George Harrison: 10th anniversary of ‘quiet Beatle’s’ death


George Harrison in “George Harrison: Living in the Material World.” (Apple Corps Limited/HBO )

Harrison died at age 58 of cancer, and many critics thought he got the short shrift in the Beatles’ story. Though he wrote a few of the Beatles’ hits, his work was often overlooked in favor of his more outspoken bandmates, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Once Harrison died, talk immediately turned to his songwriting. Ten years later, his legacy is still being debated.

According to his Post obituary, by Adam Bernstein, Harrison was an impulsive songwriter: “Mainly the object has been to get something out of my system, as opposed to ‘being a songwriter.’ ”

Harrison’s songs, which included “Within You, Without You,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something,” were “among the gentlest and most meditative of the Beatles’ output,” Bernstein wrote.

“Here Comes the Sun,” for example, was written on a beautiful spring day in 1969 when Harrison left the Beatles business office feeling frustrated by nitty-gritty accounting details. He walked over to his friend Eric Clapton's house and strolled around the garden with a guitar. The result was one of the most buoyantly joyful of his songs: “Little darling, it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter/Little darling it feels like years since it’s been here/Here comes the sun. Here comes the sun/And I say ... It’s alright.”


The Beatles, from left, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr are seen during their first tour of the U.S. (Mike Mitchell/Christie’s/Reuters)

Certainly no one is clamoring for a George Harrison movie that seeks dirt or shakes the Beatle firmament. But we do like organization and clarity, even if the subject was prone to such nonlinear acts as running off with a maharishi. Strangely, on the matter of Harrison’s spiritual quests, the movie becomes less inquisitive.

For his reputation as a maker of unflinchingly tough feature films about dark-hearted men, Scorsese makes documentaries as one would pet a kitty.

As for Harrison’s nickname? Although Harrison might have been less outspoken than his bandmates, he was hardly quiet, his sister Louise revealed in an interview.

“The weekend they flew into New York to do ‘Ed Sullivan,’ George was very sick. They were staying at the Plaza Hotel, and we got him to see the hotel doctor, Dr. Gordon. Dr. Gordon said, ‘This is a very sick kid. He’s got a 104-degree temperature and has strep throat.’

“He was given some shots and vaporizer treatments, and I was in charge of watching over him. George was told to use his voice as little as possible. That’s why at all the press conferences he was so quiet, and so the press thought he was the quiet one. George used to have a good laugh about it.”


George Harrison in “George Harrison: Living in the Material World.” (Dezo Hoffman)

George Harrison, left, and Bob Dylan perform together onstage for the first time in history in the Concert for Bangladesh. (Apple/20th Century Fox)
Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.

lifestyle

Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read

lifestyle

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters