Martin Scorsese's portrait of George Harrison looks at his post-Beatles days as a member of the Travelling Wilburys and a solo artist, as well as his non-musical ventures.
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This programme contains some strong language
# I look at the trouble and hate that is raging
# While my guitar gently weeps
# As I'm sitting here doing nothing but ageing
# Still my guitar gently weeps
# Gently weeps
# Still my guitar gently weeps... #
I always felt really close to the public and where I grew up
and that's why, I suppose, I wrote some songs that were like,
"Hey, you can all experience this," you know?
It is, it's available for everyone.
Ravi, really, it was him who helped me
to get back into being a pop singer.
# Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da... #
He was the one who said to me, you know,
try to find my background, or some roots. What's my roots?
I mean, the first thing that meant something, really,
that I could call a root was riding down the road on my bike
and hearing Heartbreak Hotel coming out of somebody's house.
So, "Right, it's Heartbreak Hotel."
So from then, I went from Los Angeles,
where I was with Ravi with my sitar, went to New York on my way home.
That was the last time I really played sitar.
I checked in the hotel in New York.
Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton happened to be staying there.
Then I thought, well, maybe I'm better off to get back into being
a guitar player, songwriter, whatever I'm supposed to be.
Because I'm never going to be a sitar player, because I've seen
1,000 sitar players in India who's twice as better than I'll ever be.
You want to hear the song I wrote last night?
-It's just a very short one.
# ..doesn't last all morning
# A cloudburst doesn't last all day... #
If there's people joining in, I'd appreciate it too.
It seems I've got... We can forget about the second part of it.
The only thing... The main thing is...
"January 2nd. Started rehearsing at Twickenham.
"Derek and I are going to do the musical Hey Man.
"January 3rd. Rehearsing at Twickenham.
"January 10th. Got up, went to Twickenham, rehearsed until lunchtime,
"left The Beatles, went home and, in the evening, did King Of Fuh at Trident Studios."
'January 11th. Got up. John and Yoko came and diverted me at breakfast.'
I just thought, "Well, what's the point of this?"
I thought, I'm quite capable of being relatively happy on my own,
And I'm not able to be happy in this situation.
You know, "I'm getting out of here."
It's like... It's complicated now. See, if we can get it simpler...
and then complicate it where it needs complications.
-But it's complicated in the bit...
-It's not complicated.
But, no, I mean, you know....
I'll play just the chord if you like, and...
C'mon, you always get... Always get annoyed when I say that.
I'm trying to help, but I always hear myself annoying you.
Shall we...try it like this, you know?
It's funny that I don't...
It's this one, it's like should we play guitar
through "Hey, Jude"? Well, I don't think we should.
Yeah, OK, well, I don't mind.
I'll play, you know, whatever you want me to play.
Or I won't play at all if you don't want me to play.
You know, whatever it is that will please you, I'll do it.
I wish we could start hearing the tapes now.
Like, do it and then hear what it is.
It was just a very, very difficult, stressful time.
And to be, you know, even under pressure,
being filmed having a row as well.
That's what happened. I just got up and I thought,
"Well, I'm not doing this anymore. I'm out of here."
And so I got my guitar and I just went home.
And wrote Wah-Wah.
Did you ever hear the thing about John Lennon saying,
when George walked out of the Let It Be session in frustration,
"Let's get Eric Clapton"?
-Did you ever think what it would be like to be in The Beatles?
The pros and cons of being in a band like that...
were massively extreme.
They were times when you just...
it was like the closest knit family you've ever seen in your life.
But as that can be, too,
the cruelty and the viciousness was unparalleled.
We didn't underestimate George. We knew that he was peaking,
you know, as we got to those records.
He'd not been really interested in the beginning, I don't think.
And because John and I did so much of the writing,
he could just leave it to us.
I think he realised, you know, that there was something in this.
That artistically and financially, it was a good thing to get into.
So by that time, erm, yeah,
we realised that he was really coming up with the goods.
I think, you know, with George, you know,
it wasn't his ambition to be in The Beatles for his whole life.
Sometimes it could be quite difficult to get a song on an album.
When you think that in Let It Be,
they rehearsed All Things Must Pass and a couple of other
of George's songs that didn't make it on to Let It Be, right,
and didn't make it on to Abbey Road, right,
but made it onto his first solo album,
he was stockpiling stuff. You know, stuff was building up.
# Something in the way she moves
# Attracts me like no other lover
# Something in the way she woos me
# I don't want to leave her now
# You know I believe and how... #
I don't honestly believe that giving
Something to Joe Cocker, or giving My Sweet Lord to Billy Preston
had anything to do with his confidence as a songwriter.
I think he was totally confident about the songs.
The insecurity may have been if The Beatles kept going,
"How many songs am I going to be able to get on each album?"
And with the backlog sort of mounting up of songs
that he had, get it out there and get something from it.
# Somewhere in her smile she knows
# That I need no other lover
# Something in her style that shows me
# I don't want to leave her now
# You know I believe and how. #
Something was a great song, is a great song,
and John just said, "That should be a single."
And that was the first time that George's song was a single.
It was usually Paul's, and George was usually the B-side.
But, you know, he just said, "This should be the single."
Because he always cared about George.
They had something going, you know.
# You're asking me Will my love grow?
# I don't know, I don't know
# You stick around, now it may show
# I don't know, I don't know... #
Can you describe the scene at Apple Corps, a typical day?
It was a bit like spin the top and see where it goes.
You know, George met the Hells Angels, right, and said,
"Hey, if you're ever in London, pop in to Apple.
"We'd love to see you." You know.
Never thinking it's going to happen.
Six months later, you know, 30 motorbikes, you know,
Harley Davidsons, are outside the offices in Savile Row,
you know, with the Hells Angels. "Well, George said it was OK."
Right, they're all living in Apple.
At a Christmas party,
John and Yoko came as Father and Mother Christmas,
and we had this 24-pound turkey
that only had to make it from here to that couch.
That's where the table was. Didn't make it, right?
Two guys were carrying it in,
and the Hells Angels just ripped it to pieces.
By the time it got to the table, there was nothing left.
And then, you know, they were sleeping in the studio and stuff
and so we asked them to go.
You know, "Could you please leave." And they said, "No.
"George asked us. It's nothing to do with you. George said it was OK."
Right. "Well, George is going to have to tell them to leave." Right?
George knew the situation and knew he would have to ask them to leave
but he had to figure out how he was going to ask them.
So he did it very well. He was talking to them and he said,
"You know, there's yin and yang, in and out, up and down,
"you're here, you go."
And they said, "OK." And went.
I think we'd kind of come to the end of our tether.
We'd sort of done about all we wanted to do.
We would get a bit testy with each other. It was like a marriage.
You know, you love each other, but you're getting fed up.
And then we'd solve it, and we're good friends.
We'd realise we loved each other, and it was all cool.
But then we'd argue again, you know.
My house was like the reconciliation house.
We all shouted at each other and talked it over
and then we went back to work.
He comes in, he'd been to India again, I think,
and he says, "I've got this song. It's like seven-and-a-half time."
You know, he might as well have talked to me in Arabic,
you know what I mean?
# Here comes the sun, do-do-do-do-do
# Here comes the sun
# And I say, It's all right... #
-PATS HIS KNEES
-Da-da! And that's how I come off.
I had to find some way that I could physically do it,
and do it every time so it came off on the time.
That's one of those Indian tricks.
I had no way of going, "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven."
It's not my brain.
So as long as I did, "Der-der-ler, do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do da-da!"
"OK, that's seven. Good. Got it."
It was one of those beautiful spring mornings. I think it was April.
