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.
- Disillusioned with working for a major label, he quickly and hastily recorded "Gone Troppo" in 1982 to fulfill his contract. When asked to renew, he refused. He also refused to do any publicity for the album, which he thought of as second-rate. Due to the shoddy publicity campaign by Warner Brothers for the album, it was a flop and its highest chart position was #108. Harrison decided not to make another album for five years. When he did, the album, "Cloud Nine", was a smash, landing in the #1 spot.
- Wrote an autobiography titled "I Me Mine" in the late 1970s (which he described in the introduction as "the small change of a short lifetime"), and included reproductions of the original handwritten lyrics to nearly all his songs. The book was originally issued as an exclusive leather-bound edition by Genesis Books for about $350 per copy; a less-expensive hardback edition was later published by Simon and Schuster.
- Son, 'Dhani Harrison' (qv) (born 1 August 1978) was a student at Brown University.
- Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of 'The Beatles' (qv) January 20, 1988.
- In 1968, 'Eric Clapton' (qv) played guitar on George's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on 'The Beatles' (qv)'s White Album. Also, George was at Eric's home in England and wrote "Here Comes the Sun" while skipping a board meeting for the band's company, Apple Corps.
- Wrote the introduction to a biography on sitarist 'Ravi Shankar' (qv).
- (Jan. 2002) Re-release of "My Sweet Lord" reaches #1 in the UK, replacing 'Aaliyah (I)' (qv)'s "More Than A Woman". It is the first time there have been two consecutive posthumous #1 hits in the UK.
- He and the Beatles were awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 7080 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.