I fell in love with George Harrison when I was nine years old (1970) when he released his song Give Me Love. The lyrics in Give Me Love:
Give Me Love
Give me peace on earth,
Give me light, keep me free from hurt,
Give me hope, help me cope with this heavy load,
Trying to reach you with heart and soul,
Please take hold of my hand that I may understand you.
Give Me Love was released in 1970 shortly after I lost my home and community and my church to Hurricane Camille the worst hurricane to make landfall in the United States before Katrina . I have a hard time separating the songs of George Harrison from my childhood. These lyrics have a double meaning for me. It gave me the prayer I needed, the hope that men were loving and that one day I would meet a nice loving man; and that the experience I was having wasn’t the only one I would have. So at nine years old, if this was in my heart then it had to be in millions of other little girls that hoped and prayed for a better experience. George Harrison had a cultural impact on me at a personal level along with millions of other little girls. On a global level he spread the love of Krishna through his prayer songs and his devotion to the Lord, which in turn raised the world’s consciousness and generosity. Researching this paper, I fell in love with him all over again when I discovered he was the one who lead the other Beatles to India, their culture and mysticism after his awakening, unfortunately through the use of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). What is impressive is he went for the meditation and the spiritual journey and abandoned the drug use, which makes him way more sexy.
The great thing is that Brian Epstein stair-stepped them through their venues, booking small gigs then a bit larger and then larger as they developed and drew crowds – Paul McCartney.
My earliest recollection is of sitting on a pot at the top of the stairs, having a poop – shouting, ‘Finished’! – George Harrison
George was born at 12 Arnold Grove, Liverpool February 1943. His father, a seaman, gave him access to the world outside Liverpool, music from America, and a windup Gramophone through his travels. The port of Liverpool had plenty of opportunity for work and knowledge, forty- percent of the world trade came through their ports in the early 20th century . This was a workingman’s city, where hard work was respected more so than a complete education. This speaks to why his parents were not upset when he skipped school for a year without them knowing. Their response was a practical one: “since George hasn’t been in school then he needs to get a job” – Louise French Harrison.
His family moved to Speke where they were offered counsel housing , he was still at Dovedale Junior School, and he was listening to Lonnie Donegan, a skiffle musician. Donegan had a major influence on George. He loved his songs, his great voice and recognized he had a much greater influence on rock bands than he was ever given credit for. Donegan’s popularity caused a boom in skiffle bands in Liverpool in the 1950s. Gradually, the skiffle groups converted to Rock n Roll bands. Once George completed Dovedale Junior School,a local grammar school, he attended the Liverpool Institute for Boys, where he met Paul who was nine months older. The Art Institute shared a building with the Liverpool Institute and is how they had access to each other Paul, George and John (who was attending classes at the Art Institute). Riding home from school Paul and George (14 and 13 years old) discovered their interest in music and the instruments they played. George’s first Rock n Roll song he heard was Fat’s Domino’s I’m In Love Again, the Del-Vikings Whispering Bells where the guitar riffs stood out and of course Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis. All of the early Rock n Roll artist’s like Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and Elvis had an early influence on the music they would make.
Instead of listening to the lecture in class at thirteen and fourteen George drew pictures of guitars. “In ignorance you can do virtually anything” – George attempted to build a guitar from the knowledge he gained from woodworking shop the year before. He took plywood and cut it out into the shape of a Les Paul guitar including the “f” holes; soaked and bent wood pieces that made up the edging; made the neck out of two pieces of wood laminated together; once varnished he had a guitar shaped object. Unfortunately, when he tightened the strings the neck collapsed. In frustration he threw it in the shed. Later George purchased a guitar, which in his curiosity he disassembled and could not put it back together. Eventually his older brother Pete nailed it back together although the neck was concave and the frets buzzed. Using this guitar George taught himself to play by practicing from a lesson book and listening to records. George’s mother noticed he had a talent for playing music. His father wasn’t in favor of him looking like a ‘Teddy Boy’ but his mother was. She said there are plenty of ordinary people, this makes him special. With help from his mother, George purchased a Hofner President guitar. This was the first decent guitar he had and he played it for hours. George and Paul became consumed with music, listening, playing and watching. George began to skip school with Paul and they would shed as much of their uniforms as possible and head over to the art college were Paul met John. This would lead to George joining John’s band the Quarrymen who would later evolve to the Beatles.
