George Harrison died ten years ago this month; a new documentary which includes much unseen archive material has been produced with the help of his second wife and widow, Olivia.
Although John Lennon and Paul McCartney were the driving force behind the Beatles as the principal songwriters, the handful of songs contributed by George are unquestionably among the finest, in particular the classics Here Comes The Sun and Something.
Last month, a George Harrison exhibition opened at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, and this morning, Olivia Harrison appeared on the BBC's Breakfast news programme to discuss the new documentary Living In The Material World which also previewed at the beginning of October. A trailer was released in August.The title comes from his 1973 album.
George won fame and fortune not only for his music but for his legacy; it was he more than anyone else who introduced Eastern mysticism to the flower power generation, and he contributed greatly to relief efforts for Bangladesh, both in raising funds and perhaps more importantly, consciousness.
Unfortunately, fame often has its downside, and for George it nearly cost him his life. Olivia told the Breakfast team that after the assassination of John Lennon by the deranged Mark Chapman, George was always aware of his own mortality. That awareness was heightened one terrible night in December 1999 when a psychotic broke into their home and attacked George with a kitchen knife. He was seriously wounded, and but for Olivia incapacitating the assailant with a lamp and poker, he would surely have become the second Beatle to die by human artifice. Michael Abram was tried for attempted murder but found insane. Incredibly, he was released after only 19 months' detention, by which time George was dead. Although George, a smoker, died officially from lung cancer, there can be no doubt that this attack shortened his life.
Olivia Harrison was rightly distressed when her husband's attacker was released, and she clearly had difficulty talking about the worst night of her life this morning. This though was, and is, a time to celebrate the life of a man who gave the world so much. Viewing details of this unique documentary can be found at the end of this BBC report.
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