London police conduct drug raid at home of George Harrison

London police conduct drug raid at home of George Harrison

The London drug squad appears at house of George Harrison and Pattie Boyd with a warrant and drug-sniffing canines. Boyd immediately used the direct hotline to Beatles headquarters and George returned to find his home turned upside down. He is reported to have told the officers “You needn’t have turned the whole bloody place upside down. All you had to do was ask me and I would have shown you where I keep everything.”

Without his assistance, the constables, including Sergeant Pilcher who had directed the drug-related arrest of John Lennon the previous year, had already found a considerable amount of hashish. Harrison and Boyd were arrested and as they were being escorted to the police station, a photographer began shooting pictures of the famous couple. Harrison chased after the photographer, with the cops trailing right behind him down the London street. Finally, the man dropped his camera and George stomped on it before the officers subdued him.

Harrison and his model wife, who missed Paul and Linda McCartney’s wedding that same day because of the arrest, were released on bail. A few weeks later, Harrison and Boyd were allowed to plead guilty. Despite the rather prodigious amount of hash recovered from their home, the authorities were satisfied that it was all for their personal use. They were fined 250 pounds each, and even had a confiscated pipe returned to them. Ten years later, Boyd married guitarist Eric Clapton and Harrison sang and played at their wedding.

Sergeant Pilcher, the man behind the raid, was convicted of planting drugs in other cases and went to jail in 1972.

George Harrison died in November 2001 after a struggle with cancer.


A londoni rendőrség kábítószer-ellenes támadást folytat George Harrison otthonában

A londoni kábítózer-capata George Harrion é Pattie Boyd házában jelenik meg, parancorral é a kábítózert zippantó zemfogakkal. Boyd azonnal felh&#


London police conduct drug raid at home of George Harrison - Mar 12, 1969 - HISTORY.com

TSgt Joe C.

The London drug squad appears at house of George Harrison and Pattie Boyd with a warrant and drug-sniffing canines. Boyd immediately used the direct hotline to Beatles headquarters and George returned to find his home turned upside down. He is reported to have told the officers “You needn’t have turned the whole bloody place upside down. All you had to do was ask me and I would have shown you where I keep everything.”

Without his assistance, the constables, including Sergeant Pilcher who had directed the drug-related arrest of John Lennon the previous year, had already found a considerable amount of hashish. Harrison and Boyd were arrested and as they were being escorted to the police station, a photographer began shooting pictures of the famous couple. Harrison chased after the photographer, with the cops trailing right behind him down the London street. Finally, the man dropped his camera and George stomped on it before the officers subdued him.

Harrison and his model wife, who missed Paul and Linda McCartney’s wedding that same day because of the arrest, were released on bail. A few weeks later, Harrison and Boyd were allowed to plead guilty. Despite the rather prodigious amount of hash recovered from their home, the authorities were satisfied that it was all for their personal use. They were fined 250 pounds each, and even had a confiscated pipe returned to them. Ten years later, Boyd married guitarist Eric Clapton and Harrison sang and played at their wedding.

Sergeant Pilcher, the man behind the raid, was convicted of planting drugs in other cases and went to jail in 1972.

George Harrison died in November 2001 after a struggle with cancer.


London police conduct drug raid at home of George Harrison - Mar 12, 1969 - HISTORY.com

TSgt Joe C.

The London drug squad appears at house of George Harrison and Pattie Boyd with a warrant and drug-sniffing canines. Boyd immediately used the direct hotline to Beatles headquarters and George returned to find his home turned upside down. He is reported to have told the officers “You needn’t have turned the whole bloody place upside down. All you had to do was ask me and I would have shown you where I keep everything.”

Without his assistance, the constables, including Sergeant Pilcher who had directed the drug-related arrest of John Lennon the previous year, had already found a considerable amount of hashish. Harrison and Boyd were arrested and as they were being escorted to the police station, a photographer began shooting pictures of the famous couple. Harrison chased after the photographer, with the cops trailing right behind him down the London street. Finally, the man dropped his camera and George stomped on it before the officers subdued him.

Harrison and his model wife, who missed Paul and Linda McCartney’s wedding that same day because of the arrest, were released on bail. A few weeks later, Harrison and Boyd were allowed to plead guilty. Despite the rather prodigious amount of hash recovered from their home, the authorities were satisfied that it was all for their personal use. They were fined 250 pounds each, and even had a confiscated pipe returned to them. Ten years later, Boyd married guitarist Eric Clapton and Harrison sang and played at their wedding.

Sergeant Pilcher, the man behind the raid, was convicted of planting drugs in other cases and went to jail in 1972.

George Harrison died in November 2001 after a struggle with cancer.


Brian Jones Knew He Was Going To Be Arrested Long Before Pilcher Showed Up

In the lore of Sgt. Pilcher, the officer had a list of rock stars to arrest that he moved down in strict order. At some point local journalists got a look at this list and were able to tip off the stars, but that didn’t stop Pilcher and his goons from making their moves. Rolling Stones multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones was one of those unlucky stars. After returning from the Cannes Film Festival, Brian Jones was contacted by journalists who wanted to know if he’d been busted yet.

According to the callers he was next on Pilcher’s list and the officer was getting ready to move on Jones. By this time Jones knew the score so he cleaned his entire flat. When Pilcher made his move the arresting officers went straight to Jones’ bed and out popped a “purple Moroccan-looking wallet with this iffy-looking grass in it.” It had, of course, been planted.

Pilcher claimed that he also found cocaine in the flat, and when he brought it up to Jones he told the Rolling Stone maestro, “Well I’m not going to charge you with this, am I? For one thousandth of a gram?” It was as if Pilcher was just playing with the stars that he arrested.


The Story of Your Favorite Rock Stars’ Cannabis Arrests

Many of our greatest creatives and musicians have used cannabis as a creative aid – and they did so at a time when consumption was still illegal in nearly every part of the globe. With the extra scrutiny that comes with life under the spotlight, this meant that arrests were inevitable.

Here are seven stories of musical legends who have been arrested for cannabis – and how they (barely) made it back to freedom.

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

In February 1967, eighteen police officers raided a party at Keith Richards’ home in England. An operation of this size could today be considered a waste of budgetary resources – but cannabis use was on the rise in Western counterculture at the time, and police departments reacted by targeting celebrities in order to demonstrate that no one was above the law.

The police found a few roaches and some amphetamine tablets that Mick Jagger, who was also at the party, had bought at a pharmacy in Italy. This was not a huge bust, but it was enough to arrest Richards and Jagger on drug possession charges .

As the frontmen of The Rolling Stones, Jagger and Richards made appealing targets for conservatives in the justice system, and in June 1967 the court convicted them both . Jagger was set to do three months in prison while Richards got hit with a full year for “allowing his house to be used for the purpose of smoking cannabis.

The Stones appealed, and then a few days later a London Times editorial argued that the legal system had treated Jagger and Richards unfairly by issuing them more severe sentences “than would have been thought proper for any purely anonymous young man.”

There was a public outcry, and a few weeks later the court vacated both men’s sentences in response to this PR move. (“You can’t always get what you want,” as the Stones song goes – but this time they did).

For his part, Richards was thankful for the notoriety that stemmed from his arrest, later writing in his autobiography that his trial turned him into a “folk hero overnight” and that he has “been playing up to it ever since.”

John Lennon

In October 1968, London police arrested John Lennon and his girlfriend Yoko Ono for cannabis possession while they were staying at Ringo Starr’s apartment.

Lennon had openly stated his love for cannabis in interviews , and the police had noticed. An ex-cop friend of Lennon’s had warned him to expect a police raid at any time, so Lennon cleaned out the apartment (which Jimi Hendrix had also previously stayed in) to rid the place of any compromising material.

On the morning of October 18th, London police (the same squad that had arrested Mick Jagger and Keith Richards) stormed Starr’s apartment . Lennon and Ono weren’t smoking at the time, but police sniffer-dogs turned up a few grains of hashish in some boxes Lennon had brought from his house – Lennon had searched the house thoroughly for substances, but had then forgotten to check these boxes when he carried them into the apartment.

Scotland Yard Detective Sergeant Norman Pilcher (remember that name) arrested Lennon and Ono and marched them in cuffs through a crowd that had gathered outside the apartment. Lennon remained adamant that neither he nor Ono had smoked cannabis on the premises, but still pleaded guilty for possession he worried that Ono would be deported from the UK if they fought the charges in court and lost.

The court convicted Lennon, but let him walk free after he paid a fine of 150 pounds – and warned him that any further cannabis offenses could earn him a year in jail. His conviction also meant it took him years to get a green card into the USA .

George Harrison

One year later, Sergeant Norman Pilcher’s drug squad arrested John Lennon’s bandmate George Harrison.

Police raided “the quiet Beatle’s” bungalow on March 12, 1969 – the day of Paul McCartney’s wedding to Linda Eastman. (While Pilcher never admitted this, it’s more than likely that he planned the raid for this day to keep Harrison from attending the festivities).

Harrison and his then-wife, Pattie, waited while police tore the house apart. Some of the police officers made themselves tea and, excited to meet Harrison, asked him if the Beatles were working on any new music .

“Yes,” Harrison said. “But you’re not going to hear it.”

Police found some joints in the house. Pilcher then approached Harrison, claiming he’d found a large nugget of hashish inside one of Harrison’s shoes . Harrison replied that the contraband had been planted, saying, “ I’m a tidy man . I keep my socks in the sock drawer and stash in the stash box. It’s not mine.”

Pilcher arrested George and Pattie Harrison, and the booking process at the police station took so long that they did indeed miss McCartney’s wedding.

Later that month, the Harrisons were found guilty of possession and they each paid a 250 pound fine. Like Lennon, Harrison was dogged by his conviction and later had trouble getting a visa to visit the United States.

And as for Sergeant Pilcher? In 1972, he received a four-year prison sentence for perjury after allegations that he had routinely planted evidence and lied in court.

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney landed in Tokyo in January 1980 to tour Japan with his band Wings, but he never made it out of the airport. Customs officials found a half pound of cannabis in his luggage and took him away to a narcotics detention center.

“We were about to fly to Japan and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get anything to smoke over there,” McCartney recounted in 2004 . “This stuff was too good to flush down the toilet, so I thought I’d take it with me.”

McCartney had good reason to be this cavalier – he’d been arrested for cannabis possession numerous times, and had always gotten away with a slap on the wrist.

But this time it was different. In Japan, a cannabis smuggling charge carried a sentence of up to seven years’ hard labor. While his lawyers worked to get him released, McCartney tried to stay upbeat , spending his time exercising and reading science fiction books in his jail cell, and taking communal baths with the other prisoners (something those prisoners probably talked about for years afterward).

McCartney spent nine days locked up before getting sprung “due to my celebrity,” as he said later. Japanese authorities agreed to let him walk if he signed an affidavit stating he “no longer smoked cannabis” – which all parties involved had to have known was a lie.

Watch McCartney talk about his arrest on Carpool Karaoke here.

Jimi Hendrix

When Hendrix and his bandmates from the Jimi Hendrix Experience landed at Pearson airport in Toronto in May 1969, the Canadian Mounties found small amounts of cannabis and heroin in Jimi’s luggage.

Hendrix and his bandmates were stunned. Their road crew had warned them to make sure they traveled without contraband, and they’d meticulously checked their bags and clothing before heading to the airport to make sure nothing had been planted on them. This was a legitimate worry for Hendrix much like the London police kept the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and other celebrities in their crosshairs, California police were keen to nail Hendrix on drug charges and had kept his LA home under surveillance.

