58 (passed away Nov. 29th, 2001)
Feb. 24th, 1943
Liverpool, Merseyside, England, UK
5' 10 1/2
George Harrison's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
The youngest of Harold and Louise French Harrison's four children, George Harrison played lead guitar and sometimes sang lead vocals for the Beatles. 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 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. As Harrison would later describe it, he had an "epiphany" 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, whose early rock heroes included Carl Perkins, Little Richard,and Buddy Holly, had purchased his first guitar and taught himselfa few chords.Impressed with his younger friend's talents, 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 actually shared some common history. Both had attended Dovedale Primary School, but oddly had never met. Their paths finally crossed in early 1958. McCartney had been pushing the 17-year-old Lennon to let the 14-year-old Harrison join the band. But Lennon was reluctant to let 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 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. 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. Harrison fired back. "How do you sleep with your arms and legs still attached?"From the start, the Beatles were a Lennon-McCartney driven band and brand. But while the two took up much of the group's song writing responsibilities, 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! 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 John 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. (The trip was cut short after it was discovered that the Maharishi, an avowed celibate, had engaged in sexual improprieties.)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 George Harrison's 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.
- Overcame both hepatitis in the mid-1970s (which caused a delay in the release of his album "Thirty-Three and 1/3"), and a cocaine addiction in the early 1980s.
- Although rightly considered the shyest Beatle, Harrison loved comedy and often associated with Monty Python through the 1970s.
- On 30 December 1999, an intruder broke into his Oxfordshire mansion, stabbing him multiple times in the chest. Harrison and his wife fought the intruder and detained him for the police.
- The first song he wrote was "Don't Bother Me", while he was sick in hospital. He said later "It was an exercise, to see if I *could* write a song".
- In 1978, 'The Rolling Stones' (qv) album "Some Girls" was withdrawn from stores after several stars whose photos appeared on the original cover (including 'Lucille Ball' (qv), 'Raquel Welch' (qv), 'Farrah Fawcett' (qv), 'Lee Majors (I)' (qv) and 'Red Buttons' (qv)) threatened to sue. The album was re-released with a "censored" cover; Harrison's photo appears on both versions. He joked publicly that he'd sue the Stones "if they removed his photo."
- Got a job as an apprentice electrician at age 16 but didn't have the interest to continue it. With one son a mechanic and another a groundskeeper, father Harry hoped his sons would go into business together once George finished his apprenticeship. Harry let George quit to become a working musician, though, when 'The Beatles' (qv) began to get weekly bookings, figuring he was young and could still "start over" if music didn't work out.
- First ex-Beatle to have a number one hit as a solo artist ("My Sweet Lord" December 1970) after the breakup of the Fab Four.
- Was called "my archangel" by 'Srila Prabhupada' (qv), founder of the Hare Krishna movement.