George Harrison sailed away from us five years ago today.
At 22, with all of the money, fame and success of being in the world's most popular band, George traveled to the mountains of India and literally sat at the feet of his elders to study the music and spirituality of an ancient culture. He had been an ordinary teenage bloke from a middle-class family in England who suddenly found himself on top of the world. How many people in that position would have gone off on such a quest? The story has always amazed me.
And his spiritual awakening was no trendy or fashionable phase. The path he began in 1965 was the same one he was on when he embarked on his new journey in 2001.
I've always thought that George's importance to the Beatles is too often overlooked. An Indian journalist who knew him in the 1960s said he was the most naive of the Beatles, but also the most sincere. Perhaps it was that sincerity, along with his spiritual exploration, that gave George's songs a certain resonance that helped create the lasting and unique magic that is the Beatles.
And his sense of joy and fun. He may have been earnest, but he was also friends with - and a producer to - Monty Python. A vegetarian and serious gardener, he was also a Formula One race car driver. In the end, he was a fascinating, complex and loving soul. He is missed.
I was lucky enough to see George perform live in 1992, at Bob Dylan's 30th Anniversary Concert at Madison Square Garden. When he stepped out on the stage, I couldn't help but be awed. Here I was, a Beatles kid from Austin, Texas, seeing George Harrison live on stage. It was a very memorable experience.
As a child, I loved Ringo and Paul. As an angry but idealistic teenager, I idolized John. But when I started listening to the Beatles again a few years ago, it was George who seemed to be a revelation to a tired but still searching adult soul.
A couple of nights ago, La Reina heard this song and said it always made her feel so joyful. Yeah. So I offer George singing "Here Comes the Sun" at the Concert for Bangla Desh.
"When you've seen beyond yourself - then you may find, peace of mind is waiting there - And the time will come when you see we're all one, and life flows on within you, and without you. "
"Everything else can wait, but the search for God cannot wait . . . Love one another."