George Harrison died eleven years ago today at the relatively young age of 58. His legacy, which extends far beyond music, is stronger than ever.
The backbone of the Beatles was John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Lennon was murdered by psycho Mark Chapman in December 1980; George died a natural death nearly 20 years later, although lung cancer (he was a lifelong smoker) and a near fatal attack by another psychotic in his own home in December 1999 can only have shortened his life.
In spite of they're writing the bulk of Beatles' songs either together or individually, the talent of lead guitarist Harrison was impossible to hide. He wrote two of the group's finest songs: Here Comes The Sun and Something, and after the band split up, he went on to produce a fair number of songs in a solo career that spanned three decades.
The Beatles and especially Harrison were responsible more than anyone else for introducing Indian music to Britain and the West at a time when the Indian Diaspora was far smaller than it is today. George learned the sitar, but he went further than patronising and championing Indian music, he converted to Hinduism. On his death in Los Angeles, he was cremated at Hollywood Forever Cemetery; his ashes were then scattered over three rivers in India during a family ceremony.
After the Beatles, George was probably better known for his humanitarian work than even his music. Along with his friend, sitar player Ravi Shankar, he founded the Concert for Bangladesh - two concerts and a film - to raise awarness and funds for the victims of the 1970 Bhola cyclone and the bloody civil war. Shankar was the recipient of the first George Harrison Humanitarian Award.
In his will, George left over $150 million; his official website is managed by his estate, but his legacy transcends mere money; it includes the Material World Foundation, and of course some incredible music. A new documentary about George was released last year.