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George Harrison
George Harrison Infobox.jpg
Born February 25, 1943
Died November 29, 2001
Occupation Musician, author, producer, gardener

George Harrison (February 25, 1943 – November 29, 2001) was an English musician, singer-songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles. Sometimes called "the quiet Beatle", Harrison embraced Indian culture and helped broaden the scope of popular music through his incorporation of Indian instrumentation and Hindu-aligned spirituality in the Beatles' work. Although the majority of the band's songs were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, most Beatles albums from 1965 onwards contained at least two Harrison compositions. His songs for the group include "Taxman", "Within You Without You", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something".

Harrison began his music career in 1958 as a member of the Quarrymen, which evolved into the Beatles in 1960. By 1965, he had begun to lead the Beatles into folk rock through his interest in Bob Dylan and the Byrds, and towards Indian classical music through his use of Indian instruments, such as sitar, on numerous Beatles songs, starting with "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)". Having initiated the band's embracing of Transcendental Meditation in 1967, he subsequently developed an association with the Hare Krishna movement. After the band's break-up in 1970, Harrison released the triple album All Things Must Pass, a critically acclaimed work that produced his most successful hit single, "My Sweet Lord", and introduced his signature sound as a solo artist, the slide guitar. He also organised the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh with Indian musician Ravi Shankar, a precursor to later benefit concerts such as Live Aid. In his role as a music and film producer, Harrison produced acts signed to the Beatles' Apple record label before founding Dark Horse Records in 1974 and co-founding HandMade Films in 1978.

Harrison released several best-selling singles and albums as a solo performer. In 1988, he co-founded the platinum-selling supergroup the Traveling Wilburys. Harrison's first marriage, to model Pattie Boyd in 1966, ended in divorce in 1977. The following year he married Olivia Arias, with whom he had a son, Dhani. Harrison died in 2001 at the age of 58 after suffering a heart attack. His remains were cremated, and the ashes were scattered according to Hindu tradition in a private ceremony in the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in India. He left an estate of almost £100 million.

A prolific recording artist, he was featured as a guest guitarist on tracks by Badfinger, Ronnie Wood and Billy Preston, and collaborated on songs and music with Dylan, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr and Tom Petty, among others. Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 11 in their list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". He is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee – as a member of the Beatles in 1988, and posthumously for his solo career in 2004.


Early life[]

Harrison was born to Louise Harrison and Harold Harrison in Liverpool, England on February 25, 1943. During his childhood, Harrison attended the Liverpool Institute for Boys, where he met future band mate, Paul McCartney. Harrison was considered a bad student in grammar school, but he enjoyed playing the guitar. He and his brother formed a short-lived group called the Rebels. The Bass Player for the Rebels was Alan Williams.

The Quarrymen[]

Harrison was introduced to the band called The Quarrymen by Paul McCartney, his friend from school. By early 1958, Harrison was playing lead guitar in the band. He was the youngest member of the band, which was led by John Lennon. In 1959, Harrison left school and worked as an apprentice electrician.

The Beatles[]

In 1960, The Quarrymen changed their name to The Silver Beatles, which eventually became The Beetles, and finally The Beatles. Pete Best became their new drummer. The Beatles played their first official tour in Hamburg, Germany, but Harrison was forced to leave because he was underage. Over the next few years of the Beatles' success, John Lennon and Paul McCartney got most of the attention from the media. Harrison wrote his first song, "Don't Bother Me " (included on With the Beatles) while sick in bed and starting with Help! onwards, he started to contribute, on average, two songs to every studio album, but he also got three on Revolver and four on The White Album.

Before the American Tour in 1964, Harrison went to America a few weeks in advance of the rest of the Beatles to visit his sister. He played guitar in a band during an event and the band learned some Beatles songs from Harrison.

During the filming of Help! in 1965, Harrison became fascinated with the sitar, an eastern-Indian instrument. He would go on to play the sitar in several Beatles songs, including Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) from Rubber Soul, Love You To on Revolver, and Within You, Without You on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Through his wife, Pattie Boyd, he met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who introduced The Beatles and their acquaintances to Transcendental Meditation. Harrison also started studying Eastern philosophy.

Since Harrison was good at electronics, he showed new technologies to Paul, John, and Ringo. When he showed a new type of sound called stereo, It seemed weird to them.

Harrison wrote and sang many popular Beatles songs, including "Taxman," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (featuring Eric Clapton on lead guitar), "Old Brown Shoe," "Something" and "Here Comes the Sun." Harrison's song "Something" was released as a single.

During recording of The White Album, friction started between John Lennon, Paul McCartney and, Harrison. This arguing is evident in the film Let It Be. Harrison quit the band on January 10, 1969, only to return 10 days later after a meeting with the the three Beatles.  Harrison insisted that they drop the live concert idea and resume recording and filming at their new studios underneath the Apple offices at #3 Saville Row.  The others agreed and the Get Back project with all four Beatles in tow, reumed.

