Beatles fans worldwide – including Per Gessle – mourn the loss of George Harrison
NEW YORK - It's unusally warm for the beginning of December. Warm enough so that a large crowd has gathered comfortably here this evening in Strawberry Fields, a section of Central Park devoted to the memory of John Lennon, who was shot to death in 1980 by a deranged fan at the nearby Dakota apartment building.
In a circle around the "Imagine" mosaic that is embedded in the walkway, people are strumming guitars and singing songs written by Lennon's friend and fellow Beatle George Harrison, who died in California Thursday after a long battle with cancer.
Harrison had fans all over the world… including a young boy in Halmstad, Sweden who – like many of his generation – grew up heavily influenced by the music of the Beatles. Second only to Ringo Starr, Harrison was Per Gessle's favorite Beatle, and in a statement published by the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet today, Per had this to say:
George Harrison played a big part in the fact that I became obsessed with pop music as a seven-year-old. And to be honest, it wasn't because of the way he played guitar, or even the Beatle's music. It was the cover picture on the jacket of "Rubber Soul."
The tough suède leather jackets. The attitudes. The hairstyles. And for me there was no doubt about it, George was the coolest.
Since then, I've always liked George. His songs stood out on the Beatles albums. He ended up having to stand behind the giants Paul and John the whole time – which was unfortunate. You can hear [his talent] on ”All Things Must Pass” where several of the songs he wrote during the Beatles period, but were never included on albums, are collected. In my opinion, it's his strongest solo album.
George was also the man who took the Beatles on their musical journey to India, and introduced them to world music. He was I think the man behind John – sort of the glue that held the Beatles together.
After the split up, he and John worked together. They were a little like a pair, a team. But I have the feeling that George never really took his own music as seriously as it deserved.
Maybe he preferred the role of being in the background.
There are probably not a lot of people who know that he was behind several of the comedy gang Monty Python's biggest films… "Life of Brian" among others. He financed them. George – there also – but the whole time a step behind John Cleese and the others.
I never met George, but I have stood outside his gigantic villa in Henley-on-Thames together with Japanese tourists.
As a fan.
- Per's comments to Aftonbladet (In Swedish)
It's late now… and the crowd is thinning out. It's so mild out, and such a friendly atmosphere, that a lot of people are planning to stay all night… and sing "Here Comes The Sun" at the break of dawn in the morning.
Music. It enriches our lives. Thanks George. You've left quite a legacy…
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