Canadian prosecutors charged Hendrix with possession, which could have put him away for up to 20 years. He was released on $10,000 bail and still made his concert that night, but spent the next seven months awaiting his trial in a state of “agonized suspense.”

But things broke Hendrix’s way in court that December. His defense team argued that Hendrix could not have been expected to be constantly aware of what he carried in his belongings – and that the drugs could have been planted in his luggage by Canadian officials. (It was indeed very unusual for the Mounties to visit the airport and search arriving passengers, which is what they did to Hendrix). His lawyers also pointed out that fans often passed Hendrix gifts and small packages, which he’d stuff in his bag to look at later.

Hendrix’s case was bolstered by the fact that he had no other drug paraphernalia in his possession and no needle tracks in his arms. The jury handed over an acquittal after eight hours of deliberation, and he flew home a free man.

David Bowie (featuring Iggy Pop)

In March 1976, David Bowie’s Isolar tour took him to Rochester, New York, where local vice detectives arrested him at a party after a show.

A few undercover female police officers had made their way into the party to follow up on a tip that Bowie and his entourage were traveling with cocaine. While the officers didn’t find any of that substance, they did discover “about a half a pound of marijuana” in a bedroom in Bowie’s hotel suite.

Detectives arrested Bowie and three other partygoers, including fellow musician Iggy Pop. Bowie gave his real last name (Jones) at the police station, spent a night in jail, and left the next day after paying everyone’s bail. He was back on stage that night.

Marijuana possession in New York was then a class C felony, and so Bowie stood to face fifteen years in prison if convicted (imagine how his absence would have changed the music scene during that time).

It didn’t come to that. Bowie pleaded not guilty at his arraignment a few weeks later, and maintained the cannabis wasn’t his – later telling Playboy that it belonged to other partygoers and that “I haven’t touched it in a decade.”

Fittingly, the case was formally adjourned a few weeks later – on April 20, all days. The judge let Bowie remain free on bail, and the Thin White Duke’s Isolar tour continued. Meanwhile, Bowie’s “ridiculously cool” mugshot from the arrest is still widely shared online today.

Watch footage from a press conference Bowie gave on his experience here. ( LINK )

Bob Marley

Reggae pioneer Bob Marley – who was an outspoken supporter of cannabis legalization and referred to the act of smoking it as a “sacrament” – caught a cannabis case of his own when he lived in England.

There aren’t too many details about this incident, but we do know that while Marley was in London in spring 1977 working on his album “Exodus” (the collection that gave us “Jamming” and “One Love”), police caught him in public with a small amount of cannabis.

They arrested the singer, who lied about his address at the police station he said he lived at 27 Collingham Gardens (which was actually where his bandmates were staying) – probably to keep police from searching his real address at 42 Oakley Street, where it’s a safe bet that he may have had a larger stash of cannabis.

Marley was convicted of possession at his court appearance . He got off with a light punishment, though – the court ordered him to pay a fine, but he did not receive a jail sentence.

Conviction regardless, the City of London seems to look back fondly on Marley’s time in England. Last year, The English Heritage Society commemorated Marley with a special plaque at his 42 Oakley Street home.

While some of these stories were close calls, none of them had a tragic ending and the stars were all back to business shortly. (Top-tier legal representation is surely one the greatest perks that comes with stardom).

These stories, unfortunately, remain exceptions. Even today, a cannabis arrest in the wrong jurisdiction can bring stiff fines, jail time, or ruinous criminal convictions.

But as the legal cannabis scene matures, we may soon reach a point where the next generation of enthusiasts might not even remember a time when cannabis was illegal. Hopefully, by that point, these stories will seem more archaic than ever.

At Northern Standard we believe that cannabis enhances some of the best things in life. And to enhance the best things, you need the best cannabis.

This is why we create premium, full-spectrum cannabis extracts via our proprietary CO2 extraction process. We do not use cutters, fillers, or additives of any kind.

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London police conduct drug raid at home of George Harrison - HISTORY

The recent News of the World ‘phone hacking scandal wasn’t the first time the red top used illicit means to obtain stories. Back in the swinging sixties, the paper regularly bartered with the police for information to use in its pages.

One of the News of the World’s tip-offs to the cops led to the most infamous drugs trial of the twentieth century, where Mick Jagger, Keith Richard of The Rolling Stones, and art dealer Robert Fraser were imprisoned in an apparent attempt to destroy the band’s corrupting influence over the nation’s youth.

For the first time, the true story behind the arrests and trial is revealed by Simon Wells in his excellent book Butterfly on a Wheel: The Great Rolling Stones Drugs Bust. Wells’ previous work includes books on The Beatles and The Stones, British Cinema and most recently, a powerful and disturbing biography of Charles Manson. In an exclusive interview with Dangerous Minds, Wells explained his interest in The Stones drugs bust:

‘As a student of the 1960s it was perhaps inevitable that I would collide with the whole Redlands’ issue at some point. Probably like anyone with a passing interest in the Stones, I first knew about it mainly from legend - the “Mars Bar”, the fur rug, the “Butterfly On A Wheel” quote etc. However, like most of the events connected to the 1960s, I was aware that there had to be a backstory, and not what had been passed down into myth. This story proved to be no exception, and hopefully, the facts are as sensational (if not more) than what has passed into mythology. Additionally, as a Sussex boy - I was familiar with the physical landscape of the story- so that was also attractive to me as well.’

Just after eight o’clock, on the evening of February 12 1967, the West Sussex police arrived at Keith Richards’ home, Redlands. Inside, Keith and his guests - including Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, the gallery owner Robert Fraser, and “Acid King” David Schneiderman - shared in the quiet warmth of a day taking LSD. Relaxed, they listened to music, oblivious to the police gathering outside. The first intimation something was about to happen came when a face appeared, pressed against the window.

It must be a fan. Who else could it be? But Keith noticed it was a “little old lady.” Strange kind of fan. If we ignore her. She’ll go away.

Then it came, a loud, urgent banging on the front door. Robert Fraser quipped, “Don’t answer. It must be tradesmen. Gentlemen ring up first.” Marianne Faithfull whispered, “If we don’t make any noise if we’re all really quiet, they’ll go away.” But they didn’t.

When Richards opened the door, he was confronted by 18 police officers led by Police Chief Inspector Gordon Dinely, who presented Richards with a warrant to “search the premises and the persons in them, under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1965.”

This then was the start of the infamous trial of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Robert Fraser.

It may seem we all know a small piece of this story, but in fact as Butterfly on a Wheel: The Great Rolling Stones Drugs Bust shows, we’ve never seen the whole picture until now:

‘It was such a well-known story, I was amazed no one had written a book about it before. It’s one of the most incredible stories of the 20th-century and I couldn’t believe that it had been ignored - given that every other angle of the Stones in the 1960s had been thoroughly explored. Obviously, as I worked my way through the story I became aware of just how the mythology of the tale had been constructed over the years. For a decade awash with drugs, it was somewhat predictable that the events that night had been blown up to such a stratospheric level.’

Wells has written a 5 star book, which explains the full background story, bringing new information to the events surrounding the bust, with particular emphasis on the nefarious activities of the News of the World and a dodgy copper, Detective Sergeant Norman “Nobby” Pilcher.

‘I suppose it was predictable during the star-studded 1960s that London’s otherwise anonymous police force would create their own celebrity copper. In this case it was Detective Sergeant Norman Clement Pilcher,’ says Wells. ‘Norman or “Nobby” as he was known to his colleagues was quite a character, as was his insatiable desire to rise swiftly through the ranks of London’s police. Pilcher may well have had an agenda to curb the activities of London’s musicians, but my own take on him was that he knew the value a celebrity bust. While seemingly the majority of the capital’s youth were engaged in some form of narcotic use, Picher knew that busting a celebrity would raise his profile (and by association, his team) enormously.’


Richard Hamilton’s portrait of Mick Jagger and Robert Fraser under arrest.

Pilcher waged a war on pop’s elite. During his time at the Drugs Squad, Pilcher was responsible for arresting Donovan, Brian Jones, John Lennon and George Harrison. Pilcher always got his man, by bringing along to any bust his own supply of evidence. He was lampooned as a rock groupie by underground magazine Oz, and John Lennon described him as ‘semolina pilchard, climbing up the Eiffel Tower’ in “I Am The Walrus.”

In our present world of anodyne music pumped out by record labels and TV talent shows as a soundtrack for malls, lifts, and supermarkets, it is hard to believe that once-upon-a-time, music, in particular pop music, was considered revolutionary and a very real threat to the established order. Think of this when imagining the world The Rolling Stones burst into back in 1963, as it was the Stones, their music and their alleged drug use that became the focus of British establishment’s ire.

‘As far as attitudes towards soft drug use were concerned,’ Simon explains, ‘I would say it was the most important moment of the 20th century. A massive watershed of opinion that for the first time pitched elements of the so-called “Establishment” against the rebellious young - best exemplified in the metaphor of The Rolling Stones. Obviously, once battle lines were drawn it was going to get messy. With the benefit of hindsight, the debate was far too premature – it was only 22 years since the end of WW2 – and obviously many in authority had seen active service and were aghast at the sight of these youngsters strutting their stuff unhindered. Many saw it as an affront.’

Unlike The Beatles, who played the game, and were considered cheeky and harmless, wore suits and smiled, The Stones were deemed dirty, surly, long-haired, and played Black music - R ‘n’ B, that inflamed their fans to riot. All of this wasn’t helped by manager Andrew Loog-Oldham statement if The Beatles were Christ, then The Stones were the Anti-Christ.

Things started to go wrong, after one of The Stones’ riotous gigs, where the famous five had been whisked away from the venue as quickly as possible, but without a toilet break. On the way home, they pulled into a service station, where Bill Wyman asked to use the gents toilet. The garage attendant didn’t like the look of Wyman and his long hair, nor his gurning friends in the back of the van, and refused the bass player access. Jagger and Brian Jones became involved, with Jagger saying he could piss anywhere, which the 3 of them duly did. The incident led to a trial and a fine and was the first hint that someone had The Stones in their sights. If not the Establishment, then rogue elements:

‘I was at pains to point out what really the “Establishment” consisted of during the mid-1960s, and how “they” sought to enact their revenge against Mick, Keith, and Brian. Ultimately, I don’t believe it was men in suits in Westminster discussing the Rolling Stones and plotting their downfall. It’s a hugely romantic image, but it is frankly ludicrous. In reality, there was a Labour government in power who - believe it or not - was attempting to understand the new movement, and equally, were to rationalize drug use through a sweeping review of the arcane narcotic laws that had been in place since the war.

‘However, there were other – less regulated - elements of the so-called establishment that were outraged at the antics by the nation’s youth as exemplified by their defacto leaders- pop groups. Obviously, with The Beatles still the nation’s favorites, The Rolling Stones were an obvious target for sections of the “moral majority” to vent their spleen on. Predictably, it was the News Of The World who decided to infiltrate the Mick and Keith’s core circle and reveal their personal habits to their readership. The papers expose in turn gave the police carte blanch to raid members of the group. Soon, it was open season on musicians – but just not restricted to the UK, but elsewhere too. So the “Establishment” in a sense, yes, but not as many would like to believe.’

There was further rattling of teacups, when Richards purchased a 15th-century house, Redlands, in West Wittering, Sussex. The very thought that a working class guitar player could afford such a posh residence, curdled the milk on the breakfast tables of Middle England.

Add to this the shift in the news away from Wing Commanders and derring-do, to pop groups and hairstyles, saw a growing concern over the fall in the nation’s morals and its role models.

As The Beatles were unassailable, especially after Prime Minister Harold Wilson controversially honored them with MBEs in 1965, the press turned their eye to The Stones for any possible dirt.

