George HarrisonOn 25/02/1943: George Harrison was born in Liverpool, England. Harrison's earliest musical influences included George Formby, Cab Calloway, Django Reinhardt and Hoagy Carmichael. By the 1950s, he was also influenced by Elvis Presley, Slim Whitman, Carl Perkins and Lonnie Donegan. In 1956, his father bought him his first guitar a Dutch Egmond flat top acoustic. Harrison formed a skiffle group called The Rebels with his brother Peter and a friend Arthur Kelly.
Whilst on a bus ride to school, Harrison met Paul McCartney and the two bonded over their shared love of music. Harrison became a part of the skiffle group called the Quarrymen which included McCartney as well as John Lennon. He auditioned for the band at Rory Storm's Morgue Skiffle Club and then had a second audition on top of a double decker bus.
At the age of 16, Harrison left school and worked as an apprentice electrician at Blacklers department store.
In 1960, the Quarrymen went on tour in Scotland. Whilst on the tour, Harrison would use the name Carl Harrison as a reference to Carl Perkins. Also in 1960, promoter Allan Williams arranged for the band, who were now known as the Beatles to play at the Kaiserkeller club in Hamburg. The band's first residency in Hamburg was cut short when Harrison was deported for being too young to work in the club.
In 1961, Brian Epstein became the Beatles new manager and got them a contract with EMI.
In 1962, The Beatles released their first single "Love Me Do". It reached number 17 on the Record Retailer chart.
In 1963, The Beatles released their debut album "Please Please Me". By the end of 1963, the term Beatlemania was first being used to reflect the mass popularity of the group. Also in 1963, The Beatles released their second album "With the Beatles". It included the song "Don't Bother Me" which was Harrison's first solo writing credit.
In 1965, The Beatles released the album "Rubber Soul". It featured elements of folk music and Indian classical music which Harrison had brought into the band, including a sitar on the song "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)". Also in 1965, Harrison and the other Beatles were appointed Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).
In 1966, The Beatles released the album "Revolver" which featured three of Harrison's compositions "Taxman", "Love You To" and "I Want to Tell You".
In 1967, The Beatles released the album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band". It featured Harrison's Indian-inspired song "Within You Without You". No other member of the Beatles would feature on the track.
In 1968, Harrison's composition "The Inner Light" was recorded at EMI's studio in Bombay. It featured as the B-side to the Beatles single "Lady Madonna". It would be the first time a Harrison song was to appear on a Beatles single. In the same year, The Beatles recorded and released their album "The Beatles" otherwise known as "The White Album". During the recording, tensions between the members were high and drummer Ringo Starr left the group briefly. The album featured the Harrison compositions "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Piggies", "Long, Long, Long" and "Savoy Truffle".
Harrison would become friend with Bob Dylan and the Band after visiting Woodstock in 1968. The Band's shared creative process inspired Harrison. Harrison became a more prolific songwriter and asserted more independence from The Beatles.
Harrison provided the soundtrack to the 1968 film "Wonderwall". It was a mix of Indian and Western instrumentation. The album release of the music was the first solo album by a Beatle member and the first LP released by Apple Records.
In January 1969, during the filming of rehearsals at Twickenham Studios for the Beatles "Let It Be" album, Harrison quit the group. He would agree to return 12 days later.
In 1969, The Beatles released their last studio album "Abbey Road". It included the Harrison compositions "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something". "Something" was released as one-half of a double A-side with "Come Together". The song would become the Beatle's second most covered song after "Yesterday". During 1969, Harrison would go on a brief tour of Europe with the group Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. The tour included Eric Clapton, Bobby Whitlock, Jim Gordon, Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett. Delaney Bramlett inspired Harrison to learn slide guitar.
In 1970, The Beatles released Harrison's song "For You Blue" as part of a double A-side with the song "The Long and Winding Road". Harrison made his last recording session with the Beatles on 04/01/1970 recording Harrison's song "I Me Mine". Harrison released the triple album "All Things Must Pass" in 1970. It featured a collection of songs that he had written during his time with the Beatles that were not released. The album is considered amongst his best work and included the song "My Sweet Lord" which became a number one hit single.
In 1971, Harrison organised the charity event "The Concert for Bangladesh" at the request of Ravi Shankar. It was held at Madison Square Garden, New York and raised money for starving refugees during the Bangladesh Liberation War. The Beatles received an Academy Award for best Original Song Score for the film "Let It Be" in 1971. Also in 1971, Bright Tunes sued Harrison for copyright infringement over the song "My Sweet Lord" which they felt was similar to the Chiffons hit "He's So Fine". In 1976, the case was heard in a US district court where Harrison denied deliberately plagiarising the song. He lost the case as the judge ruled he had done so subconsciously.
In 1973, Harrison released the solo album "Living in the Material World", which was at number 1 on the Billboard chart for five weeks.
In 1974, Harrison went on a 45 date tour called the Dark Horse tour. It was the first tour by a Beatle member in the US. The tour was not met with a mixed response. Some fans weren't keen on seeing music from Ravi Shankar as well as Harrison, Harrison's vocals suffered from laryngitis during the tour and some didn't like that Harrison had changed some of the lyrics to some of the Beatles songs in the set. In December that year, Harrison released the album "Dark Horse".
