George Harrison: Gone 20 Years

With the new Get Back series we have a chance to enjoy the Beatles like we have never seen them before. Like others my age, I wonder where the time went. The Beatles’ recording career stopped in January 1970 as George, Paul and Ringo worked on George’s song, “I Me Mine” for the Let It Be album.

Not until 1995 did George, Paul and Ringo regroup to finish off two of John Lennon’s songs, for the Beatles Anthology series. Sadly, that was the last those three surviving Beatles would make music together. George would pass away on November 29, 2001.

Gone, but not forgotten. George has been remembered with many projects, solo and as a part of the Beatles. Besides the Let It Be album remastering, remix and bonus tracks, his All Things Must Pass album received a similar release.

George was my favorite Beatle, maybe because he was the most complex of the four, and also displayed the most wicked sense of humor of any Beatle. George had a chip on his shoulder to the end of his life. He constantly had to prove himself, or felt the need to. Maybe late in life he realized how revered he was, not as Beatle George, simply as George Harrison. He seemed more private as he got older, the lesson of fame and perhaps of betrayal. Even as he was undergoing cancer treatments, fame got in the way. Beatle George made it possible to live a comfortable life and free to pursue his interests. It was no longer necessary for him to have songs on the charts or sell a million copies, his financial future was set in his early years.

George’s relationships with the other three Beatles were complicated. John treated him like a little brother rather than as an equal. John was dismissive of George’s songwriting and even a little jealous at times. I do not know if they ever corrected that problem in their relationship. Paul was the one that George had the hardest feelings toward and it showed in many of their interactions, including the Anthology recordings. Give Paul credit because he was there at the end of George’s life, and has been genuinely sweet towards the memory of George. Ringo and George always seemed to get along, although in the early solo years, as George was writing songs for Ringo, he was boffing Maureen, Ringo’s wife. Somehow they got past that little indescretion.

George was quite spiritual and charitable, but he was no saint. His affairs and drug use were known to those closest to him, and he certainly was both forgiving and a holder of grudges. Whatever George did, good or bad, was magnified by his fame.

George’s imperfections made him human. He understand how difficult it was to live in the material world. George had a subtle wisdom, sometimes spiked with humor, that was very relatable. Twenty years seems like yesterday, but it was all those years ago. We miss you George. Peace and love, as Ringo always says.

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