Tom Petty Says George Harrison Was Like A Big Brother To Him
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Tom Petty Says George Harrison Was Like A Big Brother To Him
Tom Petty says that his Traveling Wilburys bandmate, the late-George Harrison, was like a big brother to him, who both freely gave advice and answered his Beatles trivia questions. Petty, who along with the Heartbreakers, is currently on the road in support of his first Number One album, Hypnotic Eye.
Petty spoke about his relationship with Harrison, which began in the mid-'80s and lasted until his death in 2001, telling, "We became very good friends, really, for decades. I don't like to bring it up that much, because the Beatles are so special that people might see it as boasting or something. But he actually became my friend, past being a Beatle to me. It was like having an older brother that had a lot of experience in the music business, someone who I could go to with my troubles and questions."
Petty went on to say, "I think (spirituality), probably, was the greatest gift he gave me. He gave me a way of understanding a higher power without it being stupid, or having tons of rules and books to read. But the best thing I can say to people that are curious about that is George was probably everything that you thought he was, and then some more. Very funny man; he could just kill me with his humor. He was a great guy and I miss him terribly."
Although their temperament and life paths were definitely different, Petty and Harrison connected from the get go: "Strangely enough, we got along very well right away. He was the kind of person that, when he came across a good thing or the potential for a friend, he really was aggressive about it. And he had a way of knocking out anything that was extracurricular, or in the way of what was really going on. He could get you comfortable with him very quickly. I was always asking Beatle questions, and probably annoyed him. But, you know, he liked The Beatles, too. He liked talking about it and remembering it."
Tom Petty credits George Harrison for teaching him how to play the ukulele during the 1988 sessions for the first Traveling Wilburys album: "Yeah, he taught me to play and gave me a ukulele years ago. And, of course, we were close friends for a lot of years, and we did a lot of ukulele playing. It was kinda fun. They're really fun little things, which I, I never would've known if it weren't for George. I'm still grateful that he taught me how to play it." 
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