An Ode to George Harrison

By Risa C’DeBaca

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From One Pisces to Another…Happy Birthday.

George Harrison has always been my favorite Beatle. Every time I hear his voice, his guitar and his words on vinyl, I cry. I seem to have a deep connection with “The Quiet One” that inspires, heals and uplifts my spirits when I need it most. My husband and I even danced to “I’d Have You Anytime” barefoot at our wedding two years ago. I will never forget when the song first came on slowly and quietly, just like him. Every year on February 25th, I remember and celebrate the day he was born—this year he would have turned 67.

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George’s musical style has influenced several artists from classic-rock musicians like Tom Petty and Eric Clapton to modern-day stars like Devendra Banhart and John Mayer. Harrison, the first of the four ex-Beatles to put out a hit record, had a successful, though underrated, solo career. His first solo album after The Beatles parted ways, “All Things Must Pass” (1970), is a spiritual journey, and his trademark guitar and emotional lyrics were thoroughly expressed at last.

A talented musician, Harrison made quite the impact on the musical world. He popularized the “fuzz-tone” produced by the 12-string electric guitar, the slide guitar, the Indian sitar and the ukulele. Harrison also wrote many of The Beatle’s most popular songs including: “Here Comes The Sun”, “Something”, and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Even up until his untimely death, Harrison continued to produce timeless music while keeping a low-key public profile.

It wasn’t until last year that Harrison was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His wife Olivia and son Dhani had to accept on his behalf. I remember wondering why artists like Britney Spears were honored with a star before he was. Then it dawned on me that we are generations away from “Beatlemania” and that musical talent today means so much more and so much less. People quickly idolize their favorite performers and elevate them on these high pedestals. Often they forget the musical genius that has existed, overlooking a musician’s ability to evoke emotion, be it happiness or melancholy. This is what makes a musician great, not how many concert venues he can sell out or the controversial tabloids that she can make. As the quietest Beatle, Harrison knew that.

But what is most important for me to remember is George Harrison as a humble soul who understood the value of natural beauty. He possessed a personal relationship with the Earth and all things that were positive. Perhaps that’s why I have always been so drawn to his music; it energizes my senses with a raw subtlety and deeply emotional undercurrents. His birthday will always be a day for me to spend in remembrance of him by listening to his music, meditating and appreciating what is most important in life.

Although George Harrison passed away from lung cancer in November of 2001, his musical legacy continues to live on through his son Dhani, his wife Olivia, and his many fans all over the world. He was a father, a husband, a guitarist, a gardener, a philanthropist, an ex-Beatle, a Pisces, and a kindred spirit. So with that I say, “Happy Birthday George!” and “Hare Krishna.”


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