Gone too soon, of course...
Saturday (February 25th) would have been George Harrison's 80th birthday. Harrison, the first of the Beatles to embrace Eastern philosophies and culture, will also be remembered for his humanitarian efforts, such as his 1971 Concert For Bangladesh for famine relief. Harrison died of cancer on November 29th, 2001 at the age of 58.
Over the course of the group's recording years -- 1962 to 1970 -- Harrison wrote such Beatles classics as "Don't Bother Me," "I Need You," "Think For Yourself," "If I Needed Someone," "Taxman," "I Want To Tell You," "Within You, Without You," "Blue Jay Way," "Only A Northern Song," "It's All Too Much," "The Inner Light," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Piggies" "I Me Mine," "For You Blue," "Old Brown Shoe," "Something," and "Here Comes The Sun," among others.
Other solo hits included "What Is Life," "Bangla Desh," "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)," "Dark Horse," "You," "This Song," "Crackerbox Palace," "Blow Away," "All Those Years Ago," and his 1987 comeback single "Got My Mind Set On You," which is the last solo Number One single by any former Beatle to date.
In 1971, Harrison produced Ringo Starr's initial solo singles "It Don't Come Easy" and "Back Off Boogaloo," as well also co-writing Starr's first Number One hit "Photograph" with him in 1973. In 1974, Harrison became the first solo Beatle to tour North America. Shortly after his return to the spotlight in 1987, Harrison co-founded the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys with Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, and Tom Petty. In 1991 he undertook a brief tour of Japan with Eric Clapton and his band.
Over 52 years since All Things Must Pass took the rock world by storm, its golden anniversary expanded reissue reminded people of the power of George Harrison's post-Beatles debut. Harrison's All Things Must Pass "50th Anniversary Edition" was released in a revamped and expanded set that paired the main album with assorted session outtakes and jams. In addition to the original album, the new collection features 42 previously unreleased demos and outtakes.
The 50th anniversary edition of All Things Must Pass topped the Billboard Top Rock Albums, Catalog Albums, and Tastemakers charts; hit Number Two on the magazine's Top Album Sales and Vinyl Albums charts, and peaked at Number Seven on the all-important Billboard 200 albums chart. As with all the Harrison reissues, widow Olivia and son Dhani Harrison, supervised the recent box set. Both the Harrison's shared the Grammy Award for Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package.
The recent Bob Dylan copyright release The Bob Dylan -- 50th Anniversary Collection 1970, featured material recorded during and around Dylan's legendary New Morning album -- including his heavily bootlegged May 1st, 1970 session with George Harrison on lead guitar. Harrison and Dylan collaborate on such favorites as Sam Cooke's "Cupid," the Everly Brothers' "All I Have To Do Is Dream," Carl Perkins' "Matchbox," the Beatles' "Yesterday," along with takes on such Dylan standards as "Mama, You've Been On My Mind," "It Ain't Me Babe," "Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues," "If Not For You," and "Gates Of Eden," among others.
2017 saw the release of the multi-disc box set George Harrison - The Vinyl Collection. According to the official press release, "The vinyl box set includes all 12 of George's studio albums with exact replicas of the original release track listing and artwork. Also included in the box set are George's classic live album Live In Japan -- on a double-LP -- and two 12-inch single picture discs of 'When We Was Fab' and 'Got My Mind Set On You'. All the discs are 180-gram heavyweight vinyl and are housed in a high-quality two-piece rigid slipcase box. The original analogue master tapes were used for the new re-masters and were cut at the legendary Capitol studios to ensure exceptional audio quality throughout."
2017 also saw an expanded edition of Harrison's autobiography, I, Me, Mine, which was originally released through Genesis Publications in 1980. The new extended version of the book now spans the complete length of Harrison's career in music, told in his words and through 141 songs with hand written lyric sheets faithfully reproduced in full color. Now stretching to 632 pages it features lyrics to more than 50 songs not previously included, as well as new photographs, many unpublished until the new edition. Unlike the previous high-end version of the book, the new trade edition of I, Me, Mine prices out at around $40.
Out now on CD and DVD/Blu-ray is the live Harrison tribute, A Night To Celebrate: George Fest - The Music Of George Harrison. The concert, which was sanctioned by the Harrison family and featured son Dhani Harrison, took place on September 28th, 2014 at L.A.'s Fonda Theatre and included performances by Dhani, Beach Boys Brian Wilson and Al Jardine, Heart’s Ann Wilson, Norah Jones, Perry Farrell, the Cult’s Ian Astbury, Conan O’Brien, "Weird Al" Yankovic, the Strokes' Nick Valensi, the Flaming Lips, Ben Harper -- and many more.
In 2015, Harrison, the Bee Gees, and others were honored with the Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award just prior to the annual Grammy Awards. Harrison's birthday in 2015 coincided with the release of his Apple Records-era albums box set, chronicling his solo releases between 1968 and 1975.
In September 2012, the Martin Scorsese HBO documentary George Harrison: Living In The Material World snagged two awards at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony held at L.A.'s Nokia Theatre. The doc won the prizes for Outstanding Nonfiction Special and Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming.