Friday, February 25, 2011


Happy birthday to George Harrison who would have been 68-years-old today.  Those who regularly (or occasionally) read The Weight might recall that Harrison has been the subject of much reverence as of late.  Everything from, "favorite Beatle" to "coolest Beatle" to "best hair in the Beatles," etc. etc. But corny checklists aside, I think all would be in agreement that George was all-in-all, just a good bloke.  And put aside his music for a minute.  George was a philanthropist -- his Concert for Bangladesh, despite its shortcomings, was one of the first "super-group" benefit concerts tied to an international cause.   He was an avid gardener, a race-car enthusiast, and survivor of knife attacks.  He was a devoted husband to Olivia and father to his twin-like son, Dhani.  He was an accomplished ukulele player and lover of Monty Python.  He was "betrayed" by his good friend Eric Clapton, yet was man enough to remain on the best of terms with him and Pattie Boyd in the years that ensued. In his later years, he bravely fought numerous battles with cancer, from which of course, he ultimately succumbed.  Like his old friend John, he died much too young.  

I think back to the 80's and 90's when I was much younger and recall having only a vague awareness of  who George was.  I knew, like everyone else, that he was the "lead" guitarist of the Beatles and singer of that still catchy pop-tune, "Got My Mind Set On You."   I distinctly remember watching him perform with The Traveling Wilburys in music videos for "Handle with Care" and "End of the Line," but was more interested in Roy Orbison who had recently died around that time.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I had never even heard of All Things Must Pass until college, and really only started seriously listening to it within the last ten years.  Now, it is probably my favorite album, next to Dark Side of the Moon.  After re-watching Anthology this past month, I saw a different side of George -- a more calloused, more cynical, and maybe even a more embittered George.  I truly believe in his later years, he resented much of his Beatles legacy; that he refused to be perceived as "larger than life," unlike his Beatle compatriots (you know you are), but just a lucky guy from Liverpool, who "used" the Beatles as a means to an end.   But what is evident, is that George adored his friends and family, his undying spirituality and the times when he could bask under the sun and play old tin pan alley tunes on the uke. Or maybe, George was acting, using his sharp wit, which he shared in common with his good friend Eric Idle, as a way of "humanizing" the Beatles and at the same time, humbling himself and his illustrious achievements.  After all, he was the "shy" Beatle.

Happy birthday, L'Angelo Misterioso.

"It's being here now that's important. There's no past and there's no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can't relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don't know if there is one."  -- George Harrison

"End of the Line," The Traveling Wilburys

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