THE SPIRIT OF GEORGE HARRISON

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"I always felt at home with Krishna. You see it was already a part of me. I think it's something that's been with me from my previous birth…. I'd rather be one of the devotees of God than one of the straight, so-called sane or normal people who just don't understand that man is a spiritual being, that he has a soul."

George fans will like This Page for more about George's spirituality.

INTERVIEW WITH OLIVIA HARRISON


GEORGE HARRISON
IN HIS OWN WORDS

Interview, Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, 1982

"Just certain things happened in my life which left me thinking 'What's it all about, Alfie?' and I remembered Jesus said somewhere 'Knock and the door shall be opened' and I said (knock, knock) 'Hellooo!' It's very difficult. From the Hindu point of view each soul is potentially divine, the goal is to manifest the divinity. The word yoga means union and the union is supposedly between the mind, the body, and the spirit, and yoga isn't lying on nails or standing on your head. I mean, there's various forms of yoga and they're all branches on one big tree. The Lord, or God, has got a million names, whatever you want to call him, it doesn't matter as long as you call him, Jesus is on the mainline, tell him what you want. Going back to self-realization, one guru said he found no separation between man and God, saving man's spiritual unadventurousness, and that's the catch, everybody's so unadventurous. We're all conditioned, our consciousness has been so polluted by the material energy it's hard to try and pull it all ways in order to really discover our true nature. Every one of us has within us a drop of that ocean and we have the same qualities as God, just like a drop of the ocean has the same qualities as the whole ocean. Everybody's looking for something and we are it. We don't have to look anywhere--it's right there within ourselves."

Press Conference, Los Angeles, 1974

"As they say 'to be in the world, but not of the world.' You can go to the Himalayas and miss it completely, and you can be stuck in the middle of New York and be very spiritual. I mean, I noticed in certain places, like New York, it brings out a certain thing in myself. If I go to some place like Switzerland, I find a lot of uptight people because they're living amongst so much beauty there's no urgency in trying to find the beauty within themselves. If you're stuck in New York you have to somehow look within yourself--otherwise you'd go crackers. So, in a way, it's good to be able to go in and out of both situations. Most people think when the world gets itself together we'll all be okay. I don't see that situation arriving. I think one by one, we all free ourselves from the chains we have chained ourselves to. But I don't think that suddenly some magic happens and the whole lot of us will all be liberated in one throw."

Press Conference, Los Angeles, 1974

"'I Me Mine' is the 'ego' problem. There are two 'I's': the little 'i' when people say 'I am this' and the big 'I'; i.e. OM, the complete whole, universal consciousness that is void of duality and ego. There is nothing that isn't part of the complete whole. When the little 'i' merges into the big 'I' then you are really smiling!

"So there is the little ego--the little 'i' which is like a drop of the ocean. Swami Vivekananda says "Each soul is potentially divine, the goal is to manifest that divinity'. We have to realise that we are potentially divine and then manifest that divinity—which is to get rid of that little 'i' by the drop becoming merged into the big 'I' (the ocean)."

From "I Me Mine," Harrison's autobiography

On Drugs & Spirituality

"The very first time we took LSD, John and I were together. And that experience and a lot of other things that happened after that, both on LSD and on the meditation trip to Rishikesh, we saw beyond each other's physical bodies, you know. That's there permanently, whether he's in a physical body or not. I mean this is the goal anyway: to realize the spiritual side. If you can't feel the spirit of some friend who's been close, then what chance have you got of feeling the spirit of Christ or Buddha or whoever else you may be interested in? 'If your memory serves you well, we're going to meet again.' I believe that."

"Out of the LSD madness (and there were a few horrors) there came a few 'zaps'. It made me laugh. I'd never thought about, couldn't even say the word 'God'. It embarrassed me, but it was so strange, GOD, and it washed away all these fears and doubts and little things that hang you up." --From "I Me Mine," Harrison's autobiography

On Meditation

"I must say there's a state of consciousness which is the goal of everybody. I haven't sat down and done meditation for some time, but at the same time I constantly think of the Lord in one fashion or another. My thing is just to remember and to try to see him within all of you and that feeling itself is a meditation."