In 1975, Harrison released his last studio album for EMI and Apple Records called "Extra Texture". It featured a more soul music style.
In 1976, Harrison released the first album on his new Dark Horse Records label called "Thirty Three & 1/3".
In 1979, Harrison released the album "George Harrison". It was his first since his second marriage, the birth of his son Dhani and the death of his father. Harrison had decided to spend more time with his family.
In December 1980, John Lennon was murdered. It was a deep personal loss for Harrison.
In 1981, Harrison released the single "All Those Years Ago" as a tribute to Lennon. It featured vocal contributions by Paul and Linda McCartney as well as drums by Ringo Starr. The song had been reworked from a song originally written by Harrison for Starr. Starr though had felt that the vocal was too high for his range and disliked the original lyrics. In the same year, Harrison released the album "Somewhere in England" which included "All Those Years Ago".
In 1982, Harrison released the album "Gone Troppo".
In 1985, Harrison appeared at a tribute to Carl Perkins called "Blue Suede Shoe: A Rockabilly Session".
In 1986, Harrison appeared in the finale of the Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert for Birmingham Children's Hospital.
In 1987, Harrison appeared at The Prince's Trust concert at Wembley Arena, London. Also in 1987, he joined Bob Dylan, John Fogerty and Jesse Ed Davis on stage for a two-hour performance with blues artist Taj Mahal. In November that year, Harrison released the album "Cloud Nine" his first for five years. It was co-produced with Jeff Lynne. The album would be Harrison's last solo album. The album included the single "Got My Mind Set on You" which went to number 1 in the US and number 2 in the UK.
In 1988, Harrison formed the Traveling Wilburys with Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. They had originally gathered to record the song "Handle With Care" for a solo European release for Harrison. Harrison's record company felt the track was too good for its original purpose and asked for a full album. They released the album "Travelling Wilburys Vol. 1" that year. They used pseudonyms as half-brothers of Charles Truscott Wilbury Sr. Harrison's pseudonym was "Nelson Wilbury" (he used the name Spike Wilbury for the follow-up album). Orbison died later that year.
In 1989, Harrison and Starr appeared in the music video for Tom Petty's song "I Won't Back Down".
In 1990, the remaining Traveling Wilburys released their second album called "Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3". The album's cheeky title was Harrison's idea. The band never performed live.
In 1991, Harrison joined Eric Clapton for a tour of Japan. It was Harrison's first tour since 1974 and would be his last.
In 1992, Harrison held a benefit concert for the Natural Law Party at the Royal Albert Hall, London. It was the first time he had appeared on stage in London since the Beatles appeared on the rooftop of Apple Corps in 1969. Harrison became the first recipient of the Billboard Century Award in 1992. Also in 1992, Harrison appeared at a Bob Dylan tribute concert at Madison Square Gardens, New York. The concert also featured Dylan, Clapton, McGuinn, Petty and Neil Young.
In 1994, Harrison was reunited with McCartney, Starr and producer Jeff Lynne for the Beatles Anthology Project.
In 1995, The Beatles released the song "Free as a Bird" which featured vocals that John Lennon had recorded as a home demo.
In 1996, The Beatles released a second new single called "Real Love". Harrison refused to participate in the completion of a third song.
In 1997, Harrison made his final TV appearance on a VH-1 special to promote Ravi Shankar's album "Chants of India". Harrison was diagnosed with throat cancer that year and was treated with radiotherapy.
In 1998, Harrison attended Carl Perkin's funeral and performed a brief rendition of Perkin's song "Your True Love". He also attended Linda McCartney's public memorial service that year. Also in 1998, Harrison played the guitar on two tracks for Ringo Starr's album "Vertical Man".
In 1999, Harrison and his wife were attacked at their home by a fan who broke in and attacked Harrison with a kitchen knife. Harrison suffered a punctured lung and head injuries before Olivia Harrison incapacitated the attacker by hitting him with a fireplace poker and a lamp.
In 2001, Harrison had an operation to remove a cancerous growth on one of his lungs. He was later treated for a brain tumour. Starr visited him whilst he was being treated but had to leave to travel to Boston where his daughter was undergoing emergency brain surgery. Harrison jokingly said, "Do you want me to come with you?". In November that year, Harrison received radiotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer that had spread to his brain. Harrison was dismayed at the physician letting the news be publicised and his estate later claimed damages. Still, in November, Harrison, Starr and McCartner came together for the last time.
On 29/11/2001, Harrison died at a friend's home in Los Angeles.
In 2002, Harrison's final album "Brainwashed" was posthumously released. It was completed by his song Dhani and Jeff Lynne. The song "Marwa Blues" from the album received a Grammy Award in 2004 for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. The song "Any Road" from the album received a nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Also in 2002, a tribute concert for Harrison was held at the Royal Albert Hall called "the Concert for George". It was organised by Eric Clapton and featured many of Harrison's friends, family and musical collaborators. The profits went to Harrison's charity "the Material World Charitable Foundation".
In 2004, Harrison was posthumously inducted as a solo artist into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 2009, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce awarded Harrison a star on the Walk of Fame.
In 2015, Harrison was posthumously awarded The Recording Academy's Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.