Sunday, October 23, 2011

George Harrison: Living in the Material World

Tim was the one who called, ten years ago, to tell me George Harrison had died.  Although not completely unexpected—he had been fighting cancer for several years—the news was nonetheless devestating, especially since George was the youngest Beatle. 

To celebrate George’s life and highly successful career, the Grammy Museum is currently presenting a four-month exhibition, called “George Harrision: Living in the Material World.”  It complements the fabulous Martin Scorsese-directed HBO documentary  of the same name that aired earlier this month.  The exhibit features everything from handwritten song lyrics to the jacket George wore during the famous Beatles Shea Stadium appearance in 1965, as well as postcards from the Beatles’ first trip to Germany, guitars of various shapes and colors, photos, and footage of his more notable performances, including the groundbreaking concert for Bangladesh—the first ever rock-n-roll all-star benefit—and a Traveling Wilburys video.

The Museum had mounted a similar exhibit last year, celebrating what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday, but somehow “Living in the Material World” is more gratifying, even though John has always been my “favorite” Beatle.  Perhaps it’s because George lived two decades longer than John and so was able to accomplish much more in his short 58 years.  Or maybe it’s because George was so spiritual.  Regardless, it’s a joyous exhibition that anyone interested in the Beatles—and/or George Harrison specifically—should see.

As we were leaving, an out-of-town couple and their young adult son stopped Tim to ask if the Museum was worth visiting.

“Are you a musician?” Tim asked the young man.  He said, yes, he plays guitar.  

“Then you should absolutely go inside,” Tim advised.  “You don’t want to miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

With that, we headed home to watch the DVD of George’s concert for Bangladesh

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