Tuesday, February 25, 2014

25 Days of Harrison Day 25- What Is Life

George Harrison was born on the 25 February, 1943, making today his 71st birthday. Although, his birthday was argued that it was on the 24th being born near the turning of the day but there are no documents proving whether it was defiantly the 24th or the 25th, his birth certificate states it's the 25th but family records say it was the 24th. During an interview in 2007, Olivia Harrison mentioned that If you wished George a Happy Birthday on the 24th he'd tell you you were a day too early. If you wished him a Happy Birthday on the 25th he'd tell you you were a day late. Just like 9 Days Of Lennon, the last day is dedicated to tributes and remembrances of the artist (read John's tributes by clicking here).

 “If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there”- George Harrison
Fifty-eight years is all it took for one person to change not only themselves but to change and shake the world through music, inspiration, stories, humor, and words of wisdom. To many fans George is the ex-Beatle, a musician, and a celebrity but he was much more to that. He even says himself he'd rather be successful than famous. He wasn't just a musician in fact he was a gardener, a racing fan, a father, husband, a friend. Throughout his fifty-eight years in his earthly body as George he had became friends with hundreds of people who can't say anything bad about him, one being later band mate, Tom Petty also known as Charlie T Wilbury Jr or Muddy Wilbury;
"I would assure all his fans that George was just really as beautiful as they pictured him. And maybe more."
George had met Tom Petty in 1974 in Los Angeles. During an interview with Rolling Stone magazine Tom Petty had said that it's very scary meeting a Beatle; by1974 he had not only met one Beatle but he had also met Ringo.
"George was so nice to me and included me in everything.",Tom Petty remembers.
The two didn't see each other until Tom Petty's mid 1980s tour with Bob Dylan where George had came to see them in Birmingham. Tom says he reminded George that they had met before and
"It felt like we had known each other all our lives, and in a personal way."
 Tom had became part of The Traveling Wilburys, a band featuring George Harrison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison, with drummer Jim Keltner ( read about The Traveling Wilburys by clicking here and here ). The two became very close, Tom even says that The Traveling Wilburys was George's baby and considered himself a Wilbury for the rest of his life, he loved the band and he loved the people in it.  Petty and Harrison had even written "Cheer Down" together, a song that came from an Olivia Harrison saying when George got too happy. The following video is "Cheer Down";



"Oh, I feel blessed. And it's the only time in my life, really, that I had been that close to somebody - outside of like my mom dying or something. I loved him so much, and if he had never played a note, I would have been so blessed to have him in my life." Tom Petty goes on to say, "I'm just blessed by God to have known him. He had so much love in him."
 Jeff Lynne, or as others may know him as Otis or Clayton Wilbury, had became close friends with George Harrison who even had Jeff work on his Cloud Nine album which would lead to the start of The Traveling Wilburys. The following video is Jeff Lynne from Martin Scorsese's Living In The Material World documentary;

"You always knew where you stood with George, he was totally honest. I feel blessed to have been so close to him. He was a great friend. Some of the happiest days of my life were spent in the studio with George."- Jeff Lynne
 Jeff and Tom were there to induct George into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. The two were also present when George was given a star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2009 along with Olivia Harrison, Dhani Harrison, Paul McCartney, Eric Idle, Tom Hanks and hundreds of Beatles/ Harrison fans., the following video is of the two inducting George into the Hall of Fame;

 

 
 Jeff and Tom also sang "While My Guitar Gentle Weeps" and "Handle With Care" at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honoring their good friend. On 9 February, 2014, Jeff Lynne preformed twice at the Grammy's Salute To The Beatles, singing "Something", one of George's most famous works, with George's son Dhani Harrison, and musician Joe Walsh. He had also preformed "Hey Bulldog" with Dave Ghrol. 

Bob Dylan, also known as Lucky or Boo Wilbury says;
"George was a giant, a great, great soul, with all of the humanity, all of the wit and humor, all the wisdom, the spirituality, the common sense of a man and compassion for people. The world is a profoundly emptier place without him."
Bob and George had met in 1964 where Dylan had introduced the group to marijuana after hearing The Beatles "I Want To Hold Your Hand" thinking that they were singing "I Get High" instead of "I Can't Hide". The Beatles were all in awe and huge fans of Bob Dylan's and later when George and Bob were in The Traveling Wilburys Tom had said,
"I think George frightened Bob. When the Wilburys started, George was so reverent of Bob. At the end of the first day he said, 'We know that you're Bob Dylan and everything, but we're going to just treat you and talk to you like we would anybody else.' and Bob went, 'Well, great. Believe it or not, I'm in awe of you guys, and it's the same for me.'"
 Harrison would work together later on a song called 'I'd Have You Anytime", George also covered Bob's "If Not For You" for his All Things Must Pass album. In George's autobiography, I Me Mine, Olivia says that in times when George was trying to write about reflection and trying to give a message he'd try to write in a style of Dylan's lyrics. George also wrote "Behind That Locked Door" about Bob Dylan. The following video is George Harrison's "I'd Have You Anytime"