Of particular interest was the rise in drug use amongst these young musicians. The News of the World set up a team of journalists to infiltrate The Stones’ circle and get the skinny on their drug use. One night, a journalist spoke with a drug-addled Brian Jones about his chemicals of choice. Thinking they had a major scoop, the paper ran the story. It was to prove a major mistake, as the News of the World couldn’t tell their pop stars apart, and believed they had caught Mick Jagger unawares, rather than Jones. When the paper published its story on Jagger and his alleged drug confession, the singer sued the paper. It led the tabloid to plan its revenge to discredit Jagger.

In his book, Wells shows how the News of the World worked hand in glove with the police, tipping off relevant parties about drugs parties, then turning up to photograph the arrested being taken away. He also uncovered the story behind the raid.

‘In fact, through discussions with police in Chichester at that time, they knew about Keith Richards’ presence at Redlands and were also aware that drugs were probably being used there. In fact, a former member of the drug squad told me that they weren’t in the slightest bit interested in raiding Keith’s house as it proves very little, and moreover, throw an enormous spotlight on their operations.

The News Of The World was eager to call bluff on Mick Jagger’s libel suit against them and rang Scotland Yard to see if they’d enact a raid on Richards’ house on the weekend of February 12th, 1967. I have it on good authority that the drug squad chief at the time (not Pilcher), balked on the tip-off, saying that it would create a martyrdom status on Mick and Keith if they went ahead with it.

‘Undeterred, the News Of The World then contacted Chichester Police and seemingly forced their hand to make the raid that weekend. When one reads the book, one notices that although Chichester Police had a brief to make any arrests - in fact, they treated everyone with utter respect.

‘Mind you, in London, a line of communication between police and press was actively maintained - as evidenced especially in the raid on John and Yoko during late 1968. Indeed, the press were there just before Pilcher and his team arrived! I’ve been at pains to point out that the Redlands raid was quite a sedate affair (contrary to popular belief) with most of the police personnel made up of village bobbies and part-timers. London’s police were cut from different cloth.

‘As you can imagine, the police who were present on the raid are reluctant to comment on the night’s action. In fact, most rejected my advances. Nonetheless, I was put in contact by someone who was present that night. He had a remarkable memory and was able to fill me in on all the details regarding the planning and the personalities who took part. Contrary to all the other reports that have surfaced, it was a fairly ramshackle caravan of police that descended on Redlands – most of them just village Bobbies and others dragged in from weekend duty the south-coast. I have fastidiously detailed the timeline of events, deducing that the whole raid was planned in just a few hours.’

‘I was able to prove that the NOTW were tapping phones at that point, and paying off informants. In fact lines with NOTW reporters and the Metropolitan police were indivisible. Journalist Trevor Kempson, who elicited the fine detail of the Redlands party, was clearly working closely with police in return for scoops when raids and/or arrests were made. Although, in the case of the Redlands story – Kempson just made the tip-off to Chichester police once Scotland Yard had passed on it.’

The police discovered amphetamines/travel sickness pills in the pocket of Jagger’s jacket. Jagger had obtained the pills in Italy, where they were legally available for travel sickness.

Heroin and 8 capsules of methylamphetamine hydrochloride were found on Robert Fraser, while the remnants of marijuana found in an ashtray implicated Richards.


The elusive ‘Acid King’ David Schneiderman

Bizarrely, David Schneiderman’s portable drug cabinet, containing LSD and dope, was not examined by the police, which has given rise to questions over the “Acid King’s” involvement:

‘The elusive David Schneidermann remains probably the most enigmatic figure in rock and roll folklore. Yet, for a tale that hinges so pivotally on the reputed actions of the so-called “Acid King” I had to fully investigate his character certainly well beyond the mythology that claimed he was working for the CIA, MI5 or some drug enforcement agency. While it would have been nice to have discovered he was some sort of drug dealing double agent, the reality was markedly different, and yet no less interesting. The “Acid King” certainly had a chequered life after Redlands, and I have documented all of his movements following the raid. Suffice to say, he managed to transform himself into many guises- ironically most connected in some way to entertainment.

‘I suppose the one thing that surprised me about writing the book was how the mythology has exceeded the cold facts. Probably not surprising, but the reality was far more interesting than all the imaginary stuff that has been written since. I suppose the most surprising thing is how so many – including many of those at the Redlands party - have bought into the belief that David Schneidermann was some sort of double agent working to destroy them. I suppose the other thing that was of absolutely no surprise was that the antics of the News Of The World were no different to what was occurring up until 2011. I would probably say it was more shocking than surprising and I think many will be aghast that they were up to phone tapping in 1967.’

Not just ‘phone tapping, the tabloids were also guilty of manufacturing vicious and cruel lies, most notoriously the “Mars Bar” allegation and its damaging effects on the innocent Marianne Faithfull or Miss X as she was known in the press.

‘I am convinced that the Redlands raid and the associated fall out served to hasten Marianne Faithfull’s downfall,’ says Wells. ‘In fact, she confirmed this to me during conversations for the book. One has to remember she was just 19, and while quite cocky and brazen, the perception of her struck by the tabloid press courtesy of the “Mars Bar” lie had a debilitating effect on her. I think she just thought that if that’s what people think I am, I’ll be it. Even now, some 45 years later, it is still a very sore point with her.’

‘As far as pop stars and drugs are concerned, I am amazed that in the 40-odd years that have passed since the affair that the press are still as interested in the connection. Despite drug use being absorbed into everyday society (whether that is a good or bad thing), editors still find the connection newsworthy, and that I find rather sad. As for the Establishment as such, I would say that if they really thought the Stones were such a corrupting influence at that point, they would have dealt with the matter in a far more exact and precise way – and not let it run across the world’s papers for the best part of a year. Equally, the globe-trotting the Stones did in 1967 is hardly indicative of the group have their wings severely clipped. Ultimately, the higher echelons of the Establishment saved Mick and Keith – and that’s a point that has been lost on many.’

At their trial, held at West Sussex Quarter Sessions, Jagger and Richards plead not guilty and were defended by Michael Havers QC, a very unlikely hero:

‘Havers is a fascinating character who for me is the hero of the story. At the time he had two teenage sons- Phillip and [the actor] Nigel - who were both Stones fans and played in a band together. This I believe offered him an insight into the mindset of young persons, even if he didn’t really know much about “pop” culture as such. Nonetheless, it should be remembered that Havers failed to win Mick and Keith’s trial in Chichester, although he managed to convince the Appeal Judges in the High Court later on.’

When it came to their trial, Judge Leslie Block advised the jury to ignore any reasonable doubt used by the defense, this saw Jagger sentenced to three months for possession of amphetamines, and Richards to one year in jail for allowing cannabis to be smoked in his home.

Robert Fraser received 6 months for possessing heroin.

The sentencing led to William Rees Mogg, then editor of the London Times writing an editorial in the paper, “Who break a butterfly on a Wheel?” that helped swing public opinion towards the Stones and against the harsh sentencing, which was later quashed on appeal. Wells considers these events “embellished [Mick and Keith’s] notoriety as 20th century martyrs”

‘Given the Stones’ reputation as rock and roll outlaws - the fact that they were seen to have taken on the establishment and won - only helped embolden their reputation. I think both of them put the incident behind them fairly quickly. I dare say things would have been different if they had served out their sentences in prison - I can’t imagine Jagger surviving jail too well.

‘I steered clear of contacting Mick and Keith for quite a few reasons. While it would have been advantageous to have their assistance, my research proved that they have bought into the myth and would be of little help in the direction I wanted to take the story. While it might appear somewhat incredulous, I am not that bothered by speaking with the chief protagonists. I find that the less celebrated characters in these tales have a far greater clarity of thought. When you’re dealing with 40-odd years ago, it is vital to have as clear a recollection as possible. Normally this involves spending more time looking for original documents written as close as possible to the event. Thankfully, for this story I was able to secure a whole cache of official documents from police, courts, and solicitors that offers a totally new view on events.’

Simon Wells has written a definitive account of the events surrounding the Redlands drugs bust, and he puts in a clear and compelling way the extraordinary vendetta organized by the News of the World against The Rolling Stones. Wells’ book also examines the stories behind the drugs bust of Donovan, John Lennon, and George Harrison and most tragically, Brian Jones.


Court documents from the Jagger & Richards’ trial - courtesy of Simon Wells


John Lennon and Yoko Ono are arrested for drugs possession

In the morning of 18 October 1968, John Lennon and Yoko Ono were arrested by the Drugs Squad.

The couple were temporarily living at Ringo Starr’s flat at 34 Montagu Square, London. Following a tip-off from a newspaper journalist friend, they had thoroughly cleaned the flat to make sure it was free of drugs.

Before the police arrived Lennon’s friend Pete Shotton called round. Shotton, whom had trained as a police officer, helped them check each room. Eventually, however, Ono demanded that Shotton leave the apartment, which he did, taking the vacuum cleaner bag with him.

The eight-strong police task force, led by the notorious anti-drugs zealot Sergeant Norman Pilcher, entered the premises at 11.30am. It comprised two plainclothes detective sergeants, two detective constables, a policewoman and two sniffer-dog handlers, initially without their dogs.

Lennon had attempted to delay them by insisting on reading their warrant through a window. He also instructed Ono to call their lawyer, but she contacted Apple instead. Peter Brown arranged for lawyers to attend the scene.

The squad discovered 219 grains of cannabis resin, and took Lennon and Ono to Paddington Green police station. There they were charged with possession and for obstructing the police in execution of a search warrant.

We were lying in bed, feeling very clean and drugless, because we’d heard three weeks before that they were coming to get us – and we’d have been silly to have had drugs in the house. All of a sudden a woman comes to the front door, and rings the bell and says, ‘I’ve got a message for you.’ We said, ‘Who is it? You’re not the postman.’ And she said, ‘No, it’s very personal,’ and suddenly this woman starts pushing the door. She [Yoko] thinks it’s the press or some fans, and we ran back in and hid. Neither of us was dressed, really we just had vests on and our lower parts were showing.

We shut the door and I was saying, ‘What is it? What is it?’ I thought it was the Mafia or something. Then there was a big banging at the bedroom window, and a big super-policeman was there, growling and saying, ‘Let me in, let me in!’ And I said, ‘You’re not allowed in like this, are you?’ I was so frightened. I said, ‘Come round the front door. Just let me get dressed.’ And he said, ‘No, open the window, I’m going to fall off.’

There were some [police] at the front and some at the back. Yoko held the window while I got dressed – half-leaning out of the bathroom so they could see we weren’t hiding anything. Then they started charging the door. I had a big dialogue with the policeman, saying, ‘It’s bad publicity if you come through the window.’ And he was saying, ‘Just open the window, you’ll only make it worse for yourself.’ I was saying, ‘I want to see the warrant.’ Another guy comes on the roof and they showed me this paper, and I pretended to read it – just to try and think what to do. Then I said, ‘Call the lawyer, call the lawyer,’ but [Yoko] called our office instead. And I was saying, ‘No, not the office – the lawyer.’

Then there was a heave on the door, so I ran and opened it, and said, ‘OK. OK. I’m clean anyway,’ thinking I was clean. And he says, ‘Ah-ha, got you for obstruction!’ And I said, ‘Oh, yeah,’ because I felt confident that I had no drugs.

They all came in, lots of them and a woman. I said, ‘Well, what happens now? Can I call the office? I’ve got an interview in two hours, can I tell them that I can’t come?’ And he said, ‘No, you’re not allowed to make a phone call… Can I use your phone?’ Then our lawyer came.