Press Conference, Los Angeles, 1974

"So the thing is, if you really want to get it [spiritual enlightenment] permanently, you have got to do it, you know…be healthy, don't eat meat, keep away from nightclubs, and meditate."

On Chanting

"There is one problem I've found when chanting. I start beginning to relate less and less to the people I know. I suddenly found myself on such a different level where it's really hard to relate. It feels as though I'm at a point where I should slow down or pull back towards those people in order to take them with me. The building up of the mantra and its effect is so subtle. There's a point where I can't related to anyone anymore. Maybe you don't have that experience."

July, 1974

"The word 'Hare' calls upon the energy of the Lord. If you chant the mantra enough, you build up an identification with God. God's all happiness, all bliss, and by chanting His names we connect with Him. So it's really a process of actually having God realization, which becomes clear with the expanded state of consciousness that develops when you chant. Like I said in the introduction I wrote for Prabhupada's Krishna book some years ago. 'If there's a God, I want to see Him. It's pointless to believe in something without proof. Krishna consciousness and meditation are methods whereby you can actually obtain God perception.'"

Interview, Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, 1982

"Chanting Hare Krishna is a type of meditation that can be practiced even if the mind is turbulent. You can even be doing other things at the same time. In my life there's been many times the mantra brought things around. It keeps me in tune with reality. The more you sit in one place and chant, the more incense you offer to Krishna in the same room, the more you purify the vibrations."

Interview, Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, 1982

"Once I chanted the Hare Krishna mantra all the way from France to Portugal, nonstop. I drove for about twenty-three hours and chanted all the way. It gets you feeling a bit invincible. The funny thing was that I didn't even know where I was going. I mean I had bought a map, and I knew basically which way I was aiming, but I couldn't speak French, Spanish, or Portuguese. But none of that seemed to matter. You know, once you get chanting, then things start to happen transcendentally."

Interview, Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, 1982

On Going to India

"I went over there partly to try to learn the music, but also to absorb much of the actual country. I'd always heard stories about these masters living in the Himalayas who were hundreds of years old, levitating yogis and saints who could be buried undergriound for weeks and stay alive. Now I wanted to see it all for myself. I'll tell you one thing for sure, once you get to the point where you're actually doing things for truth's sake, then nobody can ever touch you again, because you're harmonizing with a greater power." -1966

"I got to understand what Christ really was through Hinduism. Down through the ages there has always been the spiritual path, it's been passed on, it always will be, and if anybody ever wants it in any age it's always there. It just so happens India was the place where the seed of it was planted. The Himalayas were very inaccessible to people, so they always have peace there. The yogis are the only people who can make it out there. It may be something to do with my past lives, but I felt a great connection with it. In this age the West and East are closer and can all benefit so much from each other. We can help them with our material attributes, and they can help us with their spiritual things." --London, 1969

"It was all good, that sitar period. The yoga… I was getting up as they do in India, having a bath, my yoga exercises, doing my meditation, then practicing the sitar and having breakfast, instead of jumping out of bed and having a cup of tea or coffee. So it was a great discipline, vital for me, to be able to start getting a bit of 'culture.'"

From "I Me Mine," Harrison's autobiography

On Great Spiritual Teachers

"Ravi Shankar is probably the person who has influenced my life the most. Maybe he's not that aware of it, but I really love Ravi and he's been like a father figure and spiritual guide to me. Later I realized Indian music was like a steppingstone to the spiritual path because I also had a great desire to know about the yogic path. I always had a feeling for that and the music led me there. I got involved with Hinduism because Ravi was a Hindu and because it just happened, it came my way, and I went to India." -London, 1969

"[Paramahansa Yogananda]'s probably been the greatest inspiration to me though I never met Yogananda personally, but he's had such a terrific influence on me for some very subtle reason. A lot of my feelings are the result of what he taught, and is still teaching in his subtle state."

