olivia x harrison

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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.”

George Harrison, photographed in 1965 by Leslie Bryce for The Beatles Book, and in 1992 by Mark Seliger.

“He liked the moon, you know, if the wind was blowing and the full moon was up, he’d put on Bing Crosby singing ‘Sweet Leilani’ and just make the moment even better, and then he might hand you a gardenia.” - Olivia Harrison, Living in the Material World [x]

* * *

“He was a very romantic person.” - Olivia Harrison, 2007 [x]

* * *

“All senses were satisfied as incense blew in the morning breeze, mingling with the steam from hot cups of tea. If he stepped out the door for a breath of morning air, he always returned with a flower or leaf that would have gone unnoticed by everyone else, in the same way many among us would have gone unnoticed were it not for his ability to ‘see’ the true person inside the bodily form. He always went straight to the heart of a person, and that ability extended to any subject or matter or work before him. His ability to penetrate to the core gave him, as he put it, 'a different slant, a different patter,’ than anyone I ever knew.” - Olivia Harrison, “A Few Words About George,” Harrison [x]

George Harrison next to the jukebox at Friar Park, 1990. Photo presumably by Terry O’Neill.

George’s Top 40 on his jukebox at Kinfauns was reported on in the 1 January 1966 issue of Record Mirror (you can read that article here).

And what of the two jukeboxes at Friar Park? From comments, the following can be deduced… though only a fraction of the songs George chose, it’s interesting to see the diversity:

“The Rain Song” by Led Zepplin [x]

“Well, when I first came to England and he had the jukebox on all the time, I have to say I was a bit confused because it was ‘The Ying Tong Song’ and ‘I’m Walking Backwards For Christmas’… and he had an EP of Christmas carols by a sitar player.” - Olivia Harrison, 2014 [x]

“[A] version of ‘The Lumberjack Song,’ Ravi Shankar, endless Dylan, ‘Oh you must hear this, Eric.’ Early Elvis. 'Spam.’ EC’s 'Layla.’ And yet more Dylan.” - Eric Idle, The Greedy Bastard Diary [x]

“[Charlie] Dore knew that Harrison liked the song. She’d been introduced to him by a mutual friend, Eric Idle of Monty Python, with whom she worked on radio comedy and who took her round to Harrison’s house one day. The Beatle had a jukebox and there among classic rock ‘n’ roll hits and other Harrison favourites was Fear of Flying [of which George also recorded a demo, previewed by Olivia in a radio interview in 2014].” - Herald Scotland, 31 May 2017

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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2 September 1978: George and Olivia Harrison marry in a private ceremony in Henley-on-Thames.

“There’s a song on the new album [George Harrison], ‘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 February 1979 [x]

“My dark sweet lady
Your heart so close to mine
You shine so heavenly… and
I love you dearly.”
- From “Dark Sweet Lady”

“I’m not a celebrity and I’m not in the entertainment business, I think that helps a lot. He had enough [celebrity] for both of us. And of course love is the key… and it depends on what your goals are in life. If your goal is to have a happy marriage then I think that’s a recipe for disaster. George’s goal was to have self-realization and enlightenment. If that is your goal it makes everything else a little bit easier.” - Olivia Harrison, The Australian, 3 March 2005 [x]

“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]

“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!” - Olivia Harrison on whether it was love at first sight, The Sun, 12 June 2009 [x]

“'What’s the secret of a long marriage?’ It’s like, 'You don’t get divorced.’ And I think, you know, you go through challenges in your marriage and I… Here’s what I found. First time we had a big hiccup in the road, I, you know, you go through things, you go, Wow. There’s a reward at the other end of it. There’s this incredible reward. You love each other more. You learn something. You let go of something. You get… Those hard edges get softened. You know, you’re that block of stone. And, you know, life shapes you and takes away those hard edges.” - Olivia Harrison, Living in the Material World [x]

“It’s hard to think of leaving the privacy and quiet of the happy life I have here.” - George Harrison, Billboard, 19 June 1999 [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 says that, towards the end, when he 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 | x]

“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]

“I knew when you arrived
That no words could describe
What your love made me do
I’ll never get over you
[…] My understanding grew
But I’ll never get over, never get over you” - From “Never Get Over You”

“I love you, George. The joys, sorrows, lessons and love we shared are more than enough to fill my heart until we meet again.” - Olivia Harrison, 2002 [x]

George Harrison in the garden at Friar Park, photographed by Chris Murray; screen capped from Living in the Material World.

