Former lead guitarists of The Beatles, George Harrison, would have turned 78-year-old today. Regarded as “the quiet Beatle,” Harrison was so much more than his shy personality.
Sometimes overshadowed by other Beatles members such as John Lennon and Paul McCartney, fans have thought of Harrison as the band’s unsung hero.
During his tenure with the band, Harrison penned several hit songs, including “Taxman,” “Within You Without You,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and “Something.”
In 1997, Harrison was diagnosed with throat cancer, and after several years of fighting, Harrison would lose his battle on November 29, 2001. Despite losing a legend, his music will stay with his fans for generations— to which we cannot thank him enough.
To say Happy Birthday to the rock icon, we’re looking back at a few of his many great moments.
George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass & “My Sweet Lord”
It’s so hard to choose just one of Harrison’s best solo albums, but fans would argue All Things Must Pass ranks up there as some of his best work.
After The Beatles parted ways in 1970, Harrison embarked on what would become a very successful solo career when he first released his critically acclaimed triple album, All Things Must Pass, that same year.
The album would also produce Harrison’s biggest hit single to date, “My Sweet Lord.” The song topped charts worldwide and was the biggest-selling single of 1971 in the U.K. In the U.S. and Britain, the song was the first No. 1 single by an ex-Beatle.
The Concert For Bangladesh
On August 1, 1971, Harrison helped organize a charity event called “The Concert for Bangladesh.” The event drew over 40,000 people to two shows in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
The event’s primary goal was to raise money for starving refugees during the Bangladesh Liberation War.
A triple album, The Concert for Bangladesh, was released in December, followed by a concert film in 1972. The album topped the U.K. chart and peaked at No. 2 in the U.S., and Harrison went on to win the Grammy Award for “Album of the Year.”
“Give Me Love”
Harrison’s “Give Me Love” was the first single from Living in the Material World. The song’s message and melody stay with the listener long after the song ends. Harrison’s mid-song solo is also one of the most intricate and melodic pieces the former Beatle ever played.
In 1973, “Give Me Love” spent several weeks at the top of the U.S. charts.
George Harrison’s Collab With Heavy Hitters
On February 19, 1987, Taj Mahal and the Graffiti Band played a show at the Palomino Club in Hollywood. During the performance, musical heavyweights such as Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, and Harrison made their way to the stage for an incredible impromptu performance.
In 1988, Harrison co-founded the Traveling Wilburys group alongside Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison.
As the story goes, the group was rehearsing out of Dylan’s basement to cut a B-side for a Harrison single set to be released in the U.K.
After some deliberating, the all-star cast recorded an entire album instead. Later the supergroup would release Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 and Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3, following Orbison’s death. Watch Traveling Wilburys perform “Handle With Care” below.