George Harrison might have been “The Quiet Beatle,” but over the course of his run with The Beatles, and later as a solo artist, the guitarist wrote a myriad of timeless hits that would boost his status as one of the most prolific rock stars of all time.
As a 15-year old, the Liverpool-born Harrison became a member of the Quarrymen (who would later become The Beatles), despite John Lennon thinking that he was too young.
Having to compete with the power-writing duo in John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Harrison was able to slip a song or two of his own onto almost every Beatles album during the group’s existence. Some of those songs included “Taxman” and “Love You To” (1966’s Revolver), “Within You Without You” (1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band), “Here Comes The Sun” and “Something” (both from 1969’s Abbey Road) and many more.
The Beatles – “Love You To”
[Video: The Beatles]
Even more impressive may have been his solo work, as the period following The Beatles proved Harrison to be a truly great songwriter and recording artist in his own right once freed from shadows of his former bandmates. 1968 would see him be the first Beatle to release a solo record, with Wonderwall Music, and the following year with Electronic Sounds, in which Harrison made use of experiments with the Moog synthesizer. He would release his triple-album, All Things Must Pass, in 1970 to massive acclaim from both critics and fans alike, with the hits “My Sweet Lord” and “What Is Life.”
George Harrison – “My Sweet Lord”
[Video: George Harrison]
Having adopted Hindu mythology and Transcendental Meditation years earlier thanks to his friendship with Indian sitar master Ravi Shankar, Harrison would go on to put together 1971’s Concert for Bangladesh at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. The major benefit concert raised awareness and funds for the refugee situation of East Pakistan–a tragic result of the mass genocide committed during the Bangladesh Liberation War. The show would feature a supergroup consisting of Harrison, ex-bandmate Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, and many more.
George Harrison – “Something” – Concert for Bangladesh
In the late 1980’s, Harrison would co-found The Traveling Wilburys, a behemoth group made up of Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne of ELO, all of which had worked with one another in some capacity on past and future projects. The group’s first album, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1, would go multi-platinum, with support from the singles “End of the Line,” and “Handle with Care.” Orbison would pass before the group recorded their second and final album, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3.
Traveling Wilburys – End Of The Line
[Video: Traveling Wilburys]
Harrison, already a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee with The Beatles, would go on to be elected to for a second time as a solo artist in 2004, three years after his passing from lung cancer on Nov. 29th, 2001. He is survived by his widow Olivia, and son Dhani. Truly one of rock’s greatest artists and ambassadors.