George Harrison was just 14 years old when he joined what would end up being the most important band in history, although he always fled from the rock star aura and detested ‘beatlemania’. With the twentieth anniversary of his death about to be fulfilled, ‘I Me Mine’ is published for the first time in Spanish, a work that collects the musician’s memories and songbook.
+++ ‘I Me Mine’, published for the first time in Spanish by the publishing house Libros del Kultrum, as originally conceived in 1980, includes a selection of photographs, the manuscripts of their songs and annotations on them, as well as his dialogues with Derek Taylor, who was press officer for The Beatles.
+++ “Actually, I have never seen myself as a person who composes songs by way of trade. Many composers do. I suppose that once I have seen myself that way without being aware of it, but not often. My main objective is to let go of something that worries me, to vent, instead of ‘being a composer’ ”, affirms the musician.
+++ His biggest hit with The Beatles, ‘Something’, was composed in a break from recording the famous ‘White Album’ by the Liverpool band. With ‘My Sweet Lord’ he set out to make a western pop tune the equivalent of a mantra that repeats holy words over and over again.
Beatlemania. For nothing in the world would I want to experience something like this again. It’s really scary, but sometimes it had its good points, well… It’s like ‘Someone flew over the cuckoo’s nest’, you know, you’re sane in a place where everyone else is nuts. You know, the guards and the nurses and the Government, everyone, ”reflects George Harrison in ‘I Me Mine’.
A memoir, published for the first time in Spanish by the publishing house Libros del Kultrum and that, as it was originally conceived in 1980 – then, at an exorbitant price – includes the manuscripts of all the songs composed by the Liverpool musician , as well as his comments on them and a wide selection of the artist’s photographic archive.
The text revolves around conversations with Derek Taylor, press officer of The Beatles, and author of much of it; some dialogues in which Harrison recalls the phenomenon created around the Liverpool gang, an inordinate admiration that swept the planet.
“Without a doubt, there was a moment when it became clear that we weren’t crazy, but that all we had to do was get to a city and people would break the windows and the police would all fall off their motorcycles”, remembers Harrison, who confesses to being wrong in thinking that no one in India would know them.
The Asian country, to which he returned on numerous occasions, marked Harrison’s life: not only did he influence the latest works of The Beatles, but there he met and became friends with Ravi Shankar, of whom he was a student and at the same time mentor, spreading in the West the music of Shankar.
THE AUTHOR OF ‘SOMETHING’.
“Actually, I have never seen myself as a person who composes songs by way of trade. Many composers do. I suppose that once I have seen myself that way without being aware of it, but not often. My main objective is to get rid of something that worries me, to vent, instead of ‘being a composer’ ”, Harrison confesses to his interlocutor.
A musician as exceptional as he is mystical, who left for the memory songs like the one that gives title to the book that collects his memoirs, ‘I Me Mine’, ‘Something’, ‘Here Comes the Sun’ or ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ or ‘My Sweet Lord’.
“Whatever the source of inspiration, it was always a privilege to witness the birth of a song and to be able to contemplate how the creative force of the muse was manifested in full swing. George could be fiddling around with his guitar, ukulele, or piano, and suddenly he seemed to go into a kind of trance, as if she had tapped him on the shoulder to announce her imminent arrival, “recalls his widow Olivia Harrison in the introduction to the book.
Harrison himself explains that he composed ‘Something’ on piano while The Beatles recorded their famous ‘White Album’ at Abbey Road studios. “I took a break when Paul was doing some overdubbing, walked into an empty studio and started composing.”
That song was not included on the album they were recording, but on ‘Abbey Road’, the last album that the four from Liverpool would make together, and it is perhaps Harrison’s biggest hit with The Beatles and the most covered.
Harrison was inspired by the Edwin Hawkins Singers’ version of ‘Oh Happy Day’ to compose ‘My Sweet Lord’, his biggest solo hit and the UK’s best-selling single of 1971, although he had doubts when it came to make the song for your religious message.
“I anticipated that a lot of people would react in a strange way. Many people are afraid of the words ‘Lord’ and ‘God’ and, for some strange reason, they are uncomfortable, ”says Harrison who, with the song, set out to make a western pop song the equivalent of a mantra that repeats a song. and again sacred words, in this case a ‘Hallelujah’, which further ends up becoming ‘Hare Krishna’, “for people to chant the Maha Mantra.”
ONE OF THE BEST GUITAR PLAYERS IN HISTORY.
Almost always in the shadow of the charismatic John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Harrison was the most reserved – hence his rejection of ‘Beatlemania’ – and the most mystical of the four, a dedication to spirituality that marked his solo career and undoubtedly the future of the Liverpool band’s career since their first trip to India.
At the age of 15 he joined the group that would launch him to fame and thanks to which George Harrison (Liverpool, February 25, 1943) would end up becoming one of the great legends in rock history, recognized by the music magazine ‘ Rolling Stone ‘as one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, on which he ranks eleventh.
After the separation of The Beatles, he was the first to achieve a solo number 1, thanks to the album ‘All Things Must Pass’ (1970) and, a year later, in August 1971, in collaboration with his teacher on the sitar and oriental music Ravi Shankar, organized the first charity concert in the history of rock music, in support of Bangladesh, with musicians such as Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton or Ringo Starr.
They hardly all rehearsed together and, for the celebration of the event, they followed the advice of an Indian astrologer who indicated that the first days of August were a good period for the concert (finally there were two) that took place at Madison Square Garden in New York Not only was it a success, it also succeeded in spreading the word about the Bangladeshi cause.
The recording of that ‘The Concert for Bangladesh’ achieved the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, one of George Harrison’s multiple recognitions throughout his career, which ended on November 29, 2001, when he died in Los Angeles as a result. throat cancer that had been diagnosed four years earlier.
By Miriam Soto.
EFE / REPORTS