It’s been a decade since Beatles guitarist George Harrison passed away from cancer. But his memory and his music are very much alive today. Harrison’s influence on the music world and his philanthropic contributions to humanity resonate inside as well as outside of the entertainment industry. Alicia Keys is holding an upcoming concert dedicated to Harrison as part of her annual “Keep a Child Alive” Black Ball gala.
Now the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles has put together a stunning gallery exhibit that features some of Harrison’s precious artifacts. The exhibit, “George Harrison: Living in the Material World,” which will be on display until February 12, 2012, gives his fans an opportunity to relish his work and private musings that covered decades.
Among the many items on display on the second floor of the Grammy Museum, a block away from the famous Staples Center, are outfits he wore during his heyday as a member of the Beatles and the many instruments that gave him the nod as a top-flight guitarist. Just how good was Harrison on the guitar? His peers considered Harrison to be one of the best guitarists in the world.
Other items that makes the gallery worthwhile to visit are the original handwriting of the songs he wrote, including “All Things Must Pass” and “Here Comes the Sun,” also adorn the colorful and lively exhibit.
Also of note is the collection from Harrison’s “The Concert for Bangladesh” treasures, the sitar, personal writings as a youth and his famous psychedelic-designed Fender Stratocaster guitar. While not as visible in the media and public’s eye as group partners Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr, Harrison was just was influential musically as his buddies.
A complete musician, Harrison wrote hit songs “Taxman” and “Something” for the Beatles before engaging in a strong solo career. He was frontrunner for kicking off a concert to raise money for human suffrage in foreign countries with the renowned “The Concert for Bangladesh.” Harrison’s efforts to aid refugees earned him a Grammy for the concert recording, which took place in New York’s Madison Square Garden, and is the subject of a documentary to be aired on HBO.
“He was a multi-faceted musician and multi-faceted person,” said exhibit curator Tory Millimaki. “We tried to highlight parts of his career as well as parts of who he was as a man. The beginning process started about a year ago, but essentially we dug in about April. My director and I got to sorting out the artifacts and from there it’s been full speed ahead.
“There’s an incredible amount to learn about him. As we were planning this, we couldn’t believe how much we were learning about him. One of the coolest parts of the exhibit are these journals and sketchbooks from his childhood. His early creativity and his early ideas and his early devotion to music were pretty incredible. Also, you get to see his passions outside of music, which has him as a photographer and as a spiritual man, which was a very important part of his life.”