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|Also Known As:||George Harold Harrison||Died:||November 29, 2001|
|Born:||February 24, 1943||Cause of Death:||cancer|
|Birth Place:||Liverpool, England, GB||Profession:||musician, composer, producer, actor|
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, Brainwashed was released to critical acclaim and a Top 20 listing on the record charts. The single "Marwa Blues" earned him a posthumous Grammy in 2004. Shortly after the release of his final album, many of Harrison's musical friends gathered at London's Royal Albert Hall to pay tribute to his musical legacy in a benefit concert organized by his widow. Among the performers were McCartney and Starr, along with Clapton, Petty, Lynne, and Harrison's son Dhani. Harrison's Beatles tracks "Something," "Here Comes the Sun," and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" were remixed and re-orchestrated by original producer George Martin and his son Giles as part of the soundtrack for the Las Vegas-based Cirque du Soleil production "Love," which told the history of the Beatles in impressionistic terms. The show itself was born from discussions between Harrison and Guy Laliberte, one of the troupe's founders. It debuted in June 2006 at the Mirage Hotel and Casino, where a Beatles-inspired lounge called "Revolution" was also opened in tandem. And teenage girls fell in love with the Beatles' music all over again when it provided the inspiration for Julie Taymor's surreal fantasy "Across the Universe" (2007). The film,...
, Brainwashed was released to critical acclaim and a Top 20 listing on the record charts. The single "Marwa Blues" earned him a posthumous Grammy in 2004. Shortly after the release of his final album, many of Harrison's musical friends gathered at London's Royal Albert Hall to pay tribute to his musical legacy in a benefit concert organized by his widow. Among the performers were McCartney and Starr, along with Clapton, Petty, Lynne, and Harrison's son Dhani. Harrison's Beatles tracks "Something," "Here Comes the Sun," and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" were remixed and re-orchestrated by original producer George Martin and his son Giles as part of the soundtrack for the Las Vegas-based Cirque du Soleil production "Love," which told the history of the Beatles in impressionistic terms. The show itself was born from discussions between Harrison and Guy Laliberte, one of the troupe's founders. It debuted in June 2006 at the Mirage Hotel and Casino, where a Beatles-inspired lounge called "Revolution" was also opened in tandem. And teenage girls fell in love with the Beatles' music all over again when it provided the inspiration for Julie Taymor's surreal fantasy "Across the Universe" (2007). The film, which became a cult hit with younger audiences, featured three Harrison compositions: "Something," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Blue Jay Way."on after he had received word that he (Lennon) had been hurt by the relatively little coverage he had received in Harrison's autobiography. A guilt-stricken Harrison quickly reworked a single he had penned for Starr called "All Those Years Ago" to reflect on the recent tragedy, inviting Starr and McCartney to contribute vocals to the single, which marked the first time all three had performed together since the Beatles' breakup in 1969. The single charted well, but the album was an underperformer, which added insult to injury for Harrison. Warner Bros. had rejected the LP upon its initial submission, forcing him to drop four songs and change the cover art. Already feeling out of place in the current music scene, Harrison essentially turned his back on the music industry for the next five years. He completed his contract with Warner Bros. by releasing the half-hearted Gone Troppo (1982), choosing instead to focus on HandMade's stable of new productions, his own personal hobbies and spending time with his family.
But by 1986, Harrison was itching to return to recording. He contacted former Electric Light Orchestra frontman Jeff Lynne (an obsessive Beatles fan) and pulled longtime friends Clapton, Starr, Elton John and Jim Keltner into the sessions, which eventually yielded the fresh and upbeat Cloud Nine (1987). Buoyed by an ebullient cover of James Ray's 1962 R&B song "Got My Mind Set On You," Harrison soon found himself with a No. 1 single and a Top 10 album, his first in 15 years. A second single, "When We Was Fab," paid gently humorous tribute to the Beatles ¿ Harrison had come to affectionately call his old band "The Fabs" ¿ and broke the Top 30. With so much success at hand, some speculated that Harrison would launch his first tour since the disastrous "Dark Horse" jaunt. This would not come to pass, though Harrison would join Eric Clapton on a joint tour of Japan in 1991, which was documented in a terrific concert album, Live in Japan (1992).