Economy Class Beatles
I felt like an observer of the Beatles even though I was with them. I think John and Paul were the stars of the Beatles.– George Harrison
The song writing evolved out of a need to be different and to ensure their top number wouldn’t be used by the band that went before them. They began inquiring with the band they were pared with of the numbers that band had lined up. They would begin swapping numbers so there wasn’t any duplication, this lead to the need to keep it original so Paul and John would pull together lyrics and put them to music. The first big jump into performing a number they had written was in Hamburg and their return to Liverpool with “Love Me Do” a number Paul started when he was fifteen. The Beatles "Love Me Do"
Brian Epstein paid to have a demo record cut at the Decca studios; he then went around trying to sell it. At the time one of the most influential bands in England was The Shadows. The recording studios tended to compare new works with The Shadows. John and Paul were having doubts about their ability to succeed after repeated rejections. It was Brian and George who kept the faith that they had something special. With Brian’s persistence they got in to see George Martin at EMI; auditioning for him in June 1962. The audition went OK and George Martin asked if there was anything they were not happy with; George Harrison said “I don’t like your tie”. George’s sarcastic remark is mirrored in A Hard Day’s Night by his character when he is asked by a fashion designer for his opinion on a new design for a shirt. And tells the designer he and his buddies make fun of his Muse when she is speaking on TV. For a moment, dread filled the room until they and George Martin all laughed. After listening to the audition George Martin decided he did not like Pete Best’s performance. George Martin asked John, Paul and George if they would change their drummer. Pete was not keeping time well enough; so, as young men they were now faced with the hardest decision to date, betray their friend or lose their careers. So, in August 1962 Brian Epstein dismissed Pete Best. Looking for a new drummer, George stirred things up a bit by asking if they could get Ringo Starr. They all knew Ringo and he had already played with them when Pete was sick. George noted how well Ringo fit into the group. Brian Epstein wanted them to play the cabaret circuit, yet the cabaret’s wanted their performers to dress better and the Beatles looked like hooligans. George was happy to switch from leather to suits to get better gigs; he was not that in love with leather.
By September 1962 they had a contract with EMI and did another studio session with Ringo as drummer. George Martin did not think that Ringo played the drums a little off beat so he had a studio drummer play for the Side A song, Love Me Do, Ringo played tambourine instead. Ringo played drums for the Side B song, P.S., I Love You, which was a hit making number seventeen on the charts.
In 1963 they toured the United Kingdom; with the audiences growing larger and larger. They recorded their first album in one long twelve hour session because the studio would not spend any more money on the session. The Beatles "Please, Please, Me" They went on to great success with Brian Epstein; he was a great manager, always looking for the next mountain to climb; the United States (U.S.) market was that next mountain. Paul explains in George Harrison: Living in the Material World that Brian stair stepped their career. Booking jobs that were larger than the next one until so they could learn to perform in front of larger audiences this was key to each of them individually and they as a group. On their first tour of the U.S., the Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan variety show. Ed Sullivan had vaudeville acts and the youth of the U.S. were ready for some exciting heartfelt entertainment. The show went well though they were followed on the show by an act doing card tricks. The Beatles on The Ed Sullvian Show The U.S. was seriously ready for them and they had it all; cuteness, their British accents and their unusual musical sound. Their second tour was crazier than their first and the audiences were out of control and enormous in size, tens of thousands of people. The screams drowned out their singing that they couldn’t hear themselves on stage. This was before anyone knew how to manage audiences of this size like they do today. The Beatles would make one more trip to the US. San Francisco would be their last public performance until their impromptu roof top concert at EMI studios in London 1970 as the Beatles were disbanding. The U.S. tours were wrought with problems; the schedule was grueling, and the fans were crazy and dangerous. George got really scared on their last tour when they the band was getting death threats. They made the decision to stop touring before something unbearable happened. What is profound is that the fans behavior is what forced them to stop touring; it is the fans themselves that lost the Beatles.December 8, 1980 John Lennon was shot to death in front of his apartment building. Then, December 30, 1999 George and Olivia Harrison’s house was invaded and managed to stab George twice, puncturing his lung and cutting Olivia’s head, by a man who was diagnosed with schizophrenia who believed he was on a mission from God. George recovered this near death attach with Olivia giving the intruder a whack with a large table lamp. This had a huge impact of George’s ability to feel safe. To many whacko’s in the world taking aim at he and his friends.
