Celebrate the life of George Harrison by learning a little more about it. Here’s 5 times he earned his title as the quirkiest Beatle of the lot.
Outside of his music though, Harrison was known to all as an amazing person; witty, charming and just damn fine to hang around with. His life and times are well documented, but when a list of your achievements is longer than a Coles’ receipt there’s always a few facts that go unnoticed.
Harrison’s production company Handmade Films funded a number of oddball projects including Time Bandits and Rutland’s Weekend Television. The latter showed a Christmas special in 1979 where Harrison himself appeared as the happy-go-lucky swashbuckler named Pirate Bob.
Inviting the Hells Angels over to stay
In December 1968 Harrison invited 12 members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club over to stay in The Beatles’ Apple Records in London. With little to no warning, the staff was quickly up in arms about the dozen men in leather parking their Harleys on the street outside their offices.
Harrison said in a memo; “they may look as though they are going to do you in but are very straight and do good things, so don’t fear them or up-tight them.”
Introducing Indian sitar into rock n’ roll
In 1965 Harrison was introduced to Indian classical music and most notably the work of contemporary sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. Harrison described Shankar as “the first person who ever impressed me in my life … and he was the only person who didn’t try to impress me.”
Harrison became a student of Shankar, and the sitar lines in Beatles classics such as Love Me Too and Norwegian Wood have been credited by many as causing the ‘sitar explosion’ in rock music throughout 1966 and 1967.
Paying $4 million to see a movie
When Monty Python’s classic feature The Life of Brian was days away from filming, their production company abruptly pulled the plug due to the potentially blasphemous nature of the script.
Harrison was such a huge fan of Monty Python that he mortgaged his home, lending $4 million to the production of the movie.
“He paid for it because he wanted to see it,” Python member Eric Idle recalled. “The most anybody’s ever paid for a cinema ticket in history.”
Getting deported from Germany
When Harrison was 17, The Beatles were slotted to pay a number of shows in Germany. Although they made it across the border, Harrison was quickly deported for entering the country under the age of 18.
The other members of the band ended up playing their first show, but were deported quick smart as soon as the authorities caught on to them too.