On Charity

"When I did the Bangladesh concert, I spent a couple of months day and night on the phone trying to trick people into doing it and making a commitment." He added, "Nowadays, it's such an accepted part of life that every so often you give something back to charity."

On the End of Life

"In the end, 'Life goes on within you and without you.' I just have a belief that this is only one little bit, the physical world is one little bit of the universe. So in the end it doesn't really matter."

On Past Lives

"There was a big lecture where Yogananda was talking in 1939 in a Self Realisation Fellowship book about friends explaining that the vibrations the soul sets up, and the love and equally the hate we feel causes the attraction of souls to one another—from one life to another. Those people you know much more easily or more quickly are people whom you've known in other lives. It is very specific. There's more to this that meets the eye. It's like Dominic, he always seemed familiar. It's great when you can spot them straight off. He's the first person I've seen all the way through from birth who I felt I knew straight away." -From "I Me Mine," Harrison's autobiography

Album Discography

Wonderwall (Film Soundtrack)
Electronic Sound
All Things Must Pass
Concert For Bangla Desh
Living In The Material World
Extra Texture
Dark Horse
33 and 1/3
George Harrison
Somewhere In England
Gone Troppo
Cloud Nine
Traveling Wilburys Volume 1
Traveling Wilburys 3
Live In Japan
Brainwashed


Exceptionally moving but not the least bit sentimental, Concert for George is a splendid tribute to the late George Harrison, whose contributions to the Beatles were so often hidden in the long shadows of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. A year to the day after Harrison's November 29, 2001 death, Eric Clapton assembled some musicians--people who had played with Harrison and known him intimately, including McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Tom Petty--to perform his music at London's Royal Albert Hall. They take on not just the predictable ("My Sweet Lord" and "Something," beautifully sung by Billy Preston and Sir Paul, respectively), but also lesser-known fare like "Old Brown Shoe" and "Beware of Darkness," all to superbly empathetic effect. But the tune most likely to make you misty-eyed is "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," which brings together three of the five musicians who played on the original recording: Ringo on drums, Clapton replicating his own classic solo, and McCartney playing piano and harmonizing with Clapton's lead vocal. Concert for George enjoyed a brief theatrical release, but even those who caught it on the big screen will delight in this two-disc DVD edition. Disc 1 features the complete concert (sans interview and rehearsal footage, but with a few additional songs and in the original running order), while disc 2 contains the theatrical version and some additional backstage and photo material. All in all, a beautiful piece of work.


BEATLE GEORGE

Often overshadowed by the success of Lennon/McCartney
tunes, George fought to get his songs on The Beatles LPs and it wasn't
till the last single released that a Harrison composition was released
on the 'A' side.

- The Beatles very first studio recording was written by George "Cry For A
Shadow,' chosen over selections written by Lennon/McCartney.
(Credits show written by Harrison/Lennon but was mainly a Harrison composition)

- As outspoken as John Lennon was it was George who wrote three 'social
comment' songs during the Beatles reign. Taxman, Little Piggies, I Me
Mine.

- George brought in the first outside musician to play on a Beatles
record. (other than Beatles producer George Martin) It was Eric Clapton
who played on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." George and Eric were best
of friends.

- George's first wife left him for Eric Clapton. George and Eric
remained best of friends till George's death. Eric appears on the recent CD
release 'Tribute to George Harrison."

- George introduced a new sound with an instrument from India called a
sitar on the record Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) and recorded a
couple more songs with the Beatles with heavy Indian music influence.

- The Beatles were huge fans of Carl Perkins and recorded more of his
songs than any other artist. After the Beatles breakup George played
concerts with Carl Perkins and was responsible for Carl's comeback.