George would marry Patty Boyd in 1966 and later Olivia Trinidad Arias in 1978 and they had a son Dhani, who’s named after the 6th and 7th note on the Indian musical scale . After George’s death in 2001, Dhani completed his father album Brainwashed and start his own band Thenewno2 that has a lot of sitar riffs in his music. All of the Beatles’ children were in a few of their films such as Magic Mystery Tour as an overlay in ‘Blue Jay Way’ sequence and in Let It Be.
Emergence of a Singer Songwriter
George had been writing songs year before the Beatles broke up. Submitting them and the repeatedly hadn’t made the cut. Only a few made on the Albums in 1963 ‘Don’t Bother Me’ made it on With the Beatles, Meet the Beatles and on A Hard Day’s Night albums. Not until 1965 would another one of his songs make it on I Need You and You Like Me would make it on the Help!Album then If I Need Someone. If I Need Someone was the only song performed on tour by George and would be sold on the Hollies. When it rose to the top of the UK charts a dispute broke out when the Hollies were accuse of riding on the coat tails of the Beatles. Nonetheless, it sold. He would get three songs on the 1966 on the Revolver album, The Taxman, Love You Too and I want to tell you. Four on the 1969 The Beatles album, also referred to as The White album. My Guitar Gently Weeps, Piggies, Long, Long, Long and Savory Truffles this was the peak of his songwriting with the Beatles . My Guitar Gently Weeps was written based on the eastern concept that all things are equal and there are no accidents. There is a divine purpose to every moment and every encounter; written in the Bhagavada-Gita sacred text. Paul was extremely controlling over how the songs were played and which ones would end up on the albums. As a result he had been stockpiling them. The Beatles were ten years old and they were outgrowing each other. The Beatle brand had begun to be a limitation where before it was their wings. They each had grown up together as teens and as musician into adulthood. And like any close family they often need to part for the next chapter to be just as grand. This allowed for George to produce his songs and it wasn’t until they broke up did he gain respect among his fellow Beatle songwriters, Paul and John. As the author of this paper I cannot always hear when the sitar is played. In ‘George Harrison Living in the Material World’ film once George travels to India to study the culture and the eastern music, Paul and George explain that playing the sitar is different because the technique of strumming and especially the beats are opposed to western music. Yet, India, Ravi and the culture would influence all of his work whether he played the sitar directly on the album or on used the techniques and applied them to the guitar we would hear it in all of his work.
Hard Day’s Night / Help!
The fact remains that A Hard Day’s Night has turn out to be The Citizen Kane of Juke Box Musical – Andrew Saris, Village Voice
Brian Epstein worked to ensure that these films would not follow Elvis’ path into films. Under the direction of Richard Lester both Help! (1965) and A Hard Day’s Night (1964) would become a showcase for films of a rock group. The difficulty for A Hard Day’s Night was to cram twenty-six songs into a one hour and fifteen minute film. He accomplished this by having several cameras simultaneously capture each musical number from different angles. Shooting was completed in just three weeks at a production cost of 50,000 pounds. Filming began just two weeks after their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.
