Synopsis

Born on February 25, 1943, in Liverpool, England, George Harrison formed a band with schoolmates to play clubs around Liverpool and in Hamburg, Germany. The Beatles became the biggest rock band in the world and Harrison's diverse musical interests took them in many directions. Post-Beatles, Harrison made acclaimed solo records and started a film production company. He died of cancer in 2001.

 

 

 

Early Life

Pop star, songwriter, producer and recording artist George Harrison was born on February 25, 1943, in Liverpool, England. The youngest of Harold and Louise French Harrison's four children, George Harrison played lead guitar and sometimes sang lead vocals for the Beatles.

Like his future band mates, Harrison was not born into wealth. Louise was largely a stay-at-home mom while her husband Harold drove a school bus for the Liverpool Institute, an acclaimed grammar school where George Harrison attended and first met Paul McCartney. By his own admission, Harrison was not much of a student and what little interest he did have for his studies washed away with his discovery of the electric guitar and American rock 'n roll.

As Harrison would later describe it, he had an "epiphany" of sorts at the age 12 or 13 while riding a bike around his neighborhood and getting his first whiff of Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel that was playing from a nearby house. By the age of 14, Harrison, whose early rock heroes included Carl Perkins, Little Richard and Buddy Holly, had purchased his first guitar and taught himself a few chords.

Forming the Beatles

Impressed with his younger friend's talents, Paul McCartney, who had recently joined up with another Liverpool teenager, John Lennon, in a skiffle group known as the Quarrymen, invited Harrison to see the band perform. Harrison and Lennon actually shared some common history. Both had attended Dovedale Primary School, but oddly had never met. Their paths finally crossed in early 1958. McCartney had been pushing the 17-year-old Lennon to let the 14-year-old Harrison join the band. But Lennon was reluctant to let the young Harrison team up with them. As legend has it, after seeing McCartney and Lennon perform, George was granted an audition on the upper deck of a bus, where he wowed Lennon with his rendition of popular American rock riffs.

By 1960 Harrison's music career was in full swing. Lennon had renamed the band the Beatles and the young group began cutting their rock teeth in the small clubs and bars around Liverpool and Hamburg, Germany. Within two years, the group had a new drummer, Ringo Starr, and a manager, Brian Epstein, a young record storeowner who eventually landed the Beatles a record contract with EMI's Parlophone label.

Before the end of 1962, Harrison and the Beatles recorded a top 20 U.K. hit, Love Me Do. Early that following year, another hit, Please Please Me, was churned out, followed by an album of the same name. Beatlemania was in full swing across England, and by early 1964, with the release of their album in the US and an American tour, it had swept across the States as well.

Click the picture below to read about George's death: