Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Remembering GEORGE HARRISON...

Face it, for me, music begins and ends with the Beatles. The exuberance and creativity of John Lennon and Paul McCartney were undeniable. Beatles' music, whether it be from the heady early days of "Beatlemania" or later in their career when the group was falling apart, always makes me feel good when I hear it.

On "Meet The Beatles", there was a George Harrison song that was surprisingly good..."Don't Bother Me"...a catchy tune with a minor-key flavor and a sprightly rhythm...and though there are those who disagree with me, I thought that tune stood up respectably to everything else on that album. Later on, when I got their "Yesterday and Today" album, there was George's "If I Needed Someone"...again, easily as good anything else on that album.

How about "Taxman", the rocker from "Revolver"? "Within You, Without You", the sobering sitar excursion on "Sgt. Pepper"? How about the majesty of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"? And finally, "Something", which even Frank Sinatra called "the greatest love song of this century"...? Those are all "George" songs. Lennon and McCartney would let George do a song or two on each Beatles album, but George had many songs in his folio that were turned down in the Beatle days.

Many of those songs came out on "All Things Must Pass", and that album surprised everyone. Many people still feel that it's the best "solo-Beatles" album. I do know that it is very, very good. In a way, I "side" with George Harrison. I've had people "keep me down" when I felt I had so much to offer. I try to remain "above the fray" when people are confrontational or angry, as Harrison did when Lennon and McCartney bickered so much in the waning days of the Beatles.

I had known for a long time that George had been dealing with cancer. In December 1999, an intruder broke into his home and stabbed him. One of George's lungs was punctured. I don't know if that exacerbated the cancer, but George did have cancer in his lungs, throat, and brain. George smoked heavily all his life, which didn't do him any favors either.

On November 29, 2001, I was listening to the radio while ringing the Salvation Army Bell. The network news came over the radio, and the first few notes of "Taxman" led off the news. "Uh-oh", I thought, knowing that when a newscast leads off with a song, it's usually "bad news" about the artist, and this was no exception. The newsman said George had died. I finished out the day, ringing the bell, but I had a pit in my stomach all day. I went home that night, and fired up the computer. I looked up at my Beatles albums on the wall, and thought about the news I'd heard earlier that day. I don't cry often, but I did then. I'd kept a lot bottled up when my parents died earlier that year. Finally, everything just came out. George died and I felt like I'd lost a buddy. Whenever I read his lyrics, what he wrote seemed to parallel the way I felt about things.

"When you've seen beyond yourself then you will find peace of mind is waiting there...
And the time will come when you see we're all one and life flows on within you and without you".
--from "Sgt. Pepper" ("Within You, Without You")

"Why are you still crying; your pain is now through.
Please forget those teardrops; let me take them from you.
The love that you're blessed with, this world's waited for.
So let out your heart, please, please, from Behind That Locked Door."
--from "All Things Must Pass" ("Behind That Locked Door")

"Isn't it a pity; isn't it a shame...how we break each others' hearts and cause each other pain
How we take each other's love, without thinking anymore
Forgetting to give back; isn't it a pity."
--from "All Things Must Pass" ("Isn't It A Pity")

"I don't know why nobody told you, how to unfold your love
I don't know how someone controlled you...they bought and sold you."
--from the 'White Album' ("While My Guitar Gently Weeps")

These and other humanistic sentiments are in much of Harrison's writing, especially in the songs of his "later Beatles career" as well as in his own "solo" career. Yes, he was no perfect angel, but he aspired to be a good human being. I looked up to him, and felt a huge loss when he passed away. I remember ya, George.

One more verse from "Isn't It A Pity":

"Some things take so long...but how can I explain
When none too many people...can see we're all the same
And because of all their tears...their eyes can't hope to see
The beauty that surrounds us...isn't it a pity?"


Blogger Bushwick is Beautiful said...

Beautiful post. George doesn't get nearly enough love. Enjoyed the lyrics. thank you

8:46 PM  
Blogger little ol' me said...

Wow, thanks, Bushwick...by the way...I typed those lyrics from memory.

12:01 AM  

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