As Bob Dylan said years ago, ‘The moment I speak, I become my enemy.’ I just wanted to have a quieter time. Anyway, there is less chance of people twisting what you say if you don’t say anything. They have all had their share of conceptualizing me but I have just gone about my life like a normal person. Every so often I see a newspaper headline saying I’m this, that or the other, but, as Jeff Lynne says, 'This is tomorrow’s fish and chip paper’.
“I just loved playing with the Traveling Wilburys. It was such
fun doing that. Oddly enough, with a band that included, besides myself,
Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Jim Keltner on drums,
I felt less pressure than I had on many smaller projects,
beause none of us had to worry about the solo performance thing so much.
There was so much input from everybody, and we were all relieved to be
in a band of equals where no one had to worry about doing all the lead
vocals or all the writing. I think a lot of people who liked the first
album didn’t get the second one, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3.
Unfortunately, it came out just when the Gulf War was starting and the
economy was going down. I remember we were going down to choose outfits
for our first video and we heard that they had just bombed Baghdad. But a
song like ‘New Blue Moon’ [from Vol. 3] has that slap-back echo and the
feel of all those great Fifties records I loved. It stands up to modern
technology, yet has the brightness and feel of a real rockabilly record
from the Fifties or early Sixties. It made me feel like I’d come full
circle in a way.” - George Harrison, Guitar World, 1992
“It’s more fun to just hang out with your friends, sod it, you know, just do something. I had to shake The Beatles off from around my neck. I had to do something other than being “Beatles George”… Now I’ve come full circle, I’m free of it, and I’m liberated. I can go on and be a Wilbury. […]
“Somebody was making these guitar picks and they said, ‘What should we put on them?’ Everybody has some smart little thing written on the pick. So, as we’d just been talking about these ‘trembling wilburys’, I had it misspelled as 'travelling wilburys’ on this guitar pick. But at that point it was just a drunken thought at the back of my head.”
Talking to Rolling Stone magazine, Dylan talked freely about Harrison’s struggle to find his voice within the songwriting collective of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
“George got stuck with being the Beatle that had to fight to get songs on records because of Lennon and McCartney. Well, who wouldn’t get stuck?” he asked.
Dylan highlighted the writing talents of Harrison, saying: “If George had had his own group and was writing his own songs back then, he’d have been probably just as big as anybody.”- Quoted in an NME article, “Bob Dylan talks of Beatles friendship”, 16 May 2007
“I’ve always liked the way George Harrison plays guitar—restrained and good.”
-Bob Dylan to Ron Rosenbaum, Nov 1977
“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]
Jeff Lynne and Dhani Harrison at 2017 MusiCares Person Of The Year (Saluting Tom Petty) in Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of Jeff Lynne’s Facebook Page
“We were finishing a record together [when he died]. After he passed
away, I got to work with Jeff Lynne, and I ended up finishing it with
Jeff and kind of taking the role of my dad on, because there was no
artist there to answer questions. That kind of left me in Los Angeles,
and left me in a studio thinking, ‘Well, that was the most fun thing
that I could be doing.’ So I kind of just carried on from there, making
my own records and composing for film and TV. It just seemed like a
logical step for me.
“ - Dhani, from an interview with NPR
“Jeff and my dad had a great way of working together. They were very
good friends, and Jeff was meticulous, and he’d have a lot of ideas and bounce
stuff off my dad. They just worked very well together.“ -Dhani, Guitar World
[George] Harrison had a different talent, an extraordinary talent. Harrison never played a wrong note, and never played a note that wasn’t necessary. Every single note he ever played made the song better.
COUNTDOWN 1990: What’s The main objective for The Traveling Wilburys, just to have fun or…?
GEORGE : Yeah. Just to write songs quickly. Don’t get hung up about it. Just to see what happened really and to have fun.
When I first read the bio and the info on The Traveling Wilburys, I thought it was brilliant, you know, call everybody a Wilbury. Who came up with that?
GEORGE: Well I just thought, you know, it would be… I mean there was always these groups in the 70′s, they made these superstar groups, and we hated that. You know , the idea of these famous people all trying to make a record. Most of the records weren’t that good, Doesn’t mean it’s going to be good if you get these famous people together. I wanted to avoid that totally. If you look at the record it doesn’t have anybody’s name on it. Now, with the new record, everybody knows obviously who it is. But for the first record it was a surprise and we didn’t put our names. We just made up silly names. Even the credit to the record company, like CBS, where you have to say, ‘Bob Dylan appears courtesy of CBS’, even that it says ‘Lucky Wilbury’. But they didn’t notice. You know I put that on to see. I thought they were going to complain. But they didn’t.
