As we write to you, the song “My Sweet Lord” is ringing throughout Tom Anderson Guitarworks. It is a piece of work that enriches the world by offering a meaningful message to all who would embrace it. Certainly a life spent creating things that bring greater depth to yourself and those you touch is a life well lived. That was the life of George Harrison. As I’m sure you know the world lost this wonderful soul on November 29th.
His family issued a statement saying: “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.’”
As a large part of the soul and mystery of The Beatles, George wrote so many great songs. They were more than just good compositions but spoke with uplifting meaning. He was the person responsible for bringing eastern culture to the mainstream west. During the lead lines in the song Norwegian Wood, on the Rubber Soul album, Harrison first introduced western listeners to the Indian sitar. It was at his encouragement that the Beatles embarked on a spiritual trip to India, from which they all seemed to come back a little more mindful. You definitely felt a real sense of peace and love from this band at every turn.
Shortly after The Beatles break-up, George released a stellar 3-album solo project entitled All Things Must Pass. It was heralded by many as a masterpiece—it was. He was the first rock musician to organize and perform a benefit concert. “The Concert for Bangladesh” was held in New York with the proceeds from the live show and ensuing album going to benefit that country’s starving people.
The guitars pictured this week are another demonstration of the far-reaching effect of George. They belong to Christopher Cross. He is the artist known for hits such as “Sailing,” “Arthur’s Theme” and “Ride Like the Wind.” He owned several black Anderson guitars, but after seeing the Beatles Anthology recording sessions and seeing George playing a cool-looking green guitar, he was moved. He ordered a couple of new axes, which we referred to as George Harrison green.
Rachel, who you may have spoken with if you have ever called us, is young enough to have missed the whole Beatle experience so as she was looking at a piece on George she remarked, “He seemed like a really interesting guy.” I found myself expounding in this way: “The Beatles were way more than just their amazing music and musical talent. They were 4 intelligent guys that seemed to grow wiser with each passing year. They were very good friends and very good communicators, which allowed them to communicate intelligent thoughts in a very accessible musical way that could reach and touch so many. When they were being interviewed or communicating by some other medium besides music, they always proved to be thoughtful and involved with creating real goodness and sharing it. After listening to any of them talk you always felt a gift of substance had been offered and you were glad that they were in the world and that they had chosen to use their gifts in such a lofty way. They often spoke of love but George always stood out as the one who vocalized it by including the value of a deep and close relation with the Creative force of the Universe.”
A few other quotes that may be of interest:
Paul McCartney: “I am devastated and very, 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 humor. He is really just my baby brother. He will be missed sorely by all his friends and loved ones. 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 was a great guy, full of love for humanity but he didn't suffer fools gladly. He's a great man. He'll be sorely missed by everyone. To me he's just my little baby brother. We grew up together and I knew him in my old home town of Liverpool and we just had so many beautiful times together and that's what I'm going to remember him by.”
Ringo Starr: “George was a best friend of mine. 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.”
Yoko Ono: “He brought magic to the lives of those who knew him. George has given so much to us in his lifetime and continues to do so even after his passing, with his music, his wit and his wisdom. His life was magical and we all felt we had shared a little bit of it by knowing him. Thank-you George, it was grand knowing you.”
Keith Richards, The Rolling Stones: “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.”
Bob Dylan: “a giant, a great, great soul, with all of the humanity, all of the wit and humor, all the wisdom, the spirituality, the common sense of a man and compassion for people. 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.”
George, words cannot express how appreciative we are of the depth and thoughtfulness you brought to this world. For me personally, you have been one of my guides along the path and I am forever grateful.
Many people search for love throughout their lives but if you would like to gaze upon the face of real love, look closely at the picture of George and Olivia taken earlier this year.