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'The quiet Beatle' a genius himself at writing songs

<"Charcoal">by Bob Stealey <"Charcoal">EDITOR <"Geneva">When it came to the Beatles, the one you'd hear the least of all from, interview-wise throughout the years during and after their years as a group, was George Harrison, the "Fab Four's" lead guitarist who had a rather decent voice himself. <"Geneva">George Harrison, 58, passed away following a battle with brain cancer at about 4:30 p.m. EST on Thursday -- his wife, Olivia, and 24-year-old son, Dhani, by his side. He's the second Beatle to die. John Lennon was shot and killed outside his New York apartment on Dec. 8, 1980. <"Geneva">The song that Harrison wrote and sang as a Beatle that was my favorite was "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," a hauntingly beautiful tune that was on the Beatles' famous "White Album" by Capitol Records. Another stirring song done by the Beatles was "Something," also penned by George Harrison. <"Geneva">The Harrison family released a statement early Friday on the former Beatle's death, in which they said, "He left this world as he lived in it, conscious of God, fearless of death, and at peace, surrounded by family and friends. He often said, 'Everything else can wait, but the search for God cannot wait, and love one another.'" <"Geneva">What a tremendous legacy for the world to follow! <"Geneva">It was three years ago that Harrison let it be known that he'd been treated for cancer of the throat. The following year, he survived an attack by an intruder who stabbed him numerous times. Then last year, he asked that fans not worry about reports that he was still battling cancer. <"Geneva">It was none other than the highly versatile George Harrison who taught young Lennon to play guitar. <"Geneva">Beatle George was first married to model Patti Boyd, but they divorced in 1977, after which Patti married one of Harrison's many friends, guitarist Eric Clapton, who wrote "Layla" for her and sang it as part of Derek and the Dominoes. <"Geneva">After the Beatles stopped touring in late 1966, George and Patti traveled to India, where Harrison studied sitar with Ravi Shankar. Then after the Fab Four broke up, Harrison organized the concert for Bangladesh in New York City and produced films that included Monty Python's "Life of Brian." <"Geneva">It was 1989, I believe, when Harrison became a member of a less-known band, one consisting of all stars from other bands or performers who made a name for themselves originally as solo acts. It was known as "The Traveling Wilburys," and besides Harrison, it consisted of old friends Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison; also Tom Petty, plus Jeff Lynne, the lead singer of Electric Light Orchestra, better known as ELO (also one of my own favorite groups). <"Geneva">Some of the information I've included here, I already knew; other facts I gathered from the Associated Press from this past Friday. <"Geneva">"Blue Jay Way," from the Beatles' LP "Magical Mystery Tour," was not a song that I can ever remember as having been released also as a single. Still, I could never forget its style, even though I've heard it only a few times. "Here Comes the Sun", "I Need You", "If I Needed Someone", "Taxman" and "Old Brown Shoe" were among other songs written by George Harrison that I especially enjoyed. <"Geneva">George Harrison. Dead at the age of 58. The world will miss him. <"Geneva"> <"Geneva">n n n <"Geneva"> <"Geneva">A quick note ... In case you've been seeking a copy of "Images of America -- Doddridge & Ritchie Counties," which I compiled earlier this year and is now available, you can obtain one by contacting the following: Bill Calhoun, president of the Doddridge County Historical Society, (304) 873-3050, or Dave Scott, president of the Ritchie County Historical Society, (304) 643-2738. Copies are also available at select businesses in those counties, in Parkersburg and in Clarksburg. <"Geneva">Have a wonderful week ahead! <"Geneva"> <"Geneva">Exponent-Telegram Editor Bob Stealey can be reached by phone at (304) 626-1438, or by e-mail at rstealey@exponent-telegram.com.

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