They [the police] brought some dogs. They couldn’t find the dogs at first – and they kept ringing up, saying, ‘Hello, Charlie, where are the dogs? We’ve been here half an hour.’ And the dogs came.

I’d had all my stuff moved into the flat from my house, and I’d never looked at it. It had just been there for years. I’d ordered cameras and clothes – but my driver brought binoculars, which I didn’t need in my little flat. And inside the binoculars was some hash from last year. Somewhere else in an envelope was another piece of hash. So that was it.

  • 27.3 grains of hashish in an unsealed brown envelope in a blue trunk in the bedroom
  • A cigarette case containing traces of hashish on the bedroom floor
  • A cigarette rolling machine with traces of cannabis, on top of a mirror in the bedroom
  • 191.8 grains of hashish in a binocular case in the living room

Lennon and Ono were marched through the crowds of photographers outside and were taken by police car to Paddington Green. There Lennon spoke to EMI’s Sir Joseph Lockwood, who gave advice on how to deal with the police. “This is Sergeant Lennon can I help you?” Lennon said as he took the call.

The couple were charged and ordered to appear in court the following day.


Contents

Harrison was born at 12 Arnold Grove in Wavertree, Liverpool on 25 February 1943. [4] He was the youngest of four children of Harold Hargreaves (or Hargrove) Harrison (1909–1978) and Louise ( née French [5] 1911–1970). Harold was a bus conductor who had worked as a ship's steward on the White Star Line, [6] and Louise was a shop assistant of Irish Catholic descent. [7] He had one sister, Louise (born 16 August 1931), and two brothers, Harold (born 1934) and Peter (20 July 1940 – 1 June 2007). [8] [9]

According to Boyd, Harrison's mother was particularly supportive: "All she wanted for her children is that they should be happy, and she recognised that nothing made George quite as happy as making music." [10] Louise was an enthusiastic music fan, and she was known among friends for her loud singing voice, which at times startled visitors by rattling the Harrisons' windows. [11] When Louise was pregnant with George, she often listened to the weekly broadcast Radio India. Harrison's biographer Joshua Greene wrote, "Every Sunday she tuned in to mystical sounds evoked by sitars and tablas, hoping that the exotic music would bring peace and calm to the baby in the womb." [12]

Harrison lived the first four years of his life at 12 Arnold Grove, a terraced house on a cul-de-sac. [13] The home had an outdoor toilet and its only heat came from a single coal fire. In 1949, the family was offered a council house and moved to 25 Upton Green, Speke. [14] In 1948, at the age of five, Harrison enrolled at Dovedale Primary School. [15] He passed the eleven-plus exam and attended Liverpool Institute High School for Boys from 1954 to 1959. [16] [17] Though the institute did offer a music course, Harrison was disappointed with the absence of guitars, and felt the school "moulded [students] into being frightened". [18]

Harrison's earliest musical influences included George Formby, Cab Calloway, Django Reinhardt and Hoagy Carmichael [19] by the 1950s, Carl Perkins and Lonnie Donegan were significant influences. [20] In early 1956, he had an epiphany: while riding his bicycle, he heard Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" playing from a nearby house, and the song piqued his interest in rock and roll. [21] He often sat at the back of the class drawing guitars in his schoolbooks, and later commented, "I was totally into guitars." [22] Harrison cited Slim Whitman as another early influence: "The first person I ever saw playing a guitar was Slim Whitman, either a photo of him in a magazine or live on television. Guitars were definitely coming in." [23]

At first, Harold Harrison was apprehensive about his son's interest in pursuing a music career. However, in 1956, he bought George a Dutch Egmond flat-top acoustic guitar, which according to Harold, cost £3.10s.– (equivalent to £90 in 2021 [24] ). [25] [26] One of his father's friends taught Harrison how to play "Whispering", "Sweet Sue" and "Dinah". Inspired by Donegan's music, Harrison formed a skiffle group, the Rebels, with his brother Peter and a friend, Arthur Kelly. [27] On the bus to school, Harrison met Paul McCartney, who also attended the Liverpool Institute, and the pair bonded over their shared love of music. [28]

Harrison became part of the Beatles with McCartney and John Lennon when the band were still a skiffle group called the Quarrymen. In March 1958, he auditioned for the Quarrymen at Rory Storm's Morgue Skiffle Club, playing Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith's "Guitar Boogie Shuffle", but Lennon felt that Harrison, having just turned 15, was too young to join the band. [29] McCartney arranged a second meeting, on the upper deck of a Liverpool bus, during which Harrison impressed Lennon by performing the lead guitar part for the instrumental "Raunchy". [30] He began socialising with the group, filling in on guitar as needed, [31] and then became accepted as a member. [32] Although his father wanted him to continue his education, Harrison left school at 16 and worked for several months as an apprentice electrician at Blacklers, a local department store. [33] During the group's first tour of Scotland, in 1960, Harrison used the pseudonym "Carl Harrison", in reference to Carl Perkins. [34]

In 1960, promoter Allan Williams arranged for the band, now calling themselves the Beatles, to play at the Indra and Kaiserkeller clubs in Hamburg, both owned by Bruno Koschmider. [35] Their first residency in Hamburg ended prematurely when Harrison was deported for being too young to work in nightclubs. [36] When Brian Epstein became their manager in December 1961, he polished up their image and later secured them a recording contract with EMI. [37] The group's first single, "Love Me Do", peaked at number 17 on the Record Retailer chart, and by the time their debut album, Please Please Me, was released in early 1963, Beatlemania had arrived. [38] Often serious and focused while on stage with the band, Harrison was known as "the quiet Beatle". [39] [40] That moniker arose when the Beatles arrived in the United States in early 1964, and Harrison was ill with a case of Strep throat and a fever and was medically advised to limit speaking as much as possible until he performed on The Ed Sullivan Show as scheduled. As such, the press noticed Harrison's apparent laconic nature in public appearances on that tour and the subsequent nickname stuck, much to Harrison's amusement. [41] He had two lead vocal credits on the LP, including the Lennon–McCartney song "Do You Want to Know a Secret?", and three on their second album, With the Beatles (1963). [42] The latter included "Don't Bother Me", Harrison's first solo writing credit. [43]

Harrison served as the Beatles' scout for new American releases, being especially knowledgeable about soul music. [44] By 1965's Rubber Soul, he had begun to lead the other Beatles into folk rock through his interest in the Byrds and Bob Dylan, and towards Indian classical music through his use of the sitar on "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)". [45] [nb 2] He later called Rubber Soul his "favourite [Beatles] album". [47] Revolver (1966) included three of his compositions: "Taxman", selected as the album's opening track, "Love You To" and "I Want to Tell You". [48] His drone-like tambura part on Lennon's "Tomorrow Never Knows" exemplified the band's ongoing exploration of non-Western instruments, [49] while the sitar- and tabla-based "Love You To" represented the Beatles' first genuine foray into Indian music. [50] According to the ethnomusicologist David Reck, the latter song set a precedent in popular music as an example of Asian culture being represented by Westerners respectfully and without parody. [51] Author Nicholas Schaffner wrote in 1978 that following Harrison's increased association with the sitar after "Norwegian Wood", he became known as "the maharaja of raga-rock". [52] Harrison continued to develop his interest in non-Western instrumentation, playing swarmandal on "Strawberry Fields Forever". [53]

By late 1966, Harrison's interests had moved away from the Beatles. This was reflected in his choice of Eastern gurus and religious leaders for inclusion on the album cover for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967. [54] [nb 3] His sole composition on the album was the Indian-inspired "Within You Without You", to which no other Beatle contributed. [56] He played sitar and tambura on the track, backed by musicians from the London Asian Music Circle on dilruba, swarmandal and tabla. [57] [nb 4] He later commented on the Sgt. Pepper album: "It was a millstone and a milestone in the music industry . There's about half the songs I like and the other half I can't stand." [59]

In January 1968, he recorded the basic track for his song "The Inner Light" at EMI's studio in Bombay, using a group of local musicians playing traditional Indian instruments. [60] Released as the B-side to McCartney's "Lady Madonna", it was the first Harrison composition to appear on a Beatles single. [60] Derived from a quotation from the Tao Te Ching, the song's lyric reflected Harrison's deepening interest in Hinduism and meditation. [61] During the recording of The Beatles that same year, tensions within the group ran high, and drummer Ringo Starr quit briefly. [62] Harrison's four songwriting contributions to the double album included "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", which featured Eric Clapton on lead guitar, and the horn-driven "Savoy Truffle". [63]

Dylan and the Band were a major musical influence on Harrison at the end of his career with the Beatles. [64] While on a visit to Woodstock in late 1968, he established a friendship with Dylan and found himself drawn to the Band's sense of communal music-making and to the creative equality among the band members, which contrasted with Lennon and McCartney's domination of the Beatles' songwriting and creative direction. This coincided with a prolific period in his songwriting and a growing desire to assert his independence from the Beatles. [65] Tensions among the group surfaced again in January 1969, at Twickenham Studios, during the filmed rehearsals that became the 1970 documentary Let It Be. [65] Frustrated by the cold and sterile film studio, by Lennon's creative disengagement from the Beatles, and by what he perceived as a domineering attitude from McCartney, Harrison quit the group on 10 January. He returned twelve days later, after his bandmates had agreed to move the film project to their own Apple Studio and to abandon McCartney's plan for making a return to public performance. [66]

Relations among the Beatles were more cordial, though still strained, when the band recorded their 1969 album Abbey Road. [67] The LP included what Lavezzoli describes as "two classic contributions" from Harrison – "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something" – that saw him "finally achieve equal songwriting status" with Lennon and McCartney. [68] During the album's recording, Harrison asserted more creative control than before, rejecting suggestions for changes to his music, particularly from McCartney. [69] "Something" became his first A-side when issued on a double A-side single with "Come Together" the song was number one in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and West Germany, [70] and the combined sides topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. [71] In the 1970s Frank Sinatra recorded "Something" twice (1970 and 1979) and later dubbed it "the greatest love song of the past fifty years". [72] Lennon considered it the best song on Abbey Road, and it became the Beatles' second most covered song after "Yesterday". [73] [nb 5]

In May 1970 Harrison's song "For You Blue" was coupled on a US single with McCartney's "The Long and Winding Road" and became Harrison's second chart-topper when the sides were listed together at number one on the Hot 100. [75] His increased productivity meant that by the time of their break-up he had amassed a stockpile of unreleased compositions. [76] While Harrison grew as a songwriter, his compositional presence on Beatles albums remained limited to two or three songs, increasing his frustration, and significantly contributing to the band's break-up. [77] Harrison's last recording session with the Beatles was on 4 January 1970, when he, McCartney and Starr recorded his song "I Me Mine" for the Let It Be soundtrack album. [78]

Early solo work: 1968–1969 Edit

Before the Beatles' break-up, Harrison had already recorded and released two solo albums: Wonderwall Music and Electronic Sound, both of which contain mainly instrumental compositions. Wonderwall Music, a soundtrack to the 1968 film Wonderwall, blends Indian and Western instrumentation, while Electronic Sound is an experimental album that prominently features a Moog synthesizer. [79] Released in November 1968, Wonderwall Music was the first solo album by a Beatle and the first LP released by Apple Records. [80] Indian musicians Aashish Khan and Shivkumar Sharma performed on the album, which contains the experimental sound collage "Dream Scene", recorded several months before Lennon's "Revolution 9". [81]

In December 1969, Harrison participated in a brief tour of Europe with the American group Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. [82] During the tour that included Clapton, Bobby Whitlock, drummer Jim Gordon and band leaders Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, Harrison began to play slide guitar, and also began to write "My Sweet Lord", which became his first single as a solo artist. [83]