Photo © Chris Murray

“Every time I go out there, I think he’ll just pop out from behind a shrub, like he used to.” - Olivia Harrison, 2008 [x]

“Gardening is a real passion; I love being close to nature. It makes me feel very peaceful.” - George Harrison, The Sun, 21 October 1987 [x]

“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

“I got this garden. It was all overgrown, and it used to be a great garden, and so I decided to try and tidy it up a bit, basically. That’s all I did; I bought an old, dilapidated property, tried to tidy it up. And in between all that, I discovered all these things called trees! [laughs] And we had all these - wow, these are the big ones and little ones, and flowery ones, you know, piney ones. There’s some great stuff happening out there, which you never noticed because you’re always in rooms and editing tape and, you know, drinking beers, and you miss out on this thing called life.” - George Harrison, 1987 [x]

“[He would garden for] Hours and hours. I bought him one of those lights you put on your head. He wasn’t just out in the garden, he was IN the garden. He would walk out the door and come back in with the tiniest little thing and he’d go, ‘Look at that!’ - and he’d hand you the tiniest flower.
He’d notice things. We’d walk in the grass and he’d bend over and go, ‘Oh, look at that little guy,’ and it would be a bug. I’d say, ‘How did you see that?’ He was just really present.” - Olivia Harrison, The Sun, 12 June 2009 [x]

Keep reading

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Scans - George and Olivia Harrison [x]; and in 2001 [x]; scanned from I Me Mine, The Beatles - In Their Own Words After The Break-Up, and Hello!.

Photo 1 © Michael Simon

“I felt [Olivia] was the perfect partner for George. She supported him in all his business endeavors, looked after him during his illness, stood by his side whenever he needed her, and also gave him the freedom he so desperately required. And all inconspicuously in the background, without pushing into the spotlight.” - Klaus Voormann, translated from Warum spielst du Imagine nicht auf dem weißen Klavier, John? [x]

“I was in heaven over there with him [George]. I won’t ever be able to thoroughly explain the feeling to see him so healthy, to see him happy, to see his little boy bring his girlfriend to the house [Friar Park]. 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, Goldmine, 6 November 1998 [x]

“Olivia had the hardest job in the world, because she loved George more than all of us, and she really took care of him and cleared the path in front of him, behind him, and inherited that crazy life, you know.” - Tom Petty, Rolling Stone, 17 January 2002 [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]

“When I saw him, he was obviously struggling with his disease, but he had the strength of a warrior, and always displayed an impressive love of life. His wife Olivia was another great warrior by George’s side.” - Emerson Fittipaldi, The Beatles Book [x]

“I think people change one another when they become husband and wife. He certainly seems happier than he was before. George and Olivia are very domesticated. They really vibrate on the same wavelength.” - Mukunda Goswami, 1988

“[…] George was always fearless, and he manifested this quality right up to the end of his life. His wife Olivia’s strength, patience, and loving attention was deeply inspiring […].” - Gary Wright, Dream Weaver: Music, Meditation, And My Friendship With George Harrison [x]

“The admiration for his wife and family was not hard to spot!” - Ian Paice, translated from GoodTimes, 6/2011 [x]

“He loved his gardening, he loved his wife, he loved his kid, he loved his house, Friar Park, and he restored that house as much as he could.” - Elton John, Rolling Stone, 17 January 2002 [x]

“I got an e-mail from Liv the other day saying she thought George performing ‘The Pirate Song’ on Rutland Weekend Televison was the bravest thing he ever did and that she wanted to be a pirate, too. Well, his 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, The Greedy Bastard Diary [x]

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Screen captures of glimpses of Olivia in George Harrison’s music videos: “Ding Dong, Ding Dong” [x]; “This Song” (in the back, wearing a headband); “Crackerbox Palace” [xx]; and “This Is Love.”

“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, quoted in The Mirror, 2001 [x]

Q: “Was it love at first sight?”
Olivia: “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, 12 June 2009 [x]

“Olivia Harrison is now travelling along her own long and winding road, but it is not a journey she feels she is making alone. Still taking comfort in her husband’s voice, she says that her favourite George Harrison song is Run of the Mill, with a lyric that asks: how high will you leap? That is what she asks herself now, although she knows that her husband is still with her, ‘in some incarnation or another’ and that her happy marriage endures.
'I don’t know if anyone really knows the secret of such a long marriage like ours, but we both had a bigger goal of attaining a spiritual success and I think that could be it. When you have a bigger goal in life, it makes everything else a little bit easier.’” - The Telegraph, 24 January 2005 [x]