- The 2nd biggest selling Beatles single was "Something" written by
George. In recent interviews with producer George Martin, he admits
that he maybe should have paid more attention to George's song writing
ability.

- The first couple years after the Beatles breakup George had the best
record sales of the Beatles as individuals. His first release 'All
Things Must Pass' was a 3 LP set. Soon afterwards came the 'Concert for
Bangledesh.' This was the first 'aid' type concert by a rock artist which
started the benefit concert trend.

- Ringo Starr was the only ex-Beatle to have 3 consecutive number one
hits of which he says it was due largely to the un-credited assistance
of George Harrison.

- One of the last number one hits by an individual Beatle was George's
cover of 'I've Got My Mind Set On You.' George was visiting his sister
in the U.S. before they were famous here, and heard 'Set On You,' bought
the record and took it back for the Beatles to do a version. It never
happened. Years later George worked on it and released it and it hit
number one.

- In later Beatle songs and many of George's songs he uses the 'slide'
guitar effect. Sounding different than most others, after his death his
son was asked why George's slide effects sound different than others.
He replied that most re-tune their guitars to an 'F' chord but George
played with standard tuning.

- Fans of 'The Byrds' know that guitarist / singer / song writer Roger
McGuinn plays a 12 string Rickenbacker guitar which now bears his name.
McGuinn traded in some guitars in order to buy the 12 string after seeing and
hearing George Harrison play one in the movie and song "A Hard Day's Night."

- Harrison co-produced and plays lead guitar on the huge hit "Day After
Day" by the group Badfinger.

- George used the 'wah-wah' effect before the infamous 'Wah-Wah" pedal
was invented. Once John Lennon turned the volume control up and down on
Harrison's guitar as he played. Later he used a volume control pedal.

- He produced many films including "Monty Python's Life of Bryan" and "Time
Bandits."

- George was the most spiritual Beatle. When he learned he would die due to a
brain tumor, he was totally at peace with his life, and the coming
afterlife.

For original Beatle fans as well as newer generation fans there is
currently a '40 Year Anniversary' magazine on the news stands. Great
magazine to re-hash your memories or learn about The Beatles for the
first time.

Wesley Schultz


George Harrison

As lead guitarist for the Beatles, George Harrison provided the band with a lyrical style of playing in which every note mattered. Harrison was one of millions of young Britons inspired to take up the guitar by British skiffle king Lonnie Donegan's recording of "Rock Island Line." But he had more dedication than most, and with the encouragement of a slightly older school friend — Paul McCartney — he advanced quickly in his technique and command of the instrument. Harrison developed his style and technique slowly and painstakingly over the several years, learning everything he could from the records of Carl Perkins, Duane Eddy, Chet Atkins, Buddy Holly, and Eddie Cochran. By age 15, he was allowed to sit in with the Quarry Men, the Liverpool group founded by John Lennon, of which McCartney was a member; by 16, he was a full-fledged member of the group.

The Beatles finally coalesced around Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and drummer Ringo Starr in 1962, with Harrison established on lead guitar. The Beatlemania years, from 1963 through 1966, were a mixed blessing for Harrison. The Beatles' studio sound was generally characterized by very prominent rhythm guitar parts, and on many of the Beatles' early songs, Harrison's lead guitar was buried beneath the chiming chords of Lennon's instrument. Additionally, he was thwarted as a songwriter by the presence of Lennon and McCartney; the quality and proliferation of their output left very little room on the group's albums for songs by anyone else. Despite these problems, Harrison grew markedly as a musician between 1963 and 1966, writing a handful of good songs and one classic ("If I Needed Someone"), and also making his first acquaintance of the sitar, an Indian instrument whose sound fascinated him. In 1966, Harrison finally seemed to find his voice with two of his songs on the Revolver album, "Taxman" and "Love You Too." In the wake of the group's decision to stop touring, Harrison's playing and songwriting grew exponentially. The period from 1968 onward was Harrison's richest with the Beatles. He displayed a smooth, elegant slide guitar technique that showed up on their last three albums; and he contributed two classic songs, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Here Comes the Sun," along with "Something," which became the first Harrison song on the A-side of a Beatles single.

