Monday, 22 October 2012


A Tribute to the Late, Great George Harrison

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Some musicians might say that the song Something was one of the greatest love ballads written in the past fifty years; in-fact Frank Sinatra, who was no fan of rock and roll said those exact words.  One of the most powerful love songs in music history, so simple, yet tender and emotive.  It is absolutely fitting that this song was written by a former Beatle, the late, great George Harrison.  Most Beatles fans will never forget the day they heard about his death and George Harrison’s untimely, tragic passing on at only fifty-eight years of age has left fans feeling deep sadness, a huge sense of loss and a determination to hang on to those vivid memories of the glory days.  The magical memories of Harrison’s Beatles days and his subsequent career thereafter will be with the fans forever as will the precious gift of his music.  The song Something was probably his best work, along with Here Comes the Sun, While my Guitar Gently Weeps, and My Sweet Lord.  All remarkable, influential, artistic and thought provoking songs.  ‘Typically George,’ some might say.  John Lennon was even quoted as saying that Something was the best track on the album Abbey Road.

George Harrison was portrayed as the quiet, enigmatic Beatle.  What is it they say about the quiet ones?  George Harrison was an extremely remarkable person, who lived ‘a charmed life.’  He was part of the biggest, most popular bands in music history.  His music can be described as very spiritual, uplifting and moving, not as romantic and hearfelt like some of McCartney’s ballads.  Just different, exceptional in it’s own way.

McCartney and Lennon would have to be the two most talented singer/song writers this world has ever seen and there is little doubt that we will never witness talents like theirs again.  Of the four Beatles, they were so different in their style of musical ability and personality.  Paul McCartney, the romanticist, John Lennon the peace-maker, the mischievous and lovable drummer Ringo Starr and George Harrison the spiritualist.  Put them all together in a rock n roll band spanning almost a decade and the rest as they say is history.  Their coming together, produced some of the most significant and inspiring music that would affect people in so many different ways.  Music that was impossible not to dance to, or to sing to, or to grab a guitar and jam with.  Most music lovers can relate to just sitting back and letting those familiar haunting chills take over, a feeling that would stir the soul and invoke a passion that was just indefinable.

Getting back to George Harrison, his death came almost twenty one years to the day that John Lennon was shot.  Lennon’s death affected all Beatles fans more than they would care to remember, as it was such a huge shock.  In Harrison’s case, the fans knew he was gravely ill and that his death was inevitable.  All the same it is unbearable to think that he’s gone and now only two Beatles remain.  Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.  Its possible that, McCartney and Starr hate being referred to as the two remaining Beatles.  George Harrison was once quoted as saying that he hated being referred to as a Beatle.  McCartney and Starr’s lives have gone in different directions since the good old days in the sixties.  They have fulfilled many goals in their careers and they probably wish that all Beatle’s fans would stop living in the past.  The problem is; the fans cannot and never will and there are different generations of fans who love the Beatles.
The Beatles probably have at least three generations of fans now.  Many of their fans were not even born when the Beatles split up and went their separate ways.  Nevertheless, McCartney and Starr would be correct, it isn’t healthy to live in the past, but reminiscing is a different story.

Harrison was the first of the Beatles to reap the success of their breakup, with his music that never made it onto Beatles’ albums and what wonderful music it is.  All Thing Must Pass is a brilliant album.  The Beatles had really gone as far as they were going to as a foursome, the demise of the group cannot be blamed or pin pointed to any one person or reason.  Over the space of almost ten years the Beatles created two hundred odd songs and many were hits.  Most of the Beatle’s albums went to number one on the charts.  Harrison was quoted as saying in an interview that the wives of the band members did create rifts, but it is possible he was referring to the times after the band had split, for instance he recalled a time when he visited Lennon in New York, where he felt that Lennon was trying to tell him something.

George Harrison realised his potential a long time before McCartney and Lennon even considered including much of Harrison’s music on a Beatles album.  After splitting with model Pattie Boyd, whom the song “Something” relates to.  He married for the second time, to secretary Olivia Arias and they had a son, Dhani.  Dhani would be Harrison’s only child.  His solo career was the first to take off and the success of his album ‘All Things Must Pass’ was phenomenal.  He was the first Beatle to release a number one hit with My Sweet Lord.  He proceeded to make many more albums and he also became involved in the movies as a producer, he founded the company Handmade films, that made the Monty Python movies, amongst others.  What is really ironic is that George was the quiet Beatle and yet the most successful directly after the split and what’s more it is possible that his many other successes such as his career producing films and the success with the Travelling Wilbury’s in the 1990’s were not even acknowledged by many fans, possibly only the most dedicated fans.  The remaining three Beatles eventually reunited in the 1990’s when Anthology was released and tracks previously not released were performed by George, Paul and Ringo, including two songs written by Lennon, “Real Love” and “Free as a Bird.”  George Harrison had more talent still there to give the world and yet fate chose to cut his wonderful life so dreadfully short.

This is a matter of opinion, but “Something” will probably be the song that stands out amongst all the music he wrote whilst with the Beatles and as a solo artist, for its moving quality and simplicity.  This song sums up everything in three small verses and a forceful, intense bridge.  “You’re asking me will my love will grow, I don’t know, I don’t know!”  The way Harrison executes these lyrics and his brilliant guitar work throughout the song just blows the mind.  George Harrison was a special human being, a person with rare gifts and a beautiful mind.  Man, he was Something!

Copyright ©2001 Janelle Coulton

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