All Things Must Pass
And in the end, George Harrison "passed," much in the way he lived his life, quietly. Yes, John and Paul were the genius of the world's most incredible foursome, but George was the musician. George was the teacher of the chords, the translator of the genius. He was the signature of the Beatles.
The sound of his axe helped identify that early Beatles sound, setting them slightly apart from the fellow Brits that followed, among them, the Who, the Stones, Slowhand, Plant and Page; those who defined Rock 'n Roll with a definition that would stand for decades to come.
George was, for those of us who didn't know him, the quiet Beatle, the shy Beatle -- never to burn out, but fade away. He fit in very nicely with John the rebel, Paul the cute one, and Ringo the clown. Unlike his three brothers in arms, he very quietly went about his business even as John sang, "And so my dear friends, the dream is over." The Beatles were busted up, never to be Beatles again. Well, not quite.
There was the Apple band, Badfinger, to back George up on, perhaps, the most endearing post-Beatle work of any of the four. Certainly the best first post-Beatle release of any of the four. George never sought out the superstar lineups of the Plastic Ono Band, nor did he feel the need to recapture the Beatles with his own set of Wings.
George just went about doing what George did best.
He made music and cracked open the door on music from other parts of the world, long before it ever occurred to the likes of Rhymin Simon, or Sting.
He counted the Monty Python troupe amongst his pals and flirted with film production before solidifying his relationship with Bob Dylan in the "let's just have some fun" band, The Traveling Wilbury's. The album was a huge success, featuring the immortal Roy Orbison, one of George's heroes, Tom Petty and Jeff ELO Lynne.
It wasn't really the formation of a new band -- we were told and almost anyone could be a Wilbury. For example, Keith Richard could be Wilbury, but Mick could not. Neil Young could be a Wilbury, but Springsteen could not. Wilbury's were very George-like in the sense that they were the quiet ones. They were the ones that never set out to find Rock/pop and fame. Rock/pop and fame rather found them and the Wilbury's were open to anyone who just wanted to have fun and make music. They never promised another album, or the same line-up and maybe shouldn't have given us what we asked for, but it was fun to listen to. Wasn't it?
It was a feel good album and after all, isn't that what George did best? Make us feel good?
In the end, George was content with doing the garden and digging the weeds; watching life ever renew itself in the garden he so deeply loved. A reflection, perhaps, of his own deep spiritual and religious beliefs. George Harrison. Dead at 58. Quietly leading us all just a little bit closer to our own mortality. After all, all things must pass away.