1926 – Harry Harrison goes to sea as a steward with the White Star Fleet.1929 – While on shore leave in Liverpool, Harry meets his future wife, Louise French.
May 20, 1930 – Harry and Louise marry in a quiet civil ceremony in Liverpool.
1931 – The Harrisons’ first child is born. She is named Louise after her mother.1934 – The Harrisons’ second child is born. This time they name the little boy Harold, after his father.
September 19, 1934 – The Beatles’ future manager and mentor, Brian Epstein, is born in suburban Liverpool.
1936 – Harry Harrison comes ashore after ten years at sea. Following months of sporadic unemployment, he lands a job as a bus conductor.1937 – Harry Harrison is proudly promoted to the position of driver.
1940 – The Harrisons’ third child, Peter, is born.July 7, 1940 – Richard Starkey, later Ringo Starr, is born just after midnight at 9 Madryn Street, the Dingle, Liverpool.
October 9, 1940 – The future founder and leader of the Beatles, John Winston Lennon, is born at the Oxford Street Maternity Hospital during a particularly vicious German air attack.1941 – Peter Randolph Best, the Beatles’ first real drummer, is born in Madras, India.
June 18, 1942 – James Paul McCartney is born at Walton Hospital, Liverpool. He is the first child of James and Mary.February 25, 1943 – George Harold Harrison, the Harrisons’ fourth and final child, is born at 12 Arnold Grove, Wavertree, Liverpool.
March 17, 1945 – Patricia Ann Boyd, George’s future first wife, is born.1949 – The Harrison family moves into a roomy council house in the Liverpool suburb of Speke. They had made their application some eighteen years earlier.
1950 – The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi arrives in Hawaii, where he forms the first Western chapter of his Spiritual Regeneration Movement.1954 – After attending Dovedale Primary School, George is enrolled at the Liverpool Institute also attended by Paul McCartney and his younger brother Michael.
1954-55 – George and schoolmate Paul McCartney get together for the first time and begin bashing out Lonnie Donegan material in the front room of the Harrisons’ home at 25 Upton Green, Speke.1956 – Young George wangles the purchase of a cheap box guitar from a school chum for three pounds ten shillings. After bashing away for several months George, his brother Peter and some friends form the Rebels, playing their first gig at the Speke British Legion Club.
January 16, 1957 – A former wine cellar on Matthew Street in Liverpool is opened under the name of the Cavern Club as a showcase for local jazz and skiffle groups. The playing of rock and roll is strictly forbidden by order of the management.Late 1957 – Through McCartney, George is introduced to John Lennon at Wilson Hall in Garston.
February 6, 1958 – George is accepted as a member of the Quarrymen.June 19, 1959 – George leaves school without graduating. His plan is to look for a solid full-time job while playing in the Quarrymen part-time.
November 1959 – The Quarrymen disband only to immediately reform as Johnny and the Moondogs and then later as the Silver Beatles. George briefly adopts the professional name of Carl Harrison as a tribute to his long-time rock and roll idol, the great Carl Perkins.Spring 1960 – The Silver Beatles tour Scotland as a backing group for singer Johnny Gentle. By this time, Lennon’s schoolfriend Stuart Sutcliffe has joined the group. All the fledgling quartet needs now is a full-time drummer.
August 1960 – Paul McCartney invites Pete Best to accompany the band on a tour of Hamburg’s notorious Reeperbahn as their new drummer.
August 18, 1960 – The Beatles begin performing at Hamburg’s Indra Club, owned by German businessman Bruno Koschmider.
October 1960 – The band makes its first professional recording with members of rival Liverpool group, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, at Akustik Studios in Hamburg.
November 21, 1960 – The Beatles’ stay in Germany is interrupted after George is found to be underage by German immigration officials and is unceremoniously deported. The other Beatles soon follow and end up back in Liverpool feeling beaten and dejected.
January 1961 – The Beatles begin appearing regularly at the Cavern Club, which has since undergone a change of heart about rock and roll music.
March 1, 1961 – Allan Williams, the Beatles’ first manager, writes a letter to the German consulate in Liverpool requesting that the group be allowed to return to Germany now that Harrison has finally come of age.
April 1961 – The boys return to Hamburg to appear at the Top Ten Club.
July 1961 – The group returns home to Liverpool minus Stuart Sutcliffe, who has fallen in love with German photographer Astrid Kirchherr. Paul generously takes over Stu’s duties on the bass.
October 29, 1961 – Raymond Jones walks into the NEMS record store in Liverpool’s Whitechapel shopping district and asks proprietor Brian Epstein for a copy of "My Bonnie" by a group called the Beatles.
November 9, 1961 – Intrigued that a local Liverpool group has actually cut a record, Epstein and his personal assistant, Alistair Taylor, attend a lunchtime session at the Cavern, where the witness the Beatles in action for the very first time.
December 3, 1961 – Epstein and the Beatles meet at NEMS to discuss the possibility of his taking over management of the group.
January 1, 1962 – The Beatles travel to London for an audition at Decca Records, during which George sings "The Sheik of Araby." Recording manager Dick Rowe subsequently turns down the group, confiding to Brian that "groups with guitars are on the way out."
April 10, 1962 – Stuart Sutcliffe dies at the age of twenty-one of an apparent brain hemorrhage.
April 11, 1962 – The Beatles fly to Hamburg to begin a seven-week engagement at the Star Club.
June 4, 1962 – George Martin signs the Beatles to Parlophone Records, a small offshoot of the vast EMI empire.
August 16, 1962 – Brian Epstein summons Pete Best to his office, where he is rather unceremoniously given the sack. He is told that Ringo Starr will replace him as the Beatles’ drummer.
December 18, 1962 – The Beatles begin their final engagement at the Star Club.
February 22, 1963 – The Beatles’ first major record, "Please Please Me," hits the coveted number-one position on the British pop charts.
November 4, 1963 – The Beatles play a royal command performance.
February 7, 1964 – The Beatles and their entourage land at Kennedy Airport in New York, where they experience their first taste of the intensity of American Beatlemania.
March 2, 1964 – George Harrison meets model Pattie Boyd during the first day’s filming for A Hard Day’s Night.
March 27-29, 1964 – John and Cynthia Lennon are joined by George and Pattie aboard a private plane bound for a vacation in the Irish countryside.
April 4, 1964 – The Beatles hold the top four positions on the American pop charts.
August 1964 – The Beatles make their second trek to the U.S. to begin a rigorous twenty-five-city tour.
September 11, 1964 – George forms his own music publishing company, Mornyork Ltd., later called Harrisongs.
January 27, 1965 – George Harrison acts as best man at his brother Peter’s wedding.
August 15, 1965 – While in the States on yet another tour, the Beatles are visited by Bob Dylan in their suite at the Warwick Hotel.
October 26, 1965 – The Beatles are awarded MBEs by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
December 23, 1965 – George proposes to Pattie Boyd while driving into London for a party at Brian Epstein’s home.
January 21, 1966 – George and Pattie marry at the Epson Registry Office in Surrey. Paul McCartney is the only Beatle in attendance.
June 1966 – George Harrison meets his musical guru, Ravi Shankar, for the first time during a dinner party at actor Peter Sellers’s home. A few days later, Ravi and his portly tabla player, Alla Rakah, give a private performance for George, the other Beatles and a few select friends.
August 29, 1966 – The Beatles perform their final North American concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
September 14-October 22, 1966 – The Harrisons travel to India, where George begins a period of intensive training on the sitar. Though George is under the direct tutelage of Ravi Shankar, it is Shankar’s young protege, Shambu Das, who sees to Harrison’s day-to-day instruction.
January 1, 1967 – Brian Epstein, Eric Clapton and the Harrisons are asked to leave Annabol’s nightclub in London because George is not wearing a tie.
February, 1967 – Pattie becomes a member of the Maharishi’s Spiritual Regeneration Movement and thereby introduces the Beatles to Transcendental Meditation.
August 7, 1967 – The Harrisons visit San Francisco’s infamous Haight-Ashbury district with Beatle crony Derek Taylor but George comes away disillusioned, commenting that the hippies seem to him more like "Bowery bums."
August 26, 1967 – The Beatles, their wives, Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull, among others, are formally initiated into the Maharishi’s International Meditation Society in Bangor, North Wales.
August 27, 1967 – Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein is found dead in his Belgravia townhouse from a suspected drug overdose.
December 10, 1967 – George Harrison and Ravi Shankar appear on a broadcast taped at the United Nations buildings in New York and in London.
January 7, 1968 – George Harrison flies to Bombay, India, where he commences work on the recording of tracks for the Wonderwall Music album. The sessions take the better part of ten days to complete.
February 16, 1968 – The Harrisons, along with John and Cynthia Lennon, return to India to begin their teacher’s training course in Transcendental Meditation with the Maharishi. Paul and Ringo arrive on February 19.
March 1968 – Harrison disposes of his shares of Northern Songs when his contract expires.
May 22, 1968 – George and John attend the opening of a shop with designer John Crittle in Chelsea called Apple Tailoring (Civil and Theatrical).
December 4, 1968 – Harrison informs the staff at Apple that several members of the California Hell’s Angels may be visiting Apple in the near future.
January 10, 1969 – Following a bitter row among all four Beatles, George walks off the Let It Be movie set over plans for a new Beatle tour.
January 21, 1969 – Harrison is fined £100 for assaulting a French photographer the previous spring.
February 7, 1969 – Harrison is admitted to a London hospital in order to have his infected tonsils removed. He’s out of commission for about ten days.
March 12, 1969 – Sgt. Norman Pilcher and members of Scotland Yard’s drug squad mid the Harrisons’ Esher home. Both Pattie and George are arrested. They are later released from the Esher Jail after posting a £500 bond.
March 31, 1969 – The Harrisons are fined £250 each for the possession charge after pleading guilty on the advice of counsel.
April 7, 1969 – George is quoted in a London paper as saying he will never again keep any drugs in his home.
July 11, 1969 – Harrison records vocal tracks for the Beatles’ international hit "Something."
July 26, 1969 – Harrison plugs the Hare Krishna movement’s world-famous Rathayatra Festival in a series of radio spots paid for by Apple.
August 22, 1969 – Apple’s unlikely new singing discovery, the Radha Krishna Temple, has their first record, The Hare Krishna Mantra, released in the U.S.
September 1969 – His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada arrives in London to meet with his disciples. He is picked up at Heathrow Airport in John Lennon’s chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce and immediately spirited away to Tittenhurst Park. There he meets privately for several hours with George, Yoko and John. For Harrison, the deeply moving experience helps to intensify his devotion to the practice of Bhakti Yoga.Mid-September 1969 –Louise Harrison is hospitalized in Liverpool with a cancerous brain tumor.
