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Remembering George Harrison

George Harrison
(Dave Benett/Getty Images)

It was 11 years ago today (November 29th, 2001) that George Harrison died after a long battle with cancer, at age 58.

I had just set up at a remote broadcast at a client’s business when I got the call from my DJ at the station telling me the news. Knowing his courageous fight that he had gone through, I knew that call would come sometime, yet I still wasn’t ready for it.

I was born at the start of the Beatles, so my recollections of the band came from reruns and retrospectives when I was young, and obviously you tube over the past decade. What I do remember is his solo career. Even my mom, who was a country music fan through my formative years (I wonder if that’s the reason I really do NOT like country music? Hmmmm. Story for another day) but she would listen to his 1970 album “All Things Must Pass” that included songs like What Is Life and My Sweet Lord. I may have just been a little kid, but they were songs I really liked.

As I got into my teens and started discovering rock music (as I talked about on my Jimi Hendrix blog earlier this week) I of course listened to Beatles records. It literally took me until my 30′s to really appreciate their music and their genius. And as I listened more, I found that my favorites turned out to be sung not by Paul McCartney or John Lennon, but George: Something, Here Comes The Sun, and While My Guitar Gently Weeps that featured his long time friend Eric Clapton on guitar. And yes, after delving deeper into the stories, I still find it odd that Harrison and Clapton could remain such close friends despite Clapton stealing Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd. Yes, for the record, she was the inspiration for George’s Something and Clapton’s Layla and Wonderful Tonight.

People remember George for his humanitarian efforts from the Concert for Bangladesh and embracing Eastern philosophies and culture, but most of us will remember all the great music including his 80′s turn with his supergroup The Traveling Wilbury’s (Harrison, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty)

Another great musician and humanitarian taken far too soon, 11 years ago today. We still miss you George.

Here’s Harrison performing While My Guitar Gently Weeps with Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Elton John and Jeff Lynne:

 

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