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Remembering George Harrison: It Was 17 Years Ago Today He Passed Away

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It was 17 years ago today (November 29th, 2001) that George Harrison died after a long battle with cancer, at age 58. Harrison, the first of the Beatles to embrace Eastern philosophies and culture, will also be remembered for his humanitarian efforts, such as his 1971 Concert For Bangladesh for famine relief. Today also marks the 16th anniversary of the all star Royal Albert Hall tribute show for Harrison, The Concert For George. The concert, which was organized by Eric Clapton, featured heartfelt performances by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Jeff Lynne, and Billy Preston, among many others.

Harrison’s son, Dhani Harrison, supervised the recent release of the box set, The Apple Years: 1968-’75, which features such beloved solo works as Wonderwall Music (1968), Electronic Sound (1969), All Things Must Pass (1970), Living In The Material World (1973), Dark Horse (1974), and Extra Texture (Read All About It) (1975). The collection, which came 10 years after the release of the first Harrison box — The Dark Horse Years 1976-92 — features an exclusive DVD with “several video pieces, including a new seven-minute film with previously unreleased footage, an exclusive perfect-bound book with an introduction by Dhani, new essays by award-winning radio producer and author Kevin Howlett, and rare and previously unpublished images.

In 2012, the Martin Scorsese HBO documentary George Harrison: Living In The Material World snagged two awards at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony held at L.A.’s Nokia Theatre. The critically acclaimed doc won the prizes for Outstanding Nonfiction Special and Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming.

Following George Harrison’s death, an obviously distraught Paul McCartney met the press outside his Sussex, England home and spoke lovingly about his original friend in the Beatles: “He was a lovely man, I love him dearly. I grew up with him and I like to remember all the great times we had together in Liverpool and with the Beatles and ever since, really. Great sense of humor — I was lucky enough to see him a couple of weeks ago and he was still laughing and joking. Very brave man, and I’m just privileged to have known him, and I love him like he’s my brother. It’s a very sad day for me and for a lot of people, but I think he would have wanted us to get on and be loving and remember him as the great man he was.”

Photo Courtesy of Terry O’Neill

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