PASSING OF "THE QUIET BEATLE"
Tom Guerra on
The Passing of George Harrison for Vintage Guitar
first became aware of The Beatles and more specifically,
George Harrison, when I was about 5 years old. One of my
earliest memories was listening to "Sgt. Pepper's" while sitting with my Dad, both of us
looking with wonder at the cover layout with its images
of the band in their neon suits. In particular, George's
sitar and deliberate vocal style of "Within You,
Without You" were unlike anything I heard before,
and formed a lasting impression on me in my love for
strange yet welcoming sounds. Because of my early love
of music, my parents bought me a plastic electric guitar
that I painted in a psychedelic fashion to mimic
George's "Magical Mystery Tour" Stratocaster.
It was this early exposure to The Beatles that gave me a
love of music that has shaped both my life and my
Growing up in
the Seventies, I grew to appreciate George's superb
songwriting and arrangements of his many great songs.
Sonically, George's taste for incorporating diminished
and augmented chords in his songs made them instantly
recognizable. Lyrically, his strong spirituality
conveyed an uplifting sense of inner peace. Both of
these factors gave George's music a depth way beyond the
traditional boundaries of pop music. In the days
following his death, almost everything I read credited
George's introduction of the sitar as his most lasting
musical contribution, but I disagree. In my mind,
George's simple yet lyrical GUITAR tones (be it 12
string, early Leslie sounds, rockabilly riffs, or slide)
were an essential ingredient of many of the best songs
ever written. And speaking of slide guitar, George took
the idiom in new directions, away from its roots in the
blues and towards a melodic, layered, yet integral part
of many of his best songs. Listen to "My Sweet
Lord," "Crackerbox Palace,"
"Someplace Else" and his work with the
Traveling Wilburys and you'll hear what I mean.
it was not George's introduction of the sitar, but his
songwriting, unique slide guitar style, quest for inner
peace, and membership in The Beatles that will be
remembered as his gift to the world.
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