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George Harrison Remembered

Possibly George's last known photograph, from the booklet to the Jools Holland album "Small World, Big Band."  Harrison penned the album's track "Horse to the Water."
 

Updated December 21st, 2001


"I am devastated and very very sad. We knew he'd been ill for a long time. He was a lovely guy and a very brave man and had a wonderful sense of humour. He is really just my baby brother. I've known George forever and he's a really beautiful guy who I love dearly. I remember all the beautiful times we had together and I'd like to remember him like that because I know he would like to be remembered like that. He was a great guy, full of love for humanity but he didn't suffer fools gladly. He's a great man. He'll be sorely missed by everyone.

"He was a lovely, lovely man. We know he's been ill for a while and we've just praying been for some kind of miracle. It wasn't to be, but I understand from his wife that he went peacefully which is a great blessing and it was a very peaceful golden moment apparently. I will just miss him but rather than just dwell on the sadness, I'm tending to start remembering all the silly little stories of where we went, all the things we did, and the laughs we had together. He was a very lovely man who didn't suffer fools gladly and didn't like interferences in his private life. He was a great man, a loving man, and I would like to ask people, particularly the media, to be very kind to Olivia and Dhani at the moment and to try and support them this time, because they need support." 

--Paul McCartney; The Beatles

 
"My deep love and concern goes to Olivia and Dhani. The three of them (the Harrisons) were the closest, most loving family you can imagine. 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. Thank you George, it was grand knowing you." 
--Yoko Ono; John Lennon's widow

 
"George was a best friend of mine. I loved him very much and I will miss him greatly. Both Barbara and I send our love and light to Olivia and Dhani. We will miss George for his sense of love, his sense of music and his sense of laughter.'' 
--Ringo Starr; The Beatles

 
"George was a wonderful musician and a fine human being. [Lennon and McCartney] collaborated and kind of also rivaled each other in their writing. George didn't have anybody. George had to do it by himself, so he worked away at it. He had tremendous determination and application. He would craft his music meticulously with every little stitch in the canvas, and gradually built up his songwriting technique to a point where he became a great writer. He wasn't at the beginning, but then he started writing great songs. I've said 'Something' is one of the greatest love songs ever written. George was a true friend, intensely loyal, caring deeply for those he loved, and he inspired much love in return. Now I believe, as he did, that he has entered a higher state. God give him peace."
--George Martin; the Beatles' long-time producer

 
"He was the baby of the group. He was a very loveable person. I would say he was the major cog in The Beatles at that time. He kept them together probably because of the calming effect he had. It is very sad. I have seen three of them go now. First there was Stuart Sutcliffe who died tragically and then John Lennon who also died tragically and now George. He proved that he was a very talented songwriter. I have such fond memories of him and know he will be happy wherever he is. It is a honour to talk about such a great person." 
--Alan Williams; the Beatles' first manager

 
"You always knew where you stood with George, he was totally honest. I feel blessed to have been so close to him. He was a great friend. He wrote brilliantly original songs, played the greatest slide guitar and had the most amazing sense of humor. He really had the 'Inner Light,' and always will. Some of the happiest days of my life were spent in the studio with George."
--Jeff Lynne; E.L.O, producer, fellow Traveling Wilbury

 
"I met George before I'd even made a record. I met him and Ringo at Leon Russell's house, where I was kind of employed for a while. It was really exciting. I was struck by how unsnooty they were and they paid attention to me, who was nobody. That's the way George is, just a really decent fellow. Years later, when we had the Wilburys, we got to be really close friends. He's someone that I love a lot. I really would forget about The Beatles but then I wouldn't and made myself a pain in the ass sometimes. 'Oh come on, tell me about this...come on ...show me how you play this...'. And he would. He's wonderful really. I've had a lot of great times with George. There's my friend and then there's the guy I see in old film clips, Hey, that's George! We spent a lot of time at his house over the years. He's really just a sweetheart. I don't want to go on or I'll be embarrassed. He did do a great thing one night, where he was cleaning out his living room, some closets or something. His wife Olivia said 'George, what do I do with this?'. He walked down the hall and said, 'You like Elvis, don't you?' and I say, 'yeah'. So he throws me this leather holster and it's Elvis's holster. Elvis had given it to the Beatles one night and George goes, 'Do you want it?'. It's signed and everything. I said, 'you don't want this?' He's like 'I gotta get all this stuff out of here.' He gave me the holster. That meant a lot to me." 
--Tom Petty; the Heartbreakers, fellow Traveling Wilbury