Jim Keltner had drummed for George (also with John).
"To me he was just George. He was just George, my beautiful, beautiful friend, who I kind of took for granted over the years."- Jim Keltner
Jim had gotten to know George throughout the years and said he was really like a brother, calling it a cliché but true. George had even created a fan club for Jim Keltner which is featured on the back of Harrison's album "Living In The Material World", when Jim asked why George told him that if he had to create a fan club he was going to make it of one he was a fan of.  The following video is Jim Keltner talking about the fan club;

 
"The guy just had a way of handling everything so beautifully. He was deep with his religion, with his spiritual side, and even though we don't share the same religion, I believe that God must be blessing him immensely right now. And he never changed, he never wavered. He was always talking about how great one of these days it's going to be to get out of these old bodies. "- Jim Keltner

"I was the same all along, I talked when I felt like it, and I shut up when I didn't feel like talking."- George Harrison
 
George Harrison had paid for Monty Python's "Life Of Brian" to be made, which started George's company, HandMade Films.
"Still the most anybody has ever paid for a Cinema ticket."- Eric Idle
Eric and George had become close friends, Eric still attends as much awards for George as he can.  When George was honored with a place in the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame, Eric was there giving a speech about his friend saying how George was 'special', not just for his music and guitar playing but how he went to achieve everything, what he did with his life, and his search for truth and preparing himself for death.
"Which is a bit weird for someone in rock and roll. They're not suppose to be that smart. They're supposed to be out there looking for Sharon. Not the meaning of life."
Idle also says that George had a great sense of humor, even up to the day he died he'd be in the hospital asking if they could put fish and chips in his IV.

On accepting the award, which was given to Olivia Harrison, Eric said the following;
"Which I know is a heresy here in Hollywood, and I’m sorry to bring it up here in the very Bowel of Hollywood but I can hear his voice saying 'oh very nice, very useful, a posthumous award – where am I supposed to put it? What’s next for me then? A posthumous Grammy? An ex-Knighthood? An After-Lifetime Achievement Award?'
He’s going to need a whole new shelf up there.
So: posthumously inducted – sounds rather unpleasant: sounds like some kind of after-life enema.
But Induct – in case you are wondering – comes from the word induce – meaning to bring on labor by the use of drugs.
And Posthumous is actually from the Latin post meaning after and hummus meaning Greek food.
So I like to think that George is still out there somewhere – pregnant and breaking plates at a Greek restaurant."
Jim Keltner says he visited George the Sunday before he passed away (George parted the following Thursday), he remembers Eric visiting once and says;
"Eric Idle was there one night. When Eric walked in, George just beamed. He started laughing, and he raised his hand to Eric and held his hand, and was actually laughing. I will never forget that moment in my entire life. He was such a huge Eric Idle fan. Just the thought of Eric made him laugh. He was always quoting Eric. And so to see Eric walk in and have George just brighten up like that and start laughing, it was just fantastic."
 
“I remember thinking I just want more. This isn't it. Fame is not the goal. Money is not the goal. To be able to know how to get peace of mind, how to be happy, is something you don't just stumble across. You've got to search for it.” -George Harrison

Motor racing was one of George's many hobbies, he loved watching the races and had later became friends with driver, Jackie Stewart (read about George and Jackie here ). Harrison and Stewart began a long friendship with family trips to Scotland and Friar Park, George even wrote "Faster" about racing and about Jackie Stewart among other racers.
"George had a great soul. His instinct was to forgive rather than to condemn and, when people behaved badly, he would make excuses for them. I learnt so much from him."- Jackie Stewart
 
 “Your own space, man, it's so important. That's why we were doomed because we didn't have any. It is like monkeys in a zoo. They die. You know, everything needs to be left alone.”
 -George Harrison

 Ravi Shankar (read about Ravi by clicking here) became not only George's mentor in the Indian culture but one of George's best friends. The two had became global activist with their concert, The Concert for Bangladesh, 
"Within twenty-four hours, the name Bangladesh became known to everyone. It was my conception, but I couldn't have done it in this huge scale. Thanks to George it was such a wonderful event, first of its kind."- Ravi Shankar
George would later became heavily influenced by the Indian culture, after picking up the sitar in the mid 1960s, and became what he called "A Closet Krishna", read about George's Hinduism and Indian influences by clicking here.
“His vision was very altruistic, and that’s what really interested me very, very much, and which I loved in him.”- Ravi Shankar
“Sometimes I feel like I’m actually on the wrong planet. It’s great when I’m in my garden, but the minute I go out the gate I think, ‘What the hell am I doing here?”  - George Harrison

The Concert for George.

