Fri., November 30, 2001

'Such A Beautiful Guy':

George Harrison Remembered by Bandmates, Peers, Admirers

Beatles guitarist recalled as kind, gentlemanly, wickedly funny.

The loss of George Harrison on Thursday (see "Former Beatle George Harrison Dead At 58") affects people from nearly every facet of the music industry. From artists who've worked with the former Beatles guitarist to those who've only experienced his impact on record, Harrison will be sadly missed, though the legacy he leaves behind will never be forgotten.

Those who personally knew the youngest Beatle describe him as a humble gentleman whose sincerity and kindness were matched only by spiritual devotion and love of music. As one of the first musicians to use his influence for humanitarian endeavors, he paved the way for industry efforts such as Live Aid and the Tibetan Freedom Concerts.

His sense of humor was also legendary. During the Beatles' first recording session, when producer George Martin asked the group if they didn't like anything, it was Harrison who reportedly quipped, "Well, first of all, I don't like your tie." Some 40 years later, when reports of Harrison's cancer battle depicted him with one foot in the grave, the feisty guitarist recorded his final song, entitled "Horse to the Water," a riff off the adage "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."

Meanwhile, those who knew him from his musical contributions alone stress that there isn't an artist around who hasn't been influenced in some way by Harrison's innovative style. "The Beatles have an impact on every band playing today," said Creed frontman Scott Stapp, before adding that Harrison's musical lineage was equaled by his affable manner. "People always talked about how down-to-earth he was. That's the legacy you want to leave behind."

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"We are all devastated by this news. It's deeply sad to lose such a beautiful guy. Luckily Heather [Mills] and I saw George a couple of weeks ago, and true to form, he was laughing and joking. George was a very brave man with a heart of gold, but also someone who didn't suffer fools gladly. I'll always remember that without George it all wouldn't have been possible. I'll miss him dearly and I'll always love him -- he's my baby brother." -- Paul McCartney, Beatles singer/bassist

"George was a best friend of mine. I loved him very much and I will miss him greatly. Both [my wife] Barbara and I send our love and light to [George's wife] Olivia and [son] Dhani. We will miss George for his sense of love, his sense of music and his sense of laughter." -- Ringo Starr, Beatles drummer

"I am very saddened by George's death and will miss him enormously. As a guitarist, he invented many classic lines that were much copied by others, and he wrote several very beautiful songs that we will always remember. He was a very complex character, both quiet and funny with a very sweet nature, but he also could be rather combative at times. He was the first musician I knew who developed a truly spiritual side, and he was generous with his time to both charity and to friends." -- Mick Jagger, Rolling Stones singer

"To me -- George was, always will be, above all, a real gentleman, in the full meaning of the word. We both felt we held similar positions in our respective bands, which formed a special, knowing bond between us. Let's hope he's jamming with John." -- Keith Richards, Rolling Stones guitarist

"George has given so much to us in his lifetime and he continues to do so even after his passing with his music, his wit and his wisdom. His life was magical, and we all felt we had shared a little bit of it by knowing him. Thank you, George. It was grand knowing you." -- Yoko Ono, widow of Beatles singer/guitarist John Lennon

"George was a wonderful musician and a fine human being. He was the baby of the Beatles, unlike Paul and John, he had a hard time developing his songwriting talent and making his music alone. But he worked hard and with enormous patience, building his music meticulously, he eventually came to write one of the greatest love songs of all time, 'Something.' George was a true friend, intensely loyal, caring deeply for those he loved and he inspired much love in return. Olivia and Dhani gave him the ideal family that he needed, and they have borne his illness with enormous courage and devotion. He was always so proud of them. George loved his garden in England, and creating beauty among his trees and plants was almost as important to him as his music. His marvelous sense of humor is well known, and we always had a good laugh when we were together. ... Now I believe, as he did, that he has entered a higher state. God give him peace." -- George Martin, Beatles producer