Was it really a plan to stay anonymous at first?
Yeah. And just to prolong the ‘anonymity’ as long as possible.
“…The Cape still might find a second life on cable. And I’ll tell you why. El corazόn del agua es verdad. That water is a lie! Harrison Ford is irradiating our testicles with microwave satellite transmissions! So maybe we are caught in an endless cycle of screw-ups and hurt feelings. But I choose to believe it’s just the universe’s way of molding with into some kind of super group. ”
“Like the Traveling Wilburys!”
“Yes, Troy, like the Traveling Wilburys of pain, prepared for any insane adventure life throws our way. And I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to every one of them.”
George Harrison, photographed for Cloud Nine in 1987 by Gered Mankowitz; via Gotta Have Rock and Roll.
George’s nicknames appreciation post, prompted by a previous ask:
Hazza (In 1958, when John, Paul and George hung out together very frequently and had nicknames for each other: Lennie, Macca and Hazza, as Mark Lewisohn states in All These Years: here)
Georgie [x] (The other three Beatles can be heard calling him that in interviews [for instance, x], Astrid Kirchherr, Klaus Voormann and Jürgen Vollmer refer to it, and Paul as relatively recently as 2005 [x]. George also signed at least one letter to Astrid that way [x]; and it’s also what Ken Mansfield recalls as George’s telegram code name [the other three are Jock, Porgie and Richie, as he remembers, x!])
Carl Harrison (Well, not a nickname per se, but George’s chosen stage name for the May 1960 Johnny Gentle tour of Scotland)
Geo, a nickname used by his mother Louise (Recalled by Arthur Kelly, in The Beatles - All These Years: Tune In’s extended version… pronounced “Joe.”)
The Beautiful One (What the Hamburg exis nicknamed George in 1960, x)
George Gretsch, as fans took to calling him after he’d purchased his beloved second-hand Gretsch Duo Jet in 1961 [x]
According to the New York Post’s 20 September 1964 issue, he was “called ‘The Bloody Sphinx’ by John Lennon and 'The Great Stone Face’ by Ringo Starr.” [x]
When George, Pattie, John and Cyn went on their May 1964 vacation to Tahiti, etc., code names were created for them, as Brian Epstein recounted in A Cellarful of Noise; George’s was Mr. Hargreaves (as in, his father, Harold Hargreaves Harrison).
Jack Lumber (George’s clearly Monty Python fanatic pseudonym for “hotels, security (and guitar picks),” as Eric Idle recalls x; when traveling with Olivia in the 1970’s and 1980’s, it was often as “Mr. and Mrs. Jack Lumber”.)
“[My] ‘L’Angelo Mysterioso’ credit [for playing on the co-written ‘Badge’] must have been thought up by Eric [Clapton]. I just saw it on the back of the album when it came! In those days, of course, if you played on anybody else’s album or even one track, EMI used to get funny about it, thinking, ‘Oh, the fabulous Beatles publishing catalogue,’ and try claiming royalties on it. So if we did that we always had to make up names. Ravi Shankar used to put on ’Hari Georgeson’ or ’Jai Raj Harisein.’ John [Lennon] preferred ‘George Harrisong.’” - George, Musician, November 1987
“[M]y Indian name for him was ’Jáyaraj.’” - Ravi Shankar, Concert for George, 29 November 2002
Arthur Wax, George O’Hara, George O’Hara-Smith, Onothimagen, P. Roducer, Nelson Wilbury, Spike Wilbury…for album credits, and in the case of Ohnothimagen, album promo.
When George, Olivia and Dhani stayed one night at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, on 28 October 1982, they had reservations under the name ‘Mr and Mrs Tannerhill’ (according to The Beatles Diary Volume 2: After The Break-Up 1970-2001).
“[In Hawaii, George was known to locals] “simply as Keoki.” [x]… it’s also one of Dhani’s tattoos: xx.
On 14 December 1984, George appeared on stage as a surprise guest with Deep Purple in Sydney, introduced as ‘Arnold Grove from Liverpool’ (a pseudonym he also used for hotels; as well as Rick Veda).
Once more for guitar picks, Sir Edmund Wilbury and Nakihama Wilbury (the latter during the 1991 Japan tour) [x]
While undergoing cancer treatment Stateside, George apparently checked in under the alias Jorge Arias, a nickname he also used on other occasions (x).