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 Olivia : George would have considered a Beatles reunion...

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Nombre de messages : 2726
Age : 37
Ma ville : Québec, Oui oui, LA ville du show mémorable de 2008!
# membre de Beatles Québec : 275
Mon Beatles préféré : Paul Lennon, George Starr
Date d'inscription : 16/08/2006

MessageSujet: Olivia : George would have considered a Beatles reunion...   Ven 12 Juin - 9:17

GEORGE HARRISON was the youngest Beatle, the gentle one, the most handsome.

As a songwriter, he was the "Dark Horse", living in the shadow of the towering Lennon-McCartney axis.

But the Fab Four guitarist spent the Sixties quietly honing writing skills which were to blossom spectacularly.

Three Beatles songs written by George during the latter stages of the band's career, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Something and Here Comes The Sun, are all-time classics.

And when they split, it was George who returned with probably the greatest solo album by an ex-Beatle - the sublime triple-vinyl LP All Things Must Pass.

Now, eight years after he died of cancer aged 58, the first retrospective collection spanning George's entire solo career is being released, right up to 2002's posthumous Brainwashed.

Let It Roll also includes those three Beatles songs, here performed at George's Concert For Bangladesh in 1971, the all-star charity gig that prefigured Live Aid.

And there's room for signature songs My Sweet Lord, Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) and Got My Mind Set On You.

In a special interview for SFTW, George's Mexican-born wife Olivia, mother of their musician son Dhani, talks about her life with the ex-Beatle, his songs, his other passions - gardening and Formula One - and his part in the greatest band in history.

As our conversation begins, Olivia picks up a copy of the freshly printed Let It Roll album, which she produced, and looks lovingly at the picture of her late husband on the cover.

I suggest that the black and white shot is a great choice and she begins to reflect on the "charmer" she met in the Seventies while working for a record label in Los Angeles.

I love this picture. He's a handsome, handsome guy.

Was it love at first sight?

Pretty much. We felt it in our hearts from before we met. Even on the phone, we seemed to have some understanding, like you do when you meet the right person. And he was a charmer, such a charmer!

What about his sense of humour?

It was wicked. He was wicked. Even to this day, I can think about things from a simple corny old joke to just the meanest, wickedest thing you've ever heard.

How does it feel listening back to this album from across George's whole solo career?

It is difficult. I've listened to all of these songs for years, over and over. But it's difficult for me because they bounce around from different periods in George's life, which is my life.

I go off into certain memories. It would be really good for me to listen and try not to engage, just take in the music. I wish I could listen like that sometimes.

Was it hard coming up with the song selection?

It was agonising to a point where I just thought maybe I shouldn't even do this. But for now, this is a really nice way of representing George and reminding people about his music. They're all great, deep songs. Some will affect you, some will make you think.

Dhani, friends and the record label gave me suggestions but really it was all about the heart. Rising Sun (from final album Brainwashed) is really beautiful to me.

What did George try to achieve in his songwriting?

He tried to write from his own experience - the things he wanted to know about or the things that he did know. He asks a lot of questions but, at other times, like with the very first track, Got My Mind Set On You, he's singing a good old Fifties rocker of the type that always fascinated him.

Did the creative spark remain right up to the end of his life?

It truly did. In fact, I don't like to think about what he would have written. (In his final days) I gave him a cassette player.

He wanted one that had the two buttons, record and play, didn't want a digital. I found it later and it had a cassette in it with a beginning of a song, a really beautiful, acoustic song.

Was that the last thing he did?

Yes, I think so. He just said "test, test, test" and then did this little thing. He never really stopped. There were lots of unfinished tunes.

In fact, there were many cassettes around the house. He'd throw them in a drawer and forget them.

If he ever put a cassette on again, he'd say, "Oh yeah, I remember that tune."

Is there some unheard material that might be released one day?

I have some ideas about that. Some are closer to completion than others and, with those, I would ask for some help.

Despite all the incredible things that happened in his life, he seemed like a modest man.

He was pretty humble about his music but confident at the same time. He used to say he could only write what he knew from his own heart and soul. If you can't trust that, then you're in trouble.

That's how he learned to live with his own music because any musician will say, "If I could do that song again, I might do it like this." But you have to let it go.

People would say, "Well, what is your favourite song?" "Weeelll, I quite like this one." He'd often say "that one's pretty good" about Run Of The Mill, which is actually my favourite song.

How did the lyrics come to him?

It depended. One time, I said something like "till I'm blue in the face". "Oh, blue in the face," he said and picked up a guitar. Later, I found a tape and I thought, "That's Blue In The Face! He actually wrote that!"

Was My Sweet Lord his defining song?

It was a turning point and maybe it did define him in some ways. He felt he was sticking his neck out and that a lot of people didn't like to hear that word. They think you're preachy.

Most people run a mile from religious songs but that was a huge hit.

We're all looking for something and everyone, occasionally in their lives, says a prayer, whether they're at the end of their rope or not. Even if you don't believe, you think, "God, somebody help me here.". That's what it was, a prayer.

It didn't seem to be about one religion but more universal.

He would have been happy to hear you say that. He liked it because it said "Hare Krishna" and "Hallelujah" and everybody was singing it. It didn't really matter which. It was all the same thing.

And did he believe that there is only one God?

He really was not a big fan of religion. The idea was to transcend everything, your mind included, and have the experience. "If there's a God, we will see him."

His spirituality really shines out...