A Hard Day’s Night is a biopic that chronicles a ‘typical’ day in the lives of the Beatles filled with frenzied fans, crazy relatives and a soundtrack of their familiar songs. George takes lead singer for the song I’m Happy to Dance with You. He is captured on film for the entire sequence, when it is only him in the frame or with John and Paul in the foreground creating a frame for George. Help! Is a comedy/ musical where Ringo finds his is the human sacrifice target of a cult and the band must try to protect him from it. This film is heavy influenced with Indian culture. Where the opening sequence, the mise-en-scene, including Shiva and later in the restaurant with the belly dancers entertaining and sitar player playing background music, when the Beatles set down the sitar the band begins playing It’s a Hard Days Night. The Beatles’ films are always mixing up roles and creating this interesting juxtaposition of people and music in fun, clever ways. In the sequence back at their home during John’s solo of You’ve Go to Hide Your Love Away, George flirts with the intruder on the couch. George’s character dismisses the danger Ringo might be under when they are about to inject finger shrinking serum into his friend’s finger with the comment “as long as he doesn’t swallow” makes all drugs not digested orally non-addictive. This plays on the knowledge the LSD isn’t known for it addictive properties, so therefore safe to take. In the next sequence when George’s home is invaded, he accidentally chokes John while defending against the invaders, this parody playing off his frustration with being the third wheel. In the snow scene George wears a top hat drawing one’s eye towards him. He ultimately saves Ringo and the others from the bomb planted inside the curling stone when he notices it smoking and grabs him to safety. A nod to the Beatlemania days and of course we can’t leave out Sgt. Pepper. During the Scotland Yard sequence George replies to the question “Do they know we’re here?” With “I know we’re here” giving meaning to that Veda teachings that all things are equal and responds to the interpretation of Ringo with sarcastic reply, “Not a bit like Cagney.” A play on the juxtaposition the major audiences they were marketing to and a parody to the comment he made to George Martin so long ago. The war scene could be a nod to WWII when they were born and as children played in air raid sites. To sum it up George is quiet and observant. Not distracted with trying to getting all the attention. They continue to parody different parts of their life together both personal and public. Like they did in their song writing they brought different elements to their music they did the same in this film by taking inspiration from The Marx Brother’s movie Duck Soup, James Bond and never to leave out India and Hinduism.
In 1968, the Beatles as Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band created their first animated film for a young audience under the direction of George Dunning. George is introduced when John asks Ringo what day it is and Ringo replies “Saturday” John follows with “well George will be here soon.” Images of cows framed on a blues screen then we hear the sitar play. Each of these elements plays on Georges love for India. In the world of Hindu cows are sacred and not eaten. The blue screen washed Krishna’s love over the cows. Krishna is also known as the Blue Boy to those deeply immersed in the culture. Then, we see George standing on top of a mountain as if when chanting and playing the sitar he is on top of the world. The eastern music continues playing when George shows up in John’s Rolls Royce and then two other cars. George reassures them in their confusion, “It’s all in the mind” – George Harrison as he continues to wash everyone with eastern philosophies ‘that the world is not as we see it’. Once stopped there is a small argument over seating which parodies George and Paul’s constant arguing over who’s driving.
The submarine is a metaphor for the extensive travel they did while touring and performing over 1000 shows during the years they performed publicly. The montage gives us a glimpse at the craziness of and mind boggling ambitious schedule they had. George leads on “Only a Northern Song” this sarcastic song relating to George’s anger towards the Northern Song company formed to exploit John and Paul compositions which they held fifteen percent and George help eight tenths of a percent. George in turn received less money for the song he wrote than John and Paul. This is a joke built into the song for Liverpool is considered the Holy City of Northern England. “All Too Much” speaks to the experience he has had as a Beatle, a spiritual man. His life could have been ordinary and it wasn’t extraordinary. I’m not a big fan of the art that accompanied this film. I might have when I was younger and when my daughter was younger. Yet, it did reflect their career and life together.
