Friday, February 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Hari Georgeson!

Since today is the late guitarist, songwriter and Beatle George Harrison's birthday, I think it's only right to do a post about the "quiet Beatle." He was only a young 14 years old when he joined John Lennon's Liverpool band, the Quarrymen. They eventually became the Beatles and skyrocketed into international fame. He met his first wife, Pattie Boyd, on the set of the first Beatle movie, A Hard Day's Night. He began to write music, but was overshadowed by the formidable Lennon/McCartney for a time. He discovered the sitar on the set of Help! and he became devoted to Indian music, religion, and culture  along with Pattie. He (and the other Beatles) also started experimenting with psychedelic drugs, and became part of the hippie culture. Disenchanted with that after a matter of years, he turned to Indian religion full-time. Tired of being overshadowed by John and Paul, he wrote some of the best Beatles songs their last years: "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Something," and "Here Comes The Sun" are a few. After the band's breakup, he initially had the most promising solo start with the hit "My Sweet Lord," debut album, and co-writing credit on Ringo's sentimental single "Photograph." He continued to make solo albums throughout the '70s. He organized one of the first major charity concerts, Concert For Bangladesh in 1971. George and Pattie divorced in '74, and he married Olivia Trinidad Arias in 1978, and remained married to her all of his life. They had one son, Dhani (now a musician), born later in '78. Along with Denis O'Brien, George created a film company, HandMade Films, which he was a part of until 1994. He continued to make some music in the '80s, after the shock of John Lennon's murder. The singles "All Those Years Ago" and "When We Was Fab" were about the Beatles, the first about John in particular. George made a major comeback to commercial music with "Cloud Nine" in 1987, which was very MTV friendly. This is the George Harrison that my mom remembers; I even hear her hum "Got My Mind Set On You" from time to time. From 1988 to 1990, George was in super-group the Traveling Wilburys with Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and Jim Keltner. He reunited with Paul and Ringo for the 1994 Beatles Anthology to finish two of John's unfinished songs as a band-- "Real Love" and "Free As A Bird." George passed away in 2001 from cancer.

Here's to the man who is my #1 electric guitar inspiration and part-time favorite Beatle!

My favorite photo of Georgie...

Molly Heckathorn's favorite photo of George (from "Let It Be")

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"If You're Going To San Francisco...

... be sure to wear some flowers in your hair..." - John Phillips, "San Francisco"

San Francisco was THE place to be from 1965-1970, particularly in '67 -the Summer of Love- where it was the center of the hippie revolution. The revolution all started with the first human "be-in"-- a gathering of hippies in January, and that summer they converged into a crowd of around 100,000 to the city. They had psychoactive drugs, free love, and some amazing music, straight from the nearby Monterey Pop Festival: the Byrds, Janis Joplin with Big Brother and Holding Company, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, and many more from what is known as the "San Francisco Sound." Even the British visited-- George and Pattie Harrison (Beatle and model) dropped in to see the LSD capital of the world, and Brian Jones (Rolling Stones) was at Monterey with Nico. The Summer of Love ended officially in October with the "Death of the Hippie" ceremony, but the Flower Children live on.