Although never known as a strong singer, Harrison's vocals were always distinctive, especially when placed in the right setting; for his first solo record following the group's 1970 breakup, All Things Must Pass, Harrison collaborated with producer Phil Spector, whose so-called "Wall of Sound" technique adapted well to Harrison's voice. All Things Must Pass and the accompanying single "My Sweet Lord" had the distinction of being the first solo recordings by any of the Beatles to top the charts following their breakup. Unfortunately, Harrison was later successfully sued by the publisher of the 1962 Chiffons hit "He's So Fine," which bore a striking resemblance to "My Sweet Lord."

Harrison followed All Things Must Pass with rock's first major charity event, The Concert for Bangladesh, which was staged as two shows at New York's Madison Square Garden in 1971 to help raise money for aid to that famine-ravaged nation. The second of the two all-star shows was released as a movie and a live triple album. Harrison's next studio album, Living in the Material World, initially sold well, but its leaner, less opulent production lacked the majestic force of All Things Must Pass, and it lacked the earlier album's mass appeal. Subsequent Harrison albums from the 1970s into the '80s always had an audience, but — except for Somewhere in England (1981), released in the wake of the murder of John Lennon with the memorial song "All Those Years Ago" — none seemed terribly well-crafted or -executed. During this same period, Harrison embarked on a successful career as a movie producer with the founding of Handmade Films.

In 1987, Harrison made a return to the top of the charts with his album Cloud Nine, which featured his most inspired work in years, most notably a cover of an old Rudy Clark gospel number called "Got My Mind Set on You," which reached number one on the charts. In 1988, Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison formed the Traveling Wilburys, who released two very successful albums. It was also around this time that Harrison appeared with his former bandmate Ringo Starr, Dave Edmunds, Rosanne Cash, and the Stray Cats' Lee Rocker (who was born the year the Beatles made their first recordings) in a superb live-in-front-of-the-cameras rockabilly performance accompanying Harrison's one-time idol Carl Perkins; which was subsequently released on video cassette and laser disc. All of this success heralded a short-lived re-emergence for the musician out of private life, resulting in a 1991 tour of Japan that yielded a live album (Live in Japan). Harrison had hated concertizing since the harrowing days of the Beatles' international career, and had done one poorly received concert tour in the mid-'70s; he seemed more comfortable in 1991, and the album performed moderately well, driven by the presence of his then-recent hits.

He withdrew into private life after that, devoting himself to his life with his second wife and their son, and only re-emerged before the public when necessary, such as defending the Beatles' copyrights in court cases.

In 1999, Harrison was assaulted in his home and seriously injured by a deranged fan, but he recovered and in 2000 he began work on remastering and expanding his classic All Things Must Pass album. The reissue of that album at the outset of 2001 heralded an unusually public publicity campaign by Harrison, who accompanied its re-release with an interview record that anticipated the eventual reissue of the rest of his catalog. Harrison had been treated for throat cancer in the late '90s, but in 2001 it was revealed that he was suffering from an inoperable form of brain cancer. At the time of his death on November 29, 2001, The Concert for Bangladesh album had been announced for upgraded reissue in January of 2002, and a DVD of the film was in release internationally.
By Richie Unterberger

'Harrison 'accepted he was dying'

Olivia and George were married 23 years. The widow of former Beatle George Harrison has spoken about the death of her husband and how he had accepted the fact he was dying of cancer. She also told how Harrison saved her life when an intruder broke into their home and began attacking them. Olivia Harrison, who was married to George for 23 years, was speaking ahead of a tribute concert at London's Royal Albert Hall on Friday to mark the first anniversary of his death.

Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and Ravi Shankar are among a host of names performing at the concert which will raise money for the Material World Charitable Foundation. In a televised interview Olivia said George had never felt in control of the cancer which finally killed him at the age of 58.