Magical Mystery Tour
This was one of the worst cinematic feats I have seen. To improve the viewing experience I played it at 2x speed. A little intoxication would have made it enjoyable and funny. There is not much to say about this film other than it lacks a real plot, is based on a drug trip and is a male fantasy. Of course, in a way their entire adult life was a fantasy. One of the few things I can say about it is that the “magic in the bus” is a metaphor for their drug use. The tour is a metaphor for their experience as a successful band touring the world and the trip you take while on drugs. It seems like it is part of their experimenting with form and medium for their creative expression. Maybe they were growing tired of being “The Beatles” and wanted a fantasy within a fantasy and they got it with this one. Magical Mystery Tour is a nonsense movie almost like the Monty Python films that George would produce later. This film is filled with British humor, really silly nonsense with little plot. In the Blue Jay Way sequence, George’s solo piece is a mix of eastern and western music. He is enveloped in blue fog in lotus posture playing an electric piano. This image of him is multiplied in the film creating a kaleidoscope which gives the viewer his experience of drug use and meditation and is parodied in When We Was Fab video. Blue Jay Way was written when George was waiting for his friend Derek Taylor to arrive at his home in Los Angeles on Blue Jay Way in the Hollywood hills as a joke and to keep himself awake. In the song he writes “There’s a fog upon L.A., and my friends have lost their way.” The ‘stunningness’ of this sequence is a personal opinion and I disagree. I don’t find it stunning, it find it weird and ugly. The lyrics are weak and sarcastic. George is trying to tell us he is misunderstood in Only a Northern Song. And It’s All Too Much is a conversation with God and the journey inward which for those as myself have done it does seem like it is “too much to take in or too much to handle”. It takes courage to do what George has done and not enough people do it, forcing those who have made the journey, to live with those who haven’t, which creates tension and a feeling of living with Zombies.
The mixing eastern and western music and their lifestyles and his singing really slow with a “reverb” gives the viewer a more intimate look at his experience in these two states of consciousness. I don’t think the two experiences were all that different for him. It is documented in eastern literature and Dr. Andrew Weil claims that intense meditation (similar to the three days George meditated in India with Ravi Skankar) can cause a deep sense of calm and euphoria. I know that these two states seem to oppose teach other; yet, once in a deep state of meditation feelings of calm followed by a state of euphoria. The most intense sense of joy one wants to shout it at the top of the mountain. I think that all of George’s work, after being introduced to eastern culture, was about shouting at the top of the mountains and his mountain was large enough to reach a lot of people.
Let It Be
A 1970 documentary of the Beatles rehearsal and the impromptu rooftop concert on top of Abbey Road Studios depicts the strained relationships and the dismantling of the group. This would be their last public concert as The Beatles. In my opinion, this is their best work as a group; you can see they are putting everything they have into it. This film shows the changes in each of them and their music through the use of drugs, much slower beats with less pep, and darker subjects in their lyrics.
George Harrison Living in the Material World
I’ve always loved George Harrison’s music. Through the process of making our picture, I came to love and respect him as a human being. – Martin Scorsese
George didn’t say much as a Beatle, yet once he was a solo artist he left a legacy of things worth saying. George’s first album as a solo artist was Wonderwall an all electronic album released before the breakup and the soundtrack for the film Wonderwall directed by Joe Massot virtually all instrumental. He played the Moog and mastered it quickly as he had done on so many songs during the Beatle years, when he set the guitar riffs to the songs Paul and John wrote. George went on the produce All Things Must Pass which he recorded in 1970 at Abby Road Studios enlisting Phil Spector for his reverb ability. George would later regret this decision and shared in an interview that it had too much echo. He released My Sweet Lord as a single from the All Things Must Pass album in 1971 and topped the charts worldwide and is ranked 460th on the Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 500 songs of all time. George recorded nine albums between 1970 and 1982. When We Was Fab was written by George Harrison and Jeff Lynn in celebration of the Fab Four during the Beatlemania day. "When We Was Fab" released on the Cloud Nine album in 1987 and was later released as a single in 1988. This was his last top 40 hit in the U.S.
