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George Harrison Biography

George Harrison was one of the 'Beatles', the famed rock band. However he made significant individual recordings, too. Read to learn more about his life...
Prabhakar Pillai
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2019
George Harrison was born on Feb 25, 1943 in Liverpool, England. His father was Harold Harrison, a bus driver. His mother was a ballroom dance teacher, Louise. He was inspired to play guitar by British skiffle king Lonnie Donegan's recording of 'Rock Island Line'. His parents supported him in his quest to become a musician. 
He learned more about guitar playing from records of Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly, Chet Atkins, Duane Eddy, and Carl Perkins. In 1957 he joined The Quarrymen, a Liverpool band formed by John Lennon. Paul McCartney was also a part of this group.
In a few years, The Quarrymen had been disbanded, and Ringo Starr had joined Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison, to form the well-known lineup of the Beatles. Harrison played the part of lead guitarist, and sang back-up vocals. By 1963, the Beatles were numero uno in England, with the US set to follow. In 1963, he wrote his first song 'Don't Bother Me'.
From 1963 to 1970 the Beatles recorded 21 of his songs. Several of his songs, such as 'Here Comes The Sun' and 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', are considered among the best Beatles songs, and 'Something', written by him, is the second most covered Beatles song ever.
He incorporated Indian music into the Beatles' melange. Pandit Ravi Shankar taught Harrison the sitar, a popular Indian musical instrument. He used it in many Beatles songs, such as 'Within You Without You'. In 1969 he had a meeting with Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness ).
Through ISKCON, he learned meditation. In 1969, he became the first Beatle to release a solo album. He released 'Wonderwall Music', which was heavily derived from Indian music. The Beatles disbanded in 1970, but all four members continued to release solo records.
In November 1970, Harrison released 'All Things Must Pass', which was produced by Phil Spector and included the number one hit single 'My Sweet Lord'. In 1971, he staged 'The Concert for Bangladesh' at New York's Madison square.
That album won the 1972 album of the year Grammy Award. In 1973, he released 'Living in the Material World'. In 1974, he released 'Dark Horse'. In 1981, following the murder of John Lennon, he released 'Somewhere in England', with the memorial song 'All Those Years Ago'. In 1982, he released 'Gone Troppo', which flopped miserably.
In 1988, Harrison, along with Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne formed the Traveling Wilburys. The group released two immensely successful albums, 'Vol.1' and 'Vol. 3'; the latter made the Platinum listings in the UK, US, and the Canadian charts. In 1999, a fan seriously injured him in a knife attack after breaking into his home.
Personal Life
He married model Pattie Boyd on January 21, 1966. Paul McCartney was the best man at the wedding. They separated after a few years―she had an affair with Eric Clapton in the late 60's―and were divorced in 1977. In 1978, he married Olivia Arias.
In August 1978, their son Dhani was born. Dhani was named after the 6th and seventh notes in the Indian scale, dha and ni. In 2001 it was disclosed that Harrison was afflicted by an incurable form of lung cancer that had metastasized to his brain. He died on November 29, 2001, in Los Angeles.