 
"He was a giant, a great, great soul, with all of the humanity, all of the wit and humor, all the wisdom, the spirituality, the common sense of a man and compassion for people. He inspired love and had the strength of a hundred men. He was like the sun, the flowers and the moon and we will miss him enormously. The world is a profoundly emptier place without him."
--Bob Dylan; fellow Traveling Wilbury

 
"He enabled us to make the "Life of Brian' in 1978.  My film, 'The Missionary,' Alan Bennet's first and only film, 'A Private Function,' 'Time Bandits,' 'The Long Good Friday,' 'Mona Lisa,' all wouldn't have happened without George's inspiration. Quite apart from his music, he was an enormous influence on the British film industry.

"George had a great sense of humor--some of the best laughs I've had have been with George.  I was amazed and delighted he was such a Python fan. He enabled us to make 'Life of Brian' and other films like 'A Private Function'--none of these would have happened without his enthusiasm."

"George wasn't head in the clouds all the time. When it came to business and all that, he was feet very much on the ground. So there was a mixture there, and it was a rather pleasant mixture. 

"George, always called the quiet Beatle ... he never stopped talking when I was with him. He wasn't the silent one that sat in the corner by any means.

"He had an enormous number of friends who were terribly loyal to him, and will be very saddened.'' 

--Michael Palin; Monty Python

 
"He died as he lived, with dignity, with bravery and with comedy.  He inspired all the lives he touched.  He was a truly blessed man, loved by his family, his friends and strangers all around the world.  I loved him the very first moment I met him and I shall miss his eyes, his laughter, his honesty and his wonderful guitar playing. The world has lost a very fine man but we are all the richer for his life.  Thank you, Olivia and Dhani and dear sweet George, for letting [my wife] Tania and [daughter] Lily and me be a part of your incredible family.  I hope the world will respect Olivia's request to allow them to honor his passing in peace and dignity."
--Eric Idle; Monty Python

 
"He took to his [acting] parts with some relish and although we always felt that John Lennon was the flashiest and most interesting actor, George could always be relied on to hit the square in the middle and get the line right.''
--Richard Lester; director, "A Hard Day's Night" & "Help!"

 
"I think his most far reaching effect on both pop music and culture in general was the fact that he introduced the idea that it was possible to take aspects of other cultures and insert them in Western pop. He was somebody who took the sitar, for example, seriously rather than treating it as some sort of fancy guitar. He went to India and studied it ... and absorbed Indian culture while he was there.

"He triumphed, because on their final album his songs were the highlight.''

--Alan Clayson; Harrison biographer

 
"A great musician has gone to heaven. George was just a nice guy and a gentleman, in a way at least through his death he will have been released from all the pain he has been going through.

"George was always the quiet Beatle ... He was always acting as peacemaker between John and Paul.

"This is a black day, a sad day. He was a very talented lad and he was too young to die."

--Gerry Marsden; Gerry and the Pacemakers

 
"I'm deeply saddened to hear of the loss of my dear friend George. We've lost one of the most important figures of popular music but more importantly one of the kindest, most generous and funny people that I have ever met. All of my sympathy goes to his wife and son, and would ask that their privacy and feelings are respected." 
--Jools Holland; ex-Squeeze keyboardist who recorded George's final composition "Horse to the Water"

 
"Goodbye sweet man. ATMP." 
--Pete Townshend; The Who

 
"I am very saddened by George's death and will miss him enormously. As a guitarist, he invented many classic lines that were much copied by others and he wrote several very beautiful songs that we will always remember.  He was a very complex character, both quiet and funny with a very sweet nature, but he also could be rather combative at times.  He was the first musician I knew who developed a truly spiritual side, and he was generous with his time to both charity and to friends.'' 
--Mick Jagger; The Rolling Stones

 
"To me, George was, always will be, above all, a real gentle man, 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 (Lennon)."
--Keith Richards; The Rolling Stones

 
"It was my sitar and Indian music which connected me to George in the beginning, but very soon our relationship went beyond that. He was a friend, disciple and son to me.  George was a brave and beautiful soul, full of love, childlike humor and a deep spirituality.  We spent the day before [he died] with him and even then he looked so peaceful, surrounded by love.  [My wife] Sukanya, [daughter] Anoushka and I are deeply affected by this loss, and our love and prayers are with Olivia and Dhani.  George has left so many precious moments and memories in all our lives which will remain with us forever."
--Ravi Shankar; sitarist, composer

 
"He wrote some of the greatest Beatles songs, but more than that, he had a gentleness and spirtuality that made spending time with him a great pleasure.  I have been dreading this loss, and I will really miss him."
--Paul Simon; singer/songwriter

**NEW**

"Sigh . . . 