September 1969-January 1970 – George Harrison produces an album’s worth of Vedic mantras for Apple’s Radha Krishna Temple.
May 1, 1970 – While in New York, George Harrison and Bob Dylan record enough tracks together to fill an album. For some reason the project is scrapped and the material never officially released.
November 1970 – George’s triple solo album All Things Must Pass receives worldwide critical acclaim.
November 25, 1970 – The Harrisons fly to New York to introduce the Apple group Badfinger to the New York press.
December 26, 1970 – George’s "My Sweet Lord" becomes the number-one tune on the Billboard singles chart, remaining on top for four weeks.
December 31, 1970 – Paul McCartney files suit against the Beatles and Company seeking legal dissolution of their partnership.
February 23, 1971 – During a series of unpleasant encounters with London traffic cops, George loses his license and is banned from driving for a year.
March 12, 1971 – An official Receiver is appointed in the Beatles’ pending litigation.
July 27, 1971 – George announces plans for the The Concert for Bangladesh and releases a single named for the war-tom country.
August 1, 1971 – Harrison and a galaxy of stars including Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Ravi Shankar, Billy Preston, Leon Russell and Badfinger play two shows at Madison Square Garden in New York in aid of the refugees of Bangladesh-Pakistani war.
February 8, 1972 – The Official Beatle Fan Club closes up shop forever.
February 28, 1972 – Only days after the return of George’s driving license, George and Pattie wreck their car near Maidenhead.
October 1972 – Scotland Yard’s Sgt. Pilcher is jailed for six years, found guilty of planting dope on several innocent people.
April 1973 – John, Ringo and George terminate their contract with Allen Klein’s ABKCO.
April 26, 1973 – The Material World Charitable Foundation is founded in England as Harrison’s official charity, receiving portions of royalties from his music publishing and records.
May 1973 – George releases the popular single "Give Me Love."
May 30, 1973 – George’s LP Living in the Material World is released.
November 2, 1973 – George, Ringo and John sue Allen Klein, who in turn sues George, Ringo and John.
February 1974 – At a Paris press conference, George announces the formation of his own label, Dark Horse Records, to be distributed by the American company A&M.
September 16, 1974 – Official announcement of George’s forthcoming international tour with Ravi Shankar.
September 23, 1974 – Ravi Shankar’s Music Festival From India, sponsored by the Material World Charitable Foundation (and produced by George), commences a series of shows in London. The concert is filmed by Dark Horse Records, although it is never released.
November 2, 1974 – George plays the first date of his solo tour at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. A total of fifty shows in twenty-seven cities are included on the tour.
December 13, 1974 – Thanks to a chance backstage encounter with Jack Ford, son of the American president, George, his father Harry, Billy Preston and Ravi Shankar are invited to the White House for an afternoon visit with the president.
October 3, 1975 - George’s Extra Texture LP is released in England (September 22 in the U.S.). On it is a song entitled "Ladies and Gentlemen His Name Is Legs, " George’s musical ode to his long-time crony, "Legs" Larry Smith.
November 20, 1976 - George appears on "Saturday Night Live," performing a duet with singer Paul Simon.
June 7, 1977 – In celebration of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, George attends an outdoor children’s party in Henley.
June 9, 1977 – George and Pattie Harrison are divorced in a London court.
November 18, 1977 – Srila Prabhupada dies in Vrndavana, India, at the aged eighty-one.
December 17, 1977 – George plays unannounced at the Row Barge Pub in Henley, just around the corner from Friar Park.
August 1, 1978 – George and his new companion, Olivia, celebrate the birth of their first child, Dhani, born at the Princess Christian Nursing Home in Windsor.
September 2, 1978 – George marries his long-time live-in lover, Olivia Trinidad Arias, in a private civil ceremony in Henley. Only the bride’s parents are invited to attend.
May 19, 1979 – Ringo, Paul and George perform an impromptu concert in the back garden of Eric Clapton’s home in Ewehurst, Surrey. The occasion: Clapton’s marriage to George’s first wife, Pattie.
August 22, 1979 – George’s limited-edition leatherbound autobiography, I Me Mine, is published by Genesis Publications.
August 1, 1980 – George and business partner Denis O’Brien form Hand Made Film Productions Limited.
December 8, 1980 – John Lennon is cut down by a barrage of bullets outside his home in Manhattan by a deranged "fan." He is pronounced dead on arrival at Roosevelt Hospital. The world mourns his loss. George is reportedly in a state of shock.
February 26, 1981 – A New York judge orders Harrison to pay $587,000 in damages to Bright Tunes, copyright holders of the song "He’s So Fine," from which the proprietors allege that the ex-Beatle has plagiarized portions of his megahit, "My Sweet Lord."
June 5, 1981 - George’s Somewhere in England is released in Great Britain (June 1 in the U.S.).
November 5, 1982 – George’s Gone Troppo LP is released in England (October 27 in the U.S.). For the cover, Harrison commissions "Legs" Larry Smith to produce one of his bizarre surreal collages, which works beautifully. The record, however, is a certified flop.
July 25, 1983 – The three remaining Beatles have a few drinks together in a London hotel.
December 1, 1983 – George, Ringo and Paul meet with Yoko Ono at the Dorchester Hotel in London, trading strategies for the business of their jointly owned company, Apple Corps Limited.
November 30, 1984 – Derek Taylor and George Harrison attend a literary party in Sydney, Australia, for Taylor’s limited-edition autobiography, Fifty Years Adrift in an Open-Necked Shirt.
December 14, 1984 – George joins Deep Purple on stage during one of their concerts on the Australian leg of their world tour.
October 21, 1985 – Ringo and George appear in a television special called "Blue Suede Shoes," a musical tribute to their boyhood idol, Carl Perkins.
March 6, 1986 – Hand Made Films holds a press conference in London following a particularly troubled shooting for the film Shanghai Surprise. George and pop singer Madonna meet the press in an effort to defuse the bad publicity.
June 19, 1986 – George is one of thousands in attendance at an anti-nuclear rally at Trafalgar Square.
July 18, 1986 – George writes an article in the Henley Standard admonishing the local planning board, which has approved the destruction of the city’s only cinema to make way for a supermarket.
December 4, 1986 – George and his fellow protesters win their fight to save the Regal Cinema.
February 19, 1987 – George jams with Bob Dylan, John Fogerty and Taj Mahal at the Palomino Club in Hollywood.
March 15, 1987 – The Harrisons attend the BAFTA Awards at a swanky London Hotel.
March 27, 1987 – Ringo and second wife Barbara, along with George and Olivia, attend Elton John’s birthday party.
November 2, 1987 – George’s Cloud Nine is released in the United States.
January 20, 1988 – George, Ringo, Yoko Ono and Sean and Julian Lennon attend the Beatles’ induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.
March 5, 1988 – George and Ringo are guests on the British TV show "Aspel and Company."
October 25, 1988 – The album The Traveling Wilburys: Volume One by the Traveling Wilburys is released.
January 8, 1989 – Britain’s ITV broadcasts a Granada Television special, The Movie Life of George, in honor of the tenth anniversary of Hand Made Films. The well-made documentary includes comments from principal actors and directors as well as several movie clips. The closing credits feature Harrison performing "Honey Don’t" and "That’s Alright Mama," backed by Carl Perkins and Joe Brown, recorded at Hand Made Films’ anniversary party.
January 30, 1989 – MTV debuts the Traveling Wilburys’ "End of the Line." Set on a freight train, Harrison and the Wilburys perform the song inside a box car while a rocking chair holds a guitar in honor of the late Roy Orbison.
February 1, 1989 – Orbison's posthumous album, Mystery Girl, on which George plays acoustic guitar, is released. The track "You Got It," mixed at Friar Park Studios, features Harrison performing backing vocals.
February 10, 1989 – According to reports, Hand Made Films files a $29 million lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court for breach of contract against the Cannon Group alleging unpaid advances from the home-video distribution of six films.
February 22, 1989 – George and Olivia attend the Grammy Awards in L. A., where Harrison’s nominated video, "When We Was Fab," loses out in the Best Concept Video category to Weird Al Yankovich for "Fat" (a parody of Michael Jackson’s "Bad"). After the show George attends a posh Grammy bash at Chasen’s with Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne.
February 23, 1989 – Harrison attends the premiere and reception for the Hand Made Films production Pow Wow Highway at the L. A. Director’s Guild. The film won the prestigious Filmmaker’s Trophy at Utah’s Park City Film Festival. Afterwards he celebrates his upcoming 46th birthday at the trendy Spago, where he is presented with a guitar-shaped vegetarian pizza.
Spring 1989 – Over the past few months rumors fly concerning a replacement for Roy Orbison in the Traveling Wilburys. Some of the names tossed around include Del Shannon, Randy Newman, Carl Perkins, and Eric Clapton. Nothing, however, comes of it.
March 1989 – Amidst rumblings of financial and legal woes George announces the closing of Hand Made Films’ New York Office. Further cutbacks loom as film production slows in the wake of Harrison’s decision to scale down operations. George feels the problem was too rapid expansion for the fledgling firm.
March 20, 1989 – George and Olivia, along with Ringo and his wife Barbara, are guests of Eric Idle for the London premiere of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, in which Idle costars. The film was written and directed by Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam, who also made Time Bandits for Hand Made Films.
April 16, 1989 – George and Tom Petty attend the Long Beach Grand Prix, where the duo visit George’s longtime friend Emerson Fittipaldi, three-time Formula One champion from Brazil. George and Tom watch Fittipaldi capture third place.
April 21, 1989 – Checking Out, a black comedy starring Jeff Daniels, opens in the States using the Wilburys’ "End of the Line" as its theme. In the film George has a cameo as a janitor dressed in an orange jump suit and baseball cap, sweeping the floor of the reception room of Heaven. Harrison later commented he is uncomfortable acting because "I have enough trouble just pretending to be me without trying to be somebody else."
Last Week of April, 1989 – George visits New York to record with Eric Clapton for his upcoming Journeyman LP. Eric tells Guitar World, "We did five of his songs, some spare ones and some he’d written especially for the album. We ended up using one ballad, ‘Run So Far.’ "
May 1989 – Olivia and Barbara Bach participate in a demonstration against the use of harmful substances in food. Parents for Safe Food, a grassroots consumer organization founded by the Harrisons, Ringo and Barbara, Twiggy, and actress Pamela Stephenson, among others, sponsors the protest.
