Posted by themusicsover on November 29, 2009
February 24*, 1943 – November 29, 2001
George Harrison achieved massive fame and success as the lead guitarist for the Beatles. His post-Beatles career, whether as a solo artist or member of the Traveling Wilburys was just as critically acclaimed. Born in Liverpool, London, Harrison was still in grade school when he got his first guitar. Before long, he formed his own skiffle band, the Rebels. Another of his schoolmates, Paul McCartney had a band as well, the Quarrymen, along with John Lennon. Harrison was just 16 when McCartney heard his guitar playing and asked him to join the band. The group would soon morph into the Beatles, made up of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe, and Pete Best, who was later replaced by Ringo Starr. Following the unexpected 1962 death of Sutcliffe, it would be Harrison along with Lennon, McCartney and Starr, who would forever change the landscape of popular music. Although Lennon and McCartney were the primary songwriters of the group, Harrison contributed such later hits as “Taxman,” “Within You Without You,” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Following the Beatles’ break-up in 1970, Harrison immediately launched a successful solo career with the release of All Things Must Pass which included his first hit, “My Sweet Lord.” Over the better part of the next two decades, Harrison released a series of critical and commercial successes which included The Concert For Bangladesh, Living In The Material World, Dark Horse, and Cloud Nine. In 1988, Harrison formed the popular “supergroup,” the Traveling Wilburys which included Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty. Harrison also found success in the film industry. In 1978, he started his own production company, HandMade Films. Over the next 15 years, his company released such hits as Life of Brian, Shanghai Surprise and Time Bandits. On December 30, 1999, Harrison was the victim of an attack that was frightening similar to the one that killed John Lennon. In the early morning hours, Harrison and his wife, Olivia Harrison, were startled to hear an intruder loudly calling out George’s name from another room in their house. When he confronted the crazed man, he was stabbed seven times in a struggle that reportedly lasted 15 minutes. The assailant was subdued with the help of Olivia who hit him numerous times with a fireplace poker. George suffered a punctured lung and head injuries. The incident caused him to all but eliminate public appearances from that day forward. In 1997, Harrison discovered he was suffering from lung cancer. He was 58 when he died of the cancer on November 29, 2001.
*Despite what is reported elsewhere, George Harrison was actually born just before midnight on February 24, 1943. The wrong date was mistakenly written on his birth certificate. It was brought to his attention later in life.
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