harrison x olivia

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GEORGE H A R R I S O N
“I am basically a potentially divine, wonderful human being,’ and all this rattiness and not feeling good is attaching itself to my mind, it plays tricks on us and can trip you over. I thought ‘I don’t have to feel all this! I do love everybody,’ and that is really all you’ve got to do, manifest your love. The only thing we really have to work at in this life is how to manifest love.”

Dhani, George and Olivia Harrison, dated by Süddeutsche Zeitung as 11 February 1980. Photo © AP.

“I stay home and dig - not so much with a spade - but I dig the garden, putting trees in. I like gardens; I like the pleasure they give you. It’s like a meditation in a way - you can get everything out of your mind groveling in the soil! I spend a lot of time with the wife and the baby.” - George Harrison, Rolling Stone, 19 April 1979 [x]

Scan - Olivia and George Harrison, Tasmania, 1982, from George’s camera. Scanned from Living in the Material World.

“He was shell-shocked from the whole Beatle experience. Literally shell-shocked. He hated loud noises. And imagine if all day, every day, for five or six years, people were screaming at you when you opened your door, jumping on the hood of your car, looking in your window. And then there were the death threats. He wanted to be far away. And he wanted sunshine.” - Olivia Harrison on her late husband, George, Architectural Digest, 2007 [x]

George Harrison and Olivia Trinidad Arias waiting for the Dark Horse Tour band to clear customs, 2 November 1974, as included in the Living in the Material World book

Photo: Henry Grossman

“I fell for her immediately. She is a very calming influence. She has been very supportive and we are blissfully happy together. I told her I didn’t want her doing all that typing. We started going with each other, and four years later we married.” - George Harrison [x]

* * *

“Before she became Olivia Harrison in 1978, she was Olivia Trinidad Arias, an Angeleno whose grandparents immigrated to Los Angeles from Mexico.
She grew up in Hawthorne, hometown of the Beach Boys, which turned out to be a major point of interest for George when she gave him a tour of her old neighborhood.
She was working at A&M Records, which distributed Dark Horse releases at the time, and started chatting with Harrison when he’d call about business.
They found they had musical and philosophical interests in common and soon began seeing each other regularly. ‘I was from outside of his world,’ she says. 'I was shelter from the storm. I was simple, and he needed some simplicity at that point.’
She says she never really stopped to think about the implications of getting involved with a musician, much less an ex-Beatle. 'You can’t really think about it that way, otherwise you’re just playacting.’
How will she cope when all the projects are completed? Is she simply postponing the feelings of loss with all the activity?
Those are questions she doesn’t worry about, and she knows what George would have said on the subject.
‘One of his favorite things to say was, “Be here now,”’ she says. His song by that title, from his 1973 album 'Living in the Material World,’ remains one of her favorites, and it’s one she plays any time she feels in need of a booster shot of moral support.
'Sometimes he and Dhani would be talking and Dhani would ask, “Well what if this happens?” or “What if that happens?”’ she says. 'George would say, “Be here now. Be here now.”'” - “Here now, she lives for George” by Randy Newman, Los Angeles Times, 9 March 2005 [x]

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Scans - George and Olivia at the Venus and Mars party held by Paul, Linda and Wings aboard the Queen Mary II, docked in Long Beach, California, on 24 March 1975 (image two posted previously in full here).

Photos: Harry Benson

“There is no way of going around grief, I think it’s better to just go right through it. In fact, I probably torture myself a bit because I love listening to his voice, I love watching our home movies, I love listening to his music and reading about him. For half of my life, I heard his voice every day, so to not hear it is very strange.” - Olivia Harrison, The Telegraph, 2005

* * *

“Olivia [Harrison] says that, towards the end, when he [George Harrison] knew he was dying, her husband would comfort her by saying: ‘Olivia, you’ll be fine, you’ll be fine.’ And is she?

‘Fine is OK, but it is not really good enough, is it? But George was right, I am fine and I am OK, although I will miss him until my dying day. But he walked his road and now I have to walk mine.’” - The Telegraph, 24 January 2005 [x]

Scan - Olivia and George Harrison; scanned from The Dark Horse Years.

Photo © Michael Putland

“[On Thirty-Three & 1/3 was a man] so much in love with his future wife Olivia Arias that even the wide-open admiration of ‘Beautiful Girl’ was not testimony enough. He covered Cole Porter’s song, ‘True Love.’” - “George Harrison Dark Horse” by David Fricke

* * *

“A slight, dark woman with a sculptured, almost Aztec face, she smiles often. The couple met while Olivia worked at Dark Horse. After more than two years, they are an informal familiar pair. Olivia reaches into her shopping bag, pulling out boxes of new shoes for George’s media tour. The first contains a pair of Italianesque loafers. Harrison tries them, a little shy, a little shaken by their sleekness. 'They’ll look great with your new suit,’ Olivia says. She quickly offers another pair; brown suede with white stitching. Mimicking a clerk, she grabs George by the ankle: 'They’re really you, sir.’ Harrison calls for a shoehorn. He tries them on and asks around for approval. Everybody oohs and ahhhs. 'I’ll take a dozen, squire,’ he bellows.” - Crawdaddy, February 1977 [x]