All Things Must Pass: 1970 Edit

For many years, Harrison was restricted in his songwriting contributions to the Beatles' albums, but he released All Things Must Pass, a triple album [84] with two discs of his songs and the third of recordings of Harrison jamming with friends. [76] [85] The album was regarded by many as his best work, and it topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. [86] [87] [nb 6] The LP produced the number-one hit single "My Sweet Lord" and the top-ten single "What Is Life". [89] The album was co-produced by Phil Spector using his "Wall of Sound" approach, [90] and the musicians included Starr, Clapton, Gary Wright, Preston, Klaus Voormann, the whole of Delaney and Bonnie's Friends band and the Apple group Badfinger. [76] [91] [nb 7] On release, All Things Must Pass was received with critical acclaim [93] Ben Gerson of Rolling Stone described it as being "of classic Spectorian proportions, Wagnerian, Brucknerian, the music of mountain tops and vast horizons". [94] Author and musicologist Ian Inglis considers the lyrics of the album's title track "a recognition of the impermanence of human existence . a simple and poignant conclusion" to Harrison's former band. [95] In 1971, Bright Tunes sued Harrison for copyright infringement over "My Sweet Lord", owing to its similarity to the 1963 Chiffons hit "He's So Fine". [96] When the case was heard in the United States district court in 1976, he denied deliberately plagiarising the song, but lost the case, as the judge ruled that he had done so subconsciously. [97]

In 2000, Apple Records released a thirtieth anniversary edition of the album, and Harrison actively participated in its promotion. In an interview, he reflected on the work: "It's just something that was like my continuation from the Beatles, really. It was me sort of getting out of the Beatles and just going my own way . it was a very happy occasion." [98] He commented on the production: "Well, in those days it was like the reverb was kind of used a bit more than what I would do now. In fact, I don't use reverb at all. I can't stand it . You know, it's hard to go back to anything thirty years later and expect it to be how you would want it now." [99]

The Concert for Bangladesh: 1971 Edit

Harrison responded to a request from Ravi Shankar by organising a charity event, the Concert for Bangladesh, which took place on 1 August 1971. The event drew over 40,000 people to two shows in New York's Madison Square Garden. [100] The goal of the event was to raise money to aid starving refugees during the Bangladesh Liberation War. [101] Shankar opened the show, which featured popular musicians such as Dylan, Clapton, Leon Russell, Badfinger, Preston and Starr. [101]

A triple album, The Concert for Bangladesh, was released by Apple in December, followed by a concert film in 1972. [nb 8] Credited to "George Harrison and Friends", the album topped the UK chart and peaked at number 2 in the US, [104] and went on to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. [105] Tax troubles and questionable expenses later tied up many of the proceeds, but Harrison commented: "Mainly the concert was to attract attention to the situation . The money we raised was secondary, and although we had some money problems . they still got plenty . even though it was a drop in the ocean. The main thing was, we spread the word and helped get the war ended." [106]

Living in the Material World to George Harrison: 1973–1979 Edit

Harrison's 1973 album Living in the Material World held the number one spot on the Billboard albums chart for five weeks, and the album's single, "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)", also reached number one in the US. [107] In the UK, the LP peaked at number two and the single reached number 8. [89] The album was lavishly produced and packaged, and its dominant message was Harrison's Hindu beliefs. [108] In Greene's opinion it "contained many of the strongest compositions of his career". [109] Stephen Holden, writing in Rolling Stone, felt the album was "vastly appealing" and "profoundly seductive", and that it stood "alone as an article of faith, miraculous in its radiance". [110] Other reviewers were less enthusiastic, describing the release as awkward, sanctimonious and overly sentimental. [111]

In November 1974, Harrison became the first ex-Beatle to tour North America when he began his 45-date Dark Horse Tour. [112] The shows included guest spots by his band members Billy Preston and Tom Scott, and traditional and contemporary Indian music performed by "Ravi Shankar, Family and Friends". [113] Despite numerous positive reviews, the consensus reaction to the tour was negative. [114] Some fans found Shankar's significant presence to be a bizarre disappointment, and many were affronted by what Inglis described as Harrison's "sermonizing". [115] Further, he reworked the lyrics to several Beatles songs, [115] and his laryngitis-affected vocals led to some critics calling the tour "dark hoarse". [116] The author Robert Rodriguez commented: "While the Dark Horse tour might be considered a noble failure, there were a number of fans who were tuned-in to what was being attempted. They went away ecstatic, conscious that they had just witnessed something so uplifting that it could never be repeated." [117] Simon Leng called the tour "groundbreaking" and "revolutionary in its presentation of Indian Music". [118]

In December, Harrison released Dark Horse, which was an album that earned him the least favourable reviews of his career. [119] Rolling Stone called it "the chronicle of a performer out of his element, working to a deadline, enfeebling his overtaxed talents by a rush to deliver a new 'LP product', rehearse a band, and assemble a cross-country tour, all within three weeks". [120] The album reached number 4 on the Billboard chart and the single "Dark Horse" reached number 15, but they failed to make an impact in the UK. [121] [nb 9] The music critic Mikal Gilmore described Dark Horse as "one of Harrison's most fascinating works – a record about change and loss". [122]

Harrison's final studio album for EMI and Apple Records, the soul music-inspired Extra Texture (Read All About It) (1975), [123] peaked at number 8 on the Billboard chart and number 16 in the UK. [124] Harrison considered it the least satisfactory of the three albums he had recorded since All Things Must Pass. [125] Leng identified "bitterness and dismay" in many of the tracks his long-time friend Klaus Voormann commented: "He wasn't up for it . It was a terrible time because I think there was a lot of cocaine going around, and that's when I got out of the picture . I didn't like his frame of mind". [126] He released two singles from the LP: "You", which reached the Billboard top 20, and "This Guitar (Can't Keep from Crying)", Apple's final original single release. [127]

Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976), Harrison's first album release on his own Dark Horse Records label, produced the hit singles "This Song" and "Crackerbox Palace", both of which reached the top 25 in the US. [128] [nb 10] The surreal humour of "Crackerbox Palace" reflected Harrison's association with Monty Python's Eric Idle, who directed a comical music video for the song. [131] With an emphasis on melody and musicianship, and a more subtle subject matter than the pious message of his earlier works, Thirty Three & 1/3 earned Harrison his most favourable critical notices in the US since All Things Must Pass. [131] The album peaked just outside the top ten there, but outsold his previous two LPs. [132] [133] As part of his promotion for the release, Harrison performed on Saturday Night Live with Paul Simon. [134]

In 1979, Harrison released George Harrison, which followed his second marriage and the birth of his son Dhani. [135] Co-produced by Russ Titelman, [136] the album and the single "Blow Away" both made the Billboard top 20. [137] The album marked the beginning of Harrison's gradual retreat from the music business, with several of the songs having been written in the tranquil setting of Maui in the Hawaiian archipelago. [138] Leng described George Harrison as "melodic and lush . peaceful . the work of a man who had lived the rock and roll dream twice over and was now embracing domestic as well as spiritual bliss". [139]

Somewhere in England to Cloud Nine: 1980–1987 Edit

The murder of John Lennon on 8 December 1980 disturbed Harrison and reinforced his decades-long concern about stalkers. [140] The tragedy was also a deep personal loss, although Harrison and Lennon had little contact in the years before Lennon was killed. [141] [nb 11] Following the murder, Harrison commented: "After all we went through together I had and still have great love and respect for John Lennon. I am shocked and stunned." [140] Harrison modified the lyrics of a song he had written for Starr in order to make the song a tribute to Lennon. [143] "All Those Years Ago", which included vocal contributions from Paul and Linda McCartney, as well as Starr's original drum part, peaked at number two in the US charts. [144] [145] The single was included on the album Somewhere in England in 1981. [146]

Harrison did not release any new albums for five years after 1982's Gone Troppo received little notice from critics or the public. [147] During this period he made several guest appearances, including a 1985 performance at a tribute to Carl Perkins titled Blue Suede Shoes: A Rockabilly Session. [148] [nb 12] In March 1986 he made a surprise appearance during the finale of the Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert, an event organised to raise money for the Birmingham Children's Hospital. [150] The following year, he appeared at The Prince's Trust concert at London's Wembley Arena, performing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Here Comes the Sun". [151] In February 1987 he joined Dylan, John Fogerty and Jesse Ed Davis on stage for a two-hour performance with the blues musician Taj Mahal. [152] Harrison recalled: "Bob rang me up and asked if I wanted to come out for the evening and see Taj Mahal . So we went there and had a few of these Mexican beers – and had a few more . Bob says, 'Hey, why don't we all get up and play, and you can sing?' But every time I got near the microphone, Dylan comes up and just starts singing this rubbish in my ear, trying to throw me." [153]

In November 1987, Harrison released the platinum album Cloud Nine. [154] [155] Co-produced with Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), the album included Harrison's rendition of James Ray's "Got My Mind Set on You", which went to number one in the US and number two in the UK. [156] [157] The accompanying music video received substantial airplay, [158] and another single, "When We Was Fab", a retrospective of the Beatles' career, earned two MTV Music Video Awards nominations in 1988. [159] Recorded at his estate in Friar Park, Harrison's slide guitar playing featured prominently on the album, which included several of his long-time musical collaborators, including Clapton, Jim Keltner and Jim Horn. [160] Cloud Nine reached number eight and number ten on the US and UK charts respectively, and several tracks from the album achieved placement on Billboard ' s Mainstream Rock chart – "Devil's Radio", "This Is Love" and "Cloud 9". [156]

The Traveling Wilburys and return to touring: 1988–1992 Edit

In 1988, Harrison formed the Traveling Wilburys with Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. The band had gathered in Dylan's garage to record a song for a Harrison European single release. [161] Harrison's record company decided the track, "Handle with Care", was too good for its original purpose as a B-side and asked for a full album. The LP, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1, was released in October 1988 and recorded under pseudonyms as half-brothers, supposed sons of Charles Truscott Wilbury, Sr. [162] It reached number 16 in the UK and number 3 in the US, where it was certified triple platinum. [163] Harrison's pseudonym on the album was "Nelson Wilbury" he used the name "Spike Wilbury" for their second album. [164]

In 1989, Harrison and Starr appeared in the music video for Petty's song "I Won't Back Down". [165] In October that year, Harrison assembled and released Best of Dark Horse 1976–1989, a compilation of his later solo work. [166] The album included three new songs, including "Cheer Down", which Harrison had recently contributed to the Lethal Weapon 2 film soundtrack. [167]

Following Orbison's death in December 1988, the Wilburys recorded as a four-piece. [168] Their second album, issued in October 1990, was mischievously titled Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3. According to Lynne, "That was George's idea. He said, 'Let's confuse the buggers.'" [169] It peaked at number 14 in the UK and number 11 in the US, where it was certified platinum. [163] The Wilburys never performed live, and the group did not record together again following the release of their second album. [170]

In December 1991, Harrison joined Clapton for a tour of Japan. [171] It was Harrison's first since 1974 and no others followed. [172] [nb 13] On 6 April 1992, Harrison held a benefit concert for the Natural Law Party at the Royal Albert Hall, his first London performance since the Beatles' 1969 rooftop concert. [174] In October 1992, he performed at a Bob Dylan tribute concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City, playing alongside Dylan, Clapton, McGuinn, Petty and Neil Young. [175]