We were just walking round the garden with our guitars.
And that was... I don't do that, you know.
I'd only ever do... This was what George brought to the situation.
He was just a magical guy and he would show up with his guitar,
get out the guitar, get out of the car with the guitar
and come in and you'd start playing.
And we'd walk around the garden.
We sat down at the bottom of the garden, looking out over the...
And the sun was shining and it was a beautiful morning
and he started to sing.
Started to sing Here Comes The Sun, the opening lines, you know, and...
and I just watched this thing come to life.
# Little darling
# It's been a long, cold, lonely winter
# Little darling
# It feels like years since it's been here
# Here comes the sun, do-do-do-do
# Here comes the sun
# And I say, it's all right... #
What would you say you learned from each other?
I'd say we just learned a bunch of stuff.
What it was, we'll never know.
And I always liken us to like, four corners of a square.
People say, "You know, John was the impor..."
or "John and Paul were the important ones."
And so and so and so and so.
But I say, "No, no, no, it's a square."
Without any of those corners, you collapse.
The days that we spent as these Beatles,
and we'll probably die as Beatles, err...
you know, we understood it.
No one else will ever understand that.
And, you know,
we actually understood it cos we experienced it.
How did you feel when the band finally called it quits?
It was very difficult.
We'd done this a long time, and as I said before, you know,
no matter how bad it was -
and some days it was very bad in the studio,
just the atmosphere and the tension and the distance -
but...we, you know... If the count-in came in,
if someone counted it in, we all gave everything.
It was quite obvious that the Beatles gave us
the vehicle to be able to do so much.
When we were younger we grew right through that,
but it got to a point where it was stifling us.
There was too much restriction.
You know, it had to self-destruct.
And I wasn't feeling bad about anybody wanting to leave.
I wanted out myself.
I could see a much, you know, better time for myself by, you know,
being away from the band.
# What I feel
# I can't say
# But my love is there for you any time of day
# But if it's not love
# That you need
# Then I'll try my best to make everything succeed
# Tell me, what is my life without your love?
# Tell me who am I without you
# By my side?
# What I know
# I can do... #
The band that I was in, we had more stress than everybody.
And yet, it's all these other people who are all offing themselves
left right and centre.
And sometimes, I'd be in a crazy mode
and then Ravi would come and I'd think, "Oh, what am I going to do?"
But the moment you just go for it,
then it would turn out much better than you would expect.
And I used to have the same feeling with...
I became quite friendly at one point with, erm,
Swami Bhaktivedanta, who formed the Krishna temple.
But I... You know, they'd call me up and say, "Come to the temple,"
and, "The Swami's here and he'd love to see you."
And I'd be like, going through some private nightmare or something,
and I'd think, "How can I go to the temple when I'm like this?"
But then I'd go.
I'd always walk out of there thinking, "Oh, thank you, Lord."
I think everything George did, including the songs that he wrote
that didn't have spiritual words directly in them, were spiritual
and that that was always on his mind.
Even the song Something,
that is considered one of the greatest love songs ever written -
I think Frank Sinatra said that - can be seen as a love song to God.
What about the music makes it spiritual, aside from the words?
I think the thing about the music that makes it spiritual
is the person who's singing it, namely George.
That he wanted to be spiritual, he had a spiritual dimension to him,
he was known to be involved in spirituality.
A mantra as we know it in English means
some phrase that's repeated again and again.
Actually, mantra is a Sanskrit word originally.
It meant a sacred chant, to this maha mantra.
Maha means great in Sanskrit.
It means the great chant for deliverance.
In 1966, I had gone to San Francisco
and I'd heard that the devotees had recorded a record at that time.
I had also heard that The Beatles had ordered 300 copies of that LP,
33 1/3 LP vinyl recording.
And it was a kind of thing where it just sort of passed.
"OK, the Beatles got 300 copies, so..."
After about a week, we just sort of forgot about it.
But I found out later that George had gotten that record himself
and that he and John had chanted the Hare Krishna mantra
while sailing somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea,
for so long that he said that his jaws were aching.
I think that chanting helped George a lot
to overcome feelings of distress and anger.
He once said to me... George once said that,
"Once you start chanting, you don't want to stop."
I think that he was very attached to the chanting
and also to people like myself
who were of his age and who were on a spiritual path.
Sometimes I called him a closet Krishna
because he didn't shave his head, he didn't wear robes.
# Hare Krishna
# Hare Krishna
# Krishna Krishna
# Hare Hare
# Hare Rama
# Hare Rama
# Rama Rama
# Hare Hare
# Hare Krishna
# Hare Krishna
# Krishna Krishna
# Hare Hare... #
He wanted to make an album for the Radha Krishna Temple.
All of these people in their white robes, bald heads,
going round, hitting the Indian bells -
just trying to, at times, record all of them with them
not necessarily keeping still all the time,
and some of the weird instruments that were being
brought in to be recorded, it was absolutely fascinating.
# Hare Krishna
# Hare Krishna
# Krishna Krishna
# Hare Hare
# Hare Rama
# Hare Rama
# Rama Rama
# Hare Hare. #
I remember hearing it on a car radio somewhere in the east part of...
east London, and the disc jockey saying,
"That was a song by a group of bald-headed Americans."
George said about taking on this project himself,
recording the devotees singing the Hare Krishna mantra,
was that he wanted to get across what he believed
through a medium that he was familiar with.
And that was chanting, that was a 45 record.
And it was quite amazing because myself and none of us thought
that this was going to be a popular record,
and yet it became very popular.
It was played in the intermission at the Isle of Wight concert,
when Bob Dylan was setting up.
And then it was played at the intermission
in a football game in Manchester,
where Manchester United was a very popular soccer team.
All the fans, who were probably just there to watch the soccer,
started singing along because it was only three words
and they could do it.
There were 5,000 football fans singing Hare Krishna.
People always say I'm the Beatle who changed the most.
But really that's what I see life is about.
The point is, unless you're God-conscious
then you have to change, because... because it's a waste of time.
Everybody is so limited and so really useless
when you think about the limitations on yourself.
And the whole thing is to change,
try and make everything better and better.
That's what the physical world is about, change.
# Sunrise doesn't last all morning
# A cloudburst doesn't last all day
# Seems my love is up
# And has left you with no warning
# It's not always going to be this grey
# All things must pass
# All things must pass away... #
Well, I'm trying to, I think, but...
# Sunset doesn't last all evening... #
He just lived by his deeds. He was spiritual and you knew it.
And there was no salesmanship involved.
And it made you spiritual being around him.
Uh, it made you like those Krishnas,
who could sometimes be the biggest pain in the necks in the world,
running around with their robes and their shaved heads
and their white powder all over their face.
Scaring you half to death coming out of a dark studio, glowing.
It was a very unusual choice, I thought,
to work with Phil Spector
with the kind of songs you were making on that album.
Yeah, I suppose it was,
but he needed a job at the time.
And I needed somebody to help me
because, you know, I mean, after being in a group all the time
with a producer suddenly to be a solo artist with no producer,
-you know, and no group, you know?
So it's like, you know, it's quite a big jump.
John phoned me up in the morning.
He said, "I've just written this song and I'm going to record it today
"and have it out tomorrow. It's called Instant Karma.
"Will you come and play on it?" I said, "OK."
Got my guitar, went into town, went in the office and Phil was there.
And I said, "Come on, let's go and do this song with John."
And he said, "Whoa, no, no. I can't go. I haven't been invited."
And I said, "Don't worry. Just come on."
And so he stood at the back of the control room in studio three,
it was, in Abbey Road.
And he stood there, and like the engineer
was getting all paranoid and Phil wouldn't say anything.
