“I play a little guitar, write a few tunes, make a few movies, but none of that’s really me. The real me is something else.”
George Harrison may have been one of the most famous men in the world - but he loathed super stardom.
Here are 10 things you may not have known about the former Beatle:
1. He actually came to the United States and played a show before the famous arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport on February 7th, 1964. On September 28, 1963, he sat in with the "Four Vests" for a show at the VFW Hall in Eldorado, Illinois
2. He was the first Beatle to release a solo album. Released on November 1, 1968 - Wonderwall Music was a first solo album from any of the Beatles, as well as the first LP issued by their new label, Apple Records.
3. He invented the mega rock star benefit concert - After learning about the plight of Bangladeshi refugees he recruited friends Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Badfinger, and Leon Russell, and together they played two sold-out benefit shows at Madison Square Garden on August 1, 1971
4. The song "CRACKERBOX PALACE" is about his mansion. Modest as he was - he did live in a 120 room mansion on a 66 acre estate.
5. He invited the Hells Angels to stay at the Beatles’ London offices. After meeting members of the gang in San Francisco - he told them "Oh, if you ever come to England, look us up,’ or something,” and a couple months later - they took him up on the offer - staying at Apple Records headquarters on their way to "straighten out Czechoslovakia"
6. He loved hanging out with Bob Dylan. Although all of the fab four were Dylan fans - Harrison would spend weeks with him at his NY home. The two eventually made music together as bandmates in The Traveling Wilburys.
7. Speaking of The Traveling Wilburys - he actually named the group. Wilbury was a slang term Harrison used for 'We’ll bury ’em in the mix” - a descriptor for removing minor mistakes and imperfections during recordings. When the record label asked the supergroup for a name - Harrison suggested the Trembling Wilburys. But the collective decided The Traveling Wilburys was better.
8. Sticking with The Traveling Wilburys - George was not exactly the quiet Beatle. Despite having this nickname - fellow Wilbury Tom Petty once said "He never shut up. He was the best hang you could imagine."
9. He once pranked Phil Collins for not being credited on All Things Must Pass. Collins sat in on the recording sessions - playing the conga drums - which are barely audible of the final mix. As an apology - Harrison sent Collins a version of the song that he claimed featured his lost drumming. Collins later told EW:
“I got a tape from George of the song that I played with the congas quite loud. I thought, Oh, my god, this sounds terrible. In fact, it was a Harrison joke. He’d recorded [percussionist] Ray Cooper. [He said,] ‘Play bad, I’m going to record it and send it to Phil.’ I couldn’t believe that a Beatle had actually spent that much time on a practical joke for me.”
10. He once performed his song "The Pirate Song" on TV in full pirate attire. He made a cameo as Pirate Bob on the 1975 Christmas special of Idle’s Rutland Weekend Television series