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Olivia Harrison Articles, Features, Interviews
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4 October 2011
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Interview with Olivia published in 'The Times' on Wednesday 24th September 2014. The below is the first third, the others will follow soon. 

Edit: Source for the first part.

There are photos of the Beatles and family on every wall of the downstairs corridor and kitchen: there’s George, Paul, Ringo and John, some poses from the Hamburg years; Stella McCartney hangs by the spiral staircase. As I walk in, my eyes barely register them, these most famous of men almost as familiar as my own relatives, but then I get a jolt: these aren’t the posters of any ordinary fan, they’re the family photographs of Olivia Harrison and her son Dhani, just remembering husband and dad, now he’s gone.

It’s the same kind of jolt Olivia gets when she listens to Harrison’s voice now that his first six solo albums have been digitally remastered in a box set, The Apple Years. When I put on the first song of the set it’s so clear that the first words, “Let me in here”, are like Harrison whispering into my ear 13 years after his death. The effect isn’t ghostly, it’s real.

“I know,” says Olivia, with her forceful Californian lilt, now that we’re upstairs in the more formal sitting room in her Knightsbridge townhouse. “It’s got the breath in it, hasn’t it? He had the most distinctive voice, those funny little vowels. I always have that disconnect when I’m listening as a music lover and then I suddenly go, ‘Oh, oh, it’s you’.

Her deep brown eyes – so similar to his – drift to the middle distancne and there’s a beat of silence. That recognition is “not painful.”

Occasionally she finds herself listening to a song and it does not conjure  him up as just as he played it to her. “When that happens it doesn’t make me happy,”, she laughs. She wants that connection to live whenever she hears his music. “oh , wait, don’t ever let that become just objective, something that you don’t connect to.”

 

Olivia Harrison is the the unknown wife of the quiet Beatle. They were married for 23 years and pretty much all the public knows of her is two key incidents. First the moment the Mexican-born secretary met Harrison while working in Los Angeles. Then two years before Harrison died of cancer when this gentle woman had to save her husband by smashing in the head of the crazed intruder attacking him with a knife.

For all the years of retreat in between we have a few wearily wise lines from her in the Martin Scorsese documentary on Harrison: “Sometimes people say: ‘What’s the secret of a long marriage?’ [The answer is] You don’t get divorced.” There she was alluding to what she called on camera “always a challenge… He did like women, and women did like him”: the infidelity that beset his first marriage to Pattie Boyd and which he struggled to control in his second; what Olivia called a series of “hiccups”.

For Olivia these CD’s now transport her back to tell the story of their life together. She didn’t play these albums much; she knew them “by heart” anyway. “If I was going to indulge in listening to George’s music I would go into the studio and listen to some alternative takes, to hear him talking and just goofing around with music.”

Every now and then she’d hear a snatch of a famous melody – it’s hard to avoid Here Comes The Sun or Something – and get the jolt. It was inescapable. "I did a hike up Mount Picchu, just backpackers alone up the mountain, and two pan pipe players appeared playing 'Hey Jude'. I sent it to Paul on my phone, he said: "Ah, you see: you can't get away."."

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meanmistermustard said 

Interview with Olivia published in 'The Times' on Wednesday 24th September 2014. The below is the first third, the others will follow soon. 

Edit: Source for the first part.
<snip>

@meanmistermustard your source takes me to a tumblr search for 'olivia harrison'. 

Half of what I say is meaningless... but I say it just to fill the other half with Beatlerubbish. 
 
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Silly Girl said

meanmistermustard said 

Interview with Olivia published in 'The Times' on Wednesday 24th September 2014. The below is the first third, the others will follow soon. 

Edit: Source for the first part.

@meanmistermustard your source takes me to a tumblr search for 'olivia harrison'. 

The interview was in The [London] Times newspaper which sits behind an online paywall. The tumblr to which I linked had the article available to read without having to go to the Times.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
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