Aside from loving his music, I love George Harrison because he was such a beautiful person, inside and out. Once I started to learn more about him, I became a little obsessed with finding stories about him because he had such an incredible life. They cheer me up and help me deal with the fact he's not around anymore, so I thought I'd compile the ones I've found so far for anyone else who might be interested. Hope you enjoy!
A few years back, I met George in England while doing a Gary Moore album in England, near Friar Park in Henley. We had been recording for days & it was at the time of the Wimbledon Championships. John McEnroe was playing, so we were seeing his antics on the big screen daily on our breaks from work. One night at about twilight, while seated for dinner at the house next to the studio, we looked out the picture window facing the garden & 2 ominous figures started to approach the house. Looking a little closer it seemed like we were back in the TV room because there in front of us was the face of John McEnroe! But wait, he’s being followed by another familiar-looking someone……..WOW! It’s George Harrison!! Well, they had heard we were recording & just felt like doing some playing with us on our break! And play we did!
Afterwards, George graciously invited us to his ‘pad’ to visit. He couldn’t have been sweeter & more hospitable, repeatedly making certain everyone was comfortable ‘Can I get you another orange juice? Do you want to sit over here? Have you heard this rare Roy Orbison record?’ etc. At one point, I picked up one of his beautiful ukuleles (he had them scattered about the living room) & started to play. George picked another one up & we were jamming away!
I asked Olivia why she thought George was so nice. She explained simply that George comes from a working class background & this was fitting behavior. All I could think was, ‘Here’s a guy who’s been on top of the world, never really left & I am getting treated like I was at home - only better’!
One day in NYC I checked my answering machine at home and there was a message from someone with a very convincing Scouser accent: ‘Hello Will, this is George Harrison calling. I’d like to steal you away from that Television Programme (Letterman Show) for a couple of days to play with me at the Albert Hall. My number is…………’.
Now, my brother Rob does great vocal impressions, so I really didn’t pay much attention. I did call Rob, though to congratulate him on such a convincing job. He said, ‘What? I hope you saved that message. It could have been the real thing!’ Luckily I hadn’t erased it because it was for real! The experience was unforgettable - fly over on the Concorde, rehearse one day, perform the next. I think it was George’s last solo gig & the first time in London in years - in fact I think since the Apple roof. We did all his hits, starting with “I Want to Tell You” and I want to tell you, playing Albert Hall with GH was Rock & Roll Heaven!
The capper of that gig was the encore. First, George introduced Ringo & the place went nuts. The first of two songs was “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” with Gary Moore aceing the guitar solo. Then finally, we broke into “Roll Over Beethoven”, which as it turns out, I knew the words, for I had just sung the song for the movie “Beethoven” (the dog movie). So it was George & I duetting with Ringo playing drums - what a night!!!
So, Mr. Harrison thank you forever for all you’ve given me and for everything you continue to give to us all through your music & your spirit."