George Harrison

The third composer in The Beatles, George Harrison is often overlooked both as a guitarist and as a songwriter. In the shadow of the great songwriting of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it was hard for George to really get his music out there, and the Beatles producer did not help because he always gave John and Paul the priority. It is known that in order to get The Beatles to record While my Guitar Gently Weeps he brought in Eric Clapton to play on the song and that caused the other band members to be at their best on his song. In the beginning, George’s songwriting was below Lennon and McCartney’s but that would not last, by the album Help! his contributions began to improve. By the end of The Beatles, he was writing great songs and in all truth on Abbey Road the two best songs on the album are Something and Here comes the sun, both written by George. He was the happiest member of the band to be free of the pressures and the restrictions of being in the band. Like Lennon, he would have a far meaningful impact with his actions and words, not just the music. 

In 1970 he started his solo career with the release of the album All things must pass. A triple album that contained songs that he had offered but never recorded by The Beatles. It is a real masterpiece, produced by Phil Spector, the album’s music is melodic, pop, rock and with great lyrics, it would be at least for me his best album. Incredibly he was the first Beatle to have a number 1 song as a solo artist with the single My Sweet Lord. All things must pass is a beautiful song and I think it would have made a beautiful Beatle song since there are recordings of The Beatles rehearsing the song for Let it Be. 

Now you think of events like Live Aid and Benefits concerts, well it was George who helped organize the first one of its kind. Ravi asked him to do a concert with him to raise money for Bangladesh and George thought that in order to raise more he could invite a few friends. The concert included Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston and, Bob Dylan. The concert featured mostly the band playing George’s songs and it even included a beautiful version of Here comes the sun. 

Over the years, Harrison released albums much like Lennon, they just reflected his life, one of the reasons I like his albums. Living in the material world, his second album is a really melodic album showing his ability to write beautiful melodies and how he plays his guitar. He entered a rough period after that album and the concert for Bangladesh, and his music showed it, the albums Extra Texture and Dark Horse are not bad albums but definitively not his best either. He quickly bounced and released Thirty-Three and 1/3 that was a better album and contained the hit This Song and Crackerbox Palace. The next album is one his best, titled simply George Harrison it contains the beautiful Love comes to everyone, Blow Away and if you believe. George Harrison then became involved in producing movies with Handmade productions, he financed movies for the Monty Python and had success in it. 

In 1980 the death of Lennon really affected Harrison and he then became more private than he already was. He then he released the album Somewhere in England when for the first time on a song Paul and George perform together since the break-up of The Beatles. The song All those years ago is loving tribute to Lennon where Harrison expresses how he admired and felt about his friend Lennon. After that he released Gone Troppo but that one was not as successful as his recent albums. He then released the great album Cloud Nine with other artist like Eric Clapton, Ringo and Elton John playing on the album. It was hit album and gave George another number 1 single with the cover Got my mind set on you. By this time, he also formed the super group The Traveling Wilburys with friends Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison. The album was very successful and the songs Handle with care and End of the line were heavily played on MTV. 

After that George would work again with Paul and Ringo on the Anthology project. A documentary of The Beatles featuring interviews and footage of the band. And it also included two new tracks, and by the magic of technology, The Beatles played together again. The songs were Free as a Bird and Real Love, songs Lennon never officially recorded, his bandmates added lyrics and instruments and made them into beautiful songs, George guitar on both tracks are just perfect. After that he had two events, one was he was attacked at his house by an intruder and the second was sadly on November 29, 2001, he passed away at his house. 

George is one of the most underrated guitarists. I think because he was not as flashy as Clapton or Page on his guitar solos. I think his solos are some of the most melodic and inspiring. His solo on the album version of Let it be to me is so great and it added to the song so much, but because of his personality and the fact that he does not crave attention, it goes overlooked sometimes.

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