With the 1976 release of "Thirty-three & 1/3," things started looking up. That is, until George lost his copyright infringement case over "My Sweet Lord." Its melody and chord structure were similar to the 1963 song "He's So Fine." George was found guilty of "subconscious plagiarism."
On June 9, 1977, George and Patti's divorce came through. Two years later, Patti married Eric Clapton. George, Paul and Ringo were among the guests/performers at the wedding celebration for George's ex-wife and his dearest friend.
In May 1978, George's father died from emphysema. As did his wife, Mr. Harrison enjoyed chatting with George's fans, and by all accounts was a delightful gentleman.
On August 1, 1978, George and Olivia's son, Dhani (pronounced "DAH-nee") was born. On September 2, George and Olivia were married.
George's new career as a film producer came about as the result of generosity and friendship. In 1978, after the original backers backed out, HandMade Films was formed to fund Monty Python's movie "The Life Of Brian." HandMade Films made possible fascinating films that in time became cult classics, as well as popular films which, if not for George's farsightedness, might never have seen the light of day. Among them are "Time Bandits," "Nuns On The Run," and "Shanghai Surprise" starring then-husband and wife Madonna and Sean Penn. Altogether, HandMade Films produced about 26 movies. George made cameo appearances in and wrote the soundtracks or songs for a few. In the late 1980s, HandMade Films had a run of bad luck, and was acquired by Paragon Entertainment Corp. in May 1994. Eight months later, George sued his former business partner, Denis O'Brien, for $20 million for breach of contract and fiduciary duties, and disposition of assets. George was awarded $10.9 million by the court, but has yet to collect this money.
George's autobiography, "I Me Mine," was published on August 22, 1979, first as a leather-bound collector's edition, and later as a mass market hardcover. George dedicated it "to gardeners everywhere." Though not especially informative, George's conversational manner and Derek Taylor's side notes make "I Me Mine" a delightful read. George's commentaries on every song he composed up through 1978 make it "must reading" for all George fans.
On December 9, 1980, George was awakened by Olivia. John Lennon had been shot and killed. "All Those Years Ago" was George's musical tribute to John. (John died just after 11 p.m. on December 8 in New York City, which made it December 9 in Europe.)
In 1988, George formed the Traveling Wilburys. The other Wilburys were Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison. Both albums were highly successful. "The Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 1" went multi-platinum and won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance.
In 1990, Olivia founded the Romanian Angel Appeal to aid Romanian orphans. George and Olivia gave much of their time and money to this most worthy cause.
In late 1991, George and Eric Clapton embarked on a tour of Japan. In 1992, a recording of some performances, "Live In Japan" was released.
Because he released no solo albums during the 90s, fans have the false impression that, except for the Beatles' "Anthology," George was not active professionally. Not true! As he had since the Beatles were still together, George continued to work with many artists. All in all, George has produced and performed on more non-solo albums than any other Beatle. Between 1990 and 1999, George was involved with over two dozen albums and singles.[Please click here for the Discography of George's work with other artists]
George survived a knife attack and three occurrences of cancer. In 2001, he and Olivia bought a villa near the ocean in the south of Switzerland.
George was in the final stages of recording a new solo album, as well as a box set of demos, outtakes and other unreleased material. Wait, there's more! Ownership of his solo Dark Horse 1976-92 catalogue and the two Traveling Wilburys albums were to have reverted back to George, and he had been considering re-circulating these currently out-of-print CDs with possible bonus tracks. All of this is now in Olivia's (and maybe Dhani's) more than capable hands.
On a U.S. morning news show aired June 12, 1997, George said, "For every human is a quest to find the answer to, Why are we here? Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? That to me became the only important thing in my life. Everything else is secondary."
On November 29, 2001, after a long battle with cancer, surrounded by those he loved, George leaves his body and moves on to wherever his spiritual journal will lead him.
Gardener, musician, composer, film producer, record producer, philanthropist, car racing enthusiast, spiritual seeker and slide guitarist extraordinaire, the multi-faceted George Harrison continues to enrich our lives. His inner light will shine forever.
Richard Starkey Jr.was born in the front room of 9 Madryn Street in Liverpool's Dingle area on July 7, 1940. His parents were Elise and Richard Starkey Sr. Elise and Richard would soon divorce in 1943 and she and her son moved to 10 Admiral Grove. Richard attended St. Silas Infants' School where he began to suffer the first of many illnesses which seriously affected his education.
At the age of six he was taken to the Royal Children's Infirmary suffering from acute abdominal pains. A ruptured appendix was diagnosed and this led to an inflamed peritoneum and the first of several operations for the young Richard. He went into a coma for two months during which several more operations were made. Richard was known to be accident prone. After he woke up from the coma he tried to hand a toy bus to the boy in the next bed. Richard fell over head first onto the floor resulting in a concussion. He remained in the hospital for several more months.
When he finally returned to school, he found himself far behind in his school work which gave him an undeserved reputation of being stupid. In 1953, at the age of thirteen, Richard caught a cold which turned into chronic pleurisy necessitating another stay at Myrtle Street Hospital. The illness caused some lung complications which resulted in the youth being sent to Heswall Children's Hospital where he remained until 1955.
By this time Elise had married Harry Graves, whom Richard referred to as his "step ladder". For a short time he had a job as delivery boy for British Rail. He next took on a job as barman on a ferry to New Brighton before becoming a trainee joiner at Henry Hunt and Sons. Richard's stepfather, Harry, bought him a secondhand drum kit and Richard showed promise of becoming a great musician.
Richard bounced around from band to band but he finally found a home with "Rory Storm & the Hurricanes". Rory Storm was a showman and he insisted that Richard add some flare to his act by renaming him Ringo Starr. To which he eventually legally change his name. The Hurricanes became one of the most popular groups in Liverpool and they topped the bill at Hamburg's Kaiserkeller club, above The Beatles. Pete Best was not always the most reliable drummer so Ringo would occasionally fill in for Pete if he didn't show up.
The Hurricanes were by now being out shown by The Beatles and Gerry & the Pacemakers. Ringo had thought about leaving The Hurricanes and joining another group called "The Seniors". After a brief lull period, Ringo decided to fill the spot of drummer for The Hurricanes once again. Ringo, feeling like he was going nowhere thought about taking up his apprenticeship at Hunt's again, when fate stepped in.'
The Beatles were now the top band in Liverpool and throughout most of England. The Beatles had just signed with Parlophone and George Martin didn't like Pete as their drummer describing him bluntly as "not good". The new task was to find a replacement drummer. Many considered Johnny Hutchinson of "The Big Three" to be the best drummer in Liverpool but then the idea was put around to ask Ringo if he would like to fill the position.
When Ringo went to record with The Beatles for the first time George Martin had already hired a session drummer, Andy White. Ringo was devastated and the fact that at first the fans didn't take kindly to him didn't help matters either. When Ringo first appeared with The Beatles at The Cavern Club, the fans still upset over Pete getting fired, started shouting "Pete forever, Ringo never!"