And after about a couple of hours, I said,
"Come on, do something."
So then he started putting the echo on it.
McCartney was making an album. John had a single ready to go.
And now John was talking about making an album already.
The Plastic Ono Band.
And I said to George, "You know, you ought to consider making an album."
And I'd only been there 12 hours.
I went to George's, Friar Park, which he had just purchased,
and he said, "I have a few ditties for you to hear."
It was endless! He had literally hundreds of songs.
And each one was better than the rest.
He had all this emotion built up when it released to me.
I don't think he had played it to anybody.
# You've given me a wah-wah... #
We worked over and over on the songs in the studio
so that everybody got the right routine.
And it sounded really nice and in the control room,
Phil was in there with the engineer making it sound like this noise.
The first track we ever did was a song called Wah-Wah.
And it sounded really nice in the studio.
All this nice acoustics and piano and no echo on anything.
We did it for hours until we, you know,
he had it right in the control room.
-We went in to listen to it and I thought,
I hate it. It's so horrible.
-Did you say that to him?
-Yeah, I said, "It's horrible. I hate it."
Eric said, "Oh, I love it."
So I said, "Well, you can have it on your album then."
But I grew to like it.
He wouldn't let anything go until it was right.
My Sweet Lord must have taken about 12 hours
to overdub the guitar solos.
He had nine harmonies working on.
Bwa, bwa, bwa, bwa, bwa, bwa, bwa.
He must've had that in triplicate, six-part harmony
before we decided on two-part harmony.
He had it metic...
He was a... Perfectionist is not the word.
Anyone can be a perfectionist. He was beyond that.
He just had to have it so right, and he would try and try
and experiment and experiment and experiment upon experiment.
One, two, one, two, three, four.
# You don't need a love... #
You don't need a... HE HUMS
I was just going to bed and I was cleaning me teeth
and suddenly in me head came this
# You don't need a... # HE HUMS
All I had to do was pick up the guitar,
find what key it was in and fill in the missing words.
# You don't need a love in
# You don't need a bedpan
# You don't need a horoscope
# Or a microscope to see the mess that you're in
# If you open up your heart
# You know what I mean
# Been polluted so long
# Here's a way for you to get clean
# While the Pope owns 51% of General Motors
# And the stock exchange
# Is the only thing he's qualified to quote us
# But the Lord is awaiting on you all To awaken and see
# By chanting the names of the Lord And you'll be free
# You don't need a love in
# You don't need no bedpan
# You don't need a horoscope
# Or a microscope To see the mess that you're in
# If you open up your heart
# You will know what I mean
# We've been polluted so long
# Now here's a way for you to get clean
# By chanting the names of the Lord
# And you'll be free
# The Lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see
# By chanting the names of the Lord and you'll be free
# The Lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see... #
The album took six months to make.
And George had endless time.
He never really knew if he wanted the album to come out.
So the longer it took to make,
the better George, the happier George was.
I picked My Sweet Lord of all the songs.
cos I told him that's the hit.
And everybody fought me on that
cos they said it's got religious overtones in it.
I just said it didn't matter.
It's the most commercial song in it.
And George was even nervous about it
because of Hare Krishna in it
and My Sweet Lord and was the public ready for it.
I said, "It doesn't matter. It's a hit record."
I thought a lot about whether to do My Sweet Lord or not.
Having written it,
I thought it's really committing myself to something.
There's going to be a lot of people are going to really hate me.
Because people fear the unknown, you see.
It's some sort of instinct in people.
The point was that I was sticking my neck out on the chopping block.
-But at the same time, I thought, "Well, nobody's saying it."
I wish somebody else was doing it.
So that, you know, to represent, you know, cos everything
should be represented in a way.
If everybody's just going "Be bop, baby" you know, OK.
We were on tour with Bonnie & Delaney.
They came over to England and George was a big fan.
And one place we were, we had a piano in the dressing room.
And, uh, the discussion was, how do you write a gospel song?
So I went to the piano and started playing some gospel changes.
And I don't know if it was Delaney or Bonnie,
but one of them starts, # Oh, my Lord.
And then they went on # We say hallelu... #
# My sweet Lord Mmm, my Lord
# My sweet Lord... #
# Well, I really wanna see you
# I really want to be with you
# I really want to see you, Lord
# But it takes so long, oh, Lord
# My sweet Lord. #
VOICES IN HARMONY
# My sweet Lord
# Oh, my sweet Lord
# Oh, my... #
What is it about it that makes it so timeless?
Well, is it? Uh, first it's simple,
you know, and the repetition.
You know, really, I think, the thing about a mantra,
you see, it's got a mantra in there.
And, uh, mantras are...
Well, they call it a mystical sound vibration
encased in a syllable.
It has this power within it, and you know, it's just hypnotic
and it's kinda nice. You know, it's nice.
I mean, I'd have done that mantra for ages.
Once I chanted it for, like, three days non-stop
just driving through Europe.
And you just get like hypnotised. You get a...
on some subtle level which makes you feel
so good that you don't want to stop.
MUSIC: "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison
George's huge commitment to Indian spirituality
and how that would lead him to be fairly dismissive of
the material things that we'd all come to enjoy,
you know, and so he was trying to remove himself from that in some way,
and even in a physical way, you know?
And I had become, bit by bit,
more and more obsessed with his wife Pattie.
And was making amateur kind of inroads
into finding out what was going on
and what was happening to their relationship.
And at the same time trying to balance my relationship with him.
And when we finally did start to act it out,
I mean, I went to George right away and said,
"Look, I think this is going to happen,
"and I think, you know, it is already,
"there's the feelings there.
I have to know what you feel about that."
It was almost like, well, if you want me to stop and go away,
I will, you know. But I need to know what...
And he was very kind of cavalier, you know?
He said, "Well, take her. She's yours," kind of thing,
"But, in fact, can I have that, we'll swap."
And to be honest, it had kind of almost got to that before anyway.
There was a lot of kind of swapping going on,
and a lot of fooling around.
And this is, you know, '60s free-love stuff.
I mean, so...
And George's attitude seemed to have more wisdom in it than anyone else's,
in that this is all material, it's all Maya,
it's all irrelevant to the bigger picture.
Doesn't really matter, in other words.
And I thought, phew, God, you know, well,
that's almost like giving me carte blanche.
-From time to time, during the spring and summer of 1970
Eric and I saw each other.
One day we were walking down Oxford Street when
Eric said, "Do you like me, then, or are you seeing me
"because I'm famous?"
I replied, "Oh, I thought you were seeing me because I'm famous."
And we both laughed.
He always found it difficult to talk about his feelings.
Instead, he poured them into his music and writing.
Another of our secret meetings took place at a flat
in South Kensington in London.
Eric wanted me to listen to a song he'd written.
He switched on the tape machine, turned up the volume,
and played me the most powerful, moving song I'd ever heard.
It was Layla, about a man who falls hopelessly in love with a woman
who loves him but is unavailable.
My first thought was,
"Oh, God, everyone's going to know who this is."
I felt uncomfortable that he was pushing me in a direction
I wasn't certain I wanted to go.
But the song got the better of me with the realisation that
I had inspired such passion and such creativity.
I could no longer resist.
That evening, I went to a party
at the rock manager Robert Stigwood's house
in Stanmore, North London.
George had said he didn't want to go. Eric was there.
And I felt elated by what had happened earlier in the day.
But also felt deeply guilty.
# Isn't it a pity... #
Much later in the evening, George appeared.
He kept asking "Where's Pattie?"
# Isn't it a shame... #
He was about to leave when he spotted me in the garden with Eric.