June 7, 1989 – George, along with Eric Clapton, Ringo, and Jeff Lynne, attend a Bob Dylan concert at the Birmingham National Exhibition Center. Harrison also catches Dylan’s show at Wembly Arena, where Bob performs the Wilburys’ "Congratulations."
Mid-June 1989 – Harrison invites four U. S. teenage skateboard champions on a European tour to perform for son Dhani at Friar Park, where they spend the night.
July 1989 – George tells the Daily Express he hopes to do a follow-up project with the Traveling Wilburys. "I hope there will be another Wilburys record. It was one of the most enjoyable things I’ve done. I was doing it with people I admired and respected, and the public liked it too. I just have to wait for the other Wilburys to finish being solo artists. They have all said they would like to do it again. I don’t really have a desire to be a solo artist. It’s more fun being in the Wilburys. They represent a stand against this horrible computerized music."
July 7, 1989 – The box-office hit Lethal Weapon 2 opens in the United States featuring the song "Cheer Down," written by Harrison and Tom Petty. George was brought on board the project by Eric Clapton, who also contributed to the soundtrack.
July 29, 1989 – The Daily Express runs a rare joint interview with George and Olivia focusing on environmental issues in its weekend supplement 48 Hours.
August 24, 1989 – "Cheer Down" is released by Warner Brothers as a single in the United States.
Early October 1989 – The Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 1 falls off the Billboard charts for the first time in 47 weeks, after peaking at the number-three spot, where it remained for some three weeks.
October 10, 1989 – Harrison guests on Belinda Carlisle’s album Runaway Horses. He plays a magnificent slide guitar solo on the track "Leave a Light on for Me."
October 1989 – Harrison’s compilation album, Best of Dark Horse 1967-1989, is released. The fifteen tracks are culled from five albums that span the Dark Horse/Warner Brothers years: Thirty Three & 1/3, George Harrison, Somewhere in England, Gone Troppo, and Cloud Nine. Two new songs are added, "Cockamamie Business" and "Poor Little Girl." George dedicates the album to Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Parents for Safe Food, the Traveling Wilburys, race car designer Gordon Murray, and "anybody interested in saving our planet."
November 27, 1989 – While on tour in Los Angeles, Paul McCartney announces his desire to reunite with George and Ringo to complete the unfinished Beatles documentary, then called The Long and Winding Road. In the wake of the press frenzy that follows, George issues a statement the very next day: "As far as I am concerned, there will never be a Beatles reunion as long as John Lennon remains dead."
November 1989 – In an interview with Musician magazine George comments that although he and Paul were once good friends, they no longer have much in common and reiterated he has "no real relationship with Paul."
February 21, 1990 – The Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 1 wins the Grammy for Best Rock Performance. The group ironically loses out in the Favorite New Artist category to musical charlatans Milli Vanilli. Harrison does not attend the ceremony.
March 1990 – The Traveling Wilburys enter the studio to record the follow-up to The Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 1. It is rumored the basic tracks were laid down at Dave Stewart’s L. A. home, as was the first album, but it is later discovered a rented house in Be1 Air was used. They decide not to try and replace Roy Orbison.
March 1990 – Harrison is the featured guest on the radio program "In the Studio," where he discusses his collaboration with producer Jeff Lynne and keeping the Wilburys project a secret in its initial stages. "I just liked the idea of the ELO," he comments. "There was a part of it that annoyed me, but I secretly loved it."
March 14, 1990 – George and Olivia are guests at actor Michael Caine’s 57th birthday bash held at Langan’s Brasserie in central London. George greets the paparazzi frenzy who surround his car with the retort, "What’s it feel like to be a wild animal?"
March 16, 1990 – Hand Made Films’ uninspired Nuns on the Run opens to wide distribution, moving up to number seven at the box office by the weekend of the 30th. Boosted by this much-needed-commercial success, the company announces six films under production for 1990-91.
Spring 1990 – Olivia organizes the Romanian Angels Appeal to aid orphaned Romanian children. Along with Barbara Bach, Yoko Ono, and Linda McCartney, she pledges a five-figure amount to get the project started. There is much attendant publicity.
May 1, 1990 – George makes an unscheduled appearance at Eric Clapton’s show at the L. A. Forum. The duo jam together before being joined by the backing band for "Crossroads" and "Sunshine of Your Love," with George interjecting his "Something" solo into the Cream hit.
May 2, 1990 – The Daily Mirror reports an arrest of a South London man for sending death threats to George’s home over the past year. The suspect also allegedly threatened both Olivia and Dhani. One letter read "Time you went," while another stated simply, "Goodbye, George." The police traced the postmark to a hippie commune in south London, where they arrested an American male. He and his wife claimed a spirit ordered them to send the letters.
May 5, 1990 – A tribute concert organized by Yoko Ono in honor of John Lennon’s 50th birthday is held at Liverpool’s Albert Dock. The three surviving Beatles are invited, but none participate. George later explains in a Sunday Times interview: "I don’t think John would want it and I don’t want to keep dabbling in the past."
May 21, 1990 – Harrison is interviewed by USA Today on a variety of topics.
June 1990 – The Daily Mail runs an interview with Pattie Boyd, who says she remains friendly with both ex-husbands, George and Eric Clapton, but has no plans to remarry. The former Mrs. Harrison reveals that, while married to George, she wanted to adopt children but he did not. Pattie also reveals she suffered a miscarriage with Clapton.
June 1990 – The Traveling Wilburys release the single "Nobody’s Child" to benefit the Romanian Angels Appeal.
July 1990 – Nobody's Child, an album to aid the Romanian Angels Appeal, is released. The all-star lineup includes Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Dave Stewart, and Elton John. The album has a five-week stay on the Billboard charts and peaks at number nineteen in Britain.
Mid-1990 – While on tour in Buenos Aires, Eric Clapton is asked how George Harrison has influenced him. "His style, attitude, his lifestyle, and faith are very different to mine," said Clapton. "He’s an inspiration, he is a very, very spiritual man and positive thinker and many times in my life he’s been a great help to me, musically and personally."
June 22, 1990 – George and Olivia appear on the BBC’s Wogan Show to discuss the Romanian Angel Appeal.
October 1990 – In a radio interview Harrison dismisses touring with the Wilburys. "At this point, I’d have to say I don’t think so. . . . I’d need a lot of convincing personally because you have to put the rest of your life on hold while you do a tour. And I don’t know if at this stage of my life I want to do that."
October 30, 1990 –The Traveling Wilburys’ second album, wryly titled The Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 3, is released in the U. S. on the Wilbury/Warner Brothers label. Produced by George "Spike" Harrison and Jeff "Clayton" Lynne, it is clear from the beginning the success of the first outing will not be matched. The record does not receive much airplay and enters the charts at number forty before peaking at number eleven and dropping off by the second week in January. The lead vocals by Petty and Dylan show how much the ensemble misses Roy Orbison. Admits George, "There is no other Roy Orbison and that’s pretty obvious. We couldn’t replace Roy. I mean, you could have other people, I suppose, but you couldn’t replace Roy." The members also reveal they took more time with the songwriting, thus sacrificing the spontaneous appeal of the first effort.
Second Half of 1990 – Harrison tells the Detroit Free Press he has no intention of ever working with Paul McCartney. "It wouldn’t be my priority to get together with Paul. He’s had thirty years to write a tune with me. He’s left it a bit late now."
November 5, 1990 – After twenty years Bright Tunes Publishing’s lawsuit against George for "subconscious plagiarism" of the song "He’s So Fine" in his 1970 hit "My Sweet Lord" is finally and forever resolved in favor of the plaintiff.
December 5, 1990 – In an interview with the BBC’s Rapido program Harrison comments on Paul McCartney’s world tour: "His whole thing is doing a Beatles tour. Now he’s decided to be the Beatles. I’m not interested. For me, it’s the past and, you know, to ‘be here now’ is my motto."
January 1991 – Despite limited airplay and no hit singles the Wilburys’ The Volume 3 earns both gold and platinum status.
March 2 and 3, 1991 – Harrison makes a surprise appearance at a George Formby convention in Blackpool, England. The first night George takes the stage in a ukelele group in honor of the late music hall star. The following day George’s son, Dhani, makes his performing debut.
March 18, 1991 – The Daily Mail reports that George and Olivia plan to adopt a seven-year-old deaf Romanian boy. The Harrisons filed for the adoption of Vasile Gamman in 1990 and are awaiting the necessary visas. The Romanian government, however, temporarily stopped all foreign adoptions, due to corrupt practices. The Harrisons do not publicly comment on the report.
March 28, 1991 – Harrison attends a private burial service for Conor Clapton in Ripley, England. Eric’s and Italian actress Lori Del Santo’s four-year old son was tragically killed in a fall from a Manhattan highrise on March 20th. Pattie Boyd is also present at the funeral.
July 1991 – Several London publications confirm that George and Olivia are not adopting the Romanian child. They are, however, assisting Joy Hardwick, who teaches at a London school for the deaf, in the adoption of nine-year-old Vasile Gamman.
In a surprise development Harrison announces that for the first time in seventeen years he will embark on a six-city tour of Japan in December, backed by his old friend Eric Clapton and Eric’s touring band.
Hand Made Films wins a 1989 lawsuit against Pathé Screen Entertainment. The future of the company, however, is still precarious.August 1991 – George and Olivia receive a $500,000 royalty check from Warner Brothers from sales of the compilation album Nobody’s Child to aid the Romanian Angel Appeal.
Fall 1991 – Harrison and a group of investors, including Michael Palin, John Cleese, and Rowan Atkinson, acquire a cable television franchise in south eastern England for 28 million pounds.
October 17, 1991 – Eric Clapton tells Rolling Stone why he and George selected Japan as their tour site. "On a practical level it’s the most efficient country in the world for putting on shows. And somehow it’s a bit out of the way so he [George] can go on stage and get over his stage fright without being in the international spotlight. I think if he came to the U. S. and he saw one bad review he’d go straight home."
November 4-22, 1991 – Harrison rehearses for the upcoming tour, deciding to add several Beatles songs to the repertoire. "Now," he says, "I like my old songs. I never liked them for years because they were so popular. I always preferred the newer songs, but I do enjoy singing ‘Something’ and ‘Here Comes the Sun.’ "
November 24, 1991 – George and Eric are interviewed for the Japanese television show Subarashiki Nakama (Wonderful Friends). Harrison shows off his special edition Roy Buchannan Bluesmaster Telecaster he’ll play on tour, a lightweight instrument that won’t injure his neck. He reveals he’s given up smoking to save his voice and points out that Eric has not. George playfully shows several burn marks on Clapton’s guitar and jokes about the Eric Clapton signature mode Stratocaster, which can be ordered with or without a hole in the neck to hold a cigarette. Harrison claims, in jest, that he has a cupboard for sandwiches in the back of his guitar.
