George Harrison: Behind The Locked Door (Anglais) Relié – 17 septembre 2013
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Descriptions du produit
Revue de presse
"Boring is one characteristic George Harrison can certainly never be accused of. Neither can it be said of Thomson's magisterial biography." —Chicago Tribune
"Do we need another book on the Beatles? In this case, definitely." —The San Francisco Chronicle
Praise for the Work of Graeme Thomson:
“Better musical surveys are hard to find, and the results are positively life-affirming.” —Paste
“That rarest of rock & roll studies: expertly researched, restrained yet stylish, and in perfect tune with its subject’s work.” —Austin Chronicle --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .
Présentation de l'éditeur
George Harrison: Behind The Locked Door, published to co-incide with what would have been the 70th anniversary of George Harrisons birth, explores Harrisons work both within and without The Beatles and at the same time examining in detail his private and public passions, from Eastern spiritualism to horticulture, from comedy to film-making, from fast cars to working with UNICEF.
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The greatness of a song or album should have nothing to do with its sales but with its beauty, with its heart and how it moves you. This is not to say that a great selling song or album can't have this, of course not. But this author seems hell bent on knocking George Harrison down.
George Harrison was also great as a producer and didn't need the likes of Quincy Jones to put sugar on his compositions.
Don't get me wrong Graeme Thomson's book is great as a historical account on George Harrison's life but on a musical one it lacks tremendously. It seems too ready to criticise anything that Harrison did post All Things Must Pass and accusing him of not being creative in his song writing. At one point, speaking of George's 1981 LP, he says "Somewhere In England was a weak, rather ugly-sounding record." Total nonsense. It may not have been up there with the latest trends in music but that is no reflection on the quality of the songs or their delivery. According to the author George Harrison only made one truly suburb album during his solo career.
One slight annoyance I found in the book was the bad editing. There were a few, here and there, where the wording was incorrect. Simple mistakes but the editors should have picked them up. One example, on page 385 the year dates gets mixed up, where it's supposed to be 1998 it is written as 1988.
A funny mistake which has nothing to do with editing was the reference to the new millennium starting in the year 2000. The new millennium actually started on 01-01-2001. But this was a common mistake by many. I guess people liked the sound of a nice round number. But simple maths explain the fact.
I would recommend the book only to those looking for an account of George Harrison's more negative and short comings in life pre- and post-Beatles. But if you're looking for a biography that's more even based and that deals better with Harrison's music and talents, then I would look elsewhere as there a many books dealing with that.
It's a half-way good biography but misses its mark. I found it dwelling too much on the negative and don't believe it really shows enough of the positive. And no, I don't have illusions that George Harrison was perfect and without faults, I'm sure he had many, but this book is hell bent on dwelling on them. It's a shame because otherwise it would have been a much better portrayal of the man.
Thomson's book takes Harrison from his Liverpool youth through the madness of Beatlemania and subsequent career as a solo artist, concert producer, film producer, reclusive gardener to his death from cancer in November 2001. Though the book hits all the biographical marks, it concentrates heavily on Harrison's spiritual life and his conflicted search for meaning.
To be honest, I found GEORGE HARRISON hard slogging. GH was a complicated, contradictory individual who experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows life has to offer so you have to give him credit for just surviving. Yet, his Krishna connection, based on my reading of the book, didn't bring him peace and contentment; the book relating endless problems, squabbles, retreats from reality to his beloved garden, etc. And when you consider Thomson's 'faint praise' treatment of Harrison's music, what's left to enjoy or marvel at about the man and his music? In the end, you're left with the rather glum portrait of a filthy rich musician who wrote some ok songs but whose own character flaws kept him from realizing his goal of nirvana. Really!?!
While Thomson's book told me everything I could possibly want to know - and not want to know - about George Harrison, it was overall a joyless expose. Given the joy Harrison gave the world in his music, dry Liverpool witticisms and charity work, by book's end, you're saddened he never achieved his goal as espoused in the lyric: "Give me love, give me love, give me peace on earth..." Your call, folks.
We learn of his warmth, his infidelities and also his strong work ethic. How he and Eric Clapton had this unusual friendship following George’s wife Patty leaving him for Eric. While George was seen in some ways not bothered by this and was relieved the marriage was over, there was more to it than that. He was seen to be wanting revenge tit for tat with women who had been in Clapton’s life. The upshot of this book is a better understanding of this complex character George Harrison and what made him, what defined him and how he came to leave such a big mark on the world of popular music.
George comes across as a complex man trapped by the fame he and the other Beatle members had sought and found peace through eastern religion and philosophies. He was frustrated by his fame and with the murder of John Lennon, people seeking his autograph and the attack on him in his house. It was something that he never psychologically completely recovered from.
Many of the reviewers here decry the harsh view that the author gives to Harrison's work, but I believe Thomson is being honest and objective and thus meets a biographer's objective. There are lessons to be gained from considering Harrison's complex life, including that life itself is complex.