It was  29 November, 2002, one year after George Harrison had lost his battle with cancer. Olivia Harrison and Eric Clapton, a good close friend of George's had got the idea to put on a concert to remember George. The concert was filled with friends and musicians on stage honoring their friend, people like Ravi Shankar, Jeff Lynne, Joe Brown, Gary Brooker, Sam Brown, Tom Petty (with Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, Ron Blair, Steve Ferrone, Scott Thurston), Jim Keltner, Billy Preston, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Dhani Harrison, and other artist,  even The Monty Python
 crew, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, including Neil Innes, Carol Cleveland, and Tom Hanks. The even was held at The Royal Albert Hall.
 The night started with Anoushka Shankar preforming a song composed by her father, Ravi Shankar called "Arpan", which translated means 'offering' or 'to give', which was written for the event and includes Eric Clapton playing an acoustic solo. 
As the night went on having friends and fellow musicians like Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty,  Eric Clapton and more preforming song by George Harrison during The Beatles, Solo, and even The Traveling Wilburys. Songs like Jeff Lynne's version of "I Want to Tell You", Eric Clapton singing "If I Needed Someone", "Beware of Darkness" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", Joe Brown's version of "Here Comes the Sun" and "That's The Way It Goes", Tom Petty singing "Taxman", " I Need You",  and "Handle With Care", while Billy Preston sang "My Sweet Lord".
The night carried on with performances of Paul McCartney singing "For You Blue" and "All Things Must Pass" with Ringo Starr on drums. Ringo Starr sang "Honey Don't" and "Photograph"Paul singing "Something" playing a ukulele George had given him while Eric Clapton sang with Paul and played with Marc Mann on guitar. Eric Clapton and Jeff Lynne then shared vocals singing "Wah-Wah".
The night closed with Joe Brown singing "I'll See You In My Dreams" The following video is Joe Brown singing "I"ll See You In My Dreams" ;


Question: "Hi, you're not married?"
 George Harrison: "No, I'm George"
From Life To Life, A Garden For George

George was an active gardener, as can be seen in his home at Friar Park. He would attend Chelsea Flower Shows, along with his wife Olivia. After George's passing Olivia thought it was the perfect idea for a garden to be made in his memory.
The Garden for George consists of four gardens going through the stages of George's life, starting with a redbrick section representing Arnold Grove, where he was born and moves onto a psychedelic colourful garden representing the 60s. There's a spring where the following lyrics float above;
"Floating down the stream of time, from life with me"- George Harrison
 The garden ends on a marble terrace that leads to crystal circles surrounded by flowers.
"As George dedicated his autobiography "to gardeners everywhere" we do the same along with love and gratitude to George for the music, gardens and thoughtful legacy he left behind. "- Olivia Harrison
" Sometimes I feel like I’m actually on the wrong planet. It’s great when I’m in my garden, but the minute I go out the gate I think, ‘What the hell am I doing here?- George Harrison


The Quiet One, was a nickname given to George during The Beatles, because he was less outspoken than the rest,
"Well, he never shut up. George had a lot to say. Boy, did he have a lot to say. That's hysterical to me, you know, that he was known as the quiet one. "- Tom Petty
"This is the Quiet One? He never shut up"- Eric Idle
"...so far from being the Quiet Beatles, a very talkative man, with as much interest in expressing himself as anyone else and more than most."-Derek Taylor
 “The only thing we really have to work at in this life is how to manifest love."- George Harrison
All 25 Days of Harrison are listed below;
  1. Louise and Harold Harrison
  2. Early Childhood 
  3. Early Music
  4. Meeting Paul and John
  5. Pattie Boyd
  6. Olivia Arias Trinidad
  7. Dhani Harrison
  8. Kinfauns
  9. Friar Park
  10. Ravi Shankar
  11. HandMade Films
  12. George Harrison's Guitars
  13. Jackie Stewart/ Racing
  14. Albums
  15. Tours
  16. The Closet Krishna
  17. I Me Mine
  18. Dark Horse Label
  19. Gardening
  20. Styles
  21. The Traveling Wilburys Volume I
  22. The Traveling Wilburys Volume III
  23. Living In The Material World Documentary
  24. Sue Me,Sue You Blues
  25. What is Life
"As long as you hate, there will be people to hate."- George Harrison
Dhani was George's only child born in 1978, read all about him by clicking here.
"I was an only child. I hung out with my parents."
Dhani and George's relationship was extremely close to the point where George had told Dhani to skip school and the two would just hang out, Dhani wouldn't though because rebelling in his family was to go to school, so that's what he did. The following video is Dhani Harrison from the Living In The Material World documentary;


