Wednesday 16 Apr 2014

George Harrison Living in the Material World

I was at a dinner party just after Steve Jobs died. Jobs was 56. We are creeping towards that number. It started a conversation about would you rather live to be 92 and be “normal” or create something famous and live to 56. Everyone picked 92. I picked 56 (and yes I realize that it’s way too late for me to create anything “famous”)(but still). What would you pick?

Which brings me to finally seeing the wonderful documentary of George Harrison (I blame having kids) (and being a stay at home dad) (oh and not having HBO). George another “genius creator” lived to be 58.

Beatle lovers will, well love it, but even a casual fan of “the quiet Beatle” should see this film. It follows George throughout his life. It’s about his evolution as a person. A person on a quest. A quest to make himself and the world a better place. It starts with his guitar-obsessed boyhood in Liverpool and continues into Beatlemania then as an independent musician and as a bohemian spiritual hunter. It was directed by Martin Scorsese.

Scorsese on why he approached Harrison’s widow “That subject matter has never left me…The more you’re in the material world, the more there is a tendency for a search for serenity and a need to not be distracted by physical elements that are around you. His music is very important to me, so I was interested in the journey that he took as an artist. The film is an exploration. We don’t know. We’re just feeling our way through.”

After Harrison’s death in 2001, Olivia (his widow) had many offers to create a film about George’s life but she agreed to work with Scorsese. The documentary uses unseen footage and interviews with Olivia and Dhani Harrison and friends like Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Tom Petty (which is great), Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle and many more.

Was it perfect? Is anything? I would have liked more solo George and a wee bit less Beatles (it’s been covered right?). More DVD extras please. Very sparse but these are quibbles (yes I used the word quibble in a rock n roll post). It’s a wonderful tribute to George.

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