Born and bred in Liverpool, England, George Harrison – with a little help from his friends – would go on to be a part of one of the most revered bands in rock history.
At 14 years old, Harrison bought his first guitar and taught himself a few basic chords. That same year, he joined up with Quarrymen Paul McCartney and John Lennon, later rechristening the band The Beatles and adding drummer Ringo Starr.
As Beatlemania took over the world in the early sixties, Harrison became known to fans as “The Quiet Beatle” but showed an interest in writing music early on. He penned hits like “Don’t Bother Me” from the group’s second album, With The Beatles, and 1968’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
In 1965, Harrison would become interested in instruments from the Far East and even incorporated the sitar into Lennon’s “Norwegian Wood,” and later writing songs specifically for the instrument (“Love You To”). He would also go on to develop a smooth slide guitar technique that made its way onto The Beatles’ last three albums, in particular his famed “Here Comes The Sun” from 1969’s Abbey Road.
When The Beatles called it quits in 1970, Harrison’s solo album All Things Must Pass would include the single “My Sweet Lord,” and be the first solo recording by any Beatle to go to no. 1.
By 1980, Harrison married Olivia Arias and become a father to son Dhani, before releasing another solo album, Somewhere In England, which included the John Lennon tribute track “All Those Years Ago.”
Harrison reunited with his Beatles bandmates Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney for a three-part Beatles anthology, featuring alternative tracks and the John Lennon demo “Free As A Bird.” Afterward, Harrison would withdraw from the public eye to spend time with his family.
In the late ‘90s, Harrison would be treated for throat cancer and later survive an attack by an unstable fan, which resulted in several stab wounds and a collapsed lung. In May 2001, Harrison’s cancer returned, he passed that November at the age of 58, with his wife and son by his side.
George Harrison proved to be a brilliant musician and a revolutionary songwriter. He will be missed as both a Beatle and a solo artist, having left legacy that will survive for generations to come.