"The strange thing is, I had just been hanging out with my brother Steve over the Thanksgiving holiday . . . we started talking about George . . . after seeing what my dad went through before he died, I had a kind of primitive understanding of what cancer is, and how it behaves once it has taken hold, and I told my brother that I had a bad feeling about George, thinking that his time must coming close. Boy, do I hate hate HATE knowing that I was right.

"I suppose his passing wouldn't have hit me quite as hard if George Harrison hadn't of been the very first crush of my entire LIFE . . . for the first time in my short existence ( I was around seven, I think), I found myself staring at a photo of a complete stranger and thinking, "This person is very beautiful, very special . . ." I couldn't articulate what I was feeling, or why I was feeling it; I only knew that something important was happening. Years later, I figured out what it was: that moment was the moment that I fell in love with rock and roll (and more specifically, of course, with George).

"I heard the news on the morning of December first . . . After a kinda numbed-out day of recording, I headed home. Curled up on the sofa with a couple of dogs and the leftover Halloween candy, I proceeded to weep. It's a very strange sensation to feel the passing of a stranger as a personal loss. Guess it's best to wish him well, and hope he's where he would like to be. I will always love you, George."

--Michael Steele; The Bangles

**NEW**

"I woke up today to the news that George Harrison had died, that he had lost the battle he had been fighting against cancer for several years. The sadness that I feel over his death is very different from the reaction I had when the news of John Lennon's death was received. Mr. Harrison's passing was natural, premature, but not so sudden and horrible as Mr. Lennon's murder. The world has lost a cultural icon, an exceptional musician, a sweet man and with his death there is powerful realization that time is not standing still for any of us. 

"For nearly 40 years we have had the phenomenon of the Beatles with which to measure the time of our lives, now we will add another member's death as a sad point of reference. I was born the year that the band released their first single, I joined my first band the year that John was killed, I'm sure that I will remember his death today along with other events that it parallels...waking up in a desert casino to more terrorism and bombing. 

"Whenever I witness the death of someone or something it is a lesson in the fragility of life, a reminder of the temporal state of all things. I can only guess that George Harrison had a deeper understanding of that concept than most of us. Those of us who listened to his music and vicariously followed his search for meaning learned a great deal from him. He introduced me to the musical tradition and philosophy of an exotic culture...India. He staged the first large scale benefit concert for the starving people of Bangladesh and started an independent music label to promote artists he admired. He accepted his wealth and fame with grace and generosity. 

"I've always thought of George as the secret weapon in the Beatles. His guitar work and songwriting are both understated as contributions compared to the titan songwriters Lennon/McCartney. But when I look over the list of his song credits, it is impressive and contains some of my favorites...'Something,' 'If I Needed Someone,' 'Here Comes The Sun,' 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps,' 'I Need You.' We started the show tonight by playing 4 of George's songs and finished the night with "My Sweet Lord". It was a beautiful way for all of us in the band to celebrate his life more than to mourn his passing. As long as people continue to sing his songs he has the promise of immortality."

--Natalie Merchant; singer/songwriter, formerly of 10,000 Maniacs

 
"George Harrison was always my favorite Beatle.  His quiet sensitivity always seemed so noble.  His songs seemed sweeter and deeper than the rest.  Beyond being an amazing player, his ability to convey such emotion with just his guitar played a huge part in the Beatles' music for me.  He was the secret weapon.  One of the first guitar leads I ever learned was from the song 'Something,' when I was about 11 years old.  I paid tribute to him on our first record with the song 'Oh, George,' a reference to the slide lead.  He was always my favorite...and always will be."
--Dave Grohl; Foo Fighters singer/guitarist

 
"This is a very sad day for myself and everyone who knew and loved George. He was part of my teenage years, he was part of my marriage to John, in fact, a very important and unforgettable part of my life. He was part of my family.

"George may have departed from this world that we all know, but his generosity of talent and spirit he bequeathed to all he left behind. A spirit that searched for the truth and I'm sure has finally found peace.

"My love and condolences to Olivia and Dhani. I know his memory will give them immense strength and courage, the memory of a very special human being."