November 29, 1991 – George and Eric give a press conference at the Capitol Tokyo Hotel.
December 1991 – In an interview with Musician magazine Clapton discusses Harrison’s fears about the media: "George is very paranoid about the press. There’s a lot of anger in him. I don’t know why. He’s got his guard up before he begins. But the worst they can say is he’s a boring old fart. And that’s almost gone out of fashion."
December 1-17, 1991 – George Harrison’s Japanese tour hits the road with shows in the following cities:
December 1 Yokohama, Yokohama Arena
December 2 & 3 Osaka, Castle Hall
December 5 Nagoya, International Exhibition Hall
December 6 Hiroshima, Sun Plaza
December 9 Fukuoka, International Center
December 10, 11, & 12 Osaka, Castle Hall
December 14, 15, & 17 Tokyo, Tokyo Dome
December 7, 1991 – George visits Hiroshima’s Peace Park on the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
December 15, 1991 – Dhani Harrison joins his father on stage in Tokyo for the concert ending. Thirteen-year-old Dhani shares backup vocals with singers Tessa Niles and Katie Kissoon as well as playing the tambourine on "Roll Over Beethoven."
December 17, 1991 – Dhani again joins in the finale of "Roll Over Beethoven" on the tour’s final night. This time he plays guitar along with George and Eric.
End of 1991 – Olivia Harrison pens an emotional letter to the editor in the London Independent in response to its recent interview with biographer Geoffrey Giuliano in which, among other things, he referred to George Harrison as a "failed yogi." An excerpt follows: "The sight of Geoffrey Giuliano’s face is enough to make anyone a recluse. . . . To rate himself the world’s greatest rock-and-roll biographer is nothing but delusion. He has only ever been in the vicinity of my husband for about ten minutes and considers himself an expert. He parades as a spiritual person while condemning the famous, yet without them his achievements in this life wouldn’t rate one line in any newspaper. To judge Paul McCartney as ‘vacuous and shallow’ after all Paul has offered to the world is surely the judgment of an arrogant mind, especially as Giuliano’s own recognition is not because he is creative but because, like a starving dog, he scavenges his heroes, picking up bits of gristle and sinew along the way, repackaging them for consumption by a gullible public. . . I’m sick of this guy."
March 1992 – The original Radha Krishna Temple album is digitally remastered at Abbey Road Studios in London by Ron Furmanek.
April 1992 – Harrison performs a benefit concert for the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Natural Law Party at the Royal Albert Hall. It marks his first solo concert in Britain. He tells the radio program "In the Studio": "The British press can be pretty nasty, not just to me, everybody, particularly to people who are British. They don’t seem to like their own people. Or they build you up and then knock you down. For years I had the impression the press was always just being bitchy and nasty. I built up this impression the British don’t like me for my music and I was thinking, ‘That’s alright by me, I can live here quietly.’ When I stepped in the Albert Hall, though, it was unbelievable. The audience was just so happy. It was the most incredible buzz. It was like a love-in! It was one of those things where I could’ve just stood on my head, done anything, and they’d just love it."
June 15, 1992 – Harrison makes an appearance with boyhood idol Carl Perkins at the Hard Rock Cafe in London to celebrate the restaurant’s 21st anniversary. "I went there purely because Carl was in town and I got to hang out with him for the evening," George tells "Rockline." "I went and he just asked me to get up and go up there with him, so I did it. I’m not mad about jumping up anywhere when I’m unprepared. I’m not that keen on it, but at least I know Carl’s tunes!"
July 14, 1992 – George’s Live in Japan double album is released. Despite an intense media campaign sales are disappointing; by mid-August only 100,000 copies have sold in the U.S.
July/August 1992 – Harrison embarks on a media blitz to promote the record, appearing on Entertainment Tonight, MTV, and the live radio broadcast "Rockline." In an interview on WNEW George tells Scott Muni, "If I was ever going to sing again, I had to really stop smoking, because I was to the point where it wasn’t a joke. . . . I haven’t smoked for a year and I’ve no desire and to me it’s the most disgusting thing in the world. . . . I’m so happy to be free of that. . . . I was smoking from 13 to 48, that’s 35 years." He also reveals that he and writer Jerzy Kosinski attempted to write a musical in 1974.
In an interview with Billboard Harrison tells Timothy White, "I’ve got more energy and feel much better than I’ve felt for 25 years."
In an interview with Vox magazine George comments on a piece of his toast Christie’s attempted to auction in 1991. "I never authenticated it. . . I ate all my toast!"
August 24, 1992 – Harrison attends meetings to discuss the future of Hand Made Films. He is eager to start up production again with eight new projects currently in the works. George is guardedly optimistic about Hand Made’s future, but concedes the company can no longer make small budget films with unknown actors and directors. "I think that market is largely gone and if we went to stay in the film business, we have to follow the Hollywood thing."
August 26, 1992 – Britain’s animated children’s television show Bunbury Tails airs. Harrison contributes some music, including a special song featuring an Indian rabbit called Raj Bun. George and Ravi Shankar play sitar on the track while George’s son, Dhani, handles the lead vocal.
Summer 1992 – Harrison is fined £50 for speeding. He was allegedly traveling 100 mph in a 70-mph zone.
October 16, 1992 – George makes a guest appearance at a special concert at Madison Square Garden sponsored by Columbia Records to mark the 30th anniversary of Bob Dylan in show business. He performs two Dylan tunes. Also on tap are Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and John Mellencamp.
November 1992 – In an interview with Guitar for the Practicing Musician Harrison says that, while he was a Beatle, Paul treated him and the others like a backup band. "He wasn’t sensitive to stepping on other people’s egos or feelings. [Paul] dictated and thereby pre-empted some good stuff."
December 1992 – George is the first recipient of the Century Award, Billboard magazine’s highest honor for individual creative achievement.
December 14, 1992 – Harrison attends a deposition in Los Angeles for a lawsuit he filed against Globe magazine, which ran a story he apparently took great exception to, entitled BEATLE GEORGE IS BIG NAZI FAN. Although Geoffrey Giuliano testified on behalf of the guitarist and was key to his ultimate success in obtaining a sizeable settlement from the spurious supermarket tabloid, George apparently still harbors some resentment against his controversial biographer. A brief excerpt follows:
Date Unknown, 1993 – Yoko Ono delivers several of John’s cassette demos to the surviving Beatles with a view of tarting them up with overdubs and releasing them as "new Beatles" product.
QUESTION: Have you at any time mentioned Mr. Giuliano to anyone other than Paul McCartney?
GEORGE HARRISON: Actually, I think there is one other person I had a conversation with, not a very long one, which is a person who works in the Beatles company Apple, Neil Aspinall. I’ve got a feeling I heard some story about Giuliano in connection with him trying to get money out of Yoko Ono. It could have come from Aspinall; but somebody did tell me another incident where Giuliano had been trying to make some money off somebody.
QUESTION: What, if anything, do you recall about that?
GEORGE: I recall Yoko Ono had tapped his phone line. . . .
May 1993 – Apple releases a special CD version of The Radha Krishna Temple album, containing the bonus track "Prayer to the Spiritual Masters." The extended liner notes by Derek Taylor also features a logo which states "20th Anniversary of Bhaktivedanta Manor 1973-1993 Here To Stay!" The logo alludes to the conservative villagers of Letchmoor Health who want the estate George Harrison purchased for the devotees closed down, allegedly due to excess noise and traffic.
Early 1993 – It is reported in Britain’s News-of-the-World that Harrison and his family are the intended victims of a transcontinental stalker. He is quoted as saying, "Myself and the Beatles have been the subject of very negative reporting in newspapers. . . . On most occasions, I have learned to just turn the other cheek. But I think there is a point where things can go too far. There [are] so many crazy people out in the world, that. . . it can be threatening to my family’s safety. . . . My home was actually threatened. Somebody threatened they are going to burn it down. . . .
"I was told the local police had been told by the FBI [that] somebody was threatening to burn my house. . . . My wife had actually heard about it from the police, but she didn’t want me to know, because she knew it would just get me crazy. . . . I have [had] enough exposure to crazed people through the years, and as the death of my friend John Lennon shows, that anything like this in newspapers is, obviously, very damaging. . . .
"There is somebody who is monitoring my movements. I know for a fact there is somebody who has gotten my private home phone number, who is calling, and, on different occasions, calls somebody in some connection with me, like the hotel or the office or somewhere I am expected to go to work. . . . He hasn’t shown himself at all. Just purely by phone calls where you hear the overseas line and it will click off when somebody answers. I can say he has called numerous places, including hotels and offices, and has also called my home. On at least one occasion my son answered and this fellow said something by which my son obviously realized it was somebody who he shouldn’t be talking to and hung up.
"This thing has been going on, to my knowledge, maybe six [or] seven months, to the present. . . . I have made a point in trying to keep away from any controversy in order to try to have a peaceful life. . . . I had an occasion after John Lennon's murder when myself, Paul McCartney, and Richard Starkey, we had to go through certain procedures regarding security. . . . Now, granted, some people just speak about it, but you have to take care in case there is the odd one, like Chapman, who will act upon his madness. . . . So there was a period when there was security people around. I had a call, a similar thing, saying the FBI was saying some guy was reported to have spoken to somebody in a bar, and he had a gun and said, ‘What do you say if the same thing is going to happen to George Harrison?’
"Now, we don’t know if this guy is just crazy or causing trouble, but nevertheless, somehow this story got through to the FBI to the police in England. . . . [The] police came to my house. They recommended I should have security at least for a period of time until they could check out the stories and verify this or justify them. . . . They checked all the airline passenger lists and it was a big deal. They had seventeen marksmen in my garden with rifles with image intensifiers. That is the kind of thing I want to avoid in my life. You know, I am peace and love. That is me. I am not into violence."
Date Unknown, 1994 – George meets and befriends Bernie Hamburger, a Detroit auto worker who moonlights making fine handcrafted guitars. Harrison is so enthralled with his product that he will use it on the record and video for the Beatles’ upcoming "reunion" single, "Real Love."
January 31, 1994 – Newsweek announces the Beatles’ plan to record again after 24 years. In the article Paul McCartney reveals that he, George, and Ringo have been discussing recording new music as part of their unfinished television documentary. McCartney also admits he and Harrison occasionally get on each other’s nerves. George came backstage at a recent McCartney concert and in his "professorial" mode, as Paul put it, pronounced it too long.
Date Unknown, 1994 – In the wake of lawsuits and a stream of box-office disasters Hand Made Films is sold for an anemic $8.5 million.
