This George Harrison biography, written by the former Beatle’s widow, Olivia Harrison, draws upon his collection of photographs, letters, journals, and other documentation. She follows Harrison’s life from his boyhood in Liverpool, where he grew up poor and learned to play guitar, through his incredible career with the Beatles, and on to his subsequent career as a solo artist. On the way, we discover once more Harrison’s infatuation with Indian music, his learning to play the sitar and how that influenced his guitar-playing, his forays into motion pictures, and his fandom for Formula One racing. All the entertainment lights that illuminated his life are here, Eric Clapton, Ravi Shankar, Monty Python greats Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam, and of course the other three Beatles: John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and Paul McCartney. We’re treated as well to a collection of Harrison’s own photographs (taken by him as photographer, that is) starting in the 1960s.
The “quiet Beatle” in his wife’s words
George Harrison was always referred to as the “quiet Beatle,” compared to the more outspoken and flamboyant Lennon, McCartney, and Starr. He was the band’s lead guitarist and arguably the virtuoso musician of the quartet. Not as prolific a songwriter as John Lennon or Paul McCartney, who wrote the majority of the Beatles’ songs, he nonetheless contributed many of their gentler hits, including “Here Comes the Sun,” “Something,” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” A devotee of Indian mysticism as well as of Indian music, Harrison incorporated themes from Hinduism into many of his songs, most obviously “My Sweet Lord,” which was also his biggest hit as a solo musician, and indeed his most successful song even when compared to those he wrote for The Beatles. This George Harrison biography retells much of that story from a different viewpoint than Harrison himself provided in I Me Mine, and Olivia Harrison concentrates, understandably, on the years when she knew him, first as a contact in the music business and then as her husband.