The first thing I heard when I turned on the radio this morning was a montage of many, many Beatles songs, interspersed with snippets of interviews with George Harrison. I knew what it meant: George Harrison had died. I sat down heavily on my bed and listened to the whole thing.
My first introduction to the Beatles came during my freshman year of high school. My group of friends — Tim, Christina, Jeremy, Rob, and Matt — passed around what tapes we had (yes, kids, we listened to tapes back then). Chris and I memorized the harmonies to “If I Fell in Love with You” and sang along gleefully to “Yellow Submarine”. At the end of that year, my Mom (in what I now see as a miracle of trust) let Tim take Christina and I to DC overnight to see Paul McCartney in concert. A 17-year-old and two 14-year-olds, loose in the big city…my most vivid memory is riding the Metro out of the city after the concert, with the cars packed to overflowing with jubilant Beatles fans. Through it all, my favorite Beatle was George Harrison, the good looking mystical one. Sigh. Tim introduced me to the Traveling Wilburys, bless them. What a band. And what a way to influence young music fans! George Harrison and the Beatles taught me to be discerning without lecturing.
I remember my classmates Rick and Carrie saying in middle school, “The Beatles did it all first. Whatever it was, they did it first.” Much of my sadness comes because genius isn’t supposed to die. I didn’t think I’d see one of the legends of my lifetime die.
Goodbye, George. God bless. And thanks.