|Date of Birth||25 February 1943 , Liverpool, Merseyside, England, UK|
|Date of Death||29 November 2001 , Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA (lung cancer)|
|Height||5' 10" (1.78 m)|
Mini Bio (1)
A master musician, a film producer and actor, best known as the lead guitarist and occasionally lead vocalist of The Beatles, George Harrison was born on February 25, 1943 in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. He was also the youngest of four children, born to Harold and Louise Harrison.
Like his future band mates, Harrison was not born into wealth. Louise was largely a stay-at-home mom while her husband Harold drove a school bus for the Liverpool Institute, an acclaimed grammar school where George Harrison attended and first met a young classmate, Paul McCartney. By his own admission, Harrison was not much of a student and what little interest he did have for his studies washed away with his discovery of the electric guitar and American rock 'n roll.
There were a lot of harmonies in the Harrison household, he had the knack of sorts at the age 12 or 13, while riding a bike around his neighborhood and getting his first whiff of Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel that was playing from a nearby house. By the age of 14, Harrison, who grew up in the likes of listening to such legends as: Carl Perkins, Little Richard, and Buddy Holly, had purchased his first guitar and taught himself a few chords.
Having to accomplished all the musicians for which he listened and having been influenced by, Paul McCartney, who had recently joined up with another Liverpool teenager, John Lennon, in a skiffle group known as the Quarrymen, invited Harrison to see the band perform. Harrison and Lennon would have some things in common. Both had attended Dovedale Primary School, but the two didn't know each other. Their paths finally crossed in early 1958. McCartney had been egging the 17-year-old Lennon to allow the 14-year-old Harrison to join the band. But Lennon was reluctant to allow the young Harrison team up with them. As legend has it, after seeing McCartney and Lennon perform, George was granted an audition on the upper deck of a bus, where he wowed Lennon with his rendition of popular American rock riffs.
By 1960, aged 17, Harrison's music career was in full swing. Lennon had renamed the band the Beatles and the young group began cutting their rock teeth in the small clubs and bars around Liverpool and Hamburg, Germany. Within two years, the group had a new drummer, Ringo Starr, and a manager, Brian Epstein, a young record storeowner who eventually landed the Beatles a record contract with EMI's Parlophone label.
Before the end of 1962, Harrison and the Beatles recorded a top 20 U.K. hit, "Love Me Do." Early that following year, another hit, "Please Please Me," was churned out, followed by an album of the same name. Beatlemania was in full swing across England, and by early 1964, with the release of their album in the US and an American tour, it had swept across the States as well.
Largely referred to as the "Quiet Beatle" Harrison took a back-seat to McCartney, Lennon, and to a certain extent, Starr. Still, he could be quick-witted, even edgy. During the middle of one American tour, the group members were asked how they slept at night with long hair.
From the get-go, Lennon-McCartney were primary lead vocalists, when the band started. While the two spent most of the time writing their own songs, Harrison had shown an early interest in creating his own work. In the summer of 1963, he spearheaded his first song, "Don't Bother Me," which made its way on to the group's second album. From there on out, Harrison's songs were a staple of all Beatle records. In fact some of the group's more memorable songs such as "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," and "Something," the latter of which was only the song ever recorded by Frank Sinatra, were penned by Harrison.
But his influence on the group and pop music in general extended beyond just singles. In 1965, while on the set of Beatles' second film, Help! (1965), Harrison took an interest in some of the eastern instruments and their musical arrangements that were being used in the movie. Harrison soon developed a deep interest in Indian music. He taught himself the sitar, introducing the instrument to many western ears on Lennon's song, "Norwegian Wood." He soon cultivated a close relationship with renowned sitar player, Ravi Shankar. Other groups, including the Rolling Stones began incorporating the sitar into some of their work. It could be argued that Harrison's experimentation with different kinds of instrumentation help pave the way for such groundbreaking Beatle albums as Revolver and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."
Harrison's interest in Indian music soon extended into a yearning to learn more about eastern spiritual practices. In 1968, he led the Beatles on a journey to northern India to study transcendental meditation under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Having grown spiritually and musically since the group first started, Harrison, who was feeling the pangs to include more of his material on Beatle records, was clearly uneasy by the group's McCartney-Lennon dominance. During the "Let It Be" recording sessions in 1969, Harrison walked out, leaving the band for several weeks before he was coaxed to come back with the promise that the band would use more of his songs on its records.
But tensions in the group were clearly high. Lennon and McCartney had ceased writing together years before, and they too were feeling the yearning to go in a different direction. In January 1970, the group recorded his "I Me Mine." It was the last song the four of them would ever record together. Three months later, Paul McCartney announced he was leaving the band and the Beatles were officially done.
