George Harrison

George Harrison ( MBE, born February 25, 1943 in Liverpool, England; † 29 November 2001 in Los Angeles, California ) was an English musician and composer. He is best known as the lead guitarist of the Beatles. He was often referred to as the "quiet Beatle " or as the " third Beatle " because he stood for a long time in the shadow of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. He became one of the pioneers of world music through the use of oriental instruments and compositions from the mid- 1960s. He has performed with the Concert for Bangladesh (1971 ) transferred benefit concerts to a new dimension, and he displayed great effect in the Western world as a door opener for meditation techniques from India. He was also a producer of some Monty Python movies, and a member of the supergroup Traveling Wilburys.


Childhood and youth

George Harrison was in Wavertree, a suburb of the northern English port city of Liverpool, the youngest child of the bus driver Harold Harrison ( * 1909, † 1978) and his wife Louise ( née French, * 1911, † 1970) was born. In the 1950s they moved to the suburb of Speke. Harrison had two brothers, Peter ( * 1940, † 2007) and Harold ( * 1934), and a sister, Louise (* 1931). He grew up in a harmonious home and attended the same primary school ( Dovedale Primary School ) as John Lennon, of the three classes, however, was above him. 1954 Harrison moved to the Liverpool Institute, which also Paul McCartney visited. The two first met on the school bus and became friends when they discovered their common interest in music.

His first musical steps took Harrison around the age of 13 years when he got his first guitar. A friend of his father taught him the basics of guitar playing. As with many young people in the 1950s, the incipient success of the rock 'n' roll music at Harrison left a strong impression and awakened in him the desire to also become a rock musician.

Through the good offices of his friend Paul McCartney Harrison was allowed to join as a member of the Quarrymen, founded by Lennon, despite his young age. Thus, the core of the later Beatles were together.

Beatles era

The American editions of the early Beatles records turned with their album covers directly to the fans. Harrison was described on a 1964 published by Vee -Jay LP as:

" George plays the lead guitar. He is the one with the expressionless face between John and Paul. He is also probably the best musician since he took some music lessons, making him the only member of the group with music education. George is more introverted than the other, and someone who gets interviewed him, especially 'yes' and 'no' as an answer, nothing more. George is the youngest and quietest in the group. His interests are broad. His secret wish is to be a really good guitar player and playing a Spanish guitar without an amplifier. He is an admirer of the great guitarist Andrés Segovia. George was the only Beatle who came to the U.S. before their tour in February, and he had the honor to meet President Kennedy on the occasion. At its appearance immediately falls on his narrow face, the bright hazel eyes, shadowed by his hair with the shaggy Beatles cut. He loves to eat lamb chops, but the food is not particularly important to him. His collar size 14, chest 38, waist 30 inches. He is one of four children and was better than average in school. "

Harrison converted to Hinduism mid-1960s and brought - influenced by Ravi Shankar - Indian elements, in particular the game on the sitar, in the music of the Beatles one - to hear so in the song Norwegian Wood or composed by him Within You Without You.

Although the music of The Beatles by John Lennon and Paul McCartney was dominated, has produced some very successful compositions by George Harrison, for example, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Something and Here Comes the Sun.

Harrison married model Pattie Boyd in 1966 the photo, she had met during the filming to Yeah Yeah Yeah. The marriage was divorced in 1977, after Boyd had fallen in love with Eric Clapton and wanted to marry them.

Solo career

The first of the four Beatles took George Harrison 1968 solo album. Wonderwall Music was the soundtrack of the same film with Jane Birkin, but reached no significant charts positions. The second solo album Electronic Sound was avant-garde. Here Harrison experimented with a Moog synthesizer.

After separation of the Beatles Harrison had the most successful new start as a solo musician. He published in 1970 All Things Must Pass, the first triple album in pop history. Producer was Phil Spector, who was also responsible for the production of the album Let It Be of the Beatles. All Things Must Pass is still the most successful album of ex- Beatles, it was revised in 2001 by Harrison and again released.

The most successful title of his solo career was My Sweet Lord, which, however, subsequently proved to be unconscious plagiarism of the play He 's So Fine by The Chiffons according to a court judgment. It was the first number -one hit of an ex-Beatle.

Harrison organized in 1971 along with Ravi Shankar at the concert for Bangladesh. In addition to George Harrison himself appeared among other Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan. As a stage musician Klaus Voormann worked with, a friend of the Beatles from the Hamburg days. John Lennon told his guest appearance on the short term.

In 1973, Give Me Love, Give Me Peace On Earth became another number -one hit. Also, the accompanying album Living in the Material World reached the top of the charts in the USA. Less successful were the subsequent albums Dark Horse (1974) and Extra Texture ( Read All About It) (1975).

After the end of the contracts from the Beatles George Harrison times broke away from the old record company Apple Records, which still brought out the greatest hits album The Best of George Harrison. He named his newly founded his own company Dark Horse ( " blank slate "). Although his next album Thirty Three & 1 /3 ( both rotational speed of an LP as well as Harrison's age at that time ) got good reviews, it reached only with difficulty the top 20 of the U.S. charts. Add This Song to Harrison sat ironically with the plagiarism allegations apart against My Sweet Lord.