When We Was Fab shows the Indian culture by including references to Shakti which is the personification of device, feminine creative power. Each of the remaining Beatles show up in this video with George in supporting roles as well as costume changes while he refers to the different stages of the Beatles career, as they played with ideas and personifications such as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. When he uses handcuffs as a slide it speaks to the experience that fame can be imprisoning as referred to in George Harrison Living in the Material World. The lyric “When the Buzz is going to take you away” is referring to the drug use and the feeling of being taken on a trip where you aren’t in control. Also, when the show is done life will be over and heaven will be waiting. “The microscopes that magnifiers the tears”tells us how he responded to the pressure of being examined at every moment along with his friends.The cart of vegetables tells us he gave up meat and committed to an all vegetarian lifestyle, which is in alignment with the Krishna consciousness. Ringo confirms this in George Harrison Living in the Material World. He along with John, Paul and Ringo discovered the Indian Culture and converted to this lifestyle while together as The Beatles. The visual image multiplying upwards symbolizes his return to God. I especially like this video because of its visual meanings to his career with the Beatles and his love for Krishna. The lyrics are okay for me and a bit cute.
In George Harrison Living in the Material World Martin Scorsese uses found footage and interviews filmed before George’s death in 2001 and released in 2011. George is depicted as gentle, a bit snarkly and is in many ways similar to The Beatles Anthology until the breakup. In the opening sequence George is asked to crouch behind some tulips, hesitatingly he cooperates with a questioning expression on his face. George is obscured by the flowers similar to how he is invisible behind John and Paul to two Beatles competing to reach the sun. George takes his place behind them. Friends and family who attended his death said, “Go ahead and be free and we’ll see you on down the line.” “Just leave and go to some place nice and we’re going to be right here. And he went on out and that was it.”
When asked what would you ask George if he were he?
Fancy cup of tea – Eric Clapton
Where have you been? I had a dream and that’s what I said in the dream…..since I last saw you? He answered- right here, which doesn’t really help me in anyway. – Dhani Harrison
Here George is with cancer knows his life is limited and goes ahead and buys property in Switzerland to avoid paying the taxman……the man who wrote Taxman…..even in his final hour was determined to cheat the taxman. There’s George, grace and humor, and an angry kind of bitterness about certain kind of things and to life.– Jim Keltner
It’ too painful to talk about his in a frivolous way –close friend
What kind of person was he?
A cocky little guy, he had a good sense of himself. – Harry and Pete Harrison (George’s brothers)
He wasn’t cowed by anything. It was pre-fame, you couldn’t get into places. Rock n Roll hadn’t happened. It was kind of dickensian old place which gave you a kind of hunger for something else. – Paul McCartney
These are more papers than I don’t know what they say. – George Harrison (At the legal Break up of the Beatles)
Klaus was very laid back and wasn’t easily impressed by things. He just went crazy for the Beatles.
– Astrid Krichherr
It was quite exciting to be among all that sin in Germany at seventeen, we looked like “Teddy Boys”
– George Harrison
Quiet and ever so sweet…he was interested in so many things but on the quiet. – Astrid Krichherr
George was an innovator, taking certain elements from R&B, Rock, Rockabilly, and creating something unique. – Eric Clapton.
The film continues to share in this montage of still photos intermixed with interviews. The sound was lowered for the interviews and raised extremely loud during the still photos portion of the montage. This film shows George as quiet, yet attentive and at times a bit angry when all the frustration that he had not voiced along the way would explode when he reached his boiling point.