Date Unknown, 1994 – George joins Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr at Paul’s Sussex studio to work on the first Beatle song in a quarter century, the Lennon composition "Free as a Bird." McCartney notes there was great creative tension between him and Harrison when coming up with new lines. "George and I were vying for the best lyric," says Paul.
December 1994 – The Beatles Live at the BBC is released, a two-CD, 56-song compilation of Beatles radio recordings from March 1962 to June 1965. At one point on the record Harrison explains that in order for the lads to avoid mob scenes they’d go to restaurants "where the people there are so snobby they’re the type who pretend they don’t know us, so we have a good time." On "Roll Over Beethoven" George improvises on the lyric "Dig these rhythm and blues" to "Dig these heathen blues." Richard Corliss of Time magazine proclaims Harrison "the musical star; he lays down plenty of inventive improvs on his lead guitar." The compilation debuts at number three on the charts and goes on to sell eight million copies worldwide.
Date Unknown, 1995 – The British press report that, in the wake of his losses from the sale of Hand Made Films, George is suing his longtime business manager for $25 million. If he loses the case, there is speculation he could lose his beloved Friar Park.
Spring 1995 – As George Martin convalesces from surgery at his home in Wiltshire, he is visited by George Harrison, who is eager to show off his million-dollar McLaren Fl sportscar (the driver sits in the middle). He presents the Beatles producer with a small carved statue of the Hindu god Ganesh to speed his recovery. Martin dutifully keeps the statue by his bed.
Date Unknown, 1995 – ABC Television announces it has paid $20 million for the rights to The Beatles Anthology, a comprehensive retrospective of the group’s career to air in the fall.
Date Unknown, 1995 – Harrison gives an exclusive interview by fax to Newsweek. "The Beatles exist apart from myself. I am not really ‘Beatle George.’ ‘Beatle George’ is like a shirt I once wore and until the end of my life people may see that shirt and mistake it for me. I quite enjoyed telling the story. The upside of the Beatles was really always far bigger than the downside, and it was good to remember that."
November 1995 – Harrison reportedly tells The Beatles Anthology director Geoff Wonfor, "I want somebody like U2 to watch this. Then they’d see a band that was really famous."
November 19, 1995 – The first installment of the six-hour documentary The Beatles Anthology airs on ABC. Newsweek says: "George talks as if he’s Old Gramps in the garden on a fine Sunday afternoon. Every remembered epiphany evokes a dry giggle, except when he’s waxing wrathful on Beatlemania (‘They used us as an excuse to go mad, the world did, and then they blame it on us’). Harrison also tells how the Fabs became so bored with their concerts they’d speed through their thirty minute sets in twenty-five simply by playing every song faster. ‘One thing to be said about us,’ affirms Harrison, ‘we were tight.’ "
November 20, 1995 – The first Beatles single in 25 years, "Free as a Bird," produced by Jeff Lynne, is released. The shaky Lennon composition (recorded on a cassette player at his home in 1977) receives mixed reviews; Harrison, however, draws raves for his impressive bluesy slide guitar work. As Lynne listened to Harrison and McCartney work out harmonies in the studio kitchen, he observed, "God, it sounds like the Beatles in there. And, of course, it is." George Martin, producer of Anthology 1, said of Harrison, "George does a blinding guitar solo. And the voices of Paul and George complement John’s so beautifully."
November 1995 – Anthology 1, produced by George Martin, is released, entering the Billboard charts at number one. The tracks cover the group’s early work through 1964, including outtakes, television skits, and reminiscences. The seven previously unreleased tracks (five vocals and two instrumentals) include the rare McCartney/Harrison song "In Spite of All the Danger." John sings lead while George plays rockabilly guitar.
November 22 and 23, 1995 – The second and third installments of The Beatles Anthology airs on ABC television. A second Beatles makeover of an unreleased Lennon track, the touching but undistinguished "Real Love," premieres. Although the first chapter of the documentary wins its time slot, the second and third garner less than spectacular ratings.
Date Unknown, 1996 – Harrison pens an introduction to a book on the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness by ISKCON devotee author Druta Karma Dasa (Michael Cremo).
January 10, 1996 – Harrison wins an $11.6 million suit against Denis O’Brien, who looked after the former Beatles’ business affairs from 1973 to 1993. "It’s a help [winning the suit]," said George at the time, "but I didn’t actually get any money. We’ve got to follow him to the ends of the Earth, getting the case registered in every different area where he could have any assets. Like it said in my press release, it’s one thing winning that, but actually getting the money is another thing."
February 1996 – Angel Records joins with Harrison’s Dark Horse label to put out a Ravi Shankar 75th-anniversary box set entitled In Celebration.
February 3, 1996 – Billboard magazines reports on Harrison’s ongoing legal hassles with his former business manager.
March 4, 1996 – The second single from the Anthology series, "Real Love," is released. Also included on the CD single are unreleased versions of "Yellow Submarine," "Baby’s in Black," and "Here, There, and Everywhere."
March 9, 1996 – Harrison gives a long, informative interview to Billboard magazine in which he discusses the particulars of the Anthology series. "I think this second CD set is really nice," says Harrison, "because on the first set that came from the Anthology series obviously we couldn’t ignore all the old stuff. But there was some very rough sound quality, and there were some rough actual tunes in there, like the early demos that were found from Paul’s house." Harrison also confides he has written some new material for a forthcoming solo album.
March 13, 1996 – An archivist discovers a file of long-lost materials relating to George’s involvement in Krishna Consciousness. Included amongst the many papers and photographs is one image bearing this original caption from August 29, 1969:
THE SOUND OF TRUTH IN SYDENHAM
Another step in "the never-ending search for Truth." The scene is an address in Sydenham Hill in London, SE. In the garden are members of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness who wear Buddhist-like robes, white paint on their noses, and hardly a hair on their heads. They are chanting a number called "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Har Hare." Which, according to one A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, can produce in people "transcendental vibration." Then up turns Beatle George Harrison, who says that while he is not going to join the society he is a devotee. Mr. Harrison has joined up with the Krishna people to produce a record Hare Krishna. Etc., etc., etc. PS: Long-haired Beatle George Harrison and friends, Hare Krishna-ing.
Also discovered is a document dated December 24, 1974 in which Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and John Lennon sign over all rights to the Apple Indian-influenced albums, Raga, In Concert, and The Radha Krishna Temple to George Harrison’s Ganga Distributors B. V. for the sum of one hundred pounds.
March 19, 1996 – The 45-track Anthology 2 is released worldwide. A highlight is the first take of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," which Harrison sings accompanied by only an acoustic guitar. The song also carries an extra verse deleted on the White Album: "I look from the wings at the play you are staging/As I’m sitting here doing nothing but aging."
April 1996 – Harrison reaffirms his faith in Sri Krishna by making a pilgrimage to all the holy places associated with the Dark Lord in India. Accompanied by Krishna colleagues Mukunda Goswami and Syamasundara Dasa, George makes the rounds in Delhi and Vrindavan.
May 1996 – The U. S. Post Office refuses to honor the Beatles with their own stamp. Fans are predictably displeased.
October 10, 1996 – A collector in London discovered a cache of long-lost letters written by George over the years. Among the over two dozen documents is an undated letter from the very early sixties to Stu Sutcliffe marked only Friday, December 16th, in which he writes, "Your dad doesn’t seem to mind the idea of you being engaged, but your mom seemed a little disappointed in you. . . . I saw John last night for the first time since he has be [sic] home, although he’s been back for a week or so he never let on to us!. . . . Can’t you, or won’t you come home sooner, as if we get a new bass player for the time being, it will be crumby as he will have to learn everything, and it’s no good with Paul playing bass, that is if he had some kind of bass and amp to play on!"
Another brief missive dated December 28, 1962 from the Star Club, Germany to someone called Doreen says, "Did I tell you your hair was looking good at the Majestic!"
On July 15, 1963 George wrote a fan called Dianne from Margate giving her his brothers’ ages, his parents’ names, and the make of his then cur-rent car, a Ford Zephyr.
In a missive sent from Kinfauns, Claremont Drive, Esher, Surrey, dated October 21, 1967, Harrison responded to a letter he received from a fellow Maharishi follower named Colin in which he says, "The photographs were very good and it was nice of you to send copies, which I took last weekend to Malmo to show Maharishi. He liked them very much. If you see Mrs. Willies could you say I’m sorry I didn’t see her before I went away."
On July 12, 1968 Harrison put his name to an Apple document which acknowledges receipt of £18 for money he advanced musician Tony Newman "for his work on the two Jackie Lomax sessions on the 6th July!"
Sometime afterwards, George wrote to Apple recording artist Brute Force: "You have got a great name and a lovely voice and a beautiful Record on Apple Called ‘King of Fuh.’ I felt some contact with you, (until we meet someplace when we will really make contact), as I have been involved with it all so Hello! I did the ‘Knowbody [sic] Knows’ side too. Thanks for being patient with us and for Being." Brute Force’s only record for the label, "The King of Fuh," was a little too close to the word fucking (the Fuh King, get it?) for the British censors and the 45 was forever lost.
Finally, in an undated press release from the early seventies to the British music papers Harrison says, "New Harrison L. P. is not called Magic Is Here Again. New Harrison L. P. is not called The Light of the World. Is not produced by Eric Clapton – does not have a picture with Rainbow Guitar and I haven’t written the songs for [the] Cilla Black album."
November 1996 – Harrison gives an impromptu radio interview at a reception near the end of the month in honour of racing driver Damon Hill. In it, Harrison criticizes many contemporary pop stars, including Liam Gallagher of Oasis.
March 11, 1997 – On holiday with Olivia and Dhani in Australia, Harrison plays an impromptu two-hour set on the piano at the Melbourne Casino.
May 6, 1997 – Chants Of India, a new CD from Ravi Shankar, is released in the US. Harrison is featured on the recordings playing acoustic guitar, bass guitar, autoharp and glockenspiel. It is released in the UK on September 1.
May 14, 1997 – Harrison and Shankar tape an interview with John Fugelsang at VH1’s studio in New York. The show George & Ravi – Yin & Yang is broadcast on July 24.
May 15, 1997 – Harrison and Shankar tape interviews at the Plaza Hotel in New York for the TV programmes Access Hollywood and CNN’s Showbiz Today.
July, 1997 – Earlier in the month Harrison discovers a lump on his throat while tending his garden at Friar Park, and immediately contacts Princess Margaret Hospital in Windsor, Berkshire, to have it checked.
