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article imageThe Martin Scorsese documentary about George Harrison

By Alexander Baron     Nov 16, 2011 in Entertainment
The Martin Scorsese documentary about the life of George Harrison is currently available on BBC iplayer; although thoroughly comprehensive, it has a couple of interesting desiderata.
This documentary is now available here and here for those who can view it. See also the related article of November 10.
The documentary is in two distinct parts: the first part covers his early days including of course his tenure with the Beatles; the second part is about his solo career and later personal life up until his death, although there is some overlap, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr appear in both parts.
The BBC has appended a strong language warning to this, although there are only a few swear words used in the entire three and a half hours plus.
The two desiderata alluded to above relate to the Beatles' encounter with Indian mysticism and the song My Sweet Lord. Although Harrison embraced Hinduism and the ethos that comes with it, one of their early encounters was distinctly unfavourable, in particular with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi , who was depicted by John Lennon as Sexy Sadie.
My Sweet Lord is one of Harrison's most famous songs, unfortunately, he was also found guilty of subconsciously plagiarising it from He's So Fine. This is one of the most famous musical plagiarism disputes in history, so it is inconceivable that Scorsese was unaware of it.
Olivia Harrison, Harrison's second wife and widow, makes significant contributions to the documentary, including reliving in graphic detail that terrible night in December 1999 when they were attacked in their own home by the deranged Michael Abram. George suffered a collapsed lung, and but for Olivia who inflicted severe damage on their assailant, that would have been the end of him.
Incredibly, Abram was released shortly after his death, having been found unfit to plead. Dhani Harrison, their son, said the attack took years off his father's life. George was fighting cancer at the time, and the trauma must have caused considerable shock to his system.
The film was obviously shot over a considerable period because it includes an interview with Phil Spector, who was convicted in April 2009 of the murder of Lana Clarkson in a bizarre shooting incident.
Overall, this is a thoroughly researched warts and all documentary, but with George it was a case of what you saw was what you got. And get, because although he has been dead now for ten years, his legacy will outlive anyone who reads this article this week. Unless of course, Aubrey de Grey pulls off something miraculous in the meantime.
More about George harrison, olivia harrison, dhani harrison, Beatles, Music
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