The Beatles Anthology: 1994–1996 Edit

In 1994, Harrison began a collaboration with McCartney, Starr and producer Jeff Lynne for the Beatles Anthology project. This included the recording of two new Beatles songs built around solo vocal and piano tapes recorded by Lennon as well as lengthy interviews about the Beatles' career. [176] Released in December 1995, "Free as a Bird" was the first new Beatles single since 1970. [177] In March 1996, they released a second single, "Real Love". Harrison refused to participate in the completion of a third song. [178] He later commented on the project: "I hope somebody does this to all my crap demos when I'm dead, make them into hit songs." [179]

Following the Anthology project, Harrison collaborated with Ravi Shankar on the latter's Chants of India. Harrison's final television appearance was a VH-1 special to promote the album, taped in May 1997. [180] Soon afterwards, Harrison was diagnosed with throat cancer [181] he was treated with radiotherapy, which was thought at the time to be successful. [182] He publicly blamed years of smoking for the illness. [183]

In January 1998, Harrison attended Carl Perkins' funeral in Jackson, Tennessee, where he performed a brief rendition of Perkins' song "Your True Love". [184] In May, he represented the Beatles at London's High Court in their successful bid to gain control of unauthorised recordings made of a 1962 performance by the band at the Star-Club in Hamburg. [185] [186] The following year, he was the most active of his former bandmates in promoting the reissue of their 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine. [185] [187]

On 30 December 1999, Harrison and his wife were attacked at their home, Friar Park. Michael Abram, a 34-year-old man suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, broke in and attacked Harrison with a kitchen knife, puncturing a lung and causing head injuries before Olivia Harrison incapacitated the assailant by striking him repeatedly with a fireplace poker and a lamp. [182] [188] Harrison later commented, "I felt exhausted and could feel the strength draining from me. I vividly remember a deliberate thrust to my chest. I could hear my lung exhaling and had blood in my mouth. I believed I had been fatally stabbed." [189] Following the attack, Harrison was hospitalised with more than 40 stab wounds, and part of his punctured lung was removed. [190] He released a statement soon afterwards regarding his assailant: "He wasn't a burglar, and he certainly wasn't auditioning for the Traveling Wilburys. Adi Shankara, an Indian historical, spiritual and groovy-type person, once said, 'Life is fragile like a raindrop on a lotus leaf.' And you'd better believe it." [191] [nb 14]

The injuries inflicted on Harrison during the home invasion were downplayed by his family in their comments to the press. Having seen Harrison looking so healthy beforehand, those in his social circle believed that the attack brought about a change in him and was the cause for his cancer's return. [190] In May 2001, it was revealed that Harrison had undergone an operation to remove a cancerous growth from one of his lungs, [195] and in July, it was reported that he was being treated for a brain tumour at a clinic in Switzerland. [196] While in Switzerland, Starr visited him but had to cut short his stay in order to travel to Boston, where his daughter was undergoing emergency brain surgery. Harrison, who was very weak, quipped: "Do you want me to come with you?" [197] In November 2001, he began radiotherapy at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City for non-small cell lung cancer that had spread to his brain. [198] When the news was made public, Harrison bemoaned his physician's breach of privacy, and his estate later claimed damages. [nb 15]

On 29 November 2001, Harrison died on a property belonging to McCartney, on Heather Road in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles. He was 58 years old. [204] [205] He died in the company of Olivia, Dhani, Shankar and the latter's wife Sukanya and daughter Anoushka, and Hare Krishna devotees Shyamsundar Das and Mukunda Goswami, who chanted verses from the Bhagavad Gita. [206] His final message to the world, as relayed in a statement by Olivia and Dhani, was: "Everything else can wait, but the search for God cannot wait, and love one another." [207] [nb 16] He was cremated at Hollywood Forever Cemetery and his funeral was held at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades, California. [209] His close family scattered his ashes according to Hindu tradition in a private ceremony in the Ganges and Yamuna rivers near Varanasi, India. [210] He left almost £100 million in his will. [211]

Harrison's final album, Brainwashed (2002), was released posthumously after it was completed by his son Dhani and Jeff Lynne. [212] A quotation from the Bhagavad Gita is included in the album's liner notes: "There never was a time when you or I did not exist. Nor will there be any future when we shall cease to be." [213] A media-only single, "Stuck Inside a Cloud", which Leng describes as "a uniquely candid reaction to illness and mortality", achieved number 27 on Billboard ' s Adult Contemporary chart. [214] [215] The single "Any Road", released in May 2003, peaked at number 37 on the UK Singles Chart. [157] "Marwa Blues" went on to receive the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, while "Any Road" was nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. [216]

Guitar work Edit

Harrison's guitar work with the Beatles was varied and flexible. Although not fast or flashy, his lead guitar playing was solid and typified the more subdued lead guitar style of the early 1960s. His rhythm guitar playing was innovative, for example when he used a capo to shorten the strings on an acoustic guitar, as on the Rubber Soul album and "Here Comes the Sun", to create a bright, sweet sound. [217] [218] Eric Clapton felt that Harrison was "clearly an innovator" as he was "taking certain elements of R&B and rock and rockabilly and creating something unique". [219] Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner described Harrison as "a guitarist who was never showy but who had an innate, eloquent melodic sense. He played exquisitely in the service of the song". [220] The guitar picking style of Chet Atkins and Carl Perkins influenced Harrison, giving a country music feel to many of the Beatles' recordings. [221] He identified Chuck Berry as another early influence. [222]

In 1961 the Beatles recorded "Cry for a Shadow", a blues-inspired instrumental co-written by Lennon and Harrison, who is credited with composing the song's lead guitar part, building on unusual chord voicings and imitating the style of other English groups such as the Shadows. [223] Harrison's liberal use of the diatonic scale in his guitar playing reveals the influence of Buddy Holly, and his interest in Berry inspired him to compose songs based on the blues scale while incorporating a rockabilly feel in the style of Perkins. [224] [nb 17] Another of Harrison's musical techniques was the use of guitar lines written in octaves, as on "I'll Be on My Way". [226]

By 1964, he had begun to develop a distinctive personal style as a guitarist, writing parts that featured the use of nonresolving tones, as with the ending chord arpeggios on "A Hard Day's Night". [224] On this and other songs from the period, he used a Rickenbacker 360/12 – an electric guitar with twelve strings, the low eight of which are tuned in pairs, one octave apart, with the higher four being pairs tuned in unison. [226] His use of the Rickenbacker on A Hard Day's Night helped to popularise the model, and the jangly sound became so prominent that Melody Maker termed it the Beatles' "secret weapon". [227] [nb 18] In 1965 Harrison used an expression pedal to control his guitar's volume on "I Need You", creating a syncopated flautando effect with the melody resolving its dissonance through tonal displacements. [229] He used the same volume-swell technique on "Yes It Is", applying what Everett described as "ghostly articulation" to the song's natural harmonics. [224]

In 1966, Harrison contributed innovative musical ideas to Revolver. He played backwards guitar on Lennon's composition "I'm Only Sleeping" and a guitar counter-melody on "And Your Bird Can Sing" that moved in parallel octaves above McCartney's bass downbeats. [230] His guitar playing on "I Want to Tell You" exemplified the pairing of altered chordal colours with descending chromatic lines and his guitar part for Sgt Pepper ' s "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" mirrors Lennon's vocal line in much the same way that a sarangi player accompanies a khyal singer in a Hindu devotional song. [231]

Everett described Harrison's guitar solo from "Old Brown Shoe" as "stinging [and] highly Claptonesque". [232] He identified two of the composition's significant motifs: a bluesy trichord and a diminished triad with roots in A and E. [233] Huntley called the song "a sizzling rocker with a ferocious . solo". [234] In Greene's opinion, Harrison's demo for "Old Brown Shoe" contains "one of the most complex lead guitar solos on any Beatles song". [235]

Harrison's playing on Abbey Road, and in particular on "Something", marked a significant moment in his development as a guitarist. The song's guitar solo shows a varied range of influences, incorporating the blues guitar style of Clapton and the styles of Indian gamakas. [236] According to author and musicologist Kenneth Womack: "'Something' meanders toward the most unforgettable of Harrison's guitar solos . A masterpiece in simplicity, [it] reaches toward the sublime". [237]

After Delaney Bramlett inspired him to learn slide guitar, Harrison began to incorporate it into his solo work, which allowed him to mimic many traditional Indian instruments, including the sarangi and the dilruba. [238] Leng described Harrison's slide guitar solo on Lennon's "How Do You Sleep?" as a departure for "the sweet soloist of 'Something'", calling his playing "rightly famed . one of Harrison's greatest guitar statements". [239] Lennon commented: "That's the best he's ever fucking played in his life." [239]

A Hawaiian influence is notable in much of Harrison's music, ranging from his slide guitar work on Gone Troppo (1982) to his televised performance of the Cab Calloway standard "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" on ukulele in 1992. [240] Lavezzoli described Harrison's slide playing on the Grammy-winning instrumental "Marwa Blues" (2002) as demonstrating Hawaiian influences while comparing the melody to an Indian sarod or veena, calling it "yet another demonstration of Harrison's unique slide approach". [241] Harrison was an admirer of George Formby and a member of the Ukulele Society of Great Britain, and played a ukulele solo in the style of Formby at the end of "Free as a Bird". [242] He performed at a Formby convention in 1991, and served as the honorary president of the George Formby Appreciation Society. [243] Harrison played bass guitar on a few tracks, including the Beatles songs "She Said She Said", "Golden Slumbers", "Birthday" and "Honey Pie". [244] He also played bass on several solo recordings, including "Faster", "Wake Up My Love" and "Bye Bye Love". [245]

Sitar and Indian music Edit

During the Beatles' American tour in August 1965, Harrison's friend David Crosby of the Byrds introduced him to Indian classical music and the work of sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. [246] [247] Harrison described Shankar as "the first person who ever impressed me in my life . and he was the only person who didn't try to impress me." [248] Harrison became fascinated with the sitar and immersed himself in Indian music. [249] According to Lavezzoli, Harrison's introduction of the instrument on the Beatles' song "Norwegian Wood" "opened the floodgates for Indian instrumentation in rock music, triggering what Shankar would call 'The Great Sitar Explosion' of 1966–67". [250] Lavezzoli recognises Harrison as "the man most responsible for this phenomenon". [251] [nb 19]

In June 1966 Harrison met Shankar at the home of Mrs Angadi of the Asian Music Circle, asked to be his student, and was accepted. [253] Before this meeting, Harrison had recorded his Revolver track "Love You To", contributing a sitar part that Lavezzoli describes as an "astonishing improvement" over "Norwegian Wood" and "the most accomplished performance on sitar by any rock musician". [254] On 6 July, Harrison travelled to India to buy a sitar from Rikhi Ram & Sons in New Delhi. [253] In September, following the Beatles' final tour, he returned to India to study sitar for six weeks with Shankar. [253] He initially stayed in Bombay until fans learned of his arrival, then moved to a houseboat on a remote lake in Kashmir. [253] During this visit, he also received tutelage from Shambhu Das, Shankar's protégé. [255] [256]

Harrison studied the instrument until 1968, when, following a discussion with Shankar about the need to find his "roots", an encounter with Clapton and Jimi Hendrix at a hotel in New York convinced him to return to guitar playing. Harrison commented: "I decided . I'm not going to be a great sitar player . because I should have started at least fifteen years earlier." [257] Harrison continued to use Indian instrumentation occasionally on his solo albums and remained strongly associated with the genre. [258] Lavezzoli groups him with Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel as the three rock musicians who have given the most "mainstream exposure to non-Western musics, or the concept of 'world music'". [259]

