George Harrison (Beatles, Traveling Wilbury’s)

Best known for being the lead Guitarist in The Beatles, the English musician, singer and songwriter George Harrison sadly died on 29 November 2001, aged 58, from lung cancer. He was Born 25 February 1943 and achieved international fame with The Beatles and later had a successful solo career. Harrison’s earliest musical influences included Big Bill Broonzy, George Formby and Django Reinhardt; Chet Atkins, Chuck Berry and Ry Cooder were significant later influences.

The Beatles were  formed in Liverpool in 1960. With members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr,  Rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later experimented with a number of musical styles, ranging from pop ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock, often incorporating classical elements and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways. In 1963 their enormous popularity first emerged as “Beatlemania”, and as the group’s music grew in sophistication in subsequent years, led by primary songwriters Lennon and McCartney, they came to be perceived as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the counterculture of the 1960s.The Beatles built their reputation playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg over a three-year period from 1960, with Stuart Sutcliffe initially serving as bass player. The core of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison went through a succession of drummers, including Pete Best, before asking Starr to join them in 1962. Manager Brian Epstein moulded them into a professional act, and producer George Martin guided and developed their recordings, greatly expanding their popularity in the United Kingdom after their first hit, “Love Me Do”, in late 1962. By 1965 Harrison had begun to lead the Beatles into folk rock through his interest in the Byrds and Bob Dylan, and towards Indian classical music through his use of the sitar on “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”. He also developed an interest in the Hare Krishna movement and became an admirer of Indian culture and mysticism, introducing them to the other members of the Beatles and their Western audience by incorporating Indian instrumentation in their music.

The Beatles acquired the nickname “the Fab Four” as Beatlemania grew in Britain, and by early 1964 became international stars, leading the “British Invasion” of the United States pop market. From 1965 onwards, the Beatles produced increasingly innovative recordings, including the albums Rubber Soul (1965), Revolver (1966), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), The Beatles (commonly known as the White Album, 1968) and Abbey Road (1969). Although John Lennon and Paul McCartney were the band’s primary songwriters, most of their albums included at least one Harrison composition, including “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something”, which became the Beatles’ second-most-covered song.

The Beatles are the best-selling band in history, with estimated sales of over 800 million physical and digital albums worldwide. They have had more number-one albums on the British charts and sold more singles in the UK than any other act. They are also the best-selling music artists in the United States, with 178 million certified units. In 2008, the group topped Billboard magazine’s list of the all-time most successful artists; as of 2017, they hold the record for most number-one hits on the Hot 100 chart with twenty. They have received seven Grammy Awards, an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score and fifteen Ivor Novello Awards. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, and all four main members were inducted individually from 1994 to 2015. They were also collectively included in Time magazine’s compilation of the twentieth century’s 100 most influential peoplE.

After the band’s break-up in 1970, Harrison released the triple album All Things Must Pass, from which two hit singles originated. He also organized the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh with Ravi Shankar, a precursor for later benefit concerts such as Live Aid. Harrison was a music and film producer as well as a musician; he founded Dark Horse Records in 1974 and co-founded HandMade Films in 1978. If you watch carefully he has got a cameo in a few Monty Python films including “Life of Brian”. Harrison also released several best-selling singles and albums as a solo performer including All things must pass.

In 1988 co-founded the platinum-selling supergroup the Traveling Wilburys. The Traveling Wilburys (sometimes shortened to the Wilburys) were a British-American supergroup consisting of Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty. The band recorded two albums, the first in 1988 and the second in 1990, though Orbison died before the second was recorded. The project’s work received much anticipation given the diverse nature of the singer-songwriters. Their debut album Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 proved an enduring critical success, in 1989 and 1990 winning accolades such as a Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group.

Harrison was A prolific recording artist, and was also featured as a guest guitarist on many tracks including tracks by Badfinger, Ronnie Wood and Billy Preston, and collaborated on songs and music with Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Tom Petty, among others. Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 11 in their list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. Harrison’s first marriage, to Pattie Boyd, ended in divorce in 1977. The in 1978 he married Olivia Trinidad Arias, with whom he remained and had one son, Dhani until he passed away in 2001. Harrison was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in India, in a private ceremony according to Hindu tradition. He left almost £100 million in his will.

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