English musician and songwriter George Harrison died on this date — November 29, 2001 — 18 years ago, at the age of 58 suffering from lung cancer.
Harrison achieved global fame as the youngest member of the Beatles and went on to a successful solo career that included frequent collaborations with many of the foremost musicians of his generation.
Known as the quiet Beatle, Harrison was born in Liverpool on February 25, 1943 and became part of the Beatles when the band was still a skiffle group called the Quarrymen at the age of 15. Harrison became the group's lead guitarist and frequently sang.
Although he was oftentimes overshadowed by the duo of John Lennon and Paul McCartney in Beatles, his influence on the group and on rock music, in general, was profound.
Even more impressive may have been his solo work. As time passed by Harrison proved to be a truly great songwriter and recording artist in his own right once freed from shadows of his former bandmates.
1968 would see him be the first Beatle to release a solo record, with Wonderwall Music, and the following year with Electronic Sounds, in which Harrison made use of experiments with the Moog synthesizer. He would release his triple-album, All Things Must Pass, in 1970 to massive acclaim from both critics and fans alike, with the hits "My Sweet Lord" and "What Is Life."
The following year, Harrison organized the Concert for Bangladesh, a charity event now recognized as the first celebrity benefit concert. The concert drew over 40,000 people to Madison Square Garden and the resulting live album won the Grammy for Album of the Year.
Having adopted Hindu mythology and Transcendental Meditation years earlier thanks to his friendship with Indian sitar master Ravi Shankar, Harrison would go on to put together 1971's Concert for Bangladesh. The major benefit concert raised awareness and funds for the refugee situation of East Pakistan–a tragic result of the mass genocide committed during the Bangladesh Liberation War. The show would feature a supergroup consisting of Harrison, ex-bandmate Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, and many more.
Harrison released many solo records, but he was known for his love of collaboration.
In the late 1980's, Harrison would co-found The Traveling Wilburys, a behemoth group made up of Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne of ELO, all of which had worked with one another in some capacity on past and future projects.
The group's first album, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1, would go multi-platinum, with support from the singles "End of the Line," and "Handle with Care." Orbison would pass before the group recorded their second and final album, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3.
Harrison, already a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee with The Beatles, would go on to be elected to for a second time as a solo artist in 2004, three years after his passing.
Harrison's first marriage, to model Pattie Boyd in 1966, ended in divorce in 1977. The following year he married Olivia Arias, with whom he had a son, Dhani.
Two years after surviving a knife attack by an intruder at his Friar Park home Harrison died with his second wife Olivia and their son Dhani by his side. His remains were cremated and the ashes were scattered according to Hindu tradition in a private ceremony in the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in India.
He left an estate of almost £100 million.