"I want to tell you, my head is filled with things to say." -- George Harrison, 1966
This is without a doubt the most beautiful and longest awaited biography of George Harrison to date!
As soon as this book became available, I ordered it immediately if not even sooner. I loved the previously unpublished photographs, such as that of 2-year-old George in the arms of his sister, Louise, then nearly 14. I had to smile at tween George sunning himself with family friends, father Harold Sr. and brother Peter, in or about 1954. I especially loved the picture of Louise and Harold Sr. at a dance in the late 1940s, a loving couple who literally welcomed George with love.
It was such a treat to read about various Harrison family members. It is plain and has been well documented that George was not only created by love, but was literally born into love. From 1965-1969, Louise Harrison lent her voice to a column in a newsletter in a fan club newsletter honoring her son.
Postcards George had written various friends and family members; sketches from his school workbooks all paint young George Harrison into sharper focus. As a bonus treat, readers enjoy the inclusion of quotes by various family members, such as George's sisters-in-law, brothers, fellow Beatles and sundry friends.
I have long thought George and Paul were the most interesting of the Beatles. George's love for Eastern music and his life-long bond with Ravi Shankar, whom he met in 1965 is beautifully chronicled in this book. George's home Friar Park is included, from its "evolution" to its finished state, metaphoric in that it parallels George's "evolution" to that of gardener, a passion he inherited from both Harold Sr. and Louise.
You've just got to love seeing George, then 12 astride a motorcycle labeled "43" (as in 1943, perhaps), a future Formula One enthusiast. The then-future Beatle would follow his love for "things fast," as he would later sing in his 1979 gem, "Faster." In 1963, George, then 20 had a blast go-karting with his fellow Beatles, no doubt wishing his go-kart could be driven a tad faster. George, artist extraordinare, humble gardener, author, father, husband, son, brother, uncle, complex iconic figure remained a boy at heart.
One thing I've long wanted to explore was George's Catholic roots. Louise French Harrison was Catholic and had George baptized when he was 1 month old. George's Catholic roots remained with him for his entire life. He had a beautiful statue of Blessed Mother Mary on the grounds of Friar Park. While George explored Eastern religion and philosophy, he recognized that the precepts of all faiths are very similar.
I will add that George Harrison has given the gift of his beautiful voice to many. A child with Asperger's, which is a form of autism who was a HUGE Beatles fan (George was this child's favorite) was a late talker. Upon acquiring speech, this child would let George "talk" for her, using quotes from George's songs and lines he uttered in Beatle movies to express herself. Over time, this evolved into her developing her own voice, so to speak. George Harrison's music and his natural, yet childlike grace of sorts reached countless many. He has a large following of fans with autism, as do the Beatles as a group. Beatle fans with autism is a demographic that is not rare as one might otherwise think.
This book is such a Godsend and I CAN'T WAIT for the dvd. Olivia Arias Harrison, a beautiful, gracious lady has given the world a gift that will continue to give. To make a good thing even better, she has included her input, which made this a much more effective body of work. I can never thank her enough.
This book is a MUST HAVE for all George Harrison fans. Again, this book is a gift that will keep on giving.
You will also want to read Before He Was Fab : George Harrison's First American Visit, which was co-authored by George's sister, Louise.