August, 1997 – Harrison undergoes surgery for suspected throat cancer at Princess Margaret Hospital, checking in under the name "Sid Smith." A spokesperson for the hospital says: "The operation went without a hitch, and we are all confident that it’s the end of the matter. George didn’t want to take any risks. The procedure was routine and now he is home and feeling fine. The nodes were reported to be benign."
September, 1997 – Harrison returns to the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, and undergoes further radiation therapy.
September 12, 1997 – Harrison is the only Beatle to attend the private funeral in London of Derek Taylor, who died in his Suffolk home on September 7 following his long battle with throat cancer.
December, 1997 – Harrison writes a 250-word foreword for Chas McDevitt’s book, Skiffle: The Definitive Inside Story.
December 22, 1997 – Ringo receives a tape from George containing guitar overdubs for two songs intended for Starr’s upcoming album, Vertical Man.
January, 1997 – Harrison pays a visit to the Mayo Clinic in America, where he is checked by Dr. Richard Lavelle, and he is told there is no recurrence of cancer. Harrison makes arrangements to return again in May.
January 7, 1997 – The Times reports that two bronze busts have been stolen from Harrison’s garden in Friar Park. The figures are worth a reported £50,000.
January 23, 1997 – At Carl Perkins’ funeral at the Lambuth University in Jackson, Harrison performs a version of Perkins’ song "Your True Love."
April, 1997 – The IMAX film Everest is first screened, featuring orchestral versions of several Harrison tunes, including a live performance of "Here Comes The Sun" at the movie’s conclusion (from the Live in Japan album).
April 17, 1998 – Linda McCartney dies early Friday morning while she and Paul are on holiday in California, after a two-year battle with breast cancer. She was 56.
May, 1998 – Harrison is given a clean bill of health after returning to the Mayo Clinic in America.
May 6, 1998 – Harrison makes an appearance at the High Court in London, testifying on behalf of Apple in a case against Lingasong Music regarding the Beatles’ "Hamburg Tapes" of 1962.
June 8, 1998 – Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr sing "Let It Be" together at the memorial service for Linda McCartney, held at St Martin-in-the-Fields church near Trafalgar Square in central London, host to 700 invited friends. The three surviving Beatles also lead the congregation in the singing of other hymns and songs.
June 27, 1998 – The News Of The World visits Harrison at Friar Park and conducts an interview, which is published the next day.
June 29, 1998 – Harrison issues a statement regarding his cancer scare: "The cancerous lump is entirely down to smoking. This is more of a warning than anything else."
July 9, 1998 – Harrison attends a Ravi Shankar concert at the Barbican Centre, London.
September 30, 1998 – Harrison sues Random House publishers for libel in their book All dressed up: The sixties and the counter culture by Jonathan Green. Harrison seeks £100,000 in damages over an allegation that he accepted sexual favours in exchange for a charity donation.
December 2, 1998 – Harrison attends a New York concert by Dave Mason and Jim Capaldi. They perform the track "You Got A Hold On Me," introduced by Capaldi as having been written for Harrison’s upcoming solo album: "This is something special for someone in the audience tonight. I want him to hear it live so I can get his reaction. He is one of the greatest influences of my life. This one is for you, George."
January 12, 1999 – In the UK, Harrison wins his libel suit against Random House. Harrison accepts an apology and an undisclosed sum in damages, as well as his full legal costs.
February 21, 1999 – In an evening broadcast of Mr. Holland's Opus on ABC TV, Harrison appears at its conclusion holding an acoustic guitar, saying: "I’m George Harrison. Music can make a world of difference in the life of a child, as it did mine. To find out about Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, and to put musical instruments in the hands of children, call toll free 1-877-MrHolland. Help keep music alive in our schools."
March 6-7, 1999 – Harrison attends the Australian Grand Prix, and is asked by the Melbourne Herald Sun about when his new album will be released: "I don’t know. Maybe next month, maybe not. Maybe sometime, maybe not. I’m saving them up for when I kick the bucket. Some people will really want it then and I will sell more copies!"
April 18, 1999 – Harrison attends the Long Beach Grand Prix in California.
May, 1999 – Further tests at a Windsor Hospital give Harrison a clean bill of health, showing that his cancer has not returned.
June 2, 1999 – Harrison and Olivia attend a private party at Christie’s auction in London, celebrating the imminent sale of 100 guitars owned by Eric Clapton.
June 11, 1999 – Harrison gives an exclusive interview to Billboard, discussing the Yellow Submarine project, his new album, and the plan to reissue his solo catalogue.
July 5, 1999 – Harrison is interviewed by Joe Brown on the BBC Radio 2 programme Let It Rock, which also features on this day a preview of the Paul McCartney track, "I Got Stung."
July 13, 1999 – The New York Post this week claims that the three surviving Beatles will play a full set together for the first time in 30 years in a bizarre venue: a yellow submarine floating down the Mersey.
August 6, 1999 – Paul McCartney is reported to be teaming up with Ringo Starr and George Harrison to transform a London-to-Paris Eurostar train into a Yellow Submarine look-a-like. They are also reportedly spending £100,000 on the makeover to launch the re-release of the Beatles' digitally enhanced animated film Yellow Submarine.
August 19, 1999 – At an auction at Bonhams in London, a 1969 rosewood Fender Telecaster once owned by Harrison fails to reach its reserve price when bids top out at £100,000. The guitar had been used in the Beatles’ famous rooftop performance on January 30, 1969, and was later given to Delaney Bramlett of Delaney & Bonnie. It had been expected to sell for £200,000. A second Harrison-owned guitar, a 1962 Rickenbacker 465 purchased in America in 1963, is to go on sale at Christie’s House Kensington in London on September 30. It is expected to fetch between £50,000 and £70,000.
September 14, 1999 – A remixed Yellow Submarine ‘songtrack’ CD is released, featuring all 15 songs included in the film. The film, digitally restored and remixed, is also released on video and DVD.
December 23, 1999 – A twenty-seven-year-old woman, Cristin Keleher, breaks into Harrison's Maui estate. Police found Keleher eating frozen pizza and drinking root beer in the kitchen of the Hawaiian residence. She had stalked Harrison for three months and broke into his estate hoping Harrison would be spending Christmas there. A court affidavit reveals that Keleher had previously gone into Harrison’s brother-in-law’s home, saying she "had a psychic connection" with Harrison. She is scheduled to appear in court on January 11 to face charges of first-degree burglary, fourth-degree theft, and drug charges after police allegedly found crystal methamphetamine in her possession.
December 30, 1999 – Harrison is hospitalized after suffering four stab wounds in the chest from an intruder at his Henley-on-Thames mansion in the early morning hours. Olivia tackled the man, believed to be a 33-year-old from Liverpool, after being awoken by the sound of broken glass. The couple were able to detain the attacker until the police arrived. Olivia suffers minor head injuries but is not hospitalized. The Royal Berkshire Hospital reports that though the blade pierced Harrison’s chest, it missed all of the major organs, and his life was never in danger. The couple are deeply traumatized by the attack, though Harrison tells a spokesman for the hospital that the man "wasn’t a burglar, but he certainly wasn’t auditioning for the Traveling Wilburys." Harrison is fitted with a chest drain to treat a collapsed right lung, then transferred to Harefield Hospital. A spokesperson there reports: "His condition is comfortable and stable. He’s okay, but he’s had a bit of a shock." After hearing the news, Paul McCartney tells the press: "Thank God that both George and Olivia are alright. I send them all my love." Harrison’s attacker is treated for head injuries at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford while under police custody.
January 3, 2000 – Harrison returns home after spending the first weekend of the millennium in the hospital. His attacker is revealed to be thirty-three-year-old Michael Abram. Harrison had suffered a collapsed lung and cuts to his left hand and thumb. A hospital spokesperson at Harefield Hospital reports: "Mr. Harrison is making a gradual but normal recovery." Harrison worries if he will ever be able to play the guitar again, but surgeons assure him that no important nerves or tendons were severed. The Harrisons step up security at their home threefold. Abram, charged with attempted murder, is locked up in Scott Clinic, neary St. Helens, Merseyside, where he undergoes psychiatric assessment. His mother, Lynda Abram, told the Liverpool Echo: "He takes all music literally – it’s the Beatles at the moment, but a few weeks ago it was Oasis. He has been running in pubs shouting about the Beatles. He hates them and
even believes they are witches and takes their lyrics seriously. He started to wear a Walkman to play music to stop the voices in his head."
January 5, 2000 – Harrison reportedly hires two former SAS soldiers, at £1,000 a week each, to act as personal bodyguards and protect him from intruders at his mansion, already outfitted with a £250,000 security system. A source reports: "George decided he needs his own muscle on hand. He is extremely shaken and knows he has had a close call."
January 11, 2000 – Cristin Keleher appears in a Maui courtroom and pleads not guilty to first-degree burglary and theft. Her bail is kept at $10,000 and a pre-trial hearing is set for the 6th of April.
January 17, 2000 – On holiday in Ireland with Olivia, Harrison releases a statement: "Olivia and I are overwhelmed by the concern expressed by so many people. We thank everyone for their prayers and kindness." The attacker, Michael Abram, is due to appear in court on February 11.
February 9, 2000 – Ravi Shankar is named Commander of the French Legion of Honor, the highest award that France bestows on civilians. His recently issued autobiography, Raga Mala, was edited by Harrison and included two CDs, with one track featuring Harrison and Ringo Starr.
April 3, 2000 – It is announced that the Beatles official autobiography, The Beatles Anthology, will be released on October 5. The book is expected to make £1 billion for the Beatles, and sell 20 million copies worldwide. McCartney says, "It will dispel some of the myths and put the record straight, as every Tom, Dick and uncle of a friend has been writing books on the Beatles since 1963." The tome is billed as being "the first official story about the band," ignoring the fact that such a biography was published in 1968, written by Hunter Davies.
April 7, 2000 – Michael Abram appears at Oxford Magistrates court and is ordered to stand trial for attempted murder. No trial date is set.
May 10, 2000 – A Beatles CD compilation featuring 27 of their number one hits is scheduled to be released by EMI in November. Record company execs predict the release of The Beatles 1 will break the record of 45 million sales, set by Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
July 11, 2000 – Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts reveals details regarding the Harrison attack: "I spoke to Ringo about a month after it happened and he told me exactly what went on, and it was horrific. George was stabbed about 40 times. It happened outside his bedroom on the landing. He would have been dead if he'd been lying in bed.
"The papers did say that one wound punctured his lung, but a lot of the others were just as horrific. The man was slashing him everywhere. George's wife hit him again and again on the head with this brass lamp, but he just wouldn't stop. There was blood everywhere.
"I think George is still going through trauma. It's just so shocking that it should happen to a guy who's so inoffensive. George has never been nasty to anyone, he's only ever preached love and peace."
