Sunday, June 30, 2013

George Harrison – The Self-Effacing, Extremely Talented And Underrated Beatle

George Harrison is possibly the most underrated musician there is. Now that’s quite a huge statement, but during his career with the Beatles he was known as the quiet Beatle, and generally did not have a lot to say. He was the quiet achiever who flew underneath the radar while Paul McCartney and John Lennon largely took centre-stage.

There is absolutely no doubt about Harrison’s overwhelming talent given what he achieved as lead guitarist with the Beatles and his subsequent career after the Beatles split up. He kept to himself and did not make lots of headlines in the newspapers. Throughout the Beatles career it was often mentioned in the press how quiet George actually was.

As a lead guitarist, some Beatles fans and music critics regard him as one of the best lead guitarists the world has ever seen. Lead guitar is one of the most difficult instruments to play in a band, and despite his singing and writing talent, he was lucky to have two tracks on each Beatle’s album that was released. Even “The White Album” and “Let it Be” had more material from McCartney and Lennon, than Harrison and the “White Album” was supposed to be contributions from all four Beatles.

George Harrison wrote and performed two of the best Beatles songs ever released; "Something" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." He is also responsible for "Taxman," "Here Comes the Sun" and many other fabulous tracks. His contribution to the Beatles catalogue resulted in some really great music.

He was also the first Beatle to release a solo album. “All Things Must Pass” was a three disc album set which was released shortly before the Beatles parted ways. Critics doubted that this album would do well for Harrison; however they so wrong. This album; now a double CD package sold a huge amount of copies. “All Things Must Pass” went platinum six times and is the most successful album released by a Beatle.

George Harrison later teamed up with Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and best friend Eric Clapton when the Travelling Wilburies was formed in the last 1980’s. These five great musicians went on to produce some really great music. As a musician his talent knew no bounds. His solo albums did well on the charts. He also had a career in film-making where he formed “Handmade” which went on to produce the Monty Python movies.

Given the overwhelming talent of McCartney and Lennon and the fact that Harrison was not the type of person to blow his own trumpet, George Harrison’s talent was not as obvious to everyone. His quietness and preference to operate under the radar is largely the reason this was so. While George Harrison may have never gotten the recognition that his talent so deserved; his closest friends, Paul, John and Ringo and his family would have been well aware that he was one special man. His life cut so tragically short in 2001, with the illness that Harrison attributed to cigarette smoking. George Harrison came to be known (at least by me) as one of the most underrated rock and roll artists of all-time.

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All Photos are credited to Deviant Art and Wikimedia Commons

Copyright © 2013 Janelle Coulton

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