Songwriting Edit

Harrison wrote his first song, "Don't Bother Me", while sick in a hotel bed in Bournemouth during August 1963, as "an exercise to see if I could write a song", as he remembered. [260] His songwriting ability improved throughout the Beatles' career, but his material did not earn full respect from Lennon, McCartney and producer George Martin until near the group's break-up. [261] In 1969, McCartney told Lennon: "Until this year, our songs have been better than George's. Now this year his songs are at least as good as ours". [262] Harrison often had difficulty getting the band to record his songs. [263] [77] Most Beatles albums from 1965 onwards contain at least two Harrison compositions three of his songs appear on Revolver, "the album on which Harrison came of age as a songwriter", according to Inglis. [264]

Harrison wrote the chord progression of "Don't Bother Me" almost exclusively in the Dorian mode, demonstrating an interest in exotic tones that eventually culminated in his embrace of Indian music. [265] The latter proved a strong influence on his songwriting and contributed to his innovation within the Beatles. According to Mikal Gilmore of Rolling Stone, "Harrison's openness to new sounds and textures cleared new paths for his rock and roll compositions. His use of dissonance on . 'Taxman' and 'I Want to Tell You' was revolutionary in popular music – and perhaps more originally creative than the avant-garde mannerisms that Lennon and McCartney borrowed from the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Luciano Berio, Edgard Varèse and Igor Stravinsky . " [266]

Of the 1967 Harrison song "Within You Without You", author Gerry Farrell said that Harrison had created a "new form", calling the composition "a quintessential fusion of pop and Indian music". [267] Lennon called the song one of Harrison's best: "His mind and his music are clear. There is his innate talent, he brought that sound together." [268] In his next fully Indian-styled song, "The Inner Light", Harrison embraced the Karnatak discipline of Indian music, rather than the Hindustani style he had used in "Love You To" and "Within You Without You". [269] Writing in 1997, Farrell commented: "It is a mark of Harrison's sincere involvement with Indian music that, nearly thirty years on, the Beatles' 'Indian' songs remain the most imaginative and successful examples of this type of fusion – for example, 'Blue Jay Way' and 'The Inner Light'." [270]

Beatles biographer Bob Spitz described "Something" as a masterpiece, and "an intensely stirring romantic ballad that would challenge 'Yesterday' and 'Michelle' as one of the most recognizable songs they ever produced". [271] Inglis considered Abbey Road a turning point in Harrison's development as a songwriter and musician. He described Harrison's two contributions to the LP, "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something", as "exquisite", declaring them equal to any previous Beatles songs. [69]

Collaborations Edit

From 1968 onwards, Harrison collaborated with other musicians he brought in Eric Clapton to play lead guitar on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" for the 1968 Beatles' White Album, [272] and collaborated with John Barham on his 1968 debut solo album, Wonderwall Music, which included contributions from Clapton again, as well as Peter Tork from the Monkees. [273] He played on tracks by Dave Mason, Nicky Hopkins, Alvin Lee, Ronnie Wood, Billy Preston and Tom Scott. [274] Harrison co-wrote songs and music with Dylan, Clapton, Preston, Doris Troy, David Bromberg, Gary Wright, Wood, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty, among others. [275] Harrison's music projects during the final years of the Beatles included producing Apple Records artists Doris Troy, Jackie Lomax and Billy Preston. [276]

Harrison co-wrote the song "Badge" with Clapton, which was included on Cream's 1969 album, Goodbye. [277] Harrison played rhythm guitar on the track, using the pseudonym "L'Angelo Misterioso" for contractual reasons. [278] In May 1970 he played guitar on several songs during a recording session for Dylan's album New Morning. [279] Between 1971 and 1973 he co-wrote and/or produced three top ten hits for Starr: "It Don't Come Easy", "Back Off Boogaloo" and "Photograph". [280] Aside from "How Do You Sleep?", his contributions to Lennon's 1971 album Imagine included a slide guitar solo on "Gimme Some Truth" and dobro on "Crippled Inside". [281] Also that year, he produced and played slide guitar on Badfinger's top ten hit "Day After Day", and a dobro on Preston's "I Wrote a Simple Song". [282] [nb 20] He worked with Harry Nilsson on "You're Breakin' My Heart" (1972) and with Cheech & Chong on "Basketball Jones" (1973). [284]

In 1974 Harrison founded Dark Horse Records as an avenue for collaboration with other musicians. [285] He wanted Dark Horse to serve as a creative outlet for artists, as Apple Records had for the Beatles. [286] Eric Idle commented: "He's extremely generous, and he backs and supports all sorts of people that you'll never, ever hear of." [287] The first acts signed to the new label were Ravi Shankar and the duo Splinter. Harrison produced and made multiple musical contributions to Splinter's debut album, The Place I Love, which provided Dark Horse with its first hit, "Costafine Town". [288] He also produced and played guitar and autoharp on Shankar's Shankar Family & Friends, the label's other inaugural release. [289] Other artists signed by Dark Horse include Attitudes, Henry McCullough, Jiva and Stairsteps. [290]

Harrison collaborated with Tom Scott on Scott's 1975 album New York Connection, and in 1981 he played guitar on "Walk a Thin Line", from Mick Fleetwood's The Visitor. [291] His contributions to Starr's solo career continued with "Wrack My Brain", a 1981 US top 40 hit written and produced by Harrison, [292] and guitar overdubs to two tracks on Vertical Man (1998). [293] In 1996 Harrison recorded "Distance Makes No Difference With Love" with Carl Perkins for the latter's album Go Cat Go!, and in 1990 he played slide guitar on the title track of Dylan's Under the Red Sky album. [294] In 2001 he performed as a guest musician on Jeff Lynne and Electric Light Orchestra's comeback album Zoom, and on the song "Love Letters" for Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings. [295] He also co-wrote a new song with his son Dhani, "Horse to the Water", which was recorded on 2 October, eight weeks before his death. It appeared on Jools Holland's album Small World, Big Band. [296]

Guitars Edit

When Harrison joined the Quarrymen in 1958 his main guitar was a Höfner President Acoustic, which he soon traded for a Höfner Club 40 model. [297] His first solid-body electric guitar was a Czech-built Jolana Futurama/Grazioso. [298] The guitars he used on early recordings were mainly Gretsch models, played through a Vox amplifier, including a Gretsch Duo Jet that he bought secondhand in 1961 and posed with on the album cover for Cloud Nine. [299] He also bought a Gretsch Tennessean and a Gretsch Country Gentleman, which he played on "She Loves You", and during the Beatles' 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. [300] [301] In 1963, he bought a Rickenbacker 425 Fireglo, and in 1964 he acquired a Rickenbacker 360/12 guitar, which was the second of its kind to be manufactured. [302] Harrison obtained his first Fender Stratocaster in 1965 and first used it during the recording of the Help! album that February he also used it when recording Rubber Soul later that year, most notably on the song "Nowhere Man". [303]

In early 1966, Harrison and Lennon each purchased Epiphone Casinos, which they used on Revolver. [304] Harrison also used a Gibson J-160E and a Gibson SG Standard while recording the album. [305] He later painted his Stratocaster in a psychedelic design that included the word "Bebopalula" above the pickguard and the guitar's nickname, "Rocky", on the headstock. [306] He played this guitar in the Magical Mystery Tour film and throughout his solo career. [307] In July 1968, Clapton gave him a Gibson Les Paul, [308] which Harrison nicknamed "Lucy". [309] Around this time, he obtained a Gibson Jumbo J-200 acoustic guitar, [310] which he subsequently gave to Dylan to use at the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival. [311] In late 1968, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation gave Harrison a custom-made Fender Telecaster Rosewood prototype, made especially for him by Philip Kubicki. [312] [313] [nb 21] In August 2017, Fender released a "Limited Edition George Harrison Rosewood Telecaster" modelled after a Telecaster that Roger Rossmeisl originally created for Harrison. [316]

Harrison helped finance Ravi Shankar's documentary Raga and released it through Apple Films in 1971. [317] He also produced, with Apple manager Allen Klein, the Concert for Bangladesh film. [318] In 1973, he produced the feature film Little Malcolm, [319] but the project was lost amid the litigation surrounding the former Beatles ending their business ties with Klein. [320]

In 1973, Peter Sellers introduced Harrison to Denis O'Brien. Soon after, the two went into business together. [321] In 1978, in an effort to produce Monty Python's Life of Brian, they formed the film production and distribution company HandMade Films. [322] Their opportunity for investment came after EMI Films withdrew funding at the demand of their chief executive, Bernard Delfont. [323] Harrison financed the production of Life of Brian in part by mortgaging his home, which Idle later called "the most anybody's ever paid for a cinema ticket in history". [324] [287] The film grossed $21 million at the box office in the US. [321] The first film distributed by HandMade Films was The Long Good Friday (1980), and the first they produced was Time Bandits (1981), a co-scripted project by Monty Python ' s Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin. [325] The film featured a new song by Harrison, "Dream Away", in the closing credits. [324] [326] Time Bandits became one of HandMade's most successful and acclaimed efforts with a budget of $5 million, it earned $35 million in the US within ten weeks of its release. [326]

Harrison served as executive producer for 23 films with HandMade, including A Private Function, Mona Lisa, Shanghai Surprise, Withnail and I and How to Get Ahead in Advertising. [318] He made cameo appearances in several of these films, including a role as a nightclub singer in Shanghai Surprise, for which he recorded five new songs. [327] According to Ian Inglis, Harrison's "executive role in HandMade Films helped to sustain British cinema at a time of crisis, producing some of the country's most memorable movies of the 1980s." [328] Following a series of box office bombs in the late 1980s, and excessive debt incurred by O'Brien which was guaranteed by Harrison, HandMade's financial situation became precarious. [329] [330] The company ceased operations in 1991 [324] and was sold three years later to Paragon Entertainment, a Canadian corporation. [331] Afterwards, Harrison sued O'Brien for $25 million for fraud and negligence, resulting in an $11.6 million judgement in 1996. [332] [324]

Harrison was involved in humanitarian and political activism throughout his life. In the 1960s, the Beatles supported the civil rights movement and protested against the Vietnam War. In early 1971, Ravi Shankar consulted Harrison about how to provide aid to the people of Bangladesh after the 1970 Bhola cyclone and the Bangladesh Liberation War. [333] Harrison hastily wrote and recorded the song "Bangla Desh", which became pop music's first charity single when issued by Apple Records in late July. [334] [335] He also pushed Apple to release Shankar's Joi Bangla EP in an effort to raise further awareness for the cause. [104] Shankar asked for Harrison's advice about planning a small charity event in the US. Harrison responded by organising the Concert for Bangladesh, which raised more than $240,000. [336] Around $13.5 million was generated through the album and film releases, [337] although most of the funds were frozen in an Internal Revenue Service audit for ten years, due to Klein's failure to register the event as a UNICEF benefit beforehand. [338] In June 1972, UNICEF honoured Harrison and Shankar, and Klein, with the "Child Is the Father of Man" award at an annual ceremony in recognition of their fundraising efforts for Bangladesh. [339]

From 1980, Harrison became a vocal supporter of Greenpeace and CND. [340] He also protested against the use of nuclear energy with Friends of the Earth, [341] [342] and helped finance Vole, a green magazine launched by Monty Python member Terry Jones. [343] [nb 22] In 1990, he helped promote his wife Olivia's Romanian Angel Appeal [345] on behalf of the thousands of Romanian orphans left abandoned by the state following the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. [346] Harrison recorded a benefit single, "Nobody's Child", with the Traveling Wilburys, and assembled a fundraising album with contributions from other artists including Clapton, Starr, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Donovan and Van Morrison. [347] [348]

