George Harrison during the height of Beatlemania
Psychedelic era Harrison
Older and wiser
Harrison with his wife Olivia
I’m deeply saddened by the passing of George Harrison, even though I heard this was likely to happen any day now. The Beatles and their respective solo efforts have been a mainstay in my life, a backdrop and reference if you will, for all things musical. As such, there’s not much profound wisdom for me to contribute here, other than to remind all readers of the marvelous catalog of music he leaves with us as an ongoing legacy. The “quiet Beatle” often was underrated as a musician and as a composer, but real fans know otherwise.
The only time I met George (and to say I “met” him is a stretch, I suppose), I was a senior in high school. A few friends and I were at City Center in April of 1976 to see Monty Python Live! and sure enough, joining the Python cast on stage at the time for a rousing rendition of “The Lumberjack Song”, was George Harrison. Being a passionate Beatles fan, I knew it was my duty to quickly hustle my friends to the stage door at show’s end so that I could meet one of my all-time idols. As the various and sundry Python personages came out and moved into the throng that had gathered, it seemed fans were more interested in catching a glimpse of George (lesson: never underestimate the magic and popularity of a Beatle).
Sure enough, George emerged with his good friend, Eric Idle, and we all screamed George’s name and the pair were quickly shuttled into a waiting limousine. I was standing right next to the back seat of the car as George H. rolled down the tinted window. This was my opportunity and I had to seize it, my one brush with greatness. “Don’t ask a dumb question, don’t ask a dumb question,” I said to myself. If only I had heeded myself. I opened my mouth and asked George the same question that millions around the world asked him every single day of his life. I said “Do you think there’s any chance the Beatles will ever play together again?”
Dumb and obvious, but there it was. I had my big chance to distinguish myself and I only showed him that I was just another of the same old curious crowd. George was good-natured about it. He smiled graciously and said “Anything is possible.” And then the power window shot up and the limo made its escape. In that brief exchange George gave me hope, though, and to this day I’ll never forget that tiny moment. As silly and insignificant as the encounter was, it was a dash of excitement for a young fan.
When John’s life was taken, I was affected as if I had lost a close friend. Along with all the wash of emotions and feelings at that time, I realized that any remote possibility of a Beatles reunion was over forever. Since that time, I’ve grown older and have been happy and privileged to see a whole new generation discover the music of the Beatles, both collectively and as solo artists. My best advice on how to deal with this loss? Play the music. Listen to All Things Must Pass or The Concert For Bangladesh or your favorite George or Beatles or Traveling Wilburys CDs. Although George has passed on, his spirit and talent lives forever in the music. Thank you George, your talent and music continues to enrich our lives forevermore.