Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Favorite Beatle


George Harrison
February 25, 1942 - November 29, 2001

It is not lost on me that I lead a charmed life.

Most people never realize their dreams, no matter how small some of them are... I have realized several of them - big ones, little ones, silly ones, and ones most serious.

When I was a child, I was asked, like everyone is, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" and without hesitating, I replied "John Lennon - so I could be in a band with George Harrison."

OK - I was, like 8 years old... it was a wise-ass answer, but George Harrison was always my favorite Beatle. I preferred his voice over John's and Paul's and Ringo's... though I loved all the Beatles... I loved George the best. I loved his particular style of playing guitar and my passion for the Rickenbacker sound has never wavered. Even though George switched over to Fenders... my musical heart and ears are kind of stuck on the sound of his parts on "If I Needed Someone," "And Your Bird Can Sing" and "Ticket to Ride."

While I never became John Lennon, learned to play a guitar or joined a band... I did get to meet and work with my favorite Beatle George Harrison. While I was at VH1, supervising production of a series called VH1 to One, George and Ravi Shankar agreed to do an episode. They ended up performing live on tape for the studio audience which consisted of producers, technicians, George's son Dhani, and a few others who accompanied him and Ravi Shankar to the set. My good friend and fellow obsessed Beatles/Dylan/Petty fan, the monologist John Fugelsang was the host of the series. He's so knowledgeable about music, good music, all music and most especially Beatles and Dylan music that he in fact, impressed Paul McCartney on the set of a "Town Hall" Q&A program we produced with Paul. That John Fugelsang and I were able to be a part of this still amazes both of us. That 1997 episode... the one in which George referred to the Beatles as The Spice Boys... turned out to be his last public musical performance, save for an impromptu song he played at Carl Perkins funeral in 1998.

I have always either flocked to or was naturally drawn to others who were fans of George over all the other Beatles. My best girlfriends are all fans of George... my favorite collaborators in film & TV are fans of George's work vis a vis his Handmade Films company (Monty's Pythons' Life of Brian, and more)... that kind of thing.

My friend George Cabaniss was dubbed Georgie Harrison when he played in the Disconnected band with Stiv Bators, and on some live recordings, you can hear Stiv call him "Georgie" at the guitar solo parts of songs... Probably the first thing I ever said to George when Stiv introduced us was, OK, what's your REAL NAME? because knowing Stiv, and knowing how well he knew me and always pulled my strings...

This is young Georgie Harrison, playing neither a Rickenbacker or a Fender, but actually my second favorite guitar, the Gibson Les Paul model.

george puppy small

So, today when you're looking for records to play, give All Things Must Pass a spin... or make an iTunes playlist from your Beatles records of only George's songs... as you can guess, I did that a long time ago...

1 comment:

Marc B said...

George was an amazing guitarist. I'm not much of a Beatles fan, but that "Ticket to Ride" riff is amazing.