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“There Was A Beautiful Soul In Him”: George Harrison Remembered By Family And Friends

An inspiration not only for his musicianship, but also his spirituality, George Harrison is remembered by those who loved him.

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Photo courtesy of the Harrison family

As an ex-Beatle, George Harrison’s place in history is assured. Add to that a post-Beatles career that saw him further develop his songwriting skills with classic solo albums such as All Things Must Pass and the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys, and it becomes clear that George Harrison, born on 25 February 1943, was one of the greatest musical talents to have ever walked the earth.

It’s been said of him that, “George was a great believer in this fantastic language called music – the universality of this language,” and so it was fitting that, on 29 November 2002, a year to the day after George Harrison passed away, a musical family – led by Eric Clapton and including lifelong friends and collaborators, among them Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Jeff Lynne, Ravi Shankar, Tom Petty and Billy Preston – gathered to pay tribute to their beloved friend and inspiration. The Concert For George, staged at London’s Royal Albert Hall, and recently reissued on DVD, CD and LP formats, allowed for a universal outpouring of love for a man who’s work – and outlook on life – touched so many.

Indeed, Harrison was far more than a musical inspiration; he was, to many, a spiritual guide as well. “It was like I’d been sent the person I needed,” fellow-Wilbury Tom Petty said of their friendship. “He healed a lot of wounds.”

In a statement following Harrison’s death, his family revealed, “He often said, ‘Everything else can wait but the search for God cannot wait, and love one another.’” His many fans and friends, however, made sure to send a lot of love towards George Harrison himself.

What follows are tributes and memories of the great man, from those who knew him the most. As Ringo Starr once put it: “Let’s have peace and love for George.”

Listen to the best of George Harrison on Apple Music and Spotify.

Paul McCartney

“He was a lovely guy and a very brave man and had a wonderful sense of humour. He is really just my baby brother.”

Eric Clapton

“I always thought of George as being a little like the elder brother that I never had. So I respect his judgement and his values and I think he’s a wonderful man. And I like the way he bends the strings too.”

Ravi Shankar

“George was like a son to me, and my Indian name for him was ‘Jáyaraj.’… He gave the whole world so many beautiful songs.”

Michael Jackson

“He was a wonderful songwriter. The song ‘Something’ is still one of the prettiest songs of all time.”

John Lennon

“I think that [‘Within You Without You’] is one of George’s best songs, one of my favourites of his. I like the arrangement, the sound and the words. He is clear on that song. You can hear his mind is clear and his music is clear. It’s his innate talent that comes through on that song, that brought that song together.”

Brian May

“My favorite George Harrison song? ‘[While] My Guitar Gently Weeps’. I’ve discovered it takes courage to be gentle. He was an inspiration.”

Yoko Ono

“George has given so much to us in his lifetime and continues to do so even after his passing, with his music, his wit and his wisdom. His life was magical and we all felt we had shared a little bit of it by knowing him.”

Tom Petty

“We had some screaming laughing times. He could get you laughing really hard, you know, and I held my sides and tried not to hurt with him. Some people have this image of him as a kind of reverent guy, which he was, but he was also rip-you-apart funny.”

Terry Gilliam

“George was a huge [Monty] Python fan. He was always convinced that the spirit of The Beatles went into the Pythons because we started the year they quit. I want to believe that as well.”

Jeff Lynne

“George was a reluctant rock star, but he loved to play rock’n’roll. At the end of a session, around two in the morning, we’d have a few drinks, listen back to the stuff we’d been doing and then start playing other songs together, some of his old favourites. He didn’t like the bulls__t that goes with being famous. But he loved to make music and he loved recording.”

Dhani Harrison

“Jeff and my dad had a great way of working together. They were very good friends, and Jeff was meticulous, and he’d have a lot of ideas and bounce stuff off my dad. They just worked very well together.”

Sir George Martin

“George was a true friend, intensely loyal, caring deeply for those he loved and he inspired much love in return… George loved his garden in England, and creating beauty among his trees and plants was almost as important to him as his music.”

Elton John

“He found something worth more than fame, more than fortune, more than anything.”

Ravi Shankar

“I felt strongly that there was a beautiful soul in him, and recognised one quality which I always have valued enormously and which is considered the principal one in our culture – humility. Considering that he was so famous… he was nevertheless quite humble…”

Tom Petty

“George was the kind of guy who wasn’t going to leave until he hugged you for five minutes and told you how much he loved you.”

Keith Richards

“To me – George was, always will be, above all, a real gentleman, in the full meaning of the word. We both felt we held similar positions in our respective bands, which formed a special, knowing bond between us. Let’s hope he’s jamming with John.”

Bob Dylan

“I’ve always liked the way George Harrison plays guitar – restrained and good.”

Elton John

“As a guitarist – well, the trademark of a great guitarist is that you can always identify their sound, and with George you can always tell it’s George Harrison playing. All his solos are very melodic – you can almost sing his solos.”

Paul McCartney

“Anytime I see anything to do with George it brings back more memories than you can believe.”

Format: UK English
19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Garland

    February 13, 2018 at 2:24 am

    He was my friend when no body cared .His love will always be in my heart

  2. Paul Herring

    February 13, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Nice comments here about George. He must have been special human human being. RIP George Harrison.