"He gave his life to God a long time ago. He wasn't trying to hang on to anything. He was fine with it," she told NBC's Katie Couric. "Sure, nobody likes to be ill and nobody likes to be uncomfortable. But he went with what was happening."

'Good ending'

She said the former Beatles guitarist had spent years searching for inner peace and had aspired to "a higher kind of consciousness, a higher life". "George dedicated a lot of his life to obtain a good ending, and I don't have any doubt that he was successful."

Olivia also relived the moment paranoid schizophrenic Michael Abram broke into their Henley-on-Thames mansion and attacked them. George was stabbed at least 10 times during the ensuing struggle as he tried to protect his wife in December 1999. She has been praised for fending off Abram with a fire poker and an antique lamp but she said it was her husband who gave her the strength to fight back and had been "coaching" her through the whole ordeal.

'Recluse'

"George was very brave, and people don't know that, because he had already been injured and he had to jump up and bring him down to stop him from attacking me.
"He saved my life, too." Olivia also dismissed claims that her husband was a recluse. "People would say, 'Oh, he's a recluse'. "He said: 'I just don't go where all the press is. People say I don't go out. I just don't go where they are'."

The concert at the Royal Albert Hall featured a mixture of Harrison's own music and a selection of his favourite songs. Stars of the comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus took part as well as his son Dhani.

In Other Words: George Harrison


The Quiet Beatle talks God, LSD and all those years ago

This excerpt is from my interview that took place in 1987 for an issue of Rolling Stone commemorating the magazine's twentieth anniversary.

Q. Was there a specific moment when it became clear to you that people were looking at the Beatles as a way of making sense of their lives?

A. As we began having hits in England, the press were catching on to how we looked, which was changing the image of youth, I suppose. It just gathered momentum. For me, 1966 was the time when the whole world opened up and had a greater meaning. But that was a direct result of LSD.

Q. How did taking LSD affect you?

A. It was like opening the door, really, and before, you didn't even know there was a door there. It just opened up this whole other consciousness, even if it was down to, like Aldous Huxley said, the wonderful folds in his gray flannel trousers. From that smaller concept to the fact that every blade of grass and every grain of sand is just throbbing and pulsating.

Q. Did it make you feel that your life could be very different from what it was?

A. Yeah, but that too presented a problem as well, because then the feeling began in me of it's all well and good being popular and being in demand, but, you know, it's ridiculous, really. From then on, I didn't enjoy fame. That's when the novelty disappeared -- around 1966 -- and then it became hard work.

Q. It seems as if that time was incredibly compressed. Did you feel that sense of compression?

A. That year -- you could say any year from, say, 1965 up to the Seventies -- it was, like, I can't believe we did so much, you know? But those years did seem to be a thousand years long. Time just got elongated. Sometimes I felt like I was a thousand years old.

Q. Was it at that point that your identity as one of the Beatles began to get oppressive for you?

A. Yeah, absolutely. Again, with the realization that came about after the lysergic. It has a humbling power, that stuff. And the ego -- to be able to deal with these people thinking you were some wonderful thing -- it was difficult to come to terms with. I was feeling like nothing.

Q. Was the decision to stop touring in 1966 part of your re-examining your lives as Beatles?

A. Well, I wanted to stop touring after about '65, actually, because I was getting very nervous. They kept planning these ticker-tape parades through San Francisco, and I was saying, "I absolutely don't want to do that." There was that movie The Manchurian Candidate [about a war hero who returns home programmed for political assassination]. I think in history you can see that when people get too big, something like that can very easily happen. Although at the time, it was prior to all this terrorism. We used to fly in and out of Beirut and all them places. You would never dream of going on tour now in some of the places we went. Especially with only two road managers: one guy to look after the equipment, which was three little amplifiers, three guitars and a set of drums; and one guy who looked after us and our suits.