* * *

“There was a serene and calming presence that George and Olivia gave off. George had fresh flowers placed in the home and there was incense burning, pictures of holy men, the smell of curried rice dishes - long-grain rice - wafting in from the kitchen. They’re both health food eaters. You know something is going on when they’re around but it isn’t something George shoves down your throat. They are both very thoughtful, and he has a great sense of humor. She is a lovely woman, far from that Hollywood-model type, far too spiritual. The harmony between them is clear and apparent to anyone around them, yet they don’t perform sex in front of you on the floor. They are quite attentive to each other’s needs and well-being and there is genuine caring going between them. It’s quite lovely to see and it has a calming effect on people around them.” - “A friend” on George and Olivia, from a 1977 publication [x]

* * *

“I am still having a relationship with him, but it is just not a physical relationship any more. And the sooner one comes to terms with that, the easier it is, rather than feeling George has gone and he is never coming back.” Does she communicate with him? “I don’t really want to get into all that. That’s a dodgy question to answer because people might think… I don’t know if you have ever had anybody go who you have loved? Well, you do feel in communication with them because you feel so deeply in your heart that if you say a prayer, it goes straight to them.” - Olivia Harrison, The Telegraph, 24 January 2005 [x]

* * *

“Olivia [Harrison] says that, towards the end, when he [George Harrison] knew he was dying, her husband would comfort her by saying: ‘Olivia, you’ll be fine, you’ll be fine.’ And is she? ‘Fine is OK, but it is not really good enough, is it? But George was right, I am fine and I am OK, although I will miss him until my dying day. But he walked his road and now I have to walk mine.’” - The Telegraph, 24 January 2005 [x]

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George and Olivia Harrison with Jeff Lynne at the BAFTA’s, 22 March 1988

Photos: Richard Young/REX

“George had a maximum amount of diversion in life. And, you know, towards the end of his life, he’d say… Like, I’d say, ‘Oh, you know, they wanna give you this award thing.’ And he said, ‘Well, I don’t want it. Tell them to get another monkey.’ I’d say, ‘Yeah, but, you know, it’s a really nice one. You should have this.’ And he’d say, ‘Well, if you want it so bad, you go and get it. I’m not going. I’m not doing that any more.’ And - because it’s just a big diversion. ‘I want to plant trees. I want to be quiet, I want to meditate.’ And he really did draw the line, and I really admired him for that.” - Olivia Harrison, Living in the Material World [x]

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Olivia and George Harrison, London, 5 February 1990 (as dated by Getty Images)

Photos © Tom Wargacki/Getty Images; Newscom

“I told Olivia, ‘Oh God, girl, you’ve meant so much to his life, you’ve just totaled him out, and it’s just wonderful.’ They’re beautiful people…” - Carl Perkins on George and Olivia Harrison, Goldmine, 6 November 1998 [x]

George and Olivia Harrison, with Olivia’s parents, Zeke and Mary Louise, screen capped from the Katie Couric interview with Olivia from 2002.

Olivia’s parents, incidentally, were the only guests present at George and Olivia’s wedding on 2 September 1978 (x, xx). Olivia’s mother was also at Friar Park during the horrendous events of 30 December 1999.

“He [George] had a lot of patience and he had time for people. If somebody truly wanted to know something, whether it was a guitar chord or something from the Vedas or how you prune a tree, if you were really curious, he had an endless amount of time. He actually sat with my mother and showed her how to play one chord on a ukulele so she could play along with him. He wanted everybody to have fun and join in. He was a Pisces; I think he liked the whole school going along with him.” - Olivia Harrison, Filter, Fall 2011 [x]

He often said he wasn’t pursuing a solo career at all. He never hired a manager or had an agent. He just loved playing music with his friends, and he loved guitars, and he loved rock ‘n’ roll, and he loved Carl Perkins, and he loved Little Richard, he loved Dhani and Olivia [applause], and he loved to stay up all night long and play the ukulele till dawn, till the kids were all in bed and tucked away.
—  Tom Petty on George Harrison, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, 15 March 2004 [x]

George Harrison and Olivia Trinidad Arias with Jesse Ed Davis and Patti Daley, Los Angeles, 1975

A postcard from George to Jesse Ed, sold via Tracks UK, was posted on the blog previously here.

More photos from around this time were sold by Julien’s Auctions, and posted previously.

