Famously the shyest of the Beatles, George Harrison was perhaps also the one who grew the most as a musician and a man over the eight short years the Best-Selling Band in History was together.
A new exhibit at the Grammy Museum timed to HBO’s premiere of Martin Scorsese’s biopic George Harrison: Living in the Materials World documents the artist’s evolution from Liverpudlian school boy to Mystical Beatle to music and film producer and solo artist—along with the many haircuts he tried out along the way.
George has always been my favorite Beatle—he had me at the first chord of Something—and seeing the lyrics that he handwrote on illustrated paper to songs like All Things Must Pass, Here Comes the Sun, Bangla Desh, and a handful of other tracks along with the personal photographs he snapped on the Beatles World Tour and during his many trips to India, plus outfits he wore while performing with the Beatles and the Traveling Wilburys brought him to life for me like the Concert for George did just a year after his death.
The exhibition gives the impression that George didn’t just want to be a better guitar player, although he did continue to experiment with new sounds and styles throughout his life. He wanted to be a better man, to find a better truth about life.
Listening to his music over the museum speakers and seeing a mantra that he wrote out by hand with a note to “repeat until death,” I got the sense he did both.