From the premiere Beatles biographer—author of the New York Times bestseller John Lennon: The Life and the million-copy selling Shout!: The Beatles in Their Generation—a rare and revealing portrait of George Harrison, the most misunderstood and mysterious Beatle, based on decades-long research and unparalleled access to inside sources.
Despite being hailed as one of the best guitarists of his era, George Harrison, particularly in his early decades, battled feelings of inferiority. He was often the butt of jokes from his bandmates owing to his lower-class background and, typically, was allowed to contribute only one or two songs per Beatles album out of the dozens he wrote.
Now, acclaimed Beatles biographer Philip Norman examines Harrison through the lens of his numerous self-contradictions. Compared to songwriting luminaries John Lennon and Paul McCartney he was considered a minor talent, yet he composed such masterpieces as “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Here Comes the Sun,” and his solo debut album “All Things Must Pass” achieved enormous success, appearing on many lists of the 100 best rock albums ever. Modern music critics place him in the pantheon of sixties guitar gods alongside Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, and Jimmy Page.
Harrison railed against the material world yet wrote the first pop song complaining about income tax. He spent years lovingly restoring his Friar Park estate as a spiritual journey, but quickly mortgaged the property to help rescue a film project that would be widely banned as sacrilegious, Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Harrison could be fiercely jealous, but not only did he stay friends with Eric Clapton when Clapton fell in love with Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd, the two men grew even closer after Clapton walked away with her.
Unprecedented in scope and filled with numerous color photos, this rich biography captures George Harrison at his most multi-faceted: devoted friend, loyal son, master guitar player, brilliant songwriter, cocaine addict, serial philanderer, global philanthropist, student of Indian mysticism, self-deprecating comedian, and, ultimately, iconic artist and man beloved by millions.
Philip Norman grew up on Ryde Pier, Isle of Wight. His bizarre childhood as the son of an unsuccessful seaside showman inspired his memoir Babycham Night. Norman went on to win the Young Writer of the Year Award contest organized by The Sunday Times Magazine (London), where he became a star interviewer, profiling celebrities ranging from Stevie Wonder to Libyan President Moammar Gaddafi. Norman’s early career as a rock critic led to his first biography, Shout!, which received critical acclaim and sold more than a million copies. He is the author of numerous highly praised works, including John Lennon: The Life; Paul McCartney: The Life; Slowhand: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton; Rave On: The Biography of Buddy Holly; Wild Thing: The Short, Spellbinding Life of Jimi Hendrix; and a memoir of his Sunday Times years, We Danced on Our Desks.
About George Harrison: The Reluctant Beatle...
“Norman captures the creativity, the humanity, and the great humor of the man in this keen and lovely tribute.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Norman knows his subject and the soulful torments Harrison endured. A well-informed biography of an enigmatic musician.” —Kirkus Reviews
“George Harrison was not just the reluctant Beatle. With his wizardly vim on the guitar, feathery voice, and knack for songcraft, he was certainly the most underrated one. Here, the Fab Four's inimitable chronicler Philip Norman gives us the portrait of Harrison's remarkable life that only he can: myth-dispelling, richly detailed, and full of humor. The story of how this young, poor, quiet Liverpool kid rose to musical mastery and fame is the triumph of an oft-overlooked hero—and a delight on every page.” —Ian S. Port, author of The Birth of LoudAbout Paul McCartney: The Life…
“An enormous and sympathetic book....It's rich with detail about Mr. McCartney's philanthropy, his knighthood, his taste in country homes, his dabbling as a painter, a poet, and a composer of classical music....The story of its subject's life from his childhood in Liverpool through the breakup of the Beatles in 1970 has lost none of its ability to charm....One of the best stories the past century has to tell.”
—Dwight Garner, New York TimesAbout John Lennon: The Life…
“Norman sharpens what we know about Lennon at just about every turn…devotees will relish the new information, while casual readers will find a familiar story told more truly than ever before.” —Rolling StoneAbout Shout!: The Beatles in Their Generation…
“The best, most detailed, and most serious biography of the Beatles and their time.” —Chicago Sun-Times