“Unannounced, George [Harrison] one sunny day [in 1975] shambled in with Linda’s sister, Olivia Arias. Gorgeous as she was, he was the one who seemed to glow. He was ‘aurafied’; something shimmery this way comes.” - Larry Hosford, shoprecords.com [x]

“He was ‘aurafied.’ I have met many, many celebrities, and it wasn’t that - not just a star-struck moment. And it wasn’t like some colorful-haze-all-about-his-head-and-shoulders, fortune-teller deal either. Maybe it was born of arcane cosmic or psychic phenomenon on his part (or mine), but I did in fact perceive a glow, a shimmer, a something… It wasn’t there every time I looked, yet it was recurrent. Yet, he seemed to be the only one around who wasn’t aware he was a superstar of unprecedented magnitude, though I am sure we can assume he was. Everything I know about him defines a bona fide, good-natured human.” - Larry Hosford, While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison [x]

Olivia and George Harrison, photographed on the occasion of Michael Caine’s birthday celebration, 14 March 1990

“[H]is dark sweet lady was the love of his life, and I know how much he loved her; a braver, finer, lovelier companion no man could ever find, and it breaks my heart to think of these last […] years.” - Eric Idle on George and Olivia Harrison, The Greedy Bastard Diary [x]

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Olivia and George Harrison at David Gilmour’s 50th birthday party, Fulham Town Hall, Fulham, London, 23 March 1996. Photos © REX.

“We had these whole 30 years together and then at the end you’re able to just decant that time. We spent that summer together and we had so much fun. It’s amazing, you know. It’s the end of your life, here’s the conversation. ‘I hope I wasn’t a bad husband.’ ‘Well, I hope I was an okay wife,’ you know. 'How did we do? How did we do?’ And, and then you think, 'I’m so glad. I’m so glad that we just kept walking this path together.’ And all those other things that came and went, we just swatted away and batted away between us, you know.” - Olivia Harrison, Living in the Material World [x]

Olivia Trinidad Arias and George Harrison during the Dark Horse Tour, 1974, from the BRAVO archives.

“[George Harrison] was also just falling in love with Olivia, who later became his wife. He really spent a lot of time with her. We just didn’t tend to see him all that much.” - Robben Ford, Ultimate Classic Rock, 7 February 2013

* * *

“[George] seemed so happy in those days, especially when he was with Olivia. I was surprised to see how affectionate he was with Olivia, holding hands, heads touching as they talked, snuggling up next to her at every opportunity. […] I liked Olivia […] But I was jealous of George’s attention to her. […] Olivia was his new love, and he was clearly head over heels, spending all his spare time with her and creating a little invisible wall that separated them from the rest of us.” - Chris O'Dell, Miss O'Dell: Hard Days and Long Nights with The Beatles, The Stones, Bob Dylan, and Eric Clapton [x]

* * *

“I remember George [Harrison] couldn’t stop talking about her [Olivia Trinidad Arias] after he met her.” - Al Aronowitz, Column Sixty-Two, 1 August 2001 [x]

* * *

“Olivia came into the picture at just the right time, a crazy, dark time. She is a strong person, and when he fell for her we all agreed that was a good thing. It wasn’t good for him to be on his own, and without her things would have got worse.” - Jim Keltner, Mojo, November 2014 [x]

* * *

“I just went on a binge [after splitting up with Pattie], went on the road… all that sort of thing, until it got to the point where I had no voice and almost no body at times. Then I met Olivia and it all worked out fine. There’s a song on the new album, ‘Dark Sweet Lady’: ‘You came and helped me through/When I’d let go/You came from out the blue/Never have known what I’d done without you.’ That sums it up.” - George Harrison, Rolling Stone, 19 April 1979 [x]

* * *

Q: “Was it love at first sight?”
Olivia Harrison: “Pretty much. We felt it in our hearts from before we met. Even on the phone, we seemed to have some understanding, like you do when you meet the right person. And he was a charmer, such a charmer!” - The Sun, 2009 [x]

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Scans - Olivia and Dhani Harrison, photographed in Maui, Hawaii and Switzerland in 2001 by George Harrison. Scanned from Harrison by the editors of Rolling Stone. Photos by George Harrison, © The Harrison Family.

“[H]is family that he loved - Olivia his beautiful and courageous wife, and Dhani, the son of whom he was so proud.” - George Martin [x]

Scan - George and Olivia Harrison, photographed by George in Hawaii, 1978. Scanned from Harrison and previously posted at thateventuality here.

“While listening to these albums, I thought again and again: I hope I told him how amazing his songs are. Because if one is always as close to it as I was, you can forget gestures like that sometimes because you don’t want to be awkward.” - Olivia Harrison on her late husband, George, and The Apple Years, translated from Spiegel (Germany), 17 October 2014 [x]

George and Olivia attending a Ravi Shankar concert, The Roxy Theater, Los Angeles, 22 March 1976

Photo: Ron Galella

“We can’t talk about marriage yet because I’m still married to Patti [sic] and I don’t know what will happen about divorce, as neither of us has filed for one. But Olivia is my woman. Everyone knows I only want to be with her.” - George Harrison, 1975/1976, quoted in George Harrison In The News [x]

George and Olivia Harrison, MIDEM Music Festival, Cannes, 27 January 1976

Photo: LFI

“We have a nice relationship. When you strive for something higher in the next world, you have a much easier time in this one.” - Olivia Harrison, Rolling Stone, 30 December 1976 [x]

* * *

“We can’t talk about marriage yet because I’m still married to Patti [sic] and I don’t know what will happen about divorce, as neither of us has filed for one. But Olivia is my woman. Everyone knows I only want to be with her.” - George Harrison, quoted in George Harrison In The News [x]