harrison Biography

Review The Artist (14)

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As lead guitarist for the Beatles, George Harrison provided the band with a lyrical style of playing in which every note mattered.Harrison was one of millions of young Britons inspired to take up the guitar by British skiffle king Lonnie Donegan's recording of "Rock Island Line." But he had more dedication than most, and with the encouragement of a slightly older school friend — Paul McCartney — he advanced quickly in his technique and command of the instrument. Harrison developed his style and technique slowly and painstakingly over the several years, learning everything he could from the records of Carl Perkins, Duane Eddy, Chet Atkins, Buddy Holly, and Eddie Cochran. By age 15, he was allowed to sit in with the Quarry Men, the Liverpool group founded by John Lennon, of which McCartney was a member; by 16 he was a full-fledged member of the group.

The Beatles finally coalesced around Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and drummer Ringo Starr in 1962, with Harrison established on lead guitar. The Beatlemania years, from 1963 through 1966, were a mixed blessing for Harrison. The Beatles' studio sound was generally characterized by very prominent rhythm guitar parts, and on many of the Beatles' early songs, Harrison's lead guitar was buried beneath the chiming chords of Lennon's instrument. Additionally, he was thwarted as a songwriter by the presence of Lennon and McCartney — the quality and prolificacy of their output left very little room on the group's albums for songs by anyone else. Despite these problems, Harrison grew markedly as a musician between 1963 and 1966, writing a handful of good songs and one classic ("If I Needed Someone"), and also making his first acquaintance of the sitar, an Indian instrument whose sound fascinated him.

In 1966, Harrison finally seemed to find his voice, with two of his songs on the Revolver album, "Taxman" and "Love You Too." In the wake of the group's decision to stop touring, Harrison's playing and songwriting grew
exponentially. The period from 1968 onward was Harrison's richest with the Beatles. He displayed a smooth, elegant slide guitar technique that showed up on their last three albums, and contributed two classic songs, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Here Comes the Sun," along with "Something," which became the first Harrison song on the A-side of a Beatles single.

Although never known as a strong singer, Harrison's vocals were always distinctive, especially when placed in the right setting — for his first solo record following the group's 1970 break-up, All Things Must Pass, Harrison collaborated with producer Phil Spector, whose so-called "wall of sound" technique adapted well to Harrison's voice. All Things Must Pass and the accompanying single "My Sweet Lord" had the distinction of being the first solo recordings by any of the Beatles to top the charts following their breakup. Unfortunately, Harrison was later successfully sued by the publisher of the 1962 Chiffons hit "He's So Fine," which bore a striking resemblance to "My Sweet Lord."

Harrison followed All Things Must Pass with rock's first major charity event, The Concert for Bangladesh, which was staged as two shows at New York's Madison Square Garden in 1971 to help raise money for aid to that famine-ravaged nation. The second of the two all-star shows was released as a movie and a live triple album. Harrison's next studio album, Living in the Material World, initially sold well, but its leaner, less opulent production lacked the majestic force of All Things Must Pass, and it lacked the earlier album's mass appeal. Subsequent Harrison albums from the 1970s into the '80s always had an audience, but except for Somewhere in England (1981), released in the wake of the murder of John Lennon with the memorial song "All Those Years Ago," none seemed terribly well-crafted or executed. During this same period, Harrison embarked on a successful career as a movie producer with the founding of Handmade Films.

In 1987, Harrison made a return to the top of the charts with his album Cloud Nine, which featured his most inspired work in years, most notably a cover of an old Rudy Clark gospel number called "Got My Mind Set on You," which reached number one on the charts. In 1988, Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison formed the Traveling Wilburys, who have since released two very successful albums.

In 1992 perhaps still smarting from 1974 concert reviews, would make his return to the stage in Japan with Claptons and his band backing him up.

In 1997 Harrison was diagnosed with cancer and had throat surgery. He
considered his cancer to be caused by his 30+ years of smoking so he quit in 1998. In 1999 He was brutaly attacked by a deranged fan whom thought he was a devil worshipper.

In 2001 he re-released All Things Must Pass which included never before heard bonus tracks. He also was working on a new album and released the first single in October called a Horse To Water co-written with his son Dhani.

Throughout 2000 and 2001 Harrison would be treated for his cancer in various countries until November 29th 2001. George Harrison died of cancer at a friends home in Los Angelos around 1:30PM. George Harrison was 58.

Thanks to Daniel Spiegleman for submitting the biography.

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BE GEORGE | Reviewer: FRANCIS | 5/25/14

Be kind thoughtful inspire others, be George! Be funny happy all smiles, be George! Be lovable love everyone be the words fill the world with faith and hope, be the greatest. From the moment I heard them in 1964, I knew that everything would change, and George was my inspiration, my brother, my mentor. Thank You We Love You!

