George Harrison may have been the quiet Beatle, but he was the most adventurous member of the group. And he was the most underappreciated. In the early days, he was typically given one song per album – a reflection of John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s overflowing songwriting. But by the middle of the ‘60s Harrison began exploring world music, which tied to his burgeoning spiritual quests. They both led him to India, which shaped his music for the next several years. By the time the Beatles broke up in 1970, Harrison had already released a pair of instrumental records. He was the first member to release a solo album, and he was the first to reach No. 1 with a single – 1970’s ‘My Sweet Lord,’ from his three-record set ‘All Things Must Pass.’ Harrison recorded sporadically over the years, releasing eight more albums before he passed away at 58 from lung cancer.
Birthdate: Feb. 25, 1943
Died: Nov. 29, 2001
Selected Discography: ‘All Things Must Pass’ (1970), ‘Living in the Material World’ (1973), ‘Cloud Nine’ (1987)
The third part of the equation that would become the Beatles fell into place on Feb. 6, 1958. George Harrison joined the Quarry Men, the John Lennon-led group that Paul McCartney had joined as a second guitarist and singer the previous summer.
In early 1969, while their fans were still swooning over the recently released White Album, the Beatles were holed up in London's Twickenham Studios, trying to figure out their next move. These famously fractious sessions eventually produced the band's final studio release, 'Let It Be' -- but not before bringing long-simmering tensions between the group's members to a raging boil.
“They used us as an excuse to go mad, the world did," George Harrison said in the Beatles' 1995 'Anthology' documentary. "And then blamed it on us.” But even he could never suspect that, four years later, those words would ring true again when, on Dec. 30, 1999, a mad man attacked Harrison in his own house, nearly killing him.
According to correspondence recently unearthed by the U.K.'s Daily Mail, long-simmering resentments between former Beatles may have prompted George Harrison to turn down a distinguished award from the royal family before his death.
Celebrating its 11th anniversary this week is George Harrison's understated and deeply beautiful 'Brainwashed,' the famed guitarist and former Beatle's eleventh -- and, tragically, final -- studio album.
With the release of 'Wonderwall Music' in November 1968, George Harrison was the first Beatle to step into the spotlight on his own. Recording sessions actually began a year earlier -- when the Beatles were recording their annual Christmas message -- with 'India' and 'Swordfencing,' both working titles that would be changed before release.
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