 "You've got as many lives as you like, and more, even ones you don't want."- George Harrison
Ringo Starr had met George in the late 50s and started a life long friendship, some say the best friendship in The Beatles. Ringo reflects on his last days with George saying he was in a hurry to get his daughter, Lee Starkey, to Boston hospital and wished he could stay longer. George, battling cancer was ready to get up saying"Do you want me to come with you?". The below video is Ringo's interview from Living In The Material World;


Ringo also remembers during the White Album, he had left The Beatles and when he came back George had had his whole studio covered with flowers welcoming Ringo back. After hearing that George had passed away Ringo started dedicating one of his more popular songs "Photograph", which was written with George, to George. Also, after his passing Ringo had written (with help from Mark Hudson and Gary Nicholson), and recorded (featuring Eric Clapton) "Never Without You" for his youngest brother, with lines about the early days;
We were young, it was fun
And we couldn't lose
Time were right, overnight
We were headline news
Crazy days and reckless nights
Limousines and bright spotlights
We were brothers through it all
Lyrics saying "All Things Must Pass" and ending with "I think love is about you". The following video is "Never Without You";
 On 9 February, 2014 at The Grammy Salute To The Beatles, Ringo preformed "Yellow Submarine", "Boys", and "Photograph". As the night went on he preformed with Paul McCartney on "With A Little Help From My Friends" where he said,
"We were in a band, it was called The Beatles and whenever we play, John and George are always with us. It was always John, Paul, George and Ringo."
"We were the Spice Boys"- George Harrison
Paul was the first member of The Beatles George had met, in fact Paul had introduced George to John which lead to him joining the band.  The two spent much time together playing their guitars and Paul even called George his little brother and looked after him as a brother. The two would became best friends, going on hitch hiking trip,riding the bus together, even sneaking over to The Liverpool Art College to see John. Paul remembers going for The Beatles Decca auditions 
"And I remember sitting at the bar with George and it became kind of a fun thing for us for years later. I would say,  When you sang (Goffin & King’s) “Take Good Care Of My Baby,” it was amazin’ man!’ I’m not sure we said ‘man’ or even ‘amazing’ in those days, but… That was a special little moment and it just became a thing between me and him: [awed voice again] ‘When you sang Take Good Care Of My Baby’...’"
At concerts George is honored with Paul playing "Something" on George's ukulele, that was given to Paul. While preforming a video of pictures filled with George Harrison alone and pictures of Paul and George plays on the stage screen.

Paul remembers his last days with George that the two sat there just holding hands. Paul later said something on the lines of , "You don't see grown men just sitting there holding hands". It was their relationship, Eric Clapton in an interview with Rolling Stone says that they were never good about saying how much they loved each other but Paul loved George and missed him, maybe more than anyone. The following video is Paul McCartney playing "Something";



"Writing a song is like going to confession"- George Harrison
Olivia had met George in 1974 and the two were married in 1978. After George's parting Olivia had organized The Concert For George, helped with Life to Life, A Garden For George, Living In The Material World Documentary, wrote a book about George and kept up with the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF. The two were married up till George passing and had their only child, Dhani. In the 2007 edition of I Me Mine, Olivia had written the foreword with words all about living with George. The following video is from Living In The Material World documentary;

" During out life together the issues of possessions, attachment and identification with the ego were in the forefront of our awareness and George was always quick to point out that in reality there is no I, Me or Mine. George was relentless at keeping our spiritual aim true. We were only humans walking a long roads towards our shared goal of enlightenment and I, for one, welcomed any reminders." -Olivia Harrison, I Me Mine
From war time in Liverpool to somewhere floating down the Ganges River, George Harrison has honestly ruined my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.  You don't have to know someone to love them, and I love George Harrison. You're sorely missed and this world won't forget about you.
"I have had to find one word to say what the man is. 'Brave' comes near, but it has too close a relationship with suffering and I therefore concluded that, pirate as he is, he deserves the word 'bold' for he is, in truth, quite the boldest man I have ever met."- Derek Taylor

"While I'm living in the material world
Not much giving in the material world
Got a lot of work to do
Try to get a message through
And get back out of this material world"


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