George Harrison is my favorite musician of all time, I perform his pieces on guitar and piano, and at his best, his voice and slide guitar soothe me.
Yet he lived a very tumultuous life. Part of that was simply from being part of the most famous musical quartet ever. Harrison, more than the other guys it appears, could not evade the threats to his sanity by rabid fans; there was nowhere on earth where he could be left alone, except at times in India.
As I followed his career while he was alive, I could not understand the contradictions: Why was this Hare Krishna devotee, who in his songs worshipped God and railed against spiritual abandonment, nonetheless bitter to colleagues at times, a habitual womanizer too. At the Concert for Bangladesh, Ravi Shankar, George's mentor, began by saying, "No smoking." Yet George smoked most of his life, probably knew better, and the habit ultimately claimed his life. (I am not sure, but I consider it likely that the brain disease he had was metastatic from the earlier lung cancer.)
He poached tunes and songs from colleagues, feeling that as a Beatle, he could get away with it. Half of the Electronic Sound album was composed and performed by another individual. One learns in the book that the credit for "My Sweet Lord" most likely is due to Delaney Bramlett. Contrary to the judicial decision that Harrison had inadvertently borrowed the melody from "He's So Fine," the book provides testimony that Harrison knew again and again the source of his composition while he was in the process of developing and recording it.
As with just about any other popular musician, he made bad choices at times. The 1974 Dark Horse tour could well have been delayed until his laryngitis had resolved, but he chose not to, the promise of money was too great. Even so, that would not have changed his decision to radically alter his Beatles songs, to the point that he practically rejected the original intent of the lyrics (for example, "Something's in the way--we move it."), to the upset of fans, critics, and even Shankar himself. After Living in the Material World, his albums became uninteresting to much of the public, and he had lost touch with the popular audience for whom he intended his releases. "His Name is Legs," the final cut on Extra Texture, was an elaborate inside joke--why bother?
Although an accomplished musician, on tour he could be a bundle of nerves, lacked self confidence, and in guest appearances stuck with the old familiar rock and roll songs he knew by heart.
Yet when he took the time, he could be very thoughtful, crafted an unmistakable (often since imitated) fluid guitar sound that was not heard on the Beatles' recordings (although his breaks on "Something" and "Octopus's Garden" veer close). When he had time to reflect (and wasn't intoxicated or stoned, a frequent vice), he could write earnest pleas for understanding, forgiveness. He had a thin voice, yet there are catches in his passionate voice that always bring me to my knees ("For You Blue," "True Love," "Can't Stop Thinking About You," among others). There is a consensus among his intimates that he could be very generous, as well as humorous. His final album, Brainwashed, was composed without a time pressure, and allowed Harrison free expression of ideas he held most passionately, including the authority of the Catholic church (also heard on "Awaiting On You All"), perils of fame, the destructiveness of Western society, and the appreciation of popular music from the mid-20th century. (Harrison used the most complex chords and chord progressions of any of the Beatles, no doubt inspired by American popular showtune composers he admired.)
The author clearly admires his subject, and thus tries his best to adopt a respectful, objective, and informed examination of George's weaknesses. It is hard to do, but the author succeeds. The book provides the best account of the All Things Must Pass sessions that one will find anywhere. (Ken Scott, the engineer, has elsewhere revealed that careful notes about the session musicians were not kept, and Ringo could not even remember having played on the album.) The tensions behind the Japan tour with Eric Clapton and his band are given great detail. Of course, most galling was how Paul and John (and to a lesser extent the Beatles' producer, George Martin) belittled his accomplishments, despite having brought him into the band to be their lead guitarist. (When the surviving Beatles reunited for the Anthology TV program and albums in the 1990s, in an amusing anecdote at one point George snapped at Paul, "I was second one on the right--remember?")
The book will not likely interest readers who do not appreciate the Beatles. If one is truly a fan and cares about the music, one should embrace this very honest account, an examination of the destructive force of fame, how it can go to one's head, and that people can shuttle between opposites of conduct and outlook as if they have split personalities. The book in the end is a detailed account of human nature. None of us is perfect.
I had looked forward to reading this book. However, I'm halfway through it and am finding that I am more than a bit frustrated with Mr. Thomson's treatment of his subject. Rather than being called the "Quiet Beatle", it seems to me that he should have been called the "Underappreciated Beatle". Unfortunately, Mr. Thomson seems to make the same mistake George's bandmates did. He should be given high praise for his perseverance alone, given his treatment by Lennon & McCartney.
And while George may have been a complicated individual (most creative people are) - not to mention an imperfect human being - I'm quickly growing tired of Mr. Thomson's snarky, snearing criticisms of almost everything about him. His characterization of George's spiritual journey as an escape from reality is particularly unfair. George's sincere beliefs were the foundation of his many acts of charity and kindness throughout his life. He has been an inspiration to me and many others. Most of us can only hope to accomplish as much good in our lifetimes.
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