After a three year hiatus was released in 1979 the album George Harrison with the successful single Blow Away. Meanwhile Harrison was married to Olivia Arias and had one son, Dhani. Its produced in the following year album Somewhere in England was first held back. For one, he had agreed with John Lennon that his comeback album Double Fantasy should appear first. On the other was the record company Warner Bros., the Dark Horse belonged as a label, not satisfied with the songs and called for improvements.

With the song All Those Years Ago (1981 ), written in memory of the murdered John Lennon in December 1980, there was a small reunion: George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Paul and Linda McCartney took the title with producer George Martin on. He reached the second place in the U.S. and appeared on the redesigned album Somewhere in England. As a tribute to John Lennon Harrison Sri Krishna quoted from the Bhagavad Gita on the disc inner cover:

" There was never a time when i did not exist, nor you. Nor will there be any future When We cease to be. J. O. L. 1940-1980 † "

In the song Blood from a Clone to Harrison sat critically with the music industry. His next album Gone Troppo (1982 ) appeared almost unnoticed and reached no significant charts positions. Only the title of Dream Away is best known as the title track of the film Time Bandits. Subsequently, Harrison initially pulled all the way back from the music scene.

In 1987 he managed a comeback. Got My Mind Set on You was number 1 in the U.S., the album Cloud Nine reached high sales figures. It was produced by Jeff Lynne, whose musical influence can be clearly seen. On the second outcoupling When We Was Fab Harrison played again on the Beatles past. In the accompanying music video, he wears his old Sgt Pepper ' s- uniform and is accompanied by Ringo Starr and the walrus, a character from the Beatles song I Am the Walrus.

Between 1988 and 1990, George Harrison was a member of the group Traveling Wilburys, who released two albums: Traveling Wilburys Vol 1 (1988) and Traveling Wilburys Vol 3 (1990). The other band members were Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison. Harrison's second best-of compilation Best of Dark Horse 1976-1989 (1989 ), however, as his new single Cheer Down went unheeded. Also live in Japan with Eric Clapton (1992 ) was not a great success. Harrison limited his musical activities on posts for other musicians.

Shortly after Harrison's death, My Sweet Lord appeared in January 2002, again as a single. They again reached the first place of the charts in the UK. In the same year appeared posthumously in the last studio album Brainwashed. It was produced and completed by Jeff Lynne and Dhani Harrison's son. The instrumental piece contained therein Marwa Blues won a Grammy in 2004. George Harrison was involved in the course of his musical career to at least 130 official albums as a musician, for example, Bob Dylan, Don Nix, John Lennon, Mick Fleetwood, Jeff Lynne, and more.

According to the U.S. business magazine Forbes, the income of Harrison's heirs from advertising, licensing and record sales were in the period October 2006 to October 2007 a ​​total of 15.4 million euros.

In September 2007 it was announced that director and Oscar winner Martin Scorsese is planning a documentary about George Harrison. In December 2011, the documentary George Harrison has been published Living in the Material World on DVD / Blu -ray.

Film producer

Besides music was Harrison's interest even the film. So he produced with his company Handmade Films, for example, for the comedian group Monty Python the movie The Life of Brian. Other projects included, inter alia, water, Time Bandits, Five Corners, Mona Lisa and Shanghai Surprise with singer Madonna and Sean Penn.

It is worth mentioning also his production work for the mockumentary The Rutles by Eric Idle, which humorously satirized the history of the Beatles and the Harrison took over a small supporting role.


On December 30, 1999 Harrison was in Friar Park, his mansion in Henley-on -Thames, stabbed by a mentally confused and seriously injured. His wife Olivia The intervention probably saved his life. You could put the assailant by knocked him down with a poker.

Cancer and death

As early as 1997 had been diagnosed with heavy smokers Harrison cancer. On 29 November 2001 George Harrison died in Los Angeles at the age of 58 years. The cause of death was lung cancer indicated that had pulled through metastases, the brain affected.


Harrison was cremated in accordance with his faith lying in a cardboard coffin. Contrary to popular opinion, his ashes were not - as has been claimed shortly after his death - scattered in the ( sacred to the Hindus ) river Ganges. The whereabouts of his remains was not made ​​known to the public.

Concert in memory of George Harrison

On 29 November 2002, the Concert for George was held in his honor at London's Royal Albert Hall, in which friends and musical companions occurred. Together with his son Dhani Harrison played at this concert, among others, Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynne, Gary Brooker, Billy Preston, Joe Brown, Albert Lee, Tom Petty and Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

Posthumous honors

On March 15, 2004 Harrison was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On 14 April 2009 he was honored posthumously on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a star in the category Music ( at 1750 Vine Street ). The ceremony was attended by his widow Olivia, his son Dhani and Paul McCartney.