Instead, Harrison decided to keep with the loose and friendly vibe of Cloud Nine for another album. Having brought together Lynne and friends Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and veteran rocker Roy Orbison to record a B-side for the European release of the Cloud Nine single "This is Love," the resulting song, "Handle with Care," enthused the quintet to work on a whole record, which was delivered under the persona of a sibling act called The Traveling Wilburys. To the industry's surprise, the album, Vol. 1 (1988) reached double platinum status and revived Orbison's long-dormant career, in addition to winning a 1989 Grammy. Sadly, a follow-up with the original band configuration was quashed when Orbison died in late 1988. Attempts to replace him with Del Shannon were shattered when the "Runaway" singer committed suicide in 1990, and the group's Volume 3 was released that same year to slightly less acclaim. During this period, Harrison was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Beatles in 1988. (He was inducted posthumously as a solo artist in 2004).
Meanwhile, Harrison released his own approved greatest hits compilation, The Best of Dark Horse (1976-1989), which featured two new tracks, in 1989, and made a rare live appearance in the States at a tribute to Bob Dylan at Madison Square Garden in 1992. In 1994, Harrison began collaborating with McCartney and Starr on what would eventually become "The Beatles Anthology," a massive documentary project that covered the history of the group from the members' point of view. Interviews with Harrison and his two surviving band mates (as well as archival interviews with Lennon) were eventually developed into a five-part documentary for television, a book, and three CDs that culled early recordings, outtakes and live recordings from the Beatles' entire musical output. Perhaps most special to Beatles fans was the inclusion of two "new" Beatles tracks, "Free As a Bird" and "Real Love," which were Lennon demos that were fleshed out by the other members. The idea of reworking the songs was Harrison's idea, and their efforts were rewarded with two Top 10 singles and a Grammy. The project's unparalleled success came at a crucial time for Harrison, who had suffered a serious financial setback due to the failure of several HandMade projects, including Terry Gilliam's astronomically expensive "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" (1989). The company was later bought by Paragon Entertainment in 1994.
To the utter devastation of Beatle fans still not over losing Lennon nearly 20 years prior, Harrison was diagnosed with cancer in 1997. A former heavy smoker, the disease manifested itself in his throat and lungs, which necessitated the removal of growths. Despite his condition, Harrison busied himself with various projects, including guest appearances on albums by Bill Wyman and Lynne's revamped ELO, as well as tracks that would eventually become his final solo release, Brainwashed. While working on the album, Harrison suffered a traumatic assault in his own home in 1999. A deranged fan had broken into his famously secure estate, stabbing him multiple times (and puncturing his already diseased lung) before being disarmed single-handedly by Harrison's wife, who knocked him over the head with a lamp and poker. The attacker, who claimed that he was on a religious mission to kill Harrison, was later acquitted on grounds of insanity, much to the amazement of a public which could hardly believe a second Beatle's life had been threatened. Already leery of unbalanced fans after the murder of Lennon, Harrison retreated from public view and focused on completing Brainwashed with the help of his son Dhani.
In 2001, Harrison's cancer unfortunately returned at full force and was, this time, diagnosed as terminal. Determined to complete the album, he collaborated closely with Dhani and Lynne on recording the tracks in Switzerland before traveling to the United States for treatment. In the months prior to his death, Harrison was visited by his many lifelong friends and musical partners, including McCartney ¿ who was finally able to make peace with his "kid brother" ¿ before dying from lung cancer on Nov. 29, 2001. It was widely reported in the press that his ashes were scattered at the banks of the Ganges River in India, but this was never confirmed. His death, so shortly on the heels of the 9/11 terrorist attack, cast a pall on fans around the world who could hardly believe two Beatles had died before their time.
In November 2002
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He won an additional five Grammy Awards and an Oscar shared with The Beatles.
Harrison was treated for lung cancer in early May 2001 and a brain tumor in July 2001.
"The Beatles exist apart from my Self. I am not really Beatle George. Beatle George is like a suit or shirt that I once wore on occasion and until the end of my life people may see that shirt and mistake it for me." --George Harrison quoted in Newsweek, October 23, 1995.
Harrison always believed his birthday was February 25 but his birth certificate indicates he was born shortly before midnight on February 24.
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