# How we break each other's hearts... #
He came over to us and said, "What's going on?"
# And cause each other pain... #
Eric said, "I have to tell you, man, that I'm in love with your wife.
# How we take each other's love... #
George was furious. He turned to me and said...
# Without thinking any more... #
.."Well, are you going with him or coming with me?"
# Forgetting to give back... #
And I said, "George, I'm coming home."
# Isn't it a pity... #
# You've given me a wah-wah
# And I'm thinking of you
# And all the things that we used to do
# Wah-wah... #
George was always so in tune with people. He loved Ravi.
When Ravi told him how bad it was,
I think he just started making calls immediately.
Ravi came to me and he said if he was to do a concert, maybe
play to so many thousand people, but to the size of the problem,
the money, the funds that would be made would just be so small.
So that's where I came along.
I can generate money by doing concerts and by making records.
George, how much money do you hope to get from this?
Well, it depends really.
Maybe through the concerts, we could estimate maybe about...
-Quarter of a million.
-Maybe 250,000 from the concert.
But if we record the concert and film the concert
then maybe that would be a greater way of making the money.
You know, a record could possibly sell a million, two million.
Thank you. If you appreciate the tuning so much,
I hope you'll enjoy the playing more. Thank you.
# Watch out now, take care
# Beware of falling swingers
# Dropping all around you
# The pain that often mingles
# In your fingertips
# Beware of darkness
# Watch out now, take care
# Beware of the thoughts that linger
# Winding up inside your head
# The hopelessness around you
# In the dead of night
# Beware of sadness
# It can hit you
# It will hurt you
# Make you sore and what is more
# That is not what you are here for. #
There were two concerts. One in the afternoon at two
and one at eight o'clock.
It was the first of its kind, benefit by stars
for a relief concert and it was magical.
That's the only word to describe it
because nobody had ever seen anything like that before,
that amount of star power on stage since Woodstock.
And this was all in two hours on stage at one time.
Eric was there. Leon Russell was there.
Ringo was there.
Dylan was a no-show up until the last minute.
I had to go down to his apartment and literally get him.
It was chaos.
So we didn't know what we were doing,
and mics were all over the place.
We only had three hours to mic the band.
Then the audience came in.
We didn't know how to mic the audience.
So the mixing took six months. The concert took,
the two concerts took four hours.
And we had to put together what was a Grammy-winning album.
George knew all these people.
You know, they were his close friends. I got that second-hand.
You know, I got to meet the great Alla Rakha,
the greatest tabla player who ever lived, you know?
George was always saying,
"Ask Alla Rakha to show you some things."
And so, I think he finally
got the picture that he oughta show me some things.
-So he would hold his hands and he'd go...
And he'd do this whole thing,
this Indian-technique thing and George would be watching.
I'd look up a few times and George would be watching
and laughing, you know?
How am I supposed to understand what it is he's doing.
This genius trying to teach a rock drummer.
I really appreciated in later days that he actually
went in front of that audience on the Bangladesh concert
because he did it for his friends.
That he actually went up there and talked to an audience.
I think that must have been about the first time he's ever done this.
You see, a few things in English, or a few things in German
on the stage where it didn't matter, is a big difference than
to an audience where he knew it was going to be filmed and used.
To talk to an audience was very, very difficult for him.
There's somebody on bass who many people have heard about
but they never actually have seen him.
'And one day,'
I was pretty upset. And we walked in the garden.
And we didn't say much for a long time.
We sat down on a bench, and we really...
..went inside of me.
He wanted to really find out what made me so sad.
And he did it in such a fantastic way.
I can't repeat the words, or I can't tell you
exactly what it is, but he just, in a fantastic way,
made me feel good.
Found out what the problem is in no time.
You know, nobody's ever done this before and will never do it again.
George is a very extreme character. He always goes to the extreme.
If it's taking coke, you know, sniffing coke,
or if it is being open to meditation.
He was in New York, and one time I said,
"I'll come over and watch you."
And he said, "OK." And then he said, "Oh, Klaus is coming.
"Hide the stuff." And that made me very, very sad.
I lived first in the main house, in a room. Old Victorian house.
Beautiful old kitchen. In the early days, you had your servants.
They were going from the kitchen to the front room
and bringing you the food.
They had to walk through five doors, "Oh, I left the spoons."
Had to go back. It was really crazy. It was not meant to be lived in
by normal people.
So I at a certain point suggested to George,
"Why don't you put the kitchen where you are? Just build a kitchen!"
He said, "That's a good idea."
So he actually built a kitchen downstairs where you look into the garden.
The man who built the house, he must have been a nutcase.
Just a complete maniac.
One thing, for example,
he has a picture of a friar with a frying pan in his hand.
And with holes in it. And it says underneath, "Two holy friars."
You know. Stupid stuff, in a way.
It's not really very bright. But that's what the whole place was.
It was like a joke, in a way.
"Before I bought it, the house
"was going to be knocked down because the Catholics would not pay
"for the upkeep.
"What a thing to knock down a house like this.
"Sir Frank helped my awareness.
"Whatever it was I felt became stronger or found more expression
"by moving into that house,
"because everything stepped up or was heightened.
"There were disasters all around at that time.
"Some were great, some were awful, some were drawn out,
"Some were not disasters after all.
"But the thing about Sir Frank with his advice like,
"'Scan not a friend with microscopic glass.'
"I mean, that helped me
"actively to ease up on whomsoever I thought I loved.
"It gave me the consciousness not to hang onto the negative side
"of it, to be more forgiving."
One way of starting a day was for him to get up when the sun gets up,
sit down and meditate.
For a long time he had a special room in the house
where he was going to meditate.
And he was very proud of this.
He would come to me and tell me about it, how strong he was,
and he was fighting the bad parts in his body and, uh,
he was really opening up.
JOAN TAYLOR: George liked turning you on to things that he liked
and was interested in, whether you were a little kid
or whether you were a grown up.
For our kids their first experiences at George's house were not unlike
the experience that Derek and I had
when we went on that weekend to Sussex, but without the drugs.
The impression it made upon them, it's such a wonderful place.
The caves, the lake, the shape of the house. Everything.
The detail. It was just a dream.
# Give me love, give me love
# Give me peace on Earth
# Give me light, give me life
# Keep me free from birth
# Give me hope, help me cope
# With this heavy load
# Trying to touch and reach you
# With heart and soul
# My Lord
# Take hold of my hand... #
He created an atmosphere in the studio.
He put up joss sticks, make a nice smell. He put the lights down.
He really made it into a real tranquil, nice sort of surrounding.
Everybody felt just great.
He would sit down with the guitar most of the time,
play the song to us.
And then slowly we'd start
picking up on what the feel of the song was.
We could take our time, find our sound,
do what we wanted, make suggestions.
George had such a beautiful touch
on the slide, you know.
George had that kind of sound that'd make you cry.
When I hear certain songs he's played slide on,
it just takes me right to a place.
He loved to find the right note and, you know, if you listen to
anything he's playing the solo on, he certainly did.
If I had him on my records, you didn't have to read it,
"Oh, that's George." You know?
He found that incredible, it's like a haunting
and emotional sound he got from his slide-ish guitar.
-With Ravi, the times when he's completely absorbed
so much into the music where he's forgotten
-that he's even sitting there playing.
And he only remembers when he's finished the piece
and he comes out and the audience applaud.
That's the moment when he realises he's transcended
and been somewhere, which is the same in meditation.
Sometimes, I think great people can project their greatness.
They don't have to shout about it.
The concert Eric did,
Eric Clapton at the Rainbow.
Watching the concert, I was so aware of Eric.