Michael Abram is reported to be pleading not guilty to a charge of attempted murder and is set to stand trial in November.
August 30, 2000 – Cristin Keleher, arrested at Harrison’s home in Maui in December, is released from prison on probation, having served four months in jail. She told the court that she "loved" Harrison and meant him no harm.
October 19, 2000 – Harrison’s sister Louise opens a hotel dedicated to her brother, called "A Hard Day’s Night." It is located in her old home in Brenton, Illinois, where George slept in 1963. Rooms inside are named after the Beatles and their songs and start at $37.50 a night.
November 13, 2000 – The Beatles’ number one hits compilation The Beatles 1 is released. An official website, thebeatles.com, is launched to promote the release.
November 14, 2000 – Michael Abram appears at Oxford Crown Court and denies the charges against him on the grounds of insanity. Olivia and Dhani appear in court, and Harrison’s evidence comes in the form of a written statement: "I vividly remember a deliberate thrust of the knife towards my chest. I felt my chest deflate and the flow of blood towards my mouth. I believed I had been fatally stabbed." Olivia tells the court: "There was blood on the walls, blood on my hands and I realized that we were going to be murdered and this man was succeeding in murdering us and there was absolutely nobody else there to help." The court is told that Abram broke into the Harrison’s mansion at approximately 3:30 AM and ran upstairs carrying a knife and a pole from a broken statue. Harrison emerged from his bedroom saying the words "Hare Krishna," and Abram attacked Harrison with the knife and a table lamp. Olivia tried to stop Abram by hitting him with a poker and then a table lamp. The incident ended when police arrived and arrested Abram. The trial is expected to last for three or four days.
November 15, 2000 – In court today it is revealed that Michael Abram had interrupted a church service to discover the location of Harrison’s home. He had walked down the centre isle of the parish church in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire two weeks before the attack. Abram allegedly asked Reverend David Buskill: "Can you tell me where the squire lives?" Prosecutor Simon Mayo tells the court: "Mr. Buskill said he lived up the hill in a large house. He said he was a bit of a recluse and also said that he was known to drink in a nearby pub. He also spoke about the pressures of fame." It is also revealed that after his arrest on December 30, Abram allegedly told police: "It’s all in the book of Exodus. He got very close tonight." In the afternoon’s proceedings, Abram is found not guilty on the grounds of insanity, once the jury returns after just one hour of deliberation. Abram is expected is to be placed under a restriction order under the Mental Health Act, lasting most likely for the rest of his life. His mother Lynda tells the BBC: "He was a very ill man last year. Under normal circumstances, he would never do anything like this. He is a lovely lad." Dhani Harrison tells reporters outside the court: "It’s tragic anyone should suffer such a mental breakdown. We can never forget he was full of hatred and violence when he came into our home. Naturally, the prospect of him being released back into society is abhorrent to us. We will now continue to rebuild our lives."
November 17, 2000 – Michael Abram issues a written apology to Harrison and Olivia: "I’m writing this letter in the hope that it would be passed onto Mr. And Mrs. Harrison. I wished to say how sorry I am for the alarm, distress and injury that I have caused when I was ill.
"I have seen many doctors prior to the attack and I was never told that I was suffering with schizophrenia or any mental illness. I thought my delusions were real and everything that I was experiencing was some kind of witchcraft.
"I know that Mr. and Mrs. Harrison fought for their lives on December 30, 1999 and that they must have been terrified by the lunatic in their house."
November 22, 2000 – Dhani escapes serious injury after crashing his 150mph Audi S3 in Oxfordshire, causing £4,000 damage. He had purchased the £25,000 vehicle three weeks earlier. The Sun quotes an expert who, after surveying the wreckage, said: "It had a right wallop."
November 25, 2000 – The Harrisons reportedly leave their Henley-on-Thames mansion. Says a friend, "George loves the house and only time will tell if he feels strong enough to come back. For the time being, he and Olivia have moved out, but there is still a high level of security around the grounds."
December 17, 2000 – In a letter to The Independent, the Harrisons speak out against planned reforms to mental health laws. The letter states: "Since the attack, we have had a number of letters – both from people revealing horrendous attacks on them or their children by mentally ill people who have been released too early from mental hospitals, as well as parents of paranoid schizophrenics who have been treated with shameful inadequacy.
"There clearly need to be much stricter criteria applied and although it is impossible to generalize, clearly major mistakes are being made regularly with devastating results, as in our case."
December 23, 2000 – It is reported that Harrison has re-recorded a version of "My Sweet Lord." Harrison says: "I just like the idea and the opportunity to freshen it up, because the point of ‘My Sweet Lord’ is just to try and remind myself that there’s more to life than the material world. Basically, I think the planet is doomed, and it is my attempt to try to put a bit of a spin on the spiritual side, a reminder for myself and for anybody who’s interested." The new recording features Dhani on acoustic guitar.
January 23, 2001 – A new remastered edition of All Things Must Pass is released, featuring liner notes written by Harrison, four previously unreleased tracks and the new recording of "My Sweet Lord." Harrison plans to reissue his entire catalogue on CD. He tells the press: "I don’t listen to anything, and I don’t read the papers, and I don’t watch TV, and I don’t go to concerts. And so my music, it doesn’t matter if I did it twenty years ago or if I did it tomorrow. It doesn’t go with trends. My trousers don’t get wider and tighter every six months. My music just stays what it is, and that’s the way I like it."
January 26, 2001 – Harrison talks to USA Today about the success of the Beatles’ 1: "It’s very nice to be part of something so historical. In some ways, the past is like a previous incarnation that catches up with me every time one of these records comes out. I now have six-year-old kids asking me for autographs." He also comments on his health: "I had a little throat cancer, I
had a piece of my lung removed in 1997, and then I was almost murdered. But I seem to feel stronger. I don’t smoke any more. I’m a little more short of breath than I used to be, so I don’t see myself on stage lasting a full 14 rounds. Some of the songs take a lot of breathing. Otherwise, I certainly feel quite fit. I occasionally write a tune, but I’m not really a career person. I’m a gardener, basically."
February 15, 2001 – Harrison conducts two 30-minute webchats, discussing the album All Things Must Pass with fans submitting their questions online. A new website is also launched, allthingsmustpass.com. Harrison says: "Websites for me are still new territory. I still don’t really know what they are supposed to do. But it was fun thinking of ideas and seeing them put together on the screen. I hope people enjoy it."
April 9, 2001 – According to reports, Harrison is set to sell his £15 million Gothic mansion. A "friend" of Harrison’s claims: "George is quite paranoid at the moment. It is a difficult thing to forget and the memory of that night is stuck in his head."
April 20, 2001 – Harrison denies claims that he is selling his mansion. His lawyers insist: "A story carried recently in an English Sunday newspaper reporting that George Harrison was planning to sell Friar Park in Henley is without foundation and entirely untrue. Mr. Harrison has no such plans."
April 28, 2001 – A letter written by Harrison to a Beatles fan in 1963 sells at a Christie’s auction for £3,290. Harrison wrote: "I hope you don't forget to buy From Me To You and try to get it to No 1. I hope to meet you two when we next come to Nottingham, so come along, please, and don't forget to bring the Sherrif. [sic] Lots of love from George Harrison XXXXX."
May 3, 2001 – Harrison is reported to be making an excellent recovery after having undergone surgery for cancer. A cancerous growth from one of his lungs was removed in a four-hour operation in the Mayo Clinic in the United States. Harrison and Olivia fly afterwards to their home in Tuscany, Italy. His lawyer issues a statement: "Although All Things Must pass away, George has no plans right now and is still Living In The Material World and wishes everyone all the very best."
July 9, 2001 – Harrison says he is "feeling fine" after undergoing radiotherapy in Switzerland in his latest battle with cancer. He underwent treatment for a reported brain tumour at the Bellinzona Hospital, Bellinzona, in May and June. Harrison tells the press: "I am really sorry for the unnecessary worry which has been caused by the reports appearing in today's press. Please do not worry."
July 23, 2001 – The Daily Star quotes George Martin as saying: "George has an indomitable spirit but he knows that he is going to die soon and has accepted that. He is very philosophical. He does realise that everyone has to go sometime and he’s accepting it happily." Martin later denies speaking to any newspaper. A statement is issued on behalf of the Harrisons: "The reports were unsubstantiated, untrue, insensitive and uncalled for, especially as Mr. Harrison is active and feeling very well in spite of the health challenges he has had this year."
July 25, 2001 – Ringo Starr tells Access Hollywood: "I did see George three weeks ago and he was fine. If he had been bad, he would have told me. I didn’t panic because I will wait until it becomes a reality. The news is real when either George tells me or Paul tells me. We do that to each other. We say, ‘Watch out, something’s happened and they will be calling you.’"
August 1, 2001 – Harrison is reported as having recently been in the studio with a few of his friends. He played slide guitar on Bill Wyman’s single, "Love Letters," and played guitar on Jim Capaldi’s single, "Anna Julia," due out August 13 in the UK. Harrison has also reportedly booked studio time in Memphis to record with Elvis Presley sidemen Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana. A representative for the two reports: "George has always admired Scott’s playing since he started playing guitar, and Scotty just adores him. George hasn’t asked him, but Scotty told me if he does, he’d drop anything he was doing to work with George."
August 9, 2001 – Harrison reportedly pays £6 million for a luxury villa in a Swiss village. The house, which has 14 bedrooms, six bathrooms and a swimming pool, was previously owned by London-based wine merchant Timothy Abegg.
October 18, 2001 – Harrison records "Horse To The Water," a song he co-wrote with Dhani. Pianist/TV personality Jools Holland and singer Sam Brown appear on the track. Publishing credits for the song are attributed to RIP Ltd 2001. Jools Holland says: "George suggested we do a track and this finally happened this month. It was wonderful to work with one of the great, legendary artists in the world."
October 23, 2001 – Michael Abram issues another statement regarding the attack on December 30, 1999: "I feel guilty but I can’t turn back time. All I can say is I’m sorry. I hope that people may understand what happened to me and appreciate that it wasn’t my fault. Physically, I did it, but I was not in control of my own mind at the time. The doctors did not look at me as anything but a drug user. I had a serious mental illness but nobody listened."
November 7, 2001 – Harrison reportedly undergoes further treatment at Staten Island University Hospital, after suffering another relapse in his continuing battle with cancer. "George is very sick," a source reports. "He looks like he does not have long to go. He is very frail and gaunt."
November 9, 2001 – Harrison’s family is reported as being "extremely worried" about his condition. The wife of Harrison’s brother Peter tells a UK tabloid: "We are all very concerned. He is very ill but putting up a real fight. We send him our best wishes for a speedy recovery.
