By the late 1960s Harrison had become an assured songwriter. Following Taxman, the bitter social commentary which opened Revolver, he wrote Within You Without You, which mainly featured Indian musicians and instruments, for Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. He also contributed an unprecedented four songs to 1968’s The Beatles: While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Piggies, Savoy Truffle and Long, Long, Long.
Here Comes The Sun was written at the time when Apple was getting like school, where we had to go and be businessmen: ‘Sign this’ and ‘sign that’. Anyway, it seems as if winter in England goes on forever, by the time spring comes you really deserve it.
So one day I decided I was going to sag off Apple and I went over to Eric Clapton’s house. The relief of not having to go see all those dopey accountants was wonderful, and I walked around the garden with one of Eric’s acoustic guitars and wrote Here Comes The Sun.
Just as strong was Something, released as a single in October 1969. John Lennon called it “the best track on the album”, and McCartney said “I think it’s the best he’s written”. Harrison was given an Ivor Novello award for the song, which was covered by artists including Elvis Presley, The O’Jays and Ray Charles. Frank Sinatra called it “the greatest love song ever written”.
The solo years
George Harrison described The Beatles’ acrimonious break-up as “just a relief. We should have done it years ago”. He used the stockpile of songs written while in the group as the basis for All Things Must Pass, the first triple album by a rock artist. It topped the charts, as did the singles My Sweet Lord and Isn’t It A Pity.
He organised the first major charity rock concert. The Concert for Bangladesh took place on 1 August 1971, and featured Ravi Shankar, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, Badfinger, Billy Preston and Ringo Starr.
In addition to his continuing solo career, Harrison worked with Ringo Starr on his hits It Don’t Come Easy and Photograph, and played on John Lennon’s Imagine album. He also performed with Badfinger, Harry Nilsson and Billy Preston.
In 1974 he opened the offices of his Dark Horse label. There he met Olivia Trinidad Arias, who he formed a relationship. The couple married in September 1978, one month after the birth of their son Dhani.
In 1980 Harrison published his autobiography, I Me Mine, written with The Beatles’ former publicist Derek Taylor. The book said little new about The Beatles, focusing instead mainly on his non-musical interests, though it did include lyrics and photographs from the 1960s.
Harrison was deeply troubled by the death of John Lennon in December 1980. He changed the lyrics of a song intended for Starr, creating a tribute song for Lennon. All Those Years Ago, featured all three surviving members of The Beatles, and was a hit single when released in May 1981.