One decade ago, on Nov. 29, 2001, quiet Beatle George Harrison died at age 58, following a long struggle with metastatic throat and lung cancer.
During his lifetime, Harrison was often overlooked in the Beatles legacy, joining drummer Ringo Starr in being overshadowed by outspoken bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
In the ten years since his death, however, Harrison's legacy has become an integral part of music history. Martin Scorsese released a documentary earlier this year called George Harrison: Living in the Material World celebrating his music and Indian-influenced spirituality. Harrison's sister Louise is finishing a biography of her brother slated for 2013.
In Liverpool, Beatles fans will be holding two legacy concerts in honor of the late Beatle, along with a memorial ceremony at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. Fans are encouraged to bring paper flower or dove or another symbol of peace or love with perhaps the words of a prayer or lines from one of George's many tunes, according to BBC.
In a less solemn tribute, George Harrison's amp, lost during the Beatles' recording of the Revolver and Sgt. Pepper albums, is now up for auction on Dec. 15. The Vox UL730 unit is going for roughly $109,346.98.
As part of one of the most successful and talented acts in music history, George Harrison's music career saw 15 No. 1 albums and over 1,000 weeks on music charts, making the Beatles artists with the highest total album sales in U.S. musical history. He saw 14 albums go Gold, and his successful solo career also saw No. 1 albums and long-standing hits.
Below, relive George Harrison's legacy through ten of his classic songs. Experience how classics like Here Comes the Sun and While My Guitar Gently Weeps came into being, and how Harrison's gift, both as a musician and as a man, were formed.
On hearing of his death, Paul McCartney described him as a very strong loving man [who] didn't suffer fools gladly, as anyone who knew him will know. He's a great man, I think he'll be remembered as a great man in his own right.
1. I Need You (Help!, 1965)
I Need You is thought to be about Pattie Boyd, whom Harrison met while filming the movie A Hard Days' Night. It features the same brisk, strumming acoustics that Lennon was also drifting towards, with George's deft use of a volume pedal. Both men were inspired musically by Bob Dylan, who would go on to become a close friend of Harrison's and join his supergroup The Traveling Wilburys, also featuring Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty.
2. Taxman (Revolver, 1966)
Political commentary was only just creeping into music in the 1960s, and few Beatles fans expected it would be George Harrison, not John Lennon, to make the boldest political stance on the band's new album. Taxman is an attack on Harold Wilson and the British Labour government, and features both biting yet humorous lyrics and a lengthy guitar solo by Paul McCartney.
3. Within You, Without You (Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967)
Harrison's contribution to Sgt. Pepper showcases his influences from Eastern music and philosophy. The song features the sitar, tabla and tambura prominently, and juggles complex spiritual questions about man's place in the world, noting that you're really only very small/and life goes on within you and without you. To help the song meld with the riotous nature of the album, and to undercut his serious message, Harrison added laughter to the track as it segues into the next song.
4. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (The White Album, 1968)
Harrison was inspired by the I Ching when he began writing one of his greatest masterpieces. Adhering to the Eastern concept that there's no such thing as coincidence and that every little items that's going down has a purpose, he decided to write a song based on the first words he read in the I Ching when he opened it to a random page. Those words were: gently weeps.
Later, Harrison returned to the song with Eric Clapton, who had played lead guitar on the original version. On the :Love anthology version, the song is all Harrison, and brings a much more melancholy, contemplative feel to the music.
5. Old Brown Shoe (Hey Jude, 1969)
This raucous track also features Ringo Starr in one of his best drumming pieces for The Beatles. McCartney played a syncopated keyboard for the song, but it was Harrison's bass guitar that really took over. That was me going nuts, he said of the song, to which he overdubbed a Hammond organ. I'm doing exactly what I do on the guitar.
6. Something (Abbey Road, 1969)
Featuring The Beatles and their lovers in the music video, this beautiful song has been covered by countless artists, and was inspired by them as well. Harrison wrote the ballad with Ray Charles in mind as a singer, and borrowed the song's signature line from the James Taylor's Something in the Way She Moves. Frank Sinatra, who mis-credited it as a Lennon/McCartney composition, often called it one of the best love songs ever written.
7. Here Comes the Sun (Abbey Road, 1969)
Harrison's beautiful classic was written following a period of profound frustration: he has just left the Beatles business office fed up with accounting issues. Walking over to Clapton's house, he strolled through the garden with guitar and wrote this piece. Mainly the object [of writing songs] has been to get something out of my system, as opposed to being a songwriter Harrison later said of his impulsive composition style.
8. My Sweet Lord (All Things Must Pass, 1970)
All Things Pass was a massive, sprawling record, composed of almost all the songs Harrison had written in the final years before the Beatles breakdown. It featured 18 tracks in addition to five duet pieces. The album No. 1 single however, remains one of the best on the triple album, combining George Harrison's transcendent spirituality with his gorgeous music.
9. Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) (Living in the Material World, 1973)
George Harrison's cry for universal love knocked fellow ex-Beatle McCartney's My Love off its spot at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The song represents the first time two Beatles occupied the top two chart positions since the group's breakup, and is a crystallization of Harrison's continued search for spirituality and connection. I don't want to be in the business full-time, Harrison wrote in his autobiography I, Me, Mine. I plant flowers and watch them grow... I stay at home and watch the river flow.
10. When We Was Fab (Cloud Nine, 1987)
This single was George Harrison's meditation on the Fab Four, and the trippy video features all the original Beatles-- or, at least, versions of them. Ringo Starr appears as a sidekick and drummer as Harrison plays in a Sgt. Pepper's outfit, but Paul McCartney is represented by a Walrus playing left-handed bass and Lennon's face appears on an Imagine album carried by a passerby.
In Harrison's own words: You've got as many lives as you like, and more, even ones you don't want. For more insight on Harrison's legacy, and his spiritual influences, read our retrospective on the late Beatle here.