Tuesday, April 25, 2006

George Harrison: Conscious of God, fearless of death, and at peace

George Harrison wrote some of The Beatles' most memorable songs, including If I Needed Someone, Taxman, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Here Comes the Sun, and Something.

Post-Beatles, he gave us My Sweet Lord, Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth), All Those Years Ago, and Got My Mind Set on You.

Called the "quiet Beatle," and the most mystical and spiritual of the Fab Four, George became interested in the sitar and Indian music in general, and led the other Beatles, and then the Western world, into interest in Hinduism and Eastern spirituality.

In an amazing display of what appeared to be ultimate forgiveness, George remained fast friends with Eric Clapton, even though George's wife Patti had fallen in love with Clapton. After Clapton sang of his love for Patti in the Derek and the Dominos 1970 hit song Layla, George and Patti divorced, and Patti married Clapton.

A statement released after his death summed up his life: "He left this world as he lived in it: conscious of God, fearless of death and at peace, surrounded by family and friends. He often said: Everything else can wait, but the search of God cannot wait; and love one another."

Though While My Guitar Gently Weeps was penned by Harrison, the guitar playing on the record, ostensibly by The Beatles, was by Clapton.

Thanks to my friend JoAnn, who forwarded me the link to this ukelele version of the song, for inspiring this post. The musician in this video is Jake Shimabukuro. The website URL displayed in the video is down, but we tracked down his personal website. Too bad I don't speak Japanese.

The New York Uke Festival is this Thursday through Sunday, April 27-30, in New York City.

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