People agree that of all the things that came through in George's music, it would be some aspect of spirituality that came through the¬most.

What was he like to be with?

He practised what he preached. Yes, he had a dark side. Yes, he was a human being. But it was as if he was living in the consciousness of something higher.

Going through this life, it's yin and yang, light and dark and he went through all of it.

He never said he was just a good guy and we all knew he wasn't like that. He was incredibly human, he could be really tough. He had dark clouds over his head too but knew¬that.

How did being a Beatle affect him?

It's amazing that they all came through. They are incredible people - really, really amazing people, all four of them. Paul and Ringo now. I look at them and think, "You're so amazing." What they've been through and how they are. They're kind and calm and sweet and helpful and loyal.

Do you sense that, despite everything, all the people closest to the band now share a common love and unity?

Well, I certainly feel a loyalty to all of them and they, Yoko included, have been a big support for me.

What do you think of the Beatles Rock Band game which comes out later this year?

Oh, you'll love it, it's really good. The best thing is it's not violent or dark. It's uplifting, you feel good. I've been watching the graphics. I was like, "Wow! They're so great! So cute."

Were you a Beatles fan before you met George?

I loved Beatles music. It was saying something that made you feel differently. All the things anyone else has ever said about them. Yes, I had those feelings too.

Did he regret that he hadn't had more songwriting chances while he was in the band?

No, he never expressed a regret - and his writing developed late.

Was it right that they split up when they they did?

They each had so much material of their own, too much to be contained. It had to spill over. For George, it was perfect timing. I'm sure John and Paul felt the same because they made albums right after The Beatles broke up.

Do you think he would ever have got back with The Beatles if the others had wanted a reunion?

I think so, yes, I do, because he had great love for the others. He really did. As you get older, you value and treasure your friends so much more.

I don't even want to think about what it would have been like. Very often there are times I think, "Oh, I wish George were here for that." He became more and more loving towards everything. He came to appreciate his friends so much more.

What do you think of the incredible All Things Must Pass album?

I just loved it when it came out, I listened to it over and over again. It had a profound affect on me. It came at a perfect time. If it had happened any other way, maybe he wouldn't have been able to express himself in that way. That energy wouldn't have been there.

Bob Dylan sang with him at The Concert For Bangladesh and later The Traveling Wilburys and you've included George's cover of Bob song I Don't Want To Do It here. Can you explain their connection?

George admired what he wrote and admired him as a person for having a different take on things. George was like that too. You never really knew what his reaction was going to be to something. He had a different slant, a different pattern.

The Cloud Nine album was a huge hit in 1987, almost like the second coming of George's solo career.

Cloud Nine was a really happy time. He had a new friendship with Jeff Lynne (of Electric Light Orchestra). I imagine Jeff could probably dissect Beatles music. He knew all the elements. I think they shared the same sense of humour and they were both from the North.

Aside from music, what about George's love of Formula One?

He was really interested in the mechanics of the whole thing - a true fan. He didn't just swan up and down the pit lane, he knew what was going on.

He was very close to Damon Hill. I think there was a point where he was going to all the races and he thought, "Jeez, I really better make a record!"

Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll) was inspired by the eccentric gardener who used to own Friar Park, which was bought by George.

I love that song. George was a young man - aged 27 - when he bought it. The garden was derelict and overgrown. It would take a rare person to look at that and say, "This is great." But he just set about restoring it. It's really a beautiful, beautiful place and it was just about doing it for the love of it.

I read a quote where George said, "I'm more of a gardener than a musician."

When he was young, he used to go out into the woods on his own in Liverpool. I'd say, "Did you go on your own?" "Yeah, I used to go off on my bike for hours just to be outside in the air, in the elements and beautiful trees."

He said he felt close to God in nature. Anything that gave him the opportunity to transcend mundane life was where he wanted to be. If that was Formula One, fine. If that was in the garden, great. If it was in the studio, that was it.

How much time did he spend in his garden?

Hours and hours. I bought him one of those lights you put on your head. He wasn't just out in the garden, he was IN the garden. He would walk out the door and come back in with the tiniest little thing and he'd go, "Look at that!" - and he'd hand you the tiniest little flower.

He'd notice things. We'd walk along in the grass and he'd bend over and go, "Oh, look at that little guy" and it would be a bug. I'd say, "How did you see that?" He was just really present.

As our interview winds up, that final comment "he was just really present" lingers in my mind. I realise that to both Olivia and the rest of us, George Harrison is sorely missed.


Montreal - Centre Molson - 2001 - Ringo and his all Starr Band
Toronto - Air Canada Centre - 2002 - Driving Tour
Toronto - Air Canada Centre - 2005 - US Tour
Québec - Plaines d'Abraham - 2008 - Québec, 400 Zans Wink (gagnant pour le test de son Smile )
New York City - CITI Field - 2009 - CITI Field Inauguration Nights - Good Evening NYC
Montréal - Centre Bell - 2010 - Up And Coming Tour
Montréal - Centre Bell - 2011 - (Band), (Fan), On The Run Tour
Montréal - Petit Campus - 2012 - James McCartney
Montreal - Théatre Corona - 2013 - Dhani Harrison
Québec - Plaines d'Abraham - 2013 - Out The Tour ! Very Happy
London or Liverpool - SOON - ????

À la prochiaine Paul ;-)

I don't want to impress anyone... except myself ! - Paul McCartney

Sebas / Bass
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