The Holy Blue Boy
By the time the Beatles had met so many people – prime ministers, celebrities, royalty – but I got to the point where I thought, ‘I’d like to meet somebody who could really impress me.” And that was when I met Ravi. Ravi plugged me into a whole new reality. – George Harrison
Ravi mentored George in the tradition of transcendental meditation, the Indian culture, Krishna and share in their love of music. Ravi taught George how to play the sitar and George would draw big audiences for causes Ravi was interested in bringing worldwide attention to; it was a great friendship. They organized and performed the Concert for Bangladesh which raised $250,000.00. The CD sales would provide a steady income for the Pakistani victims of famine in Bangladesh and surrounding areas. This concert sparked a wave of Live Aid concerts hosted by other musicians, followed by aid concerts such as Farm Aid. All of these benefits were started because of the friendship between George Harrison and Ravi Shankar.
The song, My Sweet Lord, is praise to the Hindu god Krishna and at the same time serving as a call to abolish religious sectarianism weaving Christian “alleluia” chants with “Hare Krishna” chants and Vedic prayers. This film is a great little film celebrating George’s song My Sweet Lord as well as celebrating the Hindu tradition. "My Sweet Lord" Chanting in any religious tradition connects us back to our best self and to God.
The story goes that John was at a dinner party at George’s when their dentist slipped LSD into their drinks. Some say Dylan turned them on to cannabis. Regardless, all four Beatles dabbled in drugs in the mid 60’s and influencing their songs like, She Said She Said, Tomorrow Never Knows, portions of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour albums and Strawberry Fields Forever. There is debate that Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is code for LSD. In The Beatles Anthology, one of the children came back from kindergarten with a drawing called Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, who know what the truth is.
They publicly renounced drugs in 1967 and began the practice of transcendental meditation. It was George who was affected the most; it had a profound change in him. Meditation would influence his music as well as his humanitarian work. Meditation can provide a similar euphoria that one experiences through the use of LSD. This in fact is a much sweeter experience because the more you do it the better your life becomes, where with the use of LSD the more one uses the greater risk one is of ending a life. All four of the Beatles, Paul, John, Ringo and George would struggle to stay away from drugs.
To learn more about Transcendental Meditation (TM) George, Paul, Ringo and John went to a Ravi Shankar workshop on TM. They were all influenced by the meditation and the lifestyle of the India and gave up meat. Yet, it was George who was impressed with Ravi and took this a whole other level. You can hear sitar riffs throughout his later music.
The Concert for Bangladesh George Harrison and friends
Really it was Ravi Shankar’s idea. He wanted to do something like this and was telling me about his concern and asking me if I had any suggestions. Then, after half an hour he talked to me into being on the show. – George Harrison
During the struggle for independence from Pakistan millions of Bangladeshi refugees fled to neighboring India to escape hunger, disease and bloodshed. The crisis deepened when massive floods hit the region. Alerted to the scale of this disaster by his friend Ravi Shankar, George Harrison organized The Concert For Bangladesh in New York on August 1st, 1971. It was the first Benefit concert of its kind.
This is the first really big concert that George had done since the Beatles. It was Ravi’s idea and George being a great friend. Great friends can do great things together, when their hearts are pure. The artists lined up to perform were: George himself, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Ravi Shankar and Ustad Ali Akbar Khanand The Band. A few of the songs performed were: Here Comes The Sun, The Unicef Perspective, My Sweet Lord/The Legacy, Bangladesh.
“We didn’t even sync to film during the recording of this concert. They relied on George’s memory of the performances…..we were lucky we got it on tape and didn’t even see the film until it was released in the theater.”– Norm Kinney & Steve Mitchell (Mix Down Engineers)
“It was the first benefit concert. No one had done a big benefit before, so it as all cutting edge stuff. Now people shoot concerts with their camera and it’s no big deal. In those days it was a very big deal. We just stared working on it. There was no such thing a multiple camera being synced together like that so, ahh each camera had their own clap sticks they had to do. It was a nightmare. Syncing the film up we had ten guys, ten assistants syncing film up, for weeks.” – Neil Aspinall (Apple Corp.)