  3. Paul Herring

    February 13, 2018 at 7:51 am

    Nice comments here about George. He must have been a special human being. RIP George Harrison.

  4. Barbara Svensson

    February 13, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    He was always my favorite Beatle, even when all my friends went crazy for Paul! I knew there was something special about him! Every song he wrote was masterful! I bought the original “Concert for George ” on CD and DVD when they first came out ages ago!

  5. bradzo

    February 15, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    I was named after Paul but George was my favourite Beatle for sure. So much of himself went into everything he played .

  6. Mark S.

    February 16, 2018 at 12:20 am

    When they first came out it seemed everyone had a favorite Beatle, mine was George. As time went by and they all went their separate ways, I have enjoyed much of their music through today. But I think George’s many collaborations gave him more depth, especially when you think of all the other artists he worked and recorded with like Clapton, Dylan, Shankar to name a few. Anyhow, George is still my favorite, and than God for “All Tings Must Past”.

  7. Tom Degan

    February 26, 2018 at 5:06 pm

  8. Greg Jones

    March 21, 2019 at 10:55 am

    George was the silent Beatle. George was held back by songwriting of Lennon and McCartney. It is a shame that egos couldn’t listen to George earlier. Traveling Wilburys rock.

  9. John Jack

    February 15, 2020 at 2:05 am

    By the time the Beatles made Revolver, John and Paul couldn’t ignore George’s songwriting talent any longer and even allowed 3 of his fantastic tracks onto the album.

  10. Dougalmac

    February 26, 2020 at 10:56 pm

    Why no quotes about George from Ringo? Or Olivia? Or Patty Boyd? Or Jackie Stewart? Or Eric Idle? This incomplete and not really representative of George’s unique talent and spiritual exceptionalism.

  11. MICHAEL DEFONTES

    February 27, 2020 at 5:36 am

    We meet once and spent 45 minutes together. Very nice guy. He was just lovely. Went to his home in Henly, but he was in LA. Great guy. Long story short. Just a fab guy.

  12. Ed Morrison

    February 27, 2020 at 5:49 am

    One time someone stabbed Mr. Harrison in the heart. His heart was so big, it didn’t kill him.

  13. Carlos Avila Rodriguez

    February 27, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Hola me da gusto ver esta notas . Sobre George Harrison y el resto de Rockeros . tube el gusto de ver tocar a George Harrison acompañado Billy Preston y Rovi Shankar en concierto en la Cd de Denver Co en 1974

  14. Jerry Baysinger

    February 27, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    I don’t care how many songs they wrote, no two of George’s lead guitar parts ever sounded alike. Each song was fresh. He had talent beyond comprehension. My favorite guitarist ever.

  15. Ed

    February 28, 2020 at 2:24 am

    I love ya Paul, but George was always my favorite Beatle. The closest I ever came to a Beatle is when I saw you Paul hiking in Franklin Canyon Park in L.A. I was to afraid to stop and say hi to ya. Your body guard was lingering near by.

  16. Shawn M. Cohen

    February 28, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    George Harrison came from humble Liverpool roots but knew he wanted to play guitar at a young age. He became friends with Paul as they rode the same bus to school daily. If you see where he grew up (Liverpool tours) you realize he had not a lot but love, his family, his older siblings all loved him. It is clear he handed this down through his songs, his work in this lifetime to bring beauty, grace, spiritual awakening and heartfelt lyrics and music to this world, plus a kick ass garden in Friar Park! I suspect George just got fed up. His cancer mimicked his mother’s and they both died the same way and at the same age. He left us right after 9/11 in 2001 so his death never really got the cover it deserved, so seeing this is a truly lovely and respectful message to this world of people who may not even know who George is!! His son Dhani is a beautiful gift to this world like his father and no one here mentioned how much George gave to the Hari Krisnas, he was one of them in his spirituality, but refused to dress like them. Many of them lived in Friar Park and he was often financially giving to them. He was a huge believer of Meditation and brought it to the West after the Beatles went to India in the late 1960’s. That deed in itself was a huge gift to the world, so as you can see George was a highly evolved soul whose seeking of God, truth and his love of music was deeply felt by all of us who either knew him or not. I grew up listening to the Beatles and that was enough for me to know this was something so special…and of course, I was right, they still are, George is their Dark Horse Guiding Star! RIP to a Master of Guitar, Songwriting and Humor, Bless you George and thank you!

  17. Carol Cassetti

    March 1, 2020 at 1:48 am

    A Beautiful Guy, with a great talent and love of music, his garden, python, his friends and family, what can one say but thanks George. You are well loved.

  18. Dave Barclay

    March 27, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    George was far and away a great guitarist with humility and grace to recognise that humanity was important for survival. He is still missed 19 years after his death and not many can say that they didn’t respect him even if they didn’t love him, RIP George and hope you and John are still going strong wherever you are now

  19. David Newton-Ross

    April 8, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    I shared a birthday with George and have always been a fan of The Beatles and George in particular. His music lives on and my collection of his music and other items of memorabilia means that memories of him shine on in my life. What a great gift to the world. RIP and thanks is nowhere near enough but thank you.

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