“I remember one time, at an airport, I was starting to worry whether we would get to the gate on time but George just smiled and said he wanted a cup of tea.
‘OK,’ I fretted, ‘but I don’t think we have time.’
'There’s always time for a cup of tea,’ he said.” - Sir Jackie Stewart on George Harrison, Winning Is Not Enough [x]
“We had an immediate connection. We were really good friends and our families were friends. […] [T]he kids formed lifetime friendships. It was a nice thing. Adria used to stay with George and his family at Friar Park. He told her something that he had never mentioned to me, which is that he had a cousin from Florida who reminded him of me. Before George was really settled at Friar Park, he and this Florida cousin would sleep in every room in this, well, this castle, trying to figure out which one had the best vibe and ought to be the bedroom.” - Tom Petty, Runnin’ Down A Dream
* * *
“‘Almost as soon as we met them, we spent more time with Tom and Jane Petty than with anyone but the Keltners,’ says Olivia Harrison. ‘They were family. We had Christmases together. They came to Friar Park. We’d just hang out, for hours and hours, with Dhani and Adria and Annakim playing together, staying up way too late, probably. Tom and George playing guitars and ukuleles. Between George, Tom, and Jane - a lot of cigarette smoke. But we had fun. We got very close. I think it was a lot of fun for Tom. And George had never met anyone quite like Tom. George with his Liverpudlian accent and Tom with his drawl, there was something connecting them, some common element.’” - Petty: The Biography [x]
Scott Muni: “How’s fatherhood? How’s Dhani, and what’s it like raising a child?” George Harrison: “Well, when you have a kid, you then relive being a kid. But then, as a father, I realized how my father felt about me. So consciously, you’re living three separate identities. It enables you to remember all those different things and relive all those different things at the same time.”
- From an interview conducted c. September 1987 [x]
George Harrison with Barbara and Ringo. Copyright Mirrorpix.
“‘So we don’t go out that much. I’m always getting at George because he’s supposed to be the “recluse”. When George is in England, he can be out to dinner four times a week, but nobody ever knows. He’s probably just as social as me, but he does it all privately. I do it publicly. I love going to things like premieres. I like wearing a bow tie. I don’t feel I’m dressed till I’m in a bow tie.’ [said Ringo]
‘We’ve just been to Hawaii to see George’s new place,’ said Barbara. 'It’s fantastic. He’s got these thousands of acres of jungle which he’s converting into a tropical garden. He took us round, saying there will be a bridge there, a little lake there. He’s just like a kid.’
[…] George presented him recently with a special, leather-bound volume, which said on the cover, 'Ringo Starr: greatest drummer on earth.’ Inside, all the pages were blank.
'George told me to start writing, to fill it up. I haven’t even written January 1st. I’ll never do a book about being a Beatle. I might write that we had three cups of tea on a certain day, then someone will say no, you had four cups of tea. I know what I know, so that’s it. Why bother?’“ - The Beatles Authorized Biography by Hunter Davies
“In 1988 Harrison declared: ‘I have a sort of kamikaze side to me that is optimistic. I have to trust Denis O'Brien’s business sense and hope that he is not going to bankrupt me.’ The words were later to prove prophetic.
Harrison, the trusting pop star who had poured millions of his own money into HandMade, found out that he had been duped by his business partner who had encouraged him to borrow massive sums of money.
In 1995 Harrison filed a $25million lawsuit in America against O'Brien for allegedly mishandling his investments and deceiving him for 20 years. He was awarded $11milllion in damages but never received the money as O'Brien declared himself bankrupt. For Harrison the experience was harrowing and friends believed that it played a part in the deterioration of his health, which eventually saw him dying of cancer in 2001 aged just 58.
‘I saw George well into the case and it looked like he had aged 10 years,’ recalls Terry Gilliam.
The late actor Richard Griffiths said: ‘I felt so sorry for him because it was his free-spiritedness that allowed all that work to happen. I just think he was stabbed in the back.’
“I enjoyed making the record, though I don’t like to be on TV and do the interviews necessary to promote it. There was a time when I actually hated all that. But now I’m reasonably well balanced about it all and understand in my own mind why I’m doing it. Unfortunately, it will make me a bit ‘famous’ again. I don’t really like being famous. I suppose I still am, but I don’t really think of myself as a famous person. People will be picking up magazines that will have me in them for a bit - but just for a bit. Then I’ll go back to being retired again. Or at least putting all this on the back burner. I’ve managed to find a balance between show business and a kind of peacefulness. It feels very nice.” - George Harrison, Film Comment, 1988 [x]
George Harrison with his Gretsch Duo Jet, photographed by Gered Mankowitz; from the Cloud Nine 2004 remaster album booklet.
“I’m just a skiffler, you know. Now I do ‘posh skiffle.’ That’s all it is. That’s why I’ve always been embarrassed at the idea of being in Guitar Player Magazine. It’s just posh skiffle.” - George Harrison, Guitar Player, November 1987 [x]
George and Olivia Harrison. Photo courtesy of Süddeutsche Zeitung.
“‘He was contrary and liked to queer the pitch a bit,’ remembers Olivia. 'He was grumpy and not happy about the state of the humanity. He’d seen everything and he always said his nervous system had been battered by The Beatles experience and he didn’t have a lot [of] tolerance left for nonsense. He felt it was a distraction from his real goals in life.’
But then she says that 'people evolve and change [and] I think it’s fair to say he was a pretty wise man,’ describing how he was 'a very present person,’ who worked hard to find his peace.” - Sydney Morning Herald, 17 October 2011 [x]