"George Harrison did on Earth what he came to do. He made people ecstatic with the beauty of his music. His spirit will live on in the hearts of all who he rocked, and I wish him well in his new place. George knew that all things must pass, but his music will last forever. Thank you, George, for making my life as a kid and an adult a way more amazing ride." -- Anthony Kiedis, Red Hot Chili Peppers singer

"George Harrison was my favorite Beatle. He was the cool, dark side of the Beatles. The songs I loved by them, George Harrison had written. It's a big loss." -- Mark Tremonti, Creed guitarist

"George Harrison was always my favorite Beatle. His quiet sensitivity always seemed so noble. His songs seemed sweeter and deeper than the rest. Beyond being an amazing player, his ability to convey such emotion with just his guitar played a huge part in the Beatles' music for me. He was the secret weapon. One of the first guitar leads I ever learned was from the song 'Something,' when I was about 11 years old. I paid tribute to him on our first record with the song 'Oh, George,' a reference to the slide lead. He was always my favorite ... and always will be." -- Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters singer/guitarist

"It was my sitar and Indian music which connected me to George in the beginning, but very soon our relationship went beyond that. He was a friend, disciple and son to me. George was a brave and beautiful soul, full of love, childlike humor and a deep spirituality. We spent the day before [he died] with him, and even then he looked so peaceful, surrounded by love. [My wife] Sukanya, [daughter] Anoushka and I are deeply affected by this loss, and our love and prayers are with Olivia and Dhani. George has left so many precious moments and memories in all our lives which will remain with us forever." -- Ravi Shankar

"There was a certain mysterious and unknowable quality about his music which made him a very attractive figure and gave a whole other dimension to the Beatles." -- Bono, U2 singer

"He wrote some of the greatest Beatles songs, but more than that, he had a gentleness and spirituality that made spending time with him a great pleasure. I have been dreading this loss, and I will really miss him." -- Paul Simon, singer/songwriter

"George was a good and humble man who believed in the power of love to overcome all adversity. He lived his life without asking anything for himself, and his courage to quietly remind us that God created a world for peace and compassion has had a profound effect on all of our lives." -- Billy Corgan, former Smashing Pumpkins singer/guitarist

"George was not only an exceptionally talented recording artist, but a remarkable and spiritual human being. He touched the world not just through his music, but also through his many generous humanitarian contributions and desire for peace around the world." -- Hilary Rosen, president/CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America

"The Beatles completely reinvented music forever. There wasn't anything like that before; and definitely that kind of melodic rock becoming so popular and having such an influence on so many bands changed the landscape of music. There's not a band around today that plays rock music that isn't influenced in some way by the Beatles." -- Mark Hoppus, Blink-182 singer/bassist

"I'm deeply saddened to hear of the loss of my dear friend George. We've lost one of the most important figures of popular music, but more importantly, one of the kindest, most generous and funny people that I have ever met. All of my sympathy goes to his wife and son, and I would ask that their privacy and feelings are respected." -- Jools Holland, former Squeeze singer/keyboardist and host of the BBC's "The Top of the Pops," who collaborated with Harrison on "Horse to the Water," Harrison's final recording

"We lost another Beatle today. It stinks. The Beatles were a huge influence on me. The whole British Invasion was so profound. It is almost beyond words." -- Richie Sambora, Bon Jovi guitarist

"George. He died as he lived, with dignity, with bravery and with comedy. He inspired all the lives he touched. He was a truly blessed man, loved by his family, his friends and strangers all around the world. I loved him from the first moment I met him and I shall miss his eyes, his laughter, his honesty, and his wonderful guitar-playing. The world has lost a very fine man, but we are all the richer for his life. Thank you, Olivia and Dhani and dear sweet George, for letting [my wife] Tania and [daughter] Lily and me be a part of your incredible family. I hope the world will respect Olivia's request to allow them to honor his passing in peace and dignity." -- Eric Idle, member of the Monty Python comedy troupe (Harrison's Handmade Films produced "Monty Python's Life of Brian." Harrison also appeared in Idle's 1978 Beatles parody "The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash.")

-- MTV News staff report

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