“It was a massive undertaking. Saul Swimmer (Director 1971)
“It was Phil doing his wall of sound…with all the guitar players. There were seven guitar players, a horn section that was really large, two drummers and a dozen of backup singers.” – Jann Wenner (Publisher, Rolling Stone)
Handmade Films was originally formed to support the filming and distribution of the movie Life of Brian. George became involved, along with his business manager Denis O’Brien, when he was approached by Eric Idle of Monty Python. The film had been dropped by its original producer because of its controversial nature; the film was a comedy about a man who is born on the original Christmas and spends his life being mistaken for a messiah. Handmade Films was originally formed to only produce Life of Brian. However, it quickly became involved in salvaging The Long Good Friday, which had been completed, but its production company was concerned about distributing it because of a subplot involving the IRA. While the film was not a great commercial success, it did make Bob Hoskins a star. Several of the films produced were done in association with various members of the Monty Python troupe. Handmade Films went on to make forty films, some better than others . The downfall of Handmade Films came after the disastrous performance of several U.S. co-productions, most notably Cold Dog Soup, and George’s discovery that O’Brien was embezzling money. George sued O’Brien, and won, for half of the losses from Cold Dog Soup. The company ceased production in 1990 after Nuns on the Run. More lawsuits followed and the company was sold to Canada’s Paragon Entertainment Corp. in 1994.
All Things George
“I get confused when I look around the world and I see everyone running around. yet no one is trying to figure out what’s the cause of death.and what happens when you die it’s the only thing that matters everything else is secondary” – George Harrison
“as Bob Dylan says as soon as you’re born you are dying” – George Harrison
I remember thinking I want to meet someone that really impresses me…then I met Ravi which is funny because he is this little fella with this obscure instrument yet it led me into such depth that…that is the most important thing and still is for me.– George Harrison
I loved him as a child and love him more as an adult and inspired to keep the gentle side of me ever present.There are two sides to George the gentle loving George and the angry side. Living in the material world created conflict for George all he wanted to do was to meditate and be close to God. Everything else caused pain and frustration. George was a relentless smoker and would eventually take hGeorge Harrison's Last Performance is life through cancer.
Once he and the other three Beatles began using drugs they let their hair grow long and grew beards; their music changed interweaving references to drug use. We can see that for the remainder of George’s life he would weave eastern and western musical elements together bringing these two worlds closer together and broadening our consciousness of world concerns. Truly Inspired!
Concert for George
Beware of sadness, it can hit you, it can hurt you
Make you sore and what is more
That is not what you are here for – George Harrison
This heartfelt concert honoring George as the musician, filmmaker, humanitarian, friend, husband and father, and spiritual being is up lifting and revered throughout the world. This concert was produced one year after his death and the launch his son’s career, Dhani Harrison. Dhani can be seen on stage playing backup, then taking a larger role towards the end as he speaks to the audience and then takes an even larger role in shyly singing Wah Wah. Seeing Dhani on stage was like seeing the ghost of George. The concert for George had many of the elements of the Bangladesh Concert with many of the same artist, Including Ringo Starr.
Death Returning to God
When compressing an amazing career about an amazing man into fifteen pages, one has to take a track. So, I choose to focus on the development of the band and then the man. Those who influenced him and the circumstance that helped develop him. George Harrison was heavily influenced by the Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr as well as the early band members and the managers who helped him develop into the musician I fell in love with at twelve years old. Yet, it was Ravi Shankar who grew his spirit, who taught him to be in synergy with his soul. The culture of Indian would bring out the seeds of love he had germinating inside. This would provide the space in his heart to share.