After the breakup of the Beatles, Harrison pursued on a solo career. He immediately assembled a studio band consisting of ex-Beatle, Ringo Starr, guitarist Eric Clapton, keyboardist Billy Preston and others to record all of the songs that had never made it on to the Beatles catalog. The result was a three-disc album, "All Things Must Pass." While one of its signature songs, "My Sweet Lord," was later deemed too similar in style to the The Chiffons 1963 hit, "He's So Fine," forcing the guitarist to cough up nearly $600,000, the album as a whole remains Harrison's most acclaimed record.
Not long after the album's release, Harrison brandished his charitable work and his continued passion for the east, when he put together a series of groundbreaking benefit concerts at New York City's Madison Square Garden to raise money for refugees in Bangladesh. Known as the Concert for Bangladesh, the shows, which featured Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, and Ravi Shankar, would go on to raise some $15 million for UNICEF, produced a Grammy winning album, and laid the groundwork for future benefit shows like Live Aid and Farm Aid.
But not everything about post-Beatle life went smoothly for Harrison. In 1974, his marriage to Pattie Boyd, whom he'd married eight years before, ended when she left him for Eric Clapton. His studio work struggled, too, from 1973-77, starting with, "Living in the Material World", "Extra Texture," and "33 1/3," whose albums all failed to meet sales expectations.
Following the release of that last album, Harrison took a short break from music, winding down his self-started label, Dark Horse, which had produced works for a number of other bands, and started his own film production company, Handmade Films. The outfit underwrote Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) and would go on to put out 26 other movies before Harrison sold his interest in the company in 1994.
In 1979, he returned to the studio to release his self-titled album. It was followed two years later with "Somewhere in England," which was still being worked on at the time of John Lennon's assassination late in December 1980. The record eventually included the Lennon tribute track, "All Those Years Ago," a song which reunited ex-Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with ex-Wings members Denny Laine and Linda McCartney.
While the song was a hit, the album, its predecessor, and its successor, "Gone Troppo," wasn't. For Harrison, the lack of commercial appeal and the constant battles with music executives proved draining and prompted another studio hiatus.
But a comeback of sorts came in November 1987, with the release of the album "Cloud Nine," which was produced by former Beatle craze, Jeff Lynne (of "Electric Light Orchestra" fame), which produced several top-charting hits, including "Got My Mind Set On You," a remake of the 1962 song by Rudy Clark, and "When We Was Fab," a song which reflected on the life of Beatlemania, with 'Ringo Starr (I)', but without Paul McCartney, who was unavailable for the recording, in February 1988. Later in the year, Harrison formed the Traveling Wilburys, for his group's first album. The record featured a pair of hits, and spawned the guitarist to link up with Lynne, the late Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan to join his band, which was a "super group." Buoyed by the group's commercial success with its two studio albums Harrison took to the road with his new bandmates in 1992, embarking on his first international tour in 18 years.
Not long after he was reunited with McCartney and Starr for the creation of an exhaustive three-part release of the Beatles Anthology, which featured alternative takes, rare tracks, and a John Lennon demo called "Free as a Bird," that the three surviving Beatles completed in the studio. The song went on to become the group's 34th Top 10 single.
From there, however, Harrison largely became homebody, keeping himself busy with gardening and his cars at his expansive and restored home in Henley-on-Thames in south Oxfordshire, England.
Still, the ensuing years were not completely stress free. In 1997, Harrison, a longtime smoker, reportedly was successfully treated for throat cancer. Two and a half years later, that December, his life was again put on the line when a deranged 33-year-old Beatles fan somehow managed to circumvent Harrison's intricate security system and detail and broke into his home, attacking the musician and his wife Olivia with a knife. Harrison was treated for a collapsed lung and minor stab wounds. Olivia suffered several cuts and bruises.
In May 2001, Harrison's cancer returned. There was lung surgery, but doctors soon discovered the cancer had spread to his brain. That autumn he traveled to the United States for treatment and eventually landed at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. He died November 29, 2001, at his ex-bandmates' Paul McCartney's house in Los Angeles, California, at aged 58, with his wife and son at his side.
In addition, in late 2002, just one year after his death, Harrison's final studio album, "Brainwashed," also produced by Lynne, Dhani Harrison and himself, featured a collection of songs he'd been working at the time of his death, was finished by his son and released.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Richard Collins II (email@example.com)
|Olivia Harrison||(1 September 1978 - 29 November 2001) (his death) (1 child)|
|Pattie Boyd||(21 January 1966 - 9 June 1977) (divorced)|