Solo career[]

Harrison's solo career consists of 12 studio albums, two live albums, four compilation albums, 35 singles, two video albums and four box sets (one of which is with Indian classical musician Ravi Shankar). Harrison's first solo releases – the Wonderwall Music film soundtrack (1968) and Electronic Sound (1969) – were almost entirely instrumental works, issued during the last two years of the Beatles' career. Following the band's break-up in April 1970, Harrison continued to produce recordings by his fellow Apple Records acts, notably former bandmate Ringo Starr. He recorded and collaborated with a wide range of artists, including Shankar, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Gary Wright.

Harrison's acclaimed triple album All Things Must Pass (1970) was certified six-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in March 2001 and, as of 2011, was still the most successful album by an ex-Beatle. All Things Must Pass produced the international number 1 hit "My Sweet Lord", which was coupled as a double A-side with "Isn't It a Pity" in the majority of countries. In 1971 Harrison recorded pop music's first charity single, "Bangla Desh", and released the Concert for Bangladesh triple live album (credited to George Harrison & Friends) to raise further funds for refugees of the Bangladesh Liberation War. His 1973 album Living in the Material World and the single "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)" repeated the US success of his 1970 solo releases by simultaneously holding the number 1 position on Billboard's albums and singles charts. The remainder of his 1970s studio albums, starting with Dark Horse (1974), were all certified gold by the RIAA but performed disappointingly on the UK albums chart. Following the expiration of his EMI-affiliated Apple contract, Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976) was Harrison's debut release on his Dark Horse label, distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Records.

The 1981 single "All Those Years Ago", from Somewhere in England, was written as a tribute to the recently murdered John Lennon and became Harrison's biggest chart hit since "Give Me Love". Having clashed with Warner Bros. over the content of that album, Harrison refused to participate in promotion for Gone Troppo (1982), resulting in lacklustre sales. From 1983 until 1986, Harrison released only film soundtrack singles, reflecting his involvement in movie production. Cloud Nine (1987) and its lead single "Got My Mind Set on You" marked a commercial comeback for Harrison. He then formed the Traveling Wilburys with Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison, and the band released two successful studio albums between 1988 and 1990 on his Warner Bros. contract. Following his tour that resulted in the 1992 Live in Japan album, Harrison again stepped back from full-time musical activity. After being diagnosed with throat cancer in 1997, he recorded his twelfth and final studio album, the posthumously released Brainwashed (2002). Harrison oversaw the reissue of All Things Must Pass in January 2001, and 2014 saw the completion of his remastered catalogue with the release of The Apple Years 1968–75.

Honours and Legacy[]

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. Another award with The Beatles came in 1970 when they won an Academy Award for the Best Original Song Score for Let It Be.

A significant music award as a solo artiste was in December 1992, when he became the first recipient of the Billboard Century Award — presented to music artistes for significant bodies of work. 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. In 2003, Harrison was ranked 21st in Rolling Stone's list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

Harrison was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artiste on 15 March 2004 by his Traveling Wilburys friends Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty. He was inducted into the Madison Square Garden Walk of Fame on 1 August 2006 for The Concert for Bangladesh.

Harrison featured twice on the cover of Time magazine, initially with The Beatles in 1967, then on his own, shortly after his death in 2001. In June 2007, 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.

On 14 April 2009, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce awarded Harrison a star on the Walk of Fame in front of the Capitol Records Building. The Beatles have a group star on the Walk of Fame. (Paul McCartney is the only Beatle not to have a star on the Walk of Fame.) Musicians Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and Paul McCartney were among those in attendance when the star was unveiled. Harrison's widow Olivia, actor Tom Hanks and comedian Eric Idle made speeches at the ceremony; Harrison's son Dhani uttered the Hare Krishna mantra. After the ceremony, Capitol Records/EMI Records announced that a new career-spanning CD entitled Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison would be released in mid-June 2009.


Studio Albums[]

  1. Wonderwall Music (1968)
  2. Electronic Sound (1969)
  3. All Things Must Pass (1970)
  4. Living in the Material World (1973)
  5. Dark Horse (1974)
  6. Extra Texture (Read All About It) (1975)
  7. Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976)
  8. George Harrison (1979)
  9. Somewhere in England (1981)
  10. Gone Troppo (1982)
  11. Cloud Nine (1987)
  12. Brainwashed (2002)

Live Albums[]

  1. Concert for Bangladesh (1972)
  2. Live in Japan (1992)


  1. Best of George Harrison (1976)
  2. Best of Dark Horse 1976-1989 (1989)
  3. The Dark Horse Years 1976-1992 (box set) (2004)
  4. Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison (2009)
  5. Early Takes: Vol 1 (2012)
  6. The Apple Years 1968-75 (box set) (2014)





  • 1962 Gibson J-160E (1962-1968)
  • 1968 Gibson Jumbo (1968-1970)
  • 1974 Zemaitis 12-String


  • 1965 Fender VI (1968-1969)
  • Undefined Sitar (1965-1968)
  • Undefined Ukulele (1992-2001)
  • Undefined Mandolin (1982)

External links[]