George Harrison’s birthday today reminds me of a few things. First of all, it reminds me that I really need to pick up my two favorite Harrison solo albums (All Things Must Pass and Spirits In The Material World). It also reminds me of a Beatles tribute band that I saw in Beloit, Wisconsin one summer. They were surprisingly good, performing two sets that evening: one featuring the “fab” version circa ’63-’65 and the other featuring the “artsy” version circa’66-’68.
The guy that played George had unbelievably large teeth, which seemed to become more prominent after ingesting a couple of white Russians and MS Contin tablets. I was forced to retreat back to the hotel room and smoke pot to get the image removed from my head.
Getting back to the Spirits In The Material World album: the gatefold vinyl version featured a very colorful picture of Krishna. He looked very feminine and his skin was a deeper shade of blue as compared to other images. He was decked out in an almost warrior motif and was playing a flute upon a white stallion. Consider that I am basing this off a memory from nearly thirty years ago, so forgive me if this is all incorrect. I haven’t actually listened to that album in that amount of time either, so it could be a complete piece of shit.
In the eyes of an 8 year old, this was a very powerful image, and I asked my Father more pointed questions about the blue dude and what he represents. Since my old man wasn’t well versed in Hinduism, the questions like “What special powers does Krishna have?” and “How did he turn blue?” went unanswered.
They still are, come to think of it, but I did come to discover that his name does (roughly) translate as “attractive” and, indeed, the guy in the gatefold of Harrison’s Material World album was pretty hot looking.
I hope that the fact that I thought Krishna was attractive to me at the age of eight doesn’t offend anyone.
If it does, well then, blame George Harrison.
Like I said, I haven’t spun a Harrison solo album in some time now, so I’d probably start (and end with) those two aforementioned albums that I used to enjoy as a kid.
His other efforts are questionable to me: I did get a few singles in lieu of actual albums (I was a kid with a very fixed income, you understand) and the last true l.p. of George’s that I actually got would have been Somewhere In England, which was incredibly lame.
And then there’s the entire late-80’s comeback albums which were riddled with Jeff Lynne’s overproduction and then there was the embarrassing “feud” with Oasis in the mid-90’s where George weighed in on his opinions of the Gallagher brothers for no apparent reason.
I expect better from a Beatle, particularly a cool one like George.
Now, such matters seem a little trivial, particularly after a retarded murder attempt followed by a battle with cancer, a battle that he would subsequently lose.
George would have turned 65 today.