Legends in Music: Happy Birthday George Harrison

Lung cancer got the best of him on November 29th, 2001. He was 58 at the time, which would make him 73 today. He was a quiet, loving soul and we are all beyond grateful for the tremendous impact he has made on us as both a person and a musician.

George Harrison, prominently known for his work as lead guitarist for the Beatles, was often overshadowed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. This should not, however, diminish the pivotal role he played in shaping modern popular music today. As the dynamic duo of Lennon and McCartney penned most of the Beatles’ lyrics, George Harrison’s most notable compositions include “Within You Without You”, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Something”, and “Here Comes the Sun.”

As the Beatles’ increase in differences led to their breakup in 1970, Harrison, like the other three Beatles, led on a successful solo career. This included the widely popular All Things Must Pass, which consisted of the tracks “My Sweet Lord” and “What Is Life.” He also is recognized for his role in the famous “Concert for Bangladesh” benefit show that brought out many critically-acclaimed musicians.

In 1988, he created the supergroup “The Traveling Willburys” alongside other legends Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and Ray Orbison. They producing several charted songs, which included “Handle With Care”, “Last Night”, and “Inside Out.”

As Harrison made his mark in both the shaping of the music we know today as well as playing a key role in the pop-culture movement, we will highlight some of the key tracks that have been discussed.

Early Beatles:

George Harrison’s role in songwriting was more of a factor in the later Beatles’ records, but he played a large part in inspiring the many shifts in musical playing style from album to album. Harrison’s unique instrumentalism played part introducing folk rock, which is demonstrated in 1965’s Rubber Soul. He also wrote “Taxman” in the following year’s Revolver, which shows his versatility as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist.

The Later Beatles:

George Harrison’s growing interest in Indian culture is directly related to his lone contribution on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: “Within You Without You.” The lyrics in this song give merit to George’s loving personality. The line, however simple, that really struck me was “With our love, we could save the world, if they only knew.” Perhaps more well known, The White Album‘s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, Abbey Road‘s “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun” show the evolution of George Harrison as a masterful musician.

Post-Beatles:

With All Things Must Pass, George Harrison embarked on a solo career that simply just couldn’t go without notice. It was widely critically-acclaimed and earned him a top spot on the charts in multiple countries. Of his 12 studio albums, All Things Must Pass remains an impact to many listeners across the globe today. Perhaps “My Sweet Lord” needs to be put to justice here.

The Traveling Wilburys:

The supergroup that lasted all of three years still plays a large part in modern music’s history. Alongside Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and Ray Orbison, there was simply nothing to dislike about this project. “Handle With Care” is a timeless song that offers a combination of vocal harmony and lyrical flow to close out the 80s with style.

I feel it is only right to let the music take you through the timeline of this man’s career. It continues to speak volumes to us all across the globe.

15 years gone, but certainly never forgotten. Happy Birthday Mr. Harrison. The music industry is grateful for the many ways you have touched upon each and every one of your souls.

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