29 November 2006

Remembering George Harrison

Wednesday, November 29, 2006
The Rock Radio online

Hard to believe, but it was five years ago today (November 29th, 2001) that George Harrison lost his long battle with cancer and died at the age of 58. His legacy was secured as soon as the Beatles started making records in the early 1960s, but Harrison wasn't content to just be a sideman to John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

His contributions to the Beatles included the songs "Taxman," "Something," and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and his solo career kicked off with the Number One hit "My Sweet Lord" and Number One album All Things Must Pass. He was also responsible for The Concert For Bangla Desh, which was the first major rock and roll fundraiser paving the way for countless other music-supported benefits over the years. He later went on to become a member of the Traveling Wilburys with Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne, finally securing himself legendary status. He is sorely missed -- today, and every day.

Maybe the best way to judge Harrison's importance is for his fellow artists
to talk about him:

When Harrison was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as a solo artist in March 2004, Tom Petty said: "George really was a man who lived every single minute of his life. He was a very upbeat person, had a very keen sense of humor, very keen sense of spirit, he led by example. Years before Live Aid, George invented the idea of rock and roll giving back to the people."

Badfinger guitarist Joey Molland worked with Harrison on All Things Must Pass, and Harrison helped the group make their Straight Up album in 1971. Molland told us what it was like taking direction from Harrison: "It was easy, very easy. You know, George was just such a nice guy, like...a regular kind of person, really. He doesn't come off, like, 'I'm a Beatle,' you know?"

Life-long friend Eric Clapton said that it might have taken Harrison's death to show people just how great he really was: "The best thing that came out of his passing was that we all got to remember exactly what he'd contributed, you know, as much as any of the other guys -- and maybe more so, because it was an individual achievement. You know, Lennon & McCartney's one thing, and Paul is one thing, and John's one, but I think George -- in my opinion, I found him, his work the most accessible, and the strongest, for me to tune in to."

Kiss singer-guitarist Paul Stanley told us that Harrison's legacy can't be underestimated: "Everybody knows that George Harrison is part of the fabric of rock 'n' roll and he's been an influence on everybody no matter what kind of music they play. Probably more so than they even know. He's been an influence on every kind of music that exists at this point because the Beatles are woven into everything that rock 'n' roll is about."


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