Today would have marked the 70th birthday of the late George Harrison, who made up one-fourth of one of the most famous musical quartets in music history, The Beatles.
Shrouded in a kind of misunderstood guise while in The Beatles and somewhat to this day as what his actual role was in the band, the contributions of George Harrison to that Liverpudlian unit and to his solo career, which saw arching highs and aching lows, were monumental and immeasurable. His work was bright and necessary, adding just the right touches and facets to the crown jewels in The Beatles. Harrison’s lead guitar playing and background and sometimes frontman singing gave immense color to the sometimes suffocating for him log jam of the tunes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, songs that also were churned out with a breathless standard and a high one at that, on an endless assembly line of quality, but ones which still seemingly pushed Harrison’s back against the wall when it came to those two men helping and bringing to fruition the true talent that nested inside of him. He became rather vocal about it through the years; he wasn’t comfortable being a somewhat sitting duck, a placid, go with the flow team player as Richard Starkey had been in the group (drummer Ringo Starr), where Starkey knew his deficiencies songwise and vocal wise, and thus, rested on his drum laurels, where he marveled flawlessly and often.
Ravi Shankar, who in essence almost singlehandedly brought Eastern “raga” music to the American shores and wound up influencing scores of famous musicians and bands, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles to name two, passed away in San Diego, CA, on December 11, 2012, reports The New York Times. He was 92. Shankar had suffered from heart ailments and underwent heart valve replacement surgery it was reported in a statement released by Shankar’s family.
Excelling on the sitar, an eclectic string instrument in which neighboring strings on the neck in essence resonate when a melody string is played, gave off a sound that was instantaneously connected with Shankar’s style and musical language. Shankar played like an extension of his personality, soft spoken, well mannered, respectful, yet with an attitude and a verve almost akin to a Jimi Hendrix.