His Spirit & Presence Lives on Forever! | Reviewer: Anonymous | 9/22/13

Not only was George Harrison an amazing musician, but an amazing human being as well. He could of laid down with the Beatles and road out his fame for 10 lifetimes, though he was a seeker of truth above all else. He was part of living in the solution for mankind not the problem, through exemplifying unity, love and brotherhood of all the peoples of the world. I am forever grateful for having lived in the same Ashram that George stayed at and was part of.

His song My Sweet Lord, though it pre-dates that year, was such a gift to us all, as was John's Imagine, both songs again leading us to more unity, away from the illusions of proprietary relationships with God that all religions covertly preach. See ya soon George,..Namaste

Never Give Up | Reviewer: Brad | 9/16/10

"Never give up" is the advice George received from his Dad. Never give up is also the advice George passed on to everyone who asked him for advice.

Never Give Up is also a great tribute to George written and performed by his friend and fellow band mate from The Star Club days, Roy Young.

He really is amazing. | Reviewer: Sara | 4/8/08

George Harrison truly is one of the most amazing musicians ever. He has an amazing distinctive voice and definitely incredible on the guitar and the sitar. He was unique, he was quiet, he was incredible. No other musician can nor ever will be able to imitate him nor compare to him. He has captured my heart through music and through his life.

love of geroge harrison's music | Reviewer: thomas p leach | 1/23/08

With permission by publisher could I use part of this biography for a class project in my graphic design class. Not all or part but just to get the idea for this project. The music world lost and talented person in Geroge Harrison when he passed.

He is the greatest guitar player in the world | Reviewer: Ardee | 12/30/07

My family is a fan of Beatles. My dad, my mother, and my big brother are fans of Beatles. George Harrison is the most brilliant man if i can say so. Because he, i can play guitar well. He's my inspiration. And i think, George Harrison is the greatest guitar player in the world. More than Paul, John, etc. Because i am from Indonesia, so i will write this in Indonesian style. Wow George Harrison, kau adalah idolaku!!

Love Harrison | Reviewer: Layla | 6/16/07

He is so cute and he does the best songs. He has the gentelist voice so you can just feel so relaxed when you listenyto his beatle's songs. I loved him in "A Hard Day's Night." If he wasn't dead I'd marry him.

hello. | Reviewer: Anonymous | 6/5/07

the beatles are an amazing group, i am doing a school project on them
i think that the song twist and shout is the besssssssst.

thanks for the music forever | Reviewer: kamari | 5/31/07

I know what it's like to be the youngest, the 3rd wheel. But you broke through with Within you without you. Thank you, George.

Most talented Beatle | Reviewer: steve | 5/18/07

While Lennon and McCartney got the accolades, those of us who are musicians have always known that Harrison was the most talented musician in the group. His slide guitar playing is as good as anyone in the world. He was also a great sitar player, and a very talented composer who was stifled by the autocratic duo of Lennon/McCartney.

Many years ago. | Reviewer: Irene Devlin | 5/9/07

In the summer of 1966,I won a contest from 16 magazine. The winner won a phone call from the Beatles.I was that winner,and for one and a half years I spoke to the lads almost every day. George was the first Beatle to call when I head his voice I cried I was only 15. What a thrill,I loved all of the boys.George brought out the best of me he instilled a confidence in me that I never had before. We spoke of many things,spiritually was one of the subjects that we had in common.I miss having our conversations,I miss him in this physical world. I will always love him.My prayers are with his family always. I really hope to see him in the spirit world.

George Harrison | Reviewer: Adam | 5/9/07

It annoys me that George Harrison is seen by most a inferior to both Lennon and McCartney. I used to think this until I started to listen to George's solo albums. I feel he has much more passion when he sings because the subject is always very important to him, be it God or love.. or both! Thanks George! You are sadly missed.

George Harrison | Reviewer: Alexander | 4/18/07

i am a fan of George Harrison and Beatles, Georg's Friands so i want to come see his son Dhani i saw a movie Concert for George and Concert for Bangaldesh i have his music his great arist all time i loved him

he means too much 4 me | Reviewer: jiji | 9/30/05

since he is in my life, i'm very different, well really i don't speak english, so I'll speak spanish: él es demasiado especial para mí es algo inflatable cada día, trajo a mí el deseo de saber acerca de la meditación trascendental, el inmenso amor que siento por la música, yo que ahora tengo 16 años soy una fanática de él y de los beatles, es algo extraño en Chile, pero quiero decir que desde que él llegó soy otra, sus letras en sus canciones cambiaron mi forma de ver la vida, realmente me siento agradecida con él.
Gracias George, Te amo

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