All he did was he had his eyes closed
and he was playing some fantastic guitar,
and his foot was tapping.
The thing was that the magic was coming out of Eric's...
-..soul, or whatever.
-Through his guitar.
And it was at that point where he just looked like an angel.
-When George was ready to make a record,
he'd just say he's got some new songs,
and, uh, would I be wanting to, you know, come and play on 'em.
When he put out Living In The Material World, on the back
of the record he put, "Jim Keltner Fan Club -
"send a self-undressed elephant to Jim Keltner Fan Club." All that.
And so I saw that, I went, "George, what's that, man?
"What did you do?"
And he said, "Well, I figured if I'm going to do a fan club,
I'm going to make it about somebody who I'm a big fan of."
What a tremendous thing, you know?
It was a little embarrassing, but yet it just, you know,
George was always having fun.
I was getting, uh, weird letters from crazy people.
I got a couple of Polaroids from this crazy guy.
There was an arrow through a piece of meat,
I think it was a heart, I think he bought a heart or something,
some kind of big piece of meat, and there was an arrow going through it.
You know, and then there was like,
one with a knife and blood dripping, and that was
right about the time that I, uh, had bars put on our windows.
George stepped back.
And that step back to me means that he got very heavily into drugs
and things, which, I don't know the reason why that happened.
# What I feel
-# I can't say
-I can't say
# My love is there for you every time of day
-# If it's not love
-If it's not love
-# That you need
-That you really, really need
# I try my best to make everything succeed
# Tell me what is my life without your love?
# Hey, man
# Tell me who am I without you
# By my side?
# Oh, tell me... #
Recommended by Eric Clapton,
Barbra Streisand and many other top-notch singers and entertainers.
Secret mixture of honey, vinegar and...
And your throat will never bother you again.
You just won't have a throat!
But it coats what you don't have, so they tell me.
Hey, the ex-Beatle himself. Get a programme!
Hey, today's two-head programme!
Hey, George, ex-Beatle, Harrison programme!
# You thought that you knew where I was and when
# It looks like you've been foolin' you again
# You thought that you had got me all staked out
# But, baby, looks like I've been breaking out
# I'm a dark horse
# I'm running on a dark race course
# And now I'm a blue moon
# Since I stepped out of the womb
# I've been a cool jerk
# Looking for the source
# I'm a dark horse. #
The critics were brutal.
I remember that about Ravi opening the show
and then about George's voice being gone and shot.
Yeah, it probably, his voice probably was very weak or, you know, and beat-up.
And maybe a lot of people they saw bored with the Indian set.
But that did not deter George. And, by the way, not everybody was bored with it.
And not everybody thought that his voice sounded horrible.
They just loved hearing those songs and him trying...
to deliver them the best he could.
My next move will be Madison Square Garden.
After that, I'll go back to the hotel,
then it'll be Madison Square Garden again.
# Baby, looks like you...#
After that, I'll probably just collapse. I don't know.
He liked the moon.
You know, if the wind was blowing and the full moon was up,
he'd put on Bing Crosby singing Sweet Leilani
and just make the moment even better.
And then he might hand you a gardenia.
He just painted life like that.
He drew all the elements in. He was a very sensual person.
Sensual in the way that whatever you ate had to have a flavour.
You know, had to have some special flavour.
If there was a flower, he wanted it to smell or be bright.
When I first met him, he said, "I don't want you to think
"you've discovered something about me I don't know.
"I'm not claiming to be this or that or anything.
"People think they've found you out when I'm not hiding anything."
For whatever his, you know, faults were, and his....
He had karma to work out.
And he wasn't going to come back and be bad.
He was going to be good and bad and loving and angry
and everything all at once.
You know, if someone said to you "OK, you can go through your life
"and you can have everything in five lifetimes,
"or you can have a really intense one and have it in one,
"and then you can go and be liberated",
he would've said, "Give me the one. I'm not coming back here."
I thought he was really...
somebody who was saying something that I connected with.
He was really a very captivating person.
And we seemed, he was working.
And I liked, uh, you know, I liked the music.
I liked what he was doing. We just seemed like partners...
from the very beginning.
-Jim Keltner's here?
About how long does it look like?
-About three minutes.
# Everyone has choice
# When to or not to raise their voices
# It's you that decides
# Which way you will turn
# While feeling that our love's not your concern
# It's you that decides
# No-one around you will carry the blame for you
# No-one around you
# Will love you today and throw it all away
# Tomorrow when you rise...#
'There was this amazing sunset. Just orange sky.'
And he said, "That is what I want to do."
Now...somebody might say, "What?"
You know, "What do you want to do?"
What? He wanted to make, he wanted to be able to create that sunset.
When we were first on tour,
and we were in customs and they were going through my baggage,
I hadn't revealed anything to George, really.
They're going through my handbag. He said, "Oh, you've got that book, do you..?"
He was like going through my bag with the customs. "You read that, you've read that. That's good."
He was approving of...
..of my journey,
and he, I think, considered himself a bit of an expert on spiritual matters.
Yeah, we had our differences.
I might have done a different technique than he did.
But we both had the same goal.
And I think that was really the key to everything in our lives.
He had this ability to bottom line everything by pulling focus
and showing you the cosmic world of this galaxy
and there you were suddenly, just this little person
with his own little problems, fretting away on the surface.
So, I had heard a little about George, uh, liking Python,
and I'd been a bit wary because, you know...
I don't want to know about somebody famous, you know.
We had the screening of The Holy Grail
and it went really well and suddenly there he was, going "Well, this is fucking great."
And he said, "Let's go upstairs."
And then we started a dialogue which went on for about 48 hours.
It was extraordinary. I mean, it was like bla, bla, bla...
Well, George was very fond of Rutland Weekend Television.
On Rutland Weekend Television, we did a send-up called The Rutles.
It was like a Hard Day's Rut.
We were on Abbey Road filming.
And I'm dressed as...Paul.
And then Neil was dressed as John with a huge big beard.
And we're there, we're on Abbey Road, and these people, "You're the Beatles!
"You're the Beatles!" It's 20 years later, you know.
"You think they're still here?" But George is standing with us,
and they don't recognise him. He's laughing his ass off.
We're getting signed autographs, and they don't notice it's George.
Existence is kind of funny because of our temporality.
Here we go round pretending to be kings and emperors,
and you're going to die. You're in a box in a minute or two.
So we are constantly undercut by our own physicality,
our own physical bodies, which let us down.
And you find all these evangelicals,
and suddenly they're having gay sex in Aspen.
"Oh, this body's letting me down all the time."
that's what makes us funny.
George's grounding in what was...
both true and what was, he would test things by what made him laugh
or what was close to his heart.
I've always been surprised Python's proved to be
as long living as it has, cos we were just having fun,
just like they were having fun. We were entertaining ourselves.
We weren't thinking about the audience.
It's like John Lennon said, "You're still fucking peasants to me."
Certain things... There was a kind of arrogance there that...
you're not out there to, you know,
want to be loved so desperately that you'll do anything.
maintaining your own integrity and your own view of the world,
whatever that is, and trying to be truthful about it.
We'd written Life of Brian.
We had EMI putting up the money for the movie.
We had designed it. We were heading out on the Saturday
with the crew to Tunisia to start building.
And on Thursday, we get a call.
And Lord Delfont - Bernie to his friends -
had finally got around to reading the script apparently. He hadn't read it before.
He was shocked and horrified,
and said, "There's no way EMI's going to be involved in this blasphemous filth."
And pulled the plug on the Thursday.
And we were dead.
I'd be calling George and he said, "No, I'll pay for it."
So I thought, yeah! All the time he said, "No, I'll take care of it."
