George Harrison (25.02.1943 - 29.11.2001)
George Harrison was born on 25 February 1943 in the northern English port city of Liverpool, the youngest child of a bus driver. His early family life was extremely happy.
George originally attended the same junior school as John Lennon, although Lennon was several years older than Harrison. In 1954 Harrison moved to the Liverpool Institute, also attended at the time by the young Paul McCartney. The two became friends on the school bus through their common love for music.
George Harrison took his first step towards musicianship at the age of 13, when he was given his first guitar as a present. A friend of his father taught him the basics of guitar playing, which only served to stimulate his love for music, especially rock'n'roll, which had begun to unleash a tidal wave of interest amongst young people in Britain from the beginning of the 1950s onwards.
With the help of his friend Paul McCartney, Harrison was able (despite being slightly younger than Lennon and McCartney) to join the Quarrymen, the band founded shortly before by John Lennon. The Quarrymen turned out to be the backbone of the most successful phenomenon in pop history, the Beatles, which was founded by the three musicians in the late 1950s.
Although George Harrison became the lead guitarist and background singer within the Beatles, it was a role he was unwilling to accept fully. Some of the tracks written by Harrison are now widely viewed as being amongst the best that the Beatles produced, and he was sometimes disappointed that so little of his own material was used within the group.
Perhaps in an attempt to compensate for this supporting role in the line-up, Harrison devoted himself to other things from the mid-1960s onwards, converting to Hinduism and immersing himself in the wider Indian culture. During this period, he also discovered the sitar as a musical instrument, immediately integrating it into the music of the Beatles.
In 1966 Harrison travelled to India together with his colleagues from the band, where they all spent several weeks in the company of pop guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Following their experimentation with different psychedelic drugs, the Beatles took their music off in ever more transcendental directions as the late sixties progressed. While the other band members' interest in the Indian lifestyle slowly waned, George Harrison remained a follower of the Hare Krishna movement for the rest of his life.
Following the Beatles split, George Harrison was finally able to stand on his own two feet musically. He put ouit his first solo album (1971) on 3 separate LPs, an indication of the quantity of energy and quality of material he had accumulated during his time with the Beatles but never been able to release.
George Harrison experienced his high point as a musician in 1972 with the organisation of the Concert for Bangladesh to raise money for the victims of disastrous flooding in the already war-ravaged country. His musical career rapidly went downhill from then on, leading him to pursue new challenges from 1978 onwards. His film production company brought out a series of landmark movies including 'Life of Brian' and 'Time Bandits'.
George Harrison followed up the 30th anniversary of his first solo album with a number of other musical projects and a tour of Japan with Eric Clapton in January 2001.
George Harrison died of a brain tumour on 29 November 2001 at the home of a friend in Los Angeles.
In February 2004 George Harrison was awarded a posthumous Grammy for the Best Pop Instrumental Performance for his playing on 'Marwa Blues'.