Friday, February 25, 2011

George Harrison - They Say It's His Birthday!

It's hard to believe that George Harrison, my favorite Beatle, has been dead almost ten years this coming December. Always known as the "serious" Beatle, Mr. Harrison contributed quite a lot to the sucess of the band. And after they broke up, his last recording with The Beatles was done in July of 1969 for the "Abbey Road" album, he went on to establish a quiet, and varied career, touring the world with many different incarnations of a band. His most notable sucess came in the late 1980's when he teamed up with Jeff Lynne, of The Electric Light Orchestra, and old friend Bob Dylan, along with new friend Tom Petty, and an old influence, Roy Orbison, with whom the Beatles had toured Germany in 1962, to form The Traveling Wilbury's. They made two albums, one before Mr. Orbison passed away, for which he received a Best Vocalist Award, and the second one without him.

This song, "Handle me with Care", takes a hard look at the price of fame and fortune. The vocals are tight, and yet both Roy Orbison and George Harrison each come off as distinctly different vocalists in this song. That was the beauty of this band, it's sheer wealth of writing and performance talents, coupled with no egos. This was also a very unique band, centered as it was,around George Harrison, the man whose curiosity about a sitar on the set of the movie "Help" began a radical shift in pop music, as well as a resurgence in the Art of Yoga. We were lucky to have him for awhile. He would have been 68 years old today. Happy Birthday, George!

I hope that if you have the time, and inclination, you will take a few moments today to view the wealth of music that this quiet man left as a legacy. Here's a link to get you in the slip stream. It features George on his favorite instrument, the ukelele. The song is "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" by Ted Koehler. Mr. Harrison was a big fan of 1930's music, once responding to a news reporters question about what he had been listening to in his car that day with a very unexpected answer; "Barnacle Bill the Sailor and some Hoagie Carmichael." When asked if he was joking, he looked slightly annoyed as he answered, "No. are you?"

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