And I thought, yeah. We were looking for 4 million,
and nobody has that amount of money, you know.
Eventually, when we got to California, George says, "I've figured it out.
"We're going to create a company and we're going to give you the money."
And it's 4 million and he'd mortgaged his house
to put up the money for this movie, because he wanted to see it.
Which is still the most anybody's ever paid for a cinema ticket.
Thank God you've come, Reg.
I think I should point out first, in all fairness, that we are not, in fact, the rescue committee.
However, I have been asked to read the following prepared statement on behalf of the movement.
"We the People's Front of Judea, brackets, officials, end brackets
"do hereby convey our sincere fraternal and sisterly greetings to you, Brian,
"on this, the occasion of your martyrdom."
-Goodbye, Brian. And thanks.
If you care about what constitutes what we call western civilisation
and which now probably is coming to an end,
and you were to consider the role that's been played in that,
by this thing that you treat as a piece of buffoonery,
you would have a certain humility in saying
that you have been able, through making it, to shed light.
What we're saying is take a critical view, find out about it.
Don't just believe because somebody tells you to.
Somebody in the pulpit says something, question it.
You keep making the basic assumption that we are ridiculing Christ
and Christ's teaching. And I say that we are not.
Would you imagine your scene, for instance, the sermon on the mount,
-the scene in your film of The Sermon on the Mount...
..is not ridiculing one of the most sublime utterances
that any human being has ever spoken on this Earth? Of course it is.
A lot of people looking in will think we have actually ridiculed Christ...
-..physically. Christ is played by an actor, Ken Colley.
He speaks the words from the sermon on the mount. It's treated absolutely respectfully.
The camera pans away, we go right to the back of the crowd to someone who shouts "Speak up!"
-Because they cannot hear him. Now if that utterly....
..undermines one's faith in Christ, then I think their faith cannot be terribly strong.
I think he enjoyed the scandal of the whole thing.
He pretended not to, but I think when you actually can alienate
Protestants, Catholics and Jews all at one go, you know, you're doing something.
# Let me in here
# I know I've been here
# Let me into your heart
# Let me know you
# Let me show you
# Let me roll it to you
# All I have is yours
# All you see is mine
# And I'm glad to hold you in my arms
# I'd have you any time... #
When we were editing Life of Brian
and we just had a screening, and George was there,
and we then had a meeting afterwards with all of us,
Denis O'Brien, who was our manager, George and his manager at the time,
and George and it was a shocking moment for him
because there we were disagreeing about everything.
We were arguing what should stay in, what should go out, what was working, what didn't
And I think he was genuinely disturbed
and I think it was the last meeting he ever came to
of the group cos I think after, I think he wanted to believe in something.
He may talk about the spirit of the Beatles going into Python,
but I don't think he wanted the divisive nature of the spirit.
In 1979 I'd finished...
a two-man tour with Elton John.
And, as always when George was around in my life,
the phone would ring.
"What are you doing?" I said, "Well, I'm not doing a lot."
And he said, "Well, I think I've got a film company."
He said, "You know all these theatre people,
"and you love all that stuff, why don't you be me in the office?"
And it was as simple a statement as that.
I said, "When can we start?" He said, "I've started. Life Of Brian's on its way.
"We're thinking about the next one, called Time Bandits.
"There's this madman called Terry Gilliam, you know.
"You'll love him." I said, "I know Terry." "I thought you might know him,"
And off we went.
HandMade was called HandMade because we were handmade.
Everything was done in-house,
including, er, quite a lot of the marketing strategy.
We designed posters because we had people like Terry Gilliam who would do those designs.
We had people like Michael Palin and Derek Taylor,
who would come up with great by-lines, all in-house.
So this was again, this was like a giant band, and George loved being in a band.
He missed The Beatles. He missed his mates.
He missed working with people.
He was a great collaborator. He loved being there.
Why is minority music important?
All the music that isn't really sold in your local record store
-in the top hundred...
-Well... You're asking me?
Everybody on the charts gets it from somewhere, don't they?
They get it from these little guys in other countries who invented the stuff.
That's how I feel about it.
So it's important purely so they've got something to steal and put in the charts?
No, it's important... LAUGHS That's a good answer.
So why is it important to have all these people at our house?
It's important to have to worry about lots of things and make sure everything's right.
And, uh, well, it's nice to see everyone.
Wonderful people, good food. You like it, don't you, after all? See?
I feel very strongly about major issues.
I don't talk about them an awful lot.
But I feel, uh, very strongly about unfairness.
What do you think we should be doing to make our lives better?
# Give peace a chance
# All we are saying
# Is give peace a chance... #
Mr Chapman came up behind them and called to him Mr Lennon
as he arrived at that doorway.
And then in a combat stance,
he fired, he emptied the Charter Arms 38 calibre gun that he had with him
and...shot John Lennon.
# I bless the day I found you
# I want to stay around you
# And so I beg you
# Let it be me
# Don't take this heaven from one
# If you must cling to someone
# Now and forever
# Let it be me. #
I wonder what you felt, losing someone
who was close to you for all those years.
It's like, uh, losing your parents,
or anybody you know and love.
-He was no angel.
But he was, as well.
He was really angry that John didn't have a chance
to leave his body in a better way.
Because George put so much emphasis and importance
on the moment of death, of leaving your body.
That was very, um...
That's really what he was practising for.
It's like the Dalai Lama said something that,
we really, um, made us smile.
He said, "What do you do in the morning?"
He said, "I do my practice, I do my mantras,
"I do my spiritual practice."
"How do you know it will work?" He said, "I don't. I'll find out when I die."
And, you know, it's so great. It's like that was it.
I'll, I'm practising this so that when I die I will know
how to leave my body and I'll be familiar and I won't be frightened.
George had a maximum amount of diversion in life.
And, you know, towards the end of his life, he'd say, like,
I'd say, "Oh, you know they want to give you this award thing".
And he said, "Well, I don't want it.
"Tell them to get another monkey."
I'd say, "Yeah, but, you know, it's really a nice one.
"You should have this."
And he'd say, "Well, if you want it so bad, you go and get it."
You know. "I'm not going.
"I'm not doing that any more.
"Because it's just a big diversion. "I want to plant trees.
"I want to be quiet. I want to meditate."
And he really did draw the line.
And I really admired him for that.
I mean, I've always been intrigued with George's "spirituality",
which is absolutely essential to him.
You know, living in the material world.
So he was caught in these two worlds of a very spiritual world
and a very material world.
And... And they're both, I think, related in the sense that
it's about finding the beauty in the real world.
To make the real world as beautiful as it can be.
And that's, I think, what he was doing in...
in Friar Park.
He created such, you know, exquisite beauty there.
But there was nothing airy-fairy about it.
And it wasn't about somebody snapping his fingers
and having somebody else do it for him. He had to do the work.
-OK, back up now.
Our friends would joke, calling him Capability George,
you know, like after Capability Brown.
And he'd be like, "Get that pond...
"put it over there, move that hill...
"Don't like that hill." You know.
And the next week, it would be, pond over there, hill over there.
And it would look better, you know.
And he'd garden at night-time, he'd garden until...
you know, till midnight.
And he'd be out there squinting cos he could see,
at midnight, you know, he could see
the kind of moonlight and he could see the shadows.
And that was his way of not seeing any of the weeds and imperfections
that were, you know, that would plague him during the day.
So he'd be able to imagine what it was going to look like
when it was done.
LOUD GUITAR MUSIC
DHANI PLAYS A SOLO
# Well, I'm alone but that's all right... #
'He used to say to me every day,
'"You don't have to go to school today.
