Cover image for George Harrison : behind the locked door
George Harrison : behind the locked door
Thomson, Graeme (Writer on music), author.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Overlook, 2015.
Physical Description:
xiv, 447 pages, 24 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm
Be here now: August, 1971 -- All those years ago -- Plug me in -- Life itself -- Beatle: red -- Circles -- Rising sun -- White out -- Beatle: blue -- How high will you leap? -- Bread for Bangladesh -- Deep blue -- Dark horse rides out -- Blow away -- Rough cuts -- Travelling man -- Answer at the end -- Everyone's got to be somewhere.
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ML420.H167 T46 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Popular Materials-Biography

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As a Beatle, Harrison underwent a bewilderingly compressed early adulthood, buffeted by unprecedented levels of fame and success. The notoriously shy performer mostly ceded the spotlight to his more flamboyant bandmates John, Paul, and Ringo, but after the band's breakup, Harrison charted a new path all his own. In this elegant, in-depth biography, renowned music journalist Graeme Thomson tracks Harrison assiduously through his many changes and conflicts, from schoolboy guitarist to global superstar, God-seeker to independent filmmaker, and marks the perennial struggle of a man attempting to walk a spiritual path lined with temptation. Drawing on scores of new interviews with close friends and collaborators, rigorous research and critical insight, George Harrison: Behind The Locked Door is a fascinating account of the motives and varied achievements of an often misunderstood man.

Author Notes

GRAEME THOMSON is one of Britain's leading music writers. He is the author of critically acclaimed and definitive biographies of Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Kate Bush. He has written for Time Out, MOJO, The Guardian, and Rolling Stone. 

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* He was known as the Quiet One, a shallow and simplistic label, as journalist and music biographer Thomson rightly notes. But George Harrison, the youngest Beatle, was a complicated fellow, the least flashy, the least brash, asserts Thomson; the Beatle who was least drawn to the glare of fame. Indeed, Harrison, who had a serious green thumb, seemed happier tending his garden than playing the role of the rock star. Many critics thought he would disappear from the spotlight after the Beatles officially split in April 1970. Instead, he enjoyed his most fertile period with the release of a triple album, All Things Must Pass, and the symbolic pinnacle of his career, the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971, the first benefit music concert. Thomson looks at Harrison's normal upbringing in Liverpool; his joining the Beatles and the chaos that followed; his forging a solo career as well as his stint with the Traveling Wilburys; his role as a movie producer; and his final years, including a violent attack in his home and his death in 2001 in Beverly Hills at 58. Thomson is especially compelling in his illumination of Harrison's inner life, his robust spirituality, and his deep love of Indian culture. A must for all Beatles collections and for fans of the quiet man himself.--Sawyers, June Copyright 2015 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Drawing on many new interviews with Harrison's close friends and musical collaborators, music journalist Thomson (Kate Bush: Under the Ivy) challenges the image of George Harrison as "the quiet Beatle," portraying the guitarist as a complex person trying to navigate a middle course between materiality and spirituality, and fame and reclusivity. In tedious and tiresome fashion, Thomson chronicles Harrison's life from his rather run-of-the mill childhood and his early days of making music with The Quarrymen to the beginnings of The Beatles, their rapid ascent to fame and their just as speedy descent. He explores Harrison's embrace of Eastern philosophy, his retirement to his Friar Park estate in England, and with meticulous detail, traces the making of each of Harrison's solo albums. Thomson shows that "Harrison didn't grow up wanting to be a pop star, or a singer, or a songwriter. He just wanted to play guitar." As Thomson observes, many of his friends and many music critics point out that in 1971, with the release of All Things Must Pass, Harrison was already at the top of the musical mountain and his career would move downhill from there. In the end, Thomson reveals very little new information about Harrison, but he succeeds in showing that the guitarist's greatest accomplishment was finding fulfillment every day in the simple joys of being "somewhere" in his life. (Jan.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Starred Review. Thomson, a prolific contributor to various music magazines and author of a well-received Kate Bush biography (2010's Under the Ivy), adds to the mountain of Beatles bios with this long and thorough telling of the life of George Harrison (1943-2001). Eschewing Geoffrey Giuliano's mud-slinging approach in Dark Horse (1989) and Gary Tillery's overly subjective emphasis on Harrison's spirituality in Working Class Mystic (2011), Thomson instead delivers an extensive, evenhanded account of the former Beatles guitarist, covering his youth, his years in the Beatles, and a sporadically successful solo career. The author draws from both previously published interviews and new conversations with insiders, including wives, employees, and collaborators to craft an intimate portrait of a gifted and usually reclusive musician whose life followed two contradictory paths, one humble and spiritual and the other luxurious and entitled, as Harrison enjoyed the spoils of fame while mostly shunning the limelight. Thomson explores this fascinating dichotomy at length in prose that is both richly detailed and clearly written. VERDICT Fans of either the Beatles or Harrison the solo artist will find much to relish in this thorough and accessible account that, when paired with Harrison's I Me Mine (1981), gives a well-rounded picture of both the man and the musician.-Douglas King, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prologue Be Here Now: August 1, 1971p. vi
Chapter 1 All Those Years Agop. 1
Chapter 2 Plug Me Inp. 18
Chapter 3 Life Itselfp. 37
Chapter 4 Beatle: Redp. 62
Chapter 5 Circlesp. 85
Chapter 6 The Rising Sunp. 109
Chapter 7 White Outp. 143
Chapter 8 Beatle: Bluep. 162
Chapter 9 How High Will You Leap?p. 181
Chapter 10 Bread For Bangladeshp. 214
Chapter 11 Deep Bluep. 238
Chapter 12 Dark Horse Rides Outp. 259
Chapter 13 Blow Awayp. 288
Chapter 14 Rough Cutsp. 315
Chapter 15 Travelling Manp. 342
Chapter 16 The Answer At The Endp. 368
Epilogue Everyone's Got To Be Somewherep. 396
Acknowledgementsp. 407
Source Notesp. 409
Indexp. 428