--Cynthia Lennon; John Lennon's first wife

 
"It is a sad day for all of us, I loved George very much. He was the kindest of men. Our time together, though little, was always memorable. He was a man to be inspired by and he certainly touched my heart and millions of others. He will be missed, but I believe that after all the pain he has endured, he is finally at peace. My heart goes out to Olivia and Dhani, but I know that George is still with them in spirit and will be guarding them every day of their lives until they meet again. George you are beautiful.

"Luv Ya Always."

--Julian Lennon; musician, John Lennon's first son

 
"[His new album] is very close to finishing. There is a certain soulfulness about Georgeís music that doesnít need a lot once he has put that voice on. There will be people who argue that it is underproduced and maybe there should be more on it. Knowing George, I have a feeling he would rather it be as simple and as direct as possible ... I last saw him on Sunday night. It was a great gift to us that he was so beautiful. He looked fantastic. He looked like a prince. He didnít look like a person suffering from cancer. His skin was shining and he was smiling.Ē
--Jim Keltner; session drummer

 
"I am deeply saddened to hear the news of George Harrison's passing. I have always had tremendous respect for George, for his amazing talent and for the person he was. 

"Early in my career, I had the good fortune to work with him on his first solo project 'All Things Must Pass'. This experience was very inspirational to me as a young musician and songwriter. I am grateful to him for allowing me to be a part of that legendary moment in time. 

"George was gracious and kind. He was deeply spiritual and I valued his faith, his creativity, and his dedication to the things that he loved and believed in. 

"In my life, he was truly one of the most beautiful people that I have known. My heart goes out to his family and to all those who were close to him. He has left a giant imprint on the world and will be greatly missed by all of us."

--Alan White; session drummer

 
"I am horribly saddened by the death of George Harrison. While we were not personal friends, I think that just like everybody in the world, I have always considered all the Beatles to be my friends. Their arrival in America in 1964 was electrifying, one of the most exciting things that ever happened in my life, and their music has always and will always mean so much to me. The world is terribly diminished by the loss of George, and today, I say a prayer for George, and wish him and his family Love and Mercy." 
--Brian Wilson; The Beach Boys

 
"I am really shocked and saddened to hear of the death of George Harrison. Along with the all of his contemporaries as well as millions throughout the world, I mourn the passing of a musician whose sensitivity and spirituality touched all of us. Apart from his work with the Beatles and his important solo recordings, George was one of the first in the sixties to bring the influence of Indian culture to the attention of the world thus changing the direction of western music for all time. He was also almost single handedly responsible for the resurgence of the British film industry in recent times through his Hand Made Films production company. Without his input it is unlikely that films such as 'The Life of Brian,' 'Brazil,' 'Withnail and I,' 'Mona Lisa,' 'A Private Function' and many others would ever have been made.

"I first had the privilege of working with him on the Cream 'Goodbye' sessions and his wonderful rhythm guitar work on 'Badge' prompted me to ask him to play on 'Never Tell Your Mother She's Out of Tune' on my first solo album, 'Songs For a Tailor.' This he did superbly using the name L'Angelo Misterioso for contractual reasons. He took the session so seriously that he arrived at the studio an hour before anyone else in order to be prepared for the live recording! 

"I always felt a special empathy with him, the 'Quiet Beatle' as I guess I was also the 'Quiet Cream!'

"Farewell George. I will miss you."

--Jack Bruce; Cream

 
"I believe that George Harrison has left an indelible mark in this life that will be left and heard as long as people inhabit this place and listen to music. George is gone but when we hear his recorded contributions to what we value so dearly, he is here. God rest your soul, brother George, I'll see you in Heaven."
--Mark Farner; Grand Funk Railroad

 
"George Harrison was one of the world's few good men, one of the better people I ever met. I will and the world will miss him. He was truly loved.'' 
--James Brown

 
"A light has gone out in the world today with the loss of my dear friend George.  We met in 1970 when I first played on 'All Things Must Pass.'  We immediately became close friends and have been since that time.  George was my spirtual mentor and it was he who intorudced me to my guru Paramahansa Yogananda.  I am and ever will be forever indebted to him for having done this for me. 

"George and I wrote songs together that appeared on his solo albums and he also produced and playd on several of my own albums - namely 'Footprint,' 'Who I Am,' and 'First Signs Of Life.'... 

"His music, his incredible sense of humor, and his depth of creativity are forever etched in my mind and I will sorely miss him as my dear friend.  George deeply cared for humanity and lived his life that way.  He was always acutely aware of the suffering of others and readily gave of himself always, whether it was in giving concerts like the one for Bangladesh or in helping a friend who was distraught or in need. 