'"Do you want to just go on a yacht in the South Pacific
'"and run away forever?"'
# I'll be fine anywhere... #
'A lot of people would probably say,
'"You're an idiot for not doing that."
'And maybe in a way I am. But I....'
To rebel in my family was to go to school.
I went to like a semi-military school.
We did CCF one day a week, and that used to piss him off,
me walking around in an Air Force uniform.
I was...15, and then, er...
..had some, er, little run-in with some policemen.
And, er, he told the policemen to fuck off!
And, uh, that was when I realised that he was actually cool,
on my side, and not just a scary dad, you know.
And, er, he was very, very close to me after that.
And we kind of...
would run off down the garden and hide.
"Don't tell your mum" kind of stuff, you know.
He was really a free person
and he did not like to be bound by rules.
But he did like women. And he did, erm, he was...
Women did like him. And he was... uh...
If he just said a couple of words to a woman, honestly,
he had a profound effect...
So that was always something that was, you know...
And I'm not the only one who's had to deal with this,
you know, person who's... well-loved.
So it was always a challenge. Uh...
Sometimes people say, you know,
"What's the secret of a long marriage?"
It's like, "You don't get divorced."
And I think, you know,
you go through challenges in your marriage and here's what I found.
First time we had a big hiccup in the road, I, you know,
you go through things, you go, "Wow."
There is a reward at the other end of it.
There's this incredible reward. You love each other more.
You let go of something.
You get... Those hard edges get softened.
You know, you're that block of stone.
And, you know, life shapes you and takes away those hard edges.
You have kept to yourself, in recent years.
This led to some wild stories about the Howard Hughes of Henley.
Because I don't go discothequeing and things like that,
where people hang out with their cameras,
so they presumed that I was Howard Hughes,
with my big fingernails and Kleenex tissues and that kind of stuff.
Bottles of urine all around the house, and, uh....
But I wasn't like that at all.
I go out all the time, or a lot of the time, see friends,
have dinner, go to parties...
I'm even more normal than, you know, normal people.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
I've met you before.
-You know, all his lines about, "I was never at a discotheque..."
-Well, I wasn't.
-We had to drag him out of them, you know.
-Well, that was back in '64, '65.
-Before the limp.
Yeah. No, I stopped going to 'em around 1967, I think.
Yeah, I stopped in 1980.
What about now? What makes you cross with each other now?
Well, the last time we were cross was when George was suing me.
Er, the last time he calls me was to say, "I'm going to sue you."
I said, "No, George, don't be silly."
"No, I'm going to sue you. I don't like what you've done."
Cos he wrote this song and I had it mixed by somebody else...
and, er, he didn't like the mix.
So he was going to sue me.
So, in the end I have to...
I said, "Sue me if you want, but I'll always love you."
# I don't want you
# But I hate to lose you
# You got me in between
# The devil and the deep blue sea
# I forgive you
# Cos I can't forget you
# You got me in between
# The devil and the deep blue sea
# I want to cross you off my list
# But when you come knocking at my door
# Fate seems to give my heart a twist
# And I come running back for more... #
'You're going very fast.
'You're going at the absolute limit of the car's tyres
'and its suspension'
and you, yourself are right on the very edge of your limit,
taking it to the finest point.
When that happens, your senses are so strong
and, in my case, I relate it to a real experience, where I went...
came to a corner and before I got to the corner I smelled grass.
My senses were so...
so sharp, so exaggerated
that a car had gone off the road in front of me, out of my sight.
My senses told me there was something wrong. That was grass.
The car was on a tarmacadam road.
So, I immediately backed off.
The millisecond that you're talking about is so small.
Now, that's what I think George saw
and that was heightened senses to a point,
not only of your feel and your touch,
but your feet because of the pedals, the gas pedal, the brake pedal,
the sensitivity of the function of those.
It's the kind of thing if George and I talked about it, he would love that.
And if you listen to a really top guitarist,
how he can make that guitar talk,
that's another heightening of senses that is beyond the ken, the know,
the knowledge of any normal man or woman.
George had a huge circle of friends and I think I was kind of, er...
..I was just one of them, really.
I mean, I like to think that there was something special about our relationship.
In many ways there was, but after George died, when, you know,
and I, and we all got together,
"God," I thought, "he's got, how do these guys all fit together?"
And there was a whole other mob,
they used to call them the Thames Valley gang,
and these were all old, you know, ageing rock stars, if you like.
That had, you know, got little, nice little houses,
and he was... He had something going on with everybody.
Anything to do with racing and cars and motorbikes,
that was part of the world,
then there was the music side, and then there was the movie side,
and then there was the comedian side, and...
and there was always this wonderful crowd of people,
all pretending to be grown-ups!
That's what was really funny about it and we all just giggled a lot,
because, look at this, and we're all in this place.
He showed up one day and he came in with two ukuleles
and he gave me one.
He goes, "You gotta play this thing, it's great," you know,
"let's jam," you know.
And I said, "I have no idea how to play a ukulele."
"Ah, it's no problem, I'll show you," you know.
So we spent the rest of the day playing ukuleles
and, I mean, playing ukuleles...
Strolling around the yard playing ukulele -
my wrist hurt the next day!
But he taught me how to play it, you know,
and I learned the chord formations.
And when he was going, I walked out to the car and he said,
"Well, wait, I want to...
"I want to leave some ukuleles here."
And he'd already given me one, you know,
I said, "Well, I've got thi..." "No, we may need more."
And he opened his trunk and he...
he had a lot of ukuleles in the trunk.
And I think he left four at my house
and he said, "Well, you know, you never know when we might need 'em
"because everybody doesn't carry one around."
# Yippie yi yaaaay
# Yippie yi ohhhhh
# Ghost riders in the sky... #
'He and Jeff had kind of pictured this group, The Traveling Wilburys,'
and George's idea was that he would hand-pick everybody in the band
and it'd be the perfect little band,
but I think the qualifications were more about who you could hang out with,
you know, more so than, like, trying to find the best guy that did this or that.
Though George liked to surround himself with people that were good...
at something, you know.
George rang my bell one night and came in and said,
"God, I just had dinner with Roy Orbison and Jeff," you know.
"I got this idea, I've got to do an extra side...
"for a single that I'm bringing out.
"I need a studio, so I called Bob Dylan, and...
"You know, Bob has a little studio out at his house
"and so he's agreed to let me use the studio.
"I'm going to try to write something tonight
"and we'd just do it, but I thought I'd have Roy on it, too,
"and if you want, you know, maybe you'd come too."
And I said, "Yeah, well, I'd love to come."
# Been beat up and battered around
# Been sent up and I've been shot down
# You're the best thing that I've ever found
# Handle me with care
# I'm so tired of being lonely
# I still have some love to give
# Won't you show me that you really care?
# Everybody's got somebody
# To lean on... #
'Bob said, "Well, what's it going to be called, George?
'"You gotta have a name for your song."'
And there was a packing crate that said, "Handle With Care,"
and...I witnessed him look over at the crate and look back and say,
"Oh, it's Handle With Care."
So, we cut the track and then we took a break to eat and...
he said, "OK, well, now we gotta write some words, guys."
You know, "I got these songwriters here...
"Time to write a song," you know, "let's write one," you know.
Everyone'd just throw a line out and you'd get, "No!",
or, you know, sometimes a line'd come out and you'd get,
"Woo, that's good, that's a good one. Oh, I like that."
You know, and, so that's how we did it.
# It was in Pittsburgh
# Late one night
# I lost my hat
# Got into a fight. #
OK. That's sort of like...
-Yeah, if you ignore those chords, then just sing it over,
the same sort of phrasing over the next bit, we can change the chord.
