Rock Flashback: George Harrison in Winter

View Comments
(Getty Images/Anthony Harvfey)

(Getty Images/Anthony Harvfey)

The late ’80s to the late ’90s had been a good decade for [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]George Harrison[/lastfm], with a smash single “Got My Mind Set on You,” the success of the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Traveling Wilburys[/lastfm] supergroup, and the heightening of the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Beatles[/lastfm]‘ profile thanks to the Anthology film and albums. But in 1997, he was diagnosed with lung cancer at age 54.

Harrison’s cancer diagnosis was not the only reminder of mortality that he dealt with. An idol and friend, rocker [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Carl Perkins[/lastfm], died in 1998, as did [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Linda McCartney[/lastfm], wife of George’s former mate Paul. In 1999, he was the victim of an odd attack, when an intruder broke into his home and tried to kill him. The attacker was mentally ill and believed he was on some sort of mission from God. Harrison suffered several wounds and believed that he was dying. It took several months for him to recover.

Harrison continued to work during this period, appearing on [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Ringo Starr[/lastfm]‘s 1998 release Vertical Man, backing former Rolling Stone [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Bill Wyman[/lastfm], and overseeing the remastering and reissue of the Traveling Wilburys catalog. After the 1999 knife attack, he focused on completing an album that had been in progress for several years: Brainwashed, which would remain unfinished at his death. Harrison’s son Dhani and Wilburys mate [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Jeff Lynne[/lastfm] finished it for release in 2002.

Harrison’s cancer spread to his brain in 2001, and he underwent surgery. On November 29, 2001, he died at a friend’s home in Los Angeles, aged 58. The Harrison family released a moving statement that serves as a wonderful epitaph for George Harrison’s life: “He left this world as he lived in it, conscious of God, fearless of death, and at peace, surrounded by family and friends. He often said, Everything else can wait, but the search for God cannot wait, and love one another.”

On the first anniversary of Harrison’s death, his friends appeared in a tribute concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Here, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Billy Preston[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Eric Clapton[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Paul McCartney[/lastfm], Ringo Starr, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Phil Collins[/lastfm], and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Dhani Harrison[/lastfm] perform “My Sweet Lord.”

Experience more Rock Flashbacks.

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 343 other followers