The Concert for Bangladesh has been described as an innovative precursor for the large-scale charity rock shows that followed, including Live Aid. [349] The George Harrison Humanitarian Fund for UNICEF, a joint effort between the Harrison family and the US Fund for UNICEF, aims to support programmes that help children caught in humanitarian emergencies. [350] In December 2007, they donated $450,000 to help the victims of Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh. [350] On 13 October 2009, the first George Harrison Humanitarian Award went to Ravi Shankar for his efforts in saving the lives of children, and his involvement with the Concert for Bangladesh. [351]

Hinduism Edit

By the mid-1960s Harrison had become an admirer of Indian culture and mysticism, introducing it to the other Beatles. [352] During the filming of Help! in the Bahamas, they met the founder of Sivananda Yoga, Swami Vishnu-devananda, who gave each of them a signed copy of his book, The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga. [353] Between the end of the last Beatles tour in 1966 and the beginning of the Sgt Pepper recording sessions, he made a pilgrimage to India with his wife Pattie there, he studied sitar with Ravi Shankar, met several gurus, and visited various holy places. [354] In 1968 he travelled to Rishikesh in northern India with the other Beatles to study meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. [354] [nb 23] Harrison's use of psychedelic drugs encouraged his path to meditation and Hinduism. He commented: "For me, it was like a flash. The first time I had acid, it just opened up something in my head that was inside of me, and I realized a lot of things. I didn't learn them because I already knew them, but that happened to be the key that opened the door to reveal them. From the moment I had that, I wanted to have it all the time – these thoughts about the yogis and the Himalayas, and Ravi's music." [134]

In line with the Hindu yoga tradition, Harrison became a vegetarian in the late 1960s. [356] After being given various religious texts by Shankar in 1966, he remained a lifelong advocate of the teachings of Swami Vivekananda and Paramahansa Yogananda – yogis and authors, respectively, of Raja Yoga and Autobiography of a Yogi. [357] In mid-1969, he produced the single "Hare Krishna Mantra", performed by members of the London Radha Krishna Temple. [358] Having also helped the Temple devotees become established in Britain, Harrison then met their leader, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, whom he described as "my friend . my master" and "a perfect example of everything he preached". [359] Harrison embraced the Hare Krishna tradition, particularly japa-yoga chanting with beads, and became a lifelong devotee. [358] [nb 24]

Regarding other faiths, he once remarked: "All religions are branches of one big tree. It doesn't matter what you call Him just as long as you call." [361] He commented on his beliefs:

Krishna actually was in a body as a person . What makes it complicated is, if he's God, what's he doing fighting on a battlefield? It took me ages to try to figure that out, and again it was Yogananda's spiritual interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita that made me realise what it was. Our idea of Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield in the chariot. So this is the point – that we're in these bodies, which is like a kind of chariot, and we're going through this incarnation, this life, which is kind of a battlefield. The senses of the body . are the horses pulling the chariot, and we have to get control over the chariot by getting control over the reins. And Arjuna in the end says, "Please Krishna, you drive the chariot" because unless we bring Christ or Krishna or Buddha or whichever of our spiritual guides . we're going to crash our chariot, and we're going to turn over, and we're going to get killed in the battlefield. That's why we say "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna", asking Krishna to come and take over the chariot. [362]

Before his religious conversion, Cliff Richard had been the only British performer known for similar activities Richard's conversion to Christianity in 1966 had gone largely unnoticed by the public. "By contrast," wrote Inglis, "Harrison's spiritual journey was seen as a serious and important development that reflected popular music's increasing maturity . what he, and the Beatles, had managed to overturn was the paternalistic assumption that popular musicians had no role other than to stand on stage and sing their hit songs." [363]

Family and interests Edit

Harrison married model Pattie Boyd on 21 January 1966, with McCartney serving as best man. [364] Harrison and Boyd had met in 1964 during the production of the film A Hard Day's Night, in which the 19-year-old Boyd had been cast as a schoolgirl. [365] They separated in 1974 and their divorce was finalised in 1977. [366] Boyd said her decision to end the marriage was due largely to George's repeated infidelities. The last infidelity culminated in an affair with Ringo's wife Maureen, which Boyd called "the final straw". [367] She characterised the last year of their marriage as "fuelled by alcohol and cocaine", and she stated: "George used coke excessively, and I think it changed him . it froze his emotions and hardened his heart." [368] She subsequently moved in with Eric Clapton, and they married in 1979. [369] [nb 25]

Harrison married Dark Horse Records' secretary Olivia Trinidad Arias on 2 September 1978. They had met at the A&M Records offices in Los Angeles in 1974, and together had one son, Dhani Harrison, born on 1 August 1978. [371]

He restored the English manor house and grounds of Friar Park, his home in Henley-on-Thames, where several of his music videos were filmed including "Crackerbox Palace" the grounds also served as the background for the cover of All Things Must Pass. [372] [nb 26] He employed ten workers to maintain the 36-acre (15 ha) garden. [376] Harrison commented on gardening as a form of escapism: "Sometimes I feel like I'm actually on the wrong planet, and it's great when I'm in my garden, but the minute I go out the gate I think: 'What the hell am I doing here?'" [377] His autobiography, I, Me, Mine, is dedicated "to gardeners everywhere". [378] The former Beatles publicist Derek Taylor helped Harrison write the book, which said little about the Beatles, focusing instead on Harrison's hobbies, music and lyrics. [379] Taylor commented: "George is not disowning the Beatles . but it was a long time ago and actually a short part of his life." [380]

Harrison had an interest in sports cars and motor racing he was one of the 100 people who purchased the McLaren F1 road car. [381] He had collected photos of racing drivers and their cars since he was young at 12 he had attended his first race, the 1955 British Grand Prix at Aintree. [381] [382] He wrote "Faster" as a tribute to the Formula One racing drivers Jackie Stewart and Ronnie Peterson. Proceeds from its release went to the Gunnar Nilsson cancer charity, set up after the Swedish driver's death from the disease in 1978. [383] Harrison's first extravagant car, a 1964 Aston Martin DB5, was sold at auction on 7 December 2011 in London. An anonymous Beatles collector paid £350,000 for the vehicle that Harrison had bought new in January 1965. [384]

Relationships with the other Beatles Edit

For most of the Beatles' career the relationships in the group were close. According to Hunter Davies, "the Beatles spent their lives not living a communal life, but communally living the same life. They were each other's greatest friends." Harrison's ex-wife Pattie Boyd described how the Beatles "all belonged to each other" and admitted, "George has a lot with the others that I can never know about. Nobody, not even the wives, can break through or even comprehend it." [385] Starr said, "We really looked out for each other and we had so many laughs together. In the old days we'd have the biggest hotel suites, the whole floor of the hotel, and the four of us would end up in the bathroom, just to be with each other." He added, "there were some really loving, caring moments between four people: a hotel room here and there – a really amazing closeness. Just four guys who loved each other. It was pretty sensational." [386]

Lennon stated that his relationship with Harrison was "one of young follower and older guy . [he] was like a disciple of mine when we started." [387] The two later bonded over their LSD experiences, finding common ground as seekers of spirituality. They took radically different paths thereafter with Harrison finding God and Lennon coming to the conclusion that people are the creators of their own lives. [388] In 1974, Harrison said of his former bandmate: "John Lennon is a saint and he's heavy-duty, and he's great and I love him. But at the same time, he's such a bastard – but that's the great thing about him, you see?" [389]

Harrison and McCartney were the first of the Beatles to meet, having shared a school bus, and often learned and rehearsed new guitar chords together. [390] McCartney said that he and Harrison usually shared a bedroom while touring. [391] McCartney has referred to Harrison as his "baby brother". [392] In a 1974 BBC radio interview with Alan Freeman, Harrison stated: "[McCartney] ruined me as a guitar player". [393] Perhaps the most significant obstacle to a Beatles reunion after the death of Lennon was Harrison and McCartney's personal relationship, as both men admitted that they often got on each other's nerves. [394] Rodriguez commented: "Even to the end of George's days, theirs was a volatile relationship". [395]

In June 1965, Harrison and the other Beatles were appointed Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). [396] They received their insignia from the Queen at an investiture at Buckingham Palace on 26 October. [397] In 1971 the Beatles received an Academy Award for the best Original Song Score for the film Let It Be. [398] The minor planet 4149 Harrison, discovered in 1984, was named after him, [399] as was a variety of Dahlia flower. [400] In December 1992 he became the first recipient of the Billboard Century Award, an honour presented to music artists for significant bodies of work. [401] The award recognised Harrison's "critical role in laying the groundwork for the modern concept of world music" and for his having "advanced society's comprehension of the spiritual and altruistic power of popular music". [402] Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 11 in their list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". He is also in number 65 in the list of "100 greatest songwriters of all time" by the same magazine. [403]

In 2002, on the first anniversary of his death, the Concert for George was held at the Royal Albert Hall. Eric Clapton organised the event, which included performances by many of Harrison's friends and musical collaborators, including McCartney and Starr. [404] Eric Idle, who described Harrison as "one of the few morally good people that rock and roll has produced", was among the performers of Monty Python's "Lumberjack Song". [405] The profits from the concert went to Harrison's charity, the Material World Charitable Foundation. [404]

In 2004, Harrison was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist by his former bandmates Lynne and Petty, and into the Madison Square Garden Walk of Fame in 2006 for the Concert for Bangladesh. [406] On 14 April 2009, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce awarded Harrison a star on the Walk of Fame in front of the Capitol Records Building. McCartney, Lynne and Petty were present when the star was unveiled. Harrison's widow Olivia, the actor Tom Hanks and Idle made speeches at the ceremony, and Harrison's son Dhani spoke the Hare Krishna mantra. [407]

A documentary film titled George Harrison: Living in the Material World, directed by Martin Scorsese, was released in October 2011. The film features interviews with Olivia and Dhani Harrison, Klaus Voormann, Terry Gilliam, Starr, Clapton, McCartney, Keltner and Astrid Kirchherr. [408]


Woody Harrelson

AP On June 1, 1996, Harrelson was arrested and charged with marijuana possession in Kentucky after he planted four hemp seeds to symbolically challenge the state law, which did not distinguish between marijuana and hemp, which has industrial uses. A jury later dismissed the charge.

London police conduct drug raid at home of George Harrison - HISTORY

John Lennon and Yoko Ono after making a court appearance (AP)

On this day, Oct. 18, in 1968, a notorious narcotics sergeant arrested John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their London home.

The Georgian rowhouse at 34 Montagu Square in London was owned by Beatles drummer Ringo Starr and was the location of the nude photo of Lennon and Ono for the controversial cover of their “Two Virgins” album.

The midnight raid was led by Detective Sgt. Norman Pilcher, of the Scotland Yard drug squad. Pilcher was famous for arresting rock stars such as Eric Clapton, and Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, of the Rolling Stones.

Police read a warrant through a bedroom window of Lennon’s home, then broke down the front door. Drug-sniffing dogs found hashish, a cigarette rolling machine with traces of marijuana, and half a gram of morphine.

The couple denied that the drugs belonged to them, and Lennon claimed he was set up. Lennon pleaded guilty to misdemeanor cannabis possession and was fined. The charges against Ono were dropped.

U.S. law enforcement officials later used the misdemeanor charge to order Lennon’s deportation from the United of the States.

Several months after the arrest of Lennon, Sgt. Pilcher chose the day of Beatle band mate Paul McCartney‘s wedding to launch a raid on the home of George Harrison.

Pilcher later found himself in hot water. In 1973, Pilcher was convicted of planting drugs on another celebrity and sentenced to four years in prison.


Watch the video: The Beatles Something from the Get Back Sessions George asks for help with the lyrics