George Harrison Biography

Lead guitarist for the band Beatle, George Harrison was an internationally acclaimed musician, songwriter and singer. With this biography, explore information regarding his childhood, life, profile and timeline.

George Harrison
Quick Facts

Birthday: February 25, 1943

Nationality: British

Famous: Quotes By George Harrison School Dropouts

Died At Age: 58

Sun Sign: Pisces

Died on: November 29, 2001

Cause of Death: Cancer

Personality: INFJ

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Popularly known as the Quiet Beatle, George Harrison is a name to reckon with even today. A powerful contributor in the field of music, Harrison in his lifetime held the profile of a musician, songwriter, singer and guitarist. From an early age, he was inspired by the beauty of music and worked hard all through to uplift the level of harmony. What is interesting to note is that Harrison used the power of music to raise awareness in the world about life of the spirit and the true calling. He was deeply and profoundly inspired by Hinduism and was an ardent admirer of Indian culture and mysticism. The same was reflected in most of his work which intently reflected his preference for Eastern music and instruments. While Harrison was surrounded by McCartney and Lennon who were geniuses in their own right, it did not overshadow his talent and skilfulness at music and he attained much popularity and critical acclaim. While he did excellently well during his association with Beatles post break-up, he easily stepped out of the shadows of his band mates to reveal himself a powerfully spiritual songwriter with an expansive sense of melody. Till date, he is remembered for bringing the entire 1960s generation to Eastern religion and musical influence.

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George Harrison
Childhood & Early Years
  • George Harrison was born in Liverpool, England. He was the youngest of the four children of Harold Hargreaves and Louise Harrison. His siblings included his sister Louise and brothers Harry and Peter.
  • Young Harrison’s interest for music came from his mother who was an enthusiastic music fan herself. She often listened to Radio India while Harrison was in her womb which best explains the latter’s strong music influence and his India connection later in life.
  • Educationally, Harrison attended Dovedale Primary School after which he took admission in the prestigious Liverpool Institute in 1954.
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  • Harrison formed a skiffle band, Rebel with his brother Peter and friend Arthur Kelly. However, it was his association with Paul McCartney that shaped Harrison’s music career at large.
  • McCartney encouraged Harrison to audition for John Lennon’s the Quarrymen, which he eventually was a part of. Barely 15 years old, Harrison was a master at his art and enjoyed his role as a guitarist.
  • Together, they formed a band, what we know today as Beatles. In 1960, they gave their first performance as Beatles at the Kaiserkeller club in Hamburg.
  • In 1961, Beatles tasted popular success as their first single, ‘Love Me Do’, peaked at number seventeen on the Record Retailer chart. Two years later, when their debut album was released, Beatlemania had already become a rage.
  • Harrison’s first solo writing credit was for the song, ‘Don't Bother Me’, for the group’s second album, ‘With the Beatles’ in 1963.
  • Harrison was solely responsible for exploring the genre of folk rock into the Beatles music albums. His interest towards Indian classical music was prevalently seen through his use of sitar for the song ‘Norwegian Wood’ enlisted in the album, ‘Rubber Soul’. It was Harrison’s favourite Beatles album.
  • Banking on the eastern music influence and their instrument, Harrison’s tryst with same was reflected in three of the compositions for the album ‘Revolver’. Not just the sitar, instruments like tambura, table and swarnamandal made valuable contribution for the songs recorded by Beatles’.
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  • Harrison’s interest in Eastern music grew by leaps and bounds due to which he slowly started deviating from Beatles. ‘Within You, Without You’ was his solo composition for the album ‘Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band’. The song not only reflected his experimental sliver but also his declaration for independence.
  • Harrison’s unflinching love for traditional Indian music, the growing influence of Dylan and the Band over him and Lennon and McCartney's domination of the Beatles' songwriting and creative direction led to the final collapse of the band on 4th January, 1970.
  • By that time, Harrison’s fame was escalating steadily, as he was a songwriter. He had a convincing list of hits to fall back on such as ‘Here Comes the Sun’, ‘Something’, ‘For the Blue’. Additionally, he had two solo albums too, ‘Wonderwall Music’ and ‘Electronic Sound’, the former being the first solo album by a Beatle.
  • After the break-up, Harrison released ‘All Things Must Pass’. By far, it has been regarded as his best work. The album topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • In 1971, Harrison contributed for the Concert for Bangladesh along with Ravi Shankar at the New York Madison Square. The event was a precursor for future large-scale charity shows. It was followed up with an album and concert film.
  • Harrison’s future albums included ‘Living in the Material World’, ‘Thirty Three & 1/3’, ‘Somewhere in England’ and ‘Cloud Nine’
  • During his last years, Harrison formed the group Traveling Wilburys. They released several albums. It was also during this time that Beatles Anthology began. It was basically an effort to revive a few Beatle songs and let the world know about the Beatles’ career through interviews and chats.
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Major Works
  • ‘All Things Must Pass’ achieved critical acclaim and was awarded a Gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America. Since then, it has been certified Platinum six times.
  • ‘Living in the Material World’ was a follow up for ‘All Things Must Pass’. It entered Billboard at #23 and reached #1 status in its second week. The album is said to have sold 3 million copies.
Awards & Achievements
  • Harrison, along with other Beatles, was appointed Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) on October 26, 1965.
  • Beatles received an Academy Award for the best Original Song Score for the film ‘Let It Be’ in 1971.
  • He has a minor planet 4149 to his name. He was also the proud recipient of the Billboard Century Award.
  • He has been ranked #11 in the list of the ‘100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time’ by Rolling Stone Magazine.
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Personal Life & Legacy
  • Harrison was twice married in his lifetime. The first was to Pattie Boyd in 1966. The marriage ended in 1977 after which he tied the nuptial knot with Olivia Trinidad Arias in 1979. He was blessed with a son, Dhani Harrison on August 1, 1978.
  • On December 30, 1999, Harrison was attacked with a kitchen knife at his home. He was hospitalized with more than forty stab wounds.
  • Harrison had lung cancer and later brain tumor. He breathed his last on November 2, 2001.
  • In 2002, on the first anniversary of his death, the Concert for George was held at the Royal Albert Hall. Two years later, he was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2006, he was inducted in the Madison Square Garden Walk of Fame. Year 2009 witnessed the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honoring Harrison a star on the Walk of Fame.
  • Just like his fondness for music, he shared an equal amount of love for sports cars and motor racing, so much so that he became one of the 100 people who purchased the McLaren F1 road car.
  • He was awarded ‘Child Is the Father of Man’ award along with Ravi Shankar at an annual ceremony in recognition of their fundraising efforts for Bangladesh by UNICEF.
  • During his lifetime, he not only became an admirer of Indian culture and mysticism, but also became a devotee of Maharishi Paramhansa Yoganand. In his life, he embraced the Hare Krishna tradition, particularly japa-yoga chanting with beads.
  • Despite being a Westerner, he mastered a number of Indian classical instruments and brought the same to limelight. He was involved with representing Asian culture with respect and admiration in the Western world.


Academy Awards(Oscars)
1971 Best Music, Original Song Score Let It Be (1970)
Grammy Awards
1997 Best Music Video - Long Form The Beatles Anthology (1995)
1997 Best Music Video, Short Form The Beatles: Free as a Bird (1995)
1971 Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special Let It Be (1970)

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Last Updated
- July 23, 2017

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