November 29, 2001 – Harrison passes away at 9:30 PM in Los Angeles with Dhani and Olivia by his side. The family issues a statement: "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 for God cannot wait, and love one another.’" Harrison’s body is cremated in LA in the hours following his death, before the news is announced to the world’s media.
Ringo Starr, in Vancouver, Canada, says: "I loved him very much and I will miss him greatly. We will miss George for his sense of love, his sense of music and his sense of laughter."
McCartney tells the press: "I am devastated and very sad. We knew he'd been ill for a long time. He was a lovely guy and a very brave man and had a wonderful sense of humour. I remember all the beautiful times we had together and I'd like to remember him like that, because I know he would like to be remembered like that. He’ll be sorely missed by everyone."
November 30, 2001 – At the Top Of The Pops awards ceremony, McCartney does not appear to accept his award, and instead issues a statement: "I would like to dedicate this award with love to my brother George, without whom none of this would have been possible."
December 2, 2001 – The Sunday Times reports that Harrison had been working on up to 25 tracks at his home studio, for an album tentatively titled Portrait Of A Leg-End. Session drummer Jim Keltner said of these sessions: "Some of the new songs are very poignant concerning his life in the past few years. It will be obvious when you hear them what they’re about. The CD is very close to finishing. There is a certain soulfullness about George’s music that doesn’t need a lot once he has put that voice on."
Another statement from Harrison’s family is released through friend Gavin de Becker: "We are deeply touched by the outpouring of love and compassion from people around the world. The profound beauty of the moment of George’s passing – of his awakening from this dream – was no surprise to those of us who knew how he longed to be with God. In that pursuit, he was relentless." They ask for a minute of meditation "in honour of George’s journey, wherever you are on Monday at 1:30pm PST."
December 3, 2001 – Several musical artists pay tribute to Harrison.
Bob Dylan: "He inspired love and had the strength of a hundred men. He was like the sun, the flowers, and the moon, and we will miss him enormously. The world is a profoundly emptier place without him."
Mick Jagger: "I am very saddened by George’s death and will miss him enormously. As a guitarist, he invented many classic lines that were much copied by others, and he wrote several very beautiful songs that we will always remember. He was a very complex character, both quiet and funny with a very sweet nature, but he also could be rather combative at times. He was the first musician I knew who developed a truly spiritual side and he was generous with his time to both charity and to friends."
Keith Richards: "To me, George was, always will be, above all, a real gentle-man, in the full meaning of the word. We both felt we held similar positions in our respective bands, which formed a special knowing bond between us. Let’s hope he’s jamming with John."
Graham Nash: "In all the years I have known George, I found him to be an incredible human being. He was a strong but gentle man who always took the time to look you in the eye and give you a straight answer. I am sure he handled his transition with the same quiet dignity that he lived all of his life. He will certainly be missed, and his music will live on forever. My only regret about the situation, apart from my personal feelings toward him and his family, is wondering what other songs were in his mind that we will never get to hear."
The New York Post reports that the majority of Harrison’s assets, valued in the region of £200 million, will go to his wife Olivia and son Dhani, with up to 10% likely going to the Hare Krishna movement, and other contributions to charities across the world. His ashes are reportedly set to be scattered along the sacred River Ganges in India.December 6, 2001 – A spokesperson for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness reports that Harrison had pledged around £700,000 to build a temple in the holy city of Varanasi. Prasannatma Das explains, "The model is ready. Work would start in May-June once we get the money." The Radha Krishna Chandra temple will be constructed on a two-acre plot of land over the next five years.
December 9, 2001 – Louise Harrison tells the Sunday Mirror she and her brother healed a 40-year rift while George was receiving cancer treatment in a New York hospital. "We sort of held hands like we used to do. We used to talk for hours about life and God and the universe. We were able to look into each other’s eyes again with love. It was a very, very positive and loving meeting. I felt very much at peace as I drove home after meeting him. I hated to see him in that shape when he had been such a vital, wonderful man."
December 11, 2001 – McCartney writes a letter to fans:
"First of all, thank you for your beautiful thoughts and condolences about my dear mate George, we had all known he was ill for sometime but were hoping for a miracle that would bring us good news, unfortunately this was not to be and we all send our deepest sympathy to Olivia, Dhani and all George’s relatives and friends.
"I myself am very saddened to lose such a great man who was so important to my life and always will be. He was my mate before either of us joined the Beatles and was like a brother to me.
"Here in London, we are back to work and sending you all our best hoping that things are well with you and that you are enjoying Driving Rain.
"Stay positive, enjoy your life and as George said Love One Another.
"All The Best,
December 13, 2001 – McCartney tells a Norwegian TV show how he said goodbye to George: "The best thing for me was seeing him for a couple of hours and laughing and joking and holding his hand. Afterwards I realised I’d never, ever held his hand. We’d been to school together and got on buses together and we didn’t hold each other’s hands. It was like a compensation; he was rubbing his thumb up and down my hand and it was very nice." He speaks about how he and Ringo had spoken "just to touch base and say ‘what a bummer’. It’s difficult to know what to say."
December 20, 2001 – Two American Beatles fans claim to have spent half an hour speaking with George Harrison just days before his death. They drove to Staten Island University Hospital, as Howie Square explains: "George meant so much to our generation, we felt we ought to try to see him. We knocked at the door, and George said, ‘Come in.’ He was sitting there in his hospital gown, reading a book on Eastern religion." According to Square, Harrison told them: "I will transcend this body. I will have a new beginning after I leave this shell. I will be amongst the living. I will watch over Olivia and Dhani. I will live with them and through them." Square also says that Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr arrived at the hospital as they were leaving:
"They looked great. Paul introduced himself as Paul McCartney as if we might not know."
December 21, 2001 – Confusion surrounds the exact location of Harrison’s death. It had been previously reported that he died in a friend’s home, but the address listed on the official death certificate does not exist.
December 30, 2001 – Harrison is reported to be among those to be knighted on the Queen’s Birthday list in June. The News Of The World reports the Queen has decided to award Harrison the knighthood posthumously.
January 14, 2002 – Harrison’s classic "My Sweet Lord" is re-released, featuring one of Harrison’s own photographs in the artwork. All profits from the sale of the single will go to George’s charity "The Material World Charitable Foundation," supporting global causes, targeting children and the poor.
January 15, 2002 – Olivia launches a lawsuit against her former brother-in-law, who allegedly tried to sell some of Harrison’s possessions a day after his death. Carl Roles, married but estranged from Olivia’s sister Linda Arias, reportedly contacted a reporter in Arizona on November 30, arranging to meet up with a collector. The collector turned out to be an undercover FBI agent. Roles arrived at the meeting with ten boxes of property, one of labelled "GH $tuff." Roles and his current partner Carol are accused of wrongfully possessing and profiting from items described by Olivia as "household and personal items of sentimental value." The suit is to be heard on February 1, with Olivia bidding to get the property returned and unspecified damages and legal fees. Roles denies he tried to sell anything and says: "I was given permission to remove items from the house. I was authorized to rescue items that went into storage. Some of it has been in storage for more than 20 years."
In other news, Simon and Shuster plan to reissue Harrison’s autobiography, I Me Mine, in February.
January 20, 2002 – The "My Sweet Lord" reissue hits number one on the UK charts. A spokesperson for EMI says: "We are very happy that the reissue of ‘My Sweet Lord’ continues to spread George Harrison’s music and message around the world."
February 5, 2002 – According to a Merseyside MP, Bob Wareing, Harrison is unlikely to receive a posthumous knighthood. Wareing says he received a letter from Downing Street containing information contrary to the reports that Harrison would receive one in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
February 13, 2002 – It is finally revealed that Harrison spent his final hours in a house in the Los Angeles hills once owned by Courtney Love. A false address had been listed on his death certificate, and Gavin de Becker, a security consultant working for Harrison, corrected this matter, releasing a new address for the $4 million French country-style estate. Rumours circulate that it was owned at the time by Paul McCartney. A spokesperson for McCartney says: "George died late November and Paul leased the house in February while he was working on the album and someone else the leased it in July." The new owner of the house, Mike Walley, purchased it from Courtney Love in March 2001.
February 25, 2002 – Paul McCartney makes a guest appearance at a Harrison tribute concert at Liverpool’s Empire Theatre. He sings an a cappella version of "Yesterday," altering the lyrics to make reference to Harrison. The concert raises thousands of pounds for Macmillan Cancer Relief and other cancer charities. McCartney is joined by his brother Mike, who says: "It is always lovely to come back to my home town. I have so many memories – and of course a lot of them are of George. We go way back. We both used to live in Speke and he used to get on the bus one stop after me. We used to have a half an hour on the bus to talk about guitars and music and stuff like that." Paul adds: "He was a lovely bloke. He gave a lot to the world – his music and his spirituality. He was always a very strong man. I think he would be delighted with this."
March 15, 2002 – Yoko buys Lennon’s childhood home on Menlove Avenue for a reported £150,000, and donates it to the National Trust. "I think Menlove Avenue has an important place in Beatles history, and it saddened me to think that it might be lost," said Ono.
April 1, 2002 – Paul begins his Driving USA Tour with a show in Oakland, performing cross-section of tracks from his Driving Rain album, as well as songs spanning his entire career.
May 1, 2002 – At a London auction, a recording of Lennon with his stepdaughter Kyoko singing nursery rhymes and a tape of Lennon rehearsing "She Said She Said" sold for £75,250 and £58,750, respectively. Another Lennon artefact, a cartoon strip drawn in his youth, sells for £32,900.
June 3, 2002 – An estimated 15 million viewers tune in to watch the Golden Jubilee pop concert in London. McCartney paid tribute to Harrison with a rendition of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" featuring Eric Clapton, and closed the show with a Beatles medley of "All You Need Is Love" and "Hey Jude."
June 11, 2002 – McCartney weds Heather Mills at Castle Leslie in Glaslough, County Monaghan, Ireland.
July 5, 2002 – Harrison’s attacker, Michael Abram, is freed from the Scott Clinic in Rainhill, Merseyside, just 19 months after being detained for the attack in December 1999. Olivia criticizes the decision, claiming the attack had a direct impact on her husband’s eventual death. Abram releases a statement: "If I could turn back the clock I would give anything not to have done what I did. But I have come to realize that was very ill at the time, really not in control. People may find it hard to accept but with the help of the medication I’m on I’m sure I can lead a normal life. I just want to be an ordinary bloke."
August 9, 2002 – A new Beatles release is reported to be in the works, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the release of "Love Me Do," featuring up to 50 tracks.