COLUMN SIXTY-SEVEN, JANUARY 1, 2002
(Copyright © 2002 Al Aronowitz)
AN ARTIST REMEMBERS HARRISON
twenty years, I have been a big fan of The Beatles.
To me, the four Beatles were the most innovative musicians of the
twentieth century. The Beatles
inspired so many great musicians (from pop to classical), and their fan base
included "The King of Rock and Roll" himself, Elvis Presley.
Elvis even sang George Harrison's Something when he did his
Hawaiian TV special, Aloha From Hawaii."
Frank Sinatra even said that Harrison's Something was his favorite
Beatle song of all time.
When I had
heard of Harrison's passing, I felt a great loss in my life. I was too young to remember Lennon's death, but I grew up on
the solo years of Paul, George, and Ringo.
The first solo Beatle purchase for me was George Harrison's Somewhere
In England. This remains my
favorite Harrison record today. In
fact, it is the only solo Harrison record to feature ex-Beatles Paul McCartney
and Ringo Starr. I fell in love
with Harrison's tribute to Lennon, All Those Years Ago, and this song
inspired me to write a song for John Lennon's 20th Memorial.
In 1999, I wrote a song called Thank You For The Music---a song
that charted in Australia and even got airplay in Israel, thanks to Hebrew
Beatle author Yarden Uriel.
In 1999, I began recording Thank You For The Music. It was an exciting time for me because I was in such a Beatle mindset for a whole year while working on this project. I really researched The Beatles' music, and my producer, John Blair, and I really added some nice Beatle touches to the song---including a Harrison-like guitar solo played out by guitar virtuoso Tim Breon, who has worked with Neil Sedaka, Martha Reeves and Davy Jones of
Noone gave Chris's Monkees/Beatles parody
to name a few. I had recorded some
of the tracks at a studio owned by a man who worked for Paul McCartney's
publishing company, and Laurence Juber (former Grammy-award-winning lead
guitarist of McCartney & Wings---who had also worked with George Harrison
and Ringo Starr) gave some creative input to two of the Beatle-like recordings
on my CD. After hearing an early
take of Thank You For The Music, I remember Laurence remarked that the
"Lennonisms are cool." That
meant a lot to me since I was trying to Beatlelize the song as much as
possible---plus I was hearing this from a guy who had worked with three of the
Prior to the
CD's release, I wrote up a Monkee/Beatle PARODY which I sent out as an amusing
e-mail essay to some of my friends in the music industry. They included Peter
Noone (aka "Herman" of Herman's Hermits), who forwarded these essays
to his good mates, Sir George Martin and George Harrison.
Peter once commented to a newspaper that George Harrison still calls him
"Herman." Being the long-time Beatle fanatic and Monkees fanatic that
I am, I pointed out in these essays that not only were The Monkees inspired by
The Beatles' musical creativity, but that The Beatles were inspired by The
Monkees' creativity not only in the studio but as actors as well.
The Beatles even threw The Monkees a party when The Monkees toured
England in 1967. John Lennon used
to watch The Monkees television show regularily.
George Harrison had brought Monkee Peter Tork in the studio as a guest
artist for his solo project Wonderwall.
wasn't just a musician, but he was a quiet man who had a spiritual side to him.
Recently, I wrote an article about Harrison for Assist News Services,
whose founder, Dan Wooding, told me that in his "secular journalistic
days? in London, he inadvertently helped to launch George Harrison's second
career as a filmmaker. Wooding had gone to a reception in London for a new film
starring several members of the Monty Python team.
During the evening, he asked them about their next film, The Life of
Brian, adding that the movie 'sent up Jesus."
Wooding's story appeared with the headline, "Monty Python Sends Up Jesus,?
the Jewish financier of the film withdrew his funding and so George Harrison
stepped in and helped to underwrite the movie. Harrison also put his money into
other movies, including The Missionary, starring Michael Palin, Trevor
Howard and Maggie Smith.
While most of
the world will remember George Harrison as "the quiet Beatle" with the
haunting guitar solos, George's friends and family will always remember him as a
man who had a warm and caring heart.
I will miss you George. ##
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