Q. Did your interest in transcendental meditation and other spiritual disciplines help you?

A. All the panic and the pressure? Yeah! Absolutely, I think. Although up until LSD, I never realized that there was anything beyond this state of consciousness. But all the pressure was such that, like the man said, "There must be some way out of here."

For me, it was definitely LSD. The first time I took it, it just blew everything away. I had such an overwhelming feeling of well-being, that there was a God, and I could see him in every blade of grass. It was like gaining hundreds of years of experience within twelve hours. It changed me, and there was no way back to what I was before.

From Anthony DeCurtis' collection of interviews, In Other Words (click to purchase).

I read the news today, oh boy...

George Harrison Dies


Friday, 30 November, 2001, 13:20 GMT

Former Beatle George Harrison, singer, songwriter and guitarist for one of the world's most famous pop groups, has died after losing his battle against cancer. Harrison died on Thursday at a friend's Los Angeles home, at 1330 local time, according to his longtime friend Gavin De Becker.

"He died with one thought in mind - love one another," De Becker said. De Becker said Harrison's wife Olivia and son Dhani, 24, were both with him when he died. Harrison's family issued a statement saying: "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'."

Fans have been laying floral tributes outside the Abbey Road recording studios in London, where the Beatles recorded almost all their work, at his Friar Park home in Henley-on-Thames and outside the Cavern Club in Liverpool.

In New York, fans began gathering before dawn at Strawberry Fields, an area of Central Park named after the Beatles song in the wake of John Lennon's murder in 1980.

A book of condolence has been opened for Harrison at Liverpool Town Hall, where official flags are being flown at half-mast. The city council has announced that there will be a memorial service for the former Beatle, but no date has been set. A council spokesman said that the family's wishes would be taken into account before deciding the form of any memorial.

The Coldstream Guards band played a tribute Beatles medley during the Changing The Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace. And mayor of Henley Tony Laine said the town was flying a flag at half mast.

Speaking outside his home in St John's Wood, north west London, Sir Paul McCartney said: "I am devastated and very very sad. We knew he'd been ill for a long time. He was a lovely guy and a very brave man and had a wonderful sense of humour. He is really just my baby brother. I loved him very much and I will miss him greatly."

Ringo Starr, speaking from Vancouver, Canada said: "We will miss George for his sense of love, his sense of music and his sense of laughter."

'Wisdom'

John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, said: "My deep love and concern goes to Olivia and Dhani. The three of them were the closest, most loving family you can imagine. George has given so much to us in his lifetime and continues to do so even after his passing, with his music, his wit and his wisdom. Thank you George, it was grand knowing you."

Buckingham Palace said Queen Elizabeth was "very sad to hear of the death of George Harrison".

Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "People of my generation grew up with the Beatles, and they were the background to our lives.

"He wasn't just a great musician, an artist, but did a lot of work for charity as well. He'll be greatly missed around the world."

'Courage'

Beatles producer Sir George Martin described Harrison as "caring deeply for those he loved. Olivia and Dhani have borne his illness with enormous courage and devotion," he said.

"Now I believe, as he did, that he has entered a higher state. God give him peace."

Harrison, who was 58, announced in July he had received treatment in Switzerland for a tumour. He also had surgery for lung cancer in May. Harrison's life was also threatened when he was stabbed by an intruder at his home in at Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire in 1999.

The former Beatle, who met his fellow band members John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr where they grew up in Liverpool, was just 27 when the band split in 1970. They managed to conquer the world musically, achieving 27 number one records in the UK and the US during their career. Their most recent album, compiling all their number one hits, called 1, topped both the UK and the US charts during 2000.

Films

Harrison's post-Beatles career started with the critically acclaimed solo album All Things Must Pass. His role as a film producer took off when he worked on Monty Python's Life of Brian in 1979. He was also responsible for The Long Good Friday, Time Bandits and Mona Lisa.

In the 1980s Harrison teamed up with Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison as The Travelling Wilburys. © BBC

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