"A Beatle, a friend, a humanitarian, a great artist and musician, George you will always live on in a very special place in my heart and in the hearts of all who loved you and your music.  May God keep you in his light and love and my your music and life continue to uplift and inspire others always.

"Your humble friend."

--Gary Wright; singer/songwriter/keyboardist

 
"While I'm certainly grieved, I fondly remember him as being kind and mystical. He was kind to his friends and fellow musicians. George made you feel at home, in is home, and I'd see him at breakfast, discuss the day's news, have tea in the garden and go up to his studio whenever we felt like working.

"He once had me sit on the toilet and play my soprano sax, and they miked it at the end of the hall for a distant sound and I thought they were kidding--we all had a good laugh on that one. I remember him describing my multi-sax part as being stung by saxophones. He stopped me in the middle of a sax solo and brought my 3:00 tea--again I thought he was kidding.

"I always felt at peace with him. To have peace with myself and make no task too hard to accomplish. On the Dark Horse tour in particular, I really learned to be more humble from George and the Indian musicians. 

"He played guitar on my Warner Bros. solo record 'Take Away The Sadness' and he was always there with encouragement whenever I needed him."

--Jim Horn; sax legend

 
"I am sitting here trying to put into words my feelings and it's not easy. Our worst fears have happened. One of the world's greatest and brightest beacons has died. George Harrison passed away yesterday due to complications from cancer. Olivia and Dhani were at his side at a friend's house in Los Angeles. We are all so saddened. George gave us so much joy through his music and his life's journey. His last message was for everybody to love one another. His musical legacy is unmatched, except for those of his former band mates. I remember trying to play 'Here Comes the Sun' on guitar from the day Abbey Road came out. It took 22 months almost to the day that George organized the very first All Star benefit concert (for Bangla Desh). All the others followed in George's enormous and modest footsteps (from Live Aid, Farm Aid right up to last month's Concert for New York). To this day, that was my all time favorite concert. I will never forget when he came onstage with just an acoustic guitar, accompanied by Badfinger's Pete Ham and proceeded to play 'Here Comes the Sun.' He had a capo on the 7th fret. I said, IS THAT HOW HE GOT THAT SOUND!. When I met with George in 1976, before the first Los Angeles BEATLEFEST, I talked with him about it and he already knew about the convention as was planning to send things down to the show, which he did. He had a way of making those around him comfortable and he had no objections talking about The Beatles. There are those very few people who pass through this life and truly make a difference. George was certainly one of them. He can NEVER be replaced. Let's all try to reflect on the positive force that was George Harrison. Listen to his music, have a good cry and hope that Olivia and Dhani know that he was so loved by so many. Peace and love." 
--Mark Lapidos; Beatlefest

 
"It wasn't just Paul who was devastated by George's death, it was the whole world. We've lost someone who was known to be extremely generous, kind, loyal and talented. People called him 'The Quiet Beatle', but as his close friend, Michael Palin, affectionately remarked, 'When I was with him, I couldn't get a word in.' He was also someone who was not afraid to speak about God. George said what he thought and laughed when he saw that some people didn't understand a word he was saying. There'll be millions of words said about him over the next few days, weeks, months, years, but let's remember that he's now out of pain and with God. Most importantly, he's now found out why he was put on this Earth. I suspect to give love, spread peace and make millions of people very happy ... Our thoughts go to Olivia and Dhani."
--Keith Badman; author

 
"The people of Bangladesh consider Harrison as their beloved man, who felt for them in 1971 during their days of agony and distress." 
--President Badruddoza Chowdhury; Bangladesh

 
"He believed that death is part of life, and had no fear of death. None whatsoever. Sometimes it made those around him uncomfortable. But he was totally fearless about it. He viewed death as a natural process of life. He faced the end with great humor and courage ... He was much more spiritual than most people. He was very special. This was a man adored by millions, and yet he craved the solitude of a quiet day. He could be happy in a little apartment by himself with a guitar. He didnít need great toys to amuse himself. He was very happy within his skin."
--Dr. Gil Lederman; George's doctor at Staten Island University Hospital

 
"Anybody that you love, you never actually lose them because they stay with you in your heart. ... You know, George will always live on because you can always go and play their music, listen to the voices, and in his case listen to the really tremendous beauty he brought out in the guitar when he touched those strings--so expressive and beautiful--and you'll also be able to watch the movies and see him doing goofy things with the other guys. You know, they'll always be young in the hearts of everybody, too."
--Louise Harrison; George's sister

Editorial cartoons on the death of George Harrison, many quite touching.
 
 

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