Or, or if he...
Or the other thing would be,
you know, if we back it up now, don't play you that
and you sing the second off the lyrics of the same chords
and we'll copy it and put in, all right?
-Yeah, do that. Yeah.
-That'll be... Yeah.
-Let's try that then...
-Yeah, that sounded good...
You could have chosen to retire into contented middle age
and get together with a few friends in the musical business
and play together occasionally.
Well, that's what the real reason is! Really.
Contented middle age?
Yeah, I suppose so.
# Everybody loves your
# Electric dumplings
-# He loves your
-Clothes that stretch
# He loves your
# Fuel injection
# He loves your
# Service charge
# He loves your
# Five-speed gearbox
-# He loves your
# He loves your
# Quest for junk food
# He loves your
# Big refrigerator. #
-That was all right.
-It was OK.
I'm not mad about, "clothes that stretch."
It sounds very English, # Clothes that stretch. #
It's a bit of a joke, the idea of a comeback, you know.
Especially to me, you know. Seems...
-I don't know, because I don't really see myself
as a fully-fledged showbiz star, anyway, you know, like that.
George, why do you play music?
-Why do you still play music? Just to enjoy?
Now, just, well, we gotta do something, you know, with our lives.
-That's the one thing that I know what to do, you know, how to do.
-Hello, Neil, how are you?
-Hello, George. Very well, thank you.
Nice to see you. Very nice.
-Oh, a vegetarian leather jacket! THEY LAUGH
-Oh, is that a filmer?
-Yeah, I've got you!
Oh, I've seen that, that's the one I can see.
Go on, turn it off. You know, I can see...
No, I don't want to turn it off!
I've seen that, Sharp, you know, I've seen the adverts for those.
-And who is this?
-Oh, is it?
-John Lennon, of the Beatles.
-Oh, that's what's her name.
-We don't know who that is.
-Some other lady, lady of the night!
They were horrible girls, weren't they?
No, George, it's a very fine leg, it's a nice bit of stocking top!
-Just cos you've graduated in the world.
They're fine ladies!
'You know, they say,
'in this life you have to perfect one human relationship
'in order to really love God.'
You practise loving God by loving another human
and by giving unconditional love.
George's most important relationships
really were conducted through their...
and their lyrics. I mean, George, er...
that's, I'd Have You Anytime,
the song that George and Bob wrote together, you know,
"Let me in here, I know I've been here, let me into your heart."
He was talking directly to Bob because, you know, he'd seen Bob
and then he'd seen Bob another time and he didn't seem as open
and so, that was his way of saying,
"let me in here, let me into your heart."
And he was very unabashed and...
romantic about it, in a sense.
You know, I found that he was very, er...
he had these love relationships with his friends. He loved them.
It was very early in the morning when I think my wife took the call
and then woke me up and told me that Roy had passed away.
And then the next call was George.
I don't even know if I should say what he said to me, you know,
but I will anyway!
When I came to the phone, he said, "Aren't you glad it's not you?"
I said, "Yeah, yeah, I am," you know.
Just, you know, he said, "He'll be OK.
"He'll be OK.
"He's still around, so just listen, he's still around,"
and then, that was all he had to say about it, you know.
We say farewell to the end of this reel.
You know, you want to just write it so that, you know,
I mean, you don't want to milk it into some huge big thing, you know.
No, of course.
-I mean, I prefer you were to be honest about it.
-No. No, that's fine.
You know, there's nothing worse than, you know...bullshit.
-You know what I mean?
-Yeah, I agree, I agree.
And then all it does is it means everybody else starts phoning up
-and then they want their version of it.
I'm sorry, I mean, we're all going to die one day,
but I'm not going to die for you quite yet.
We wouldn't want that.
Well...you never know.
I think it makes a good story, doesn't it?
W-what... When it was first...
When he was first diagnosed with cancer, he told me,
and in a way as, you know, his main thing was not to upset me.
I mean, there is a man who's,
who was not well, who's worrying about me
and all the people around him.
So, that was the measure of the man.
And then, of course, it was with great joy that,
that he actually got better initially
and so things were back on track
and we all put it to the back of our minds that this was gone now.
I woke up, I just heard smashing of glass.
I jumped up and woke up George.
It was about, it must've been about 4.30 in the morning...
and I said, "Somebody's smashed a window,"
and he said, "How do you know?" I said, "I heard it!"
So he jumped up and I ran to the door and I locked the door.
And he said, "Why are you locking the door?"
I said, "Why?! Because I'm afraid. That's why I'm locking the door."
He said, "No, no, no, I'm going out there."
And so he ran downstairs, um...
..which he really didn't have to do, but he felt he had to do
cos my mother was upstairs, and he didn't want...
You know, he didn't know if she was OK.
We had a statue of Saint Michael.
And the wing from the statue of Saint Michael -
it was made of stone - had been thrown through the window.
And George was on one side and I was on the other
and we looked down and this maniac just ran in like Beelzebub...
..with a stick from Saint Michael in one hand -
you know, he slays the dragon with his spear.
He had that in one hand and I didn't see what he had in the other.
Anyway, George started chanting really loud at him,
and this guy was saying, "Get down here, get down here."
"What do you want?"
He said, "You know what I want," it was just horrible.
It was just like this voice from the bowels of hell.
And, uh...and then he just ran up, tore up the stairs.
He was in a florid psychotic state.
And he was tall and young.
And then they'd come closer to where the room was.
And this man was on top of George, um...
trying to kill him, just laying on him,
in just, I think, the worst way.
To have some, you know, physical contact with some horrible person.
Anyway, I just ran back in the room and, uh...
I don't know, something just took over,
and I grabbed a poker.
My dad was a big baseball fan and he used to always say, "Follow through."
That's all I could think of was, "Don't throw like a girl."
I mean, it got worse, cos I hit the guy several times, you know,
I could see the blood spreading down his blond hair.
And then, he got up.
You know, he got up and he chased me and had me around the neck.
And then George got up and jumped on his back.
And, poor George, he said, "You know, God,
"just when he got off of me, I was thinking 'Oh, good,'
"then I had to get up and fight him again."
And he'd already been stabbed.
But we all fell into a big pile, and I managed to get out
from underneath, and George pinned him down.
And George said to me, "I've got the knife!"
And I thought, "What knife?!"
I didn't know, I thought he was just kidding.
I thought he was just trying to fake the guy out.
It's like, I hadn't seen that.
Afterwards, we were...
We were, um, taken to a good old National Health hospital
with these rickety wheelchairs at four in the morning
and it was like freezing, it was so cold, I was just shaking,
I didn't realise I was in shock.
But, you know, they were pushing us down and we were looking at each other
and they've got us in these beds and they put the curtain around us
and he had a collapsed lung, he had things in and out the other side and outside of his leg...
You know, I had my head open and, you know...
But just looking into each other's eyes,
our eyes must have been like...
I said, "What the hell was that?"
He said, "I don't know, it's like, I never tried to kill anybody before,"
and I said, "No, neither did I."
It's like this...
you know, phew.
You know, honestly, we talked about it a lot,
and the next day George said, "You know, I was lying there
"and I was thinking, I can't believe it,
"after everything's that's happened to me,
"I'm going to be murdered, I'm being murdered in my own home.
"And since I'm being murdered and I'm going to die,
"I better start letting go of this life,
"and I better start doing what I've been practising my whole life
"so that I can leave my body the way I want to."
He was so defiant, and so determined.
Nothing was going to stop him from leaving his body
and leaping as high as he could go.
It was the millennium,
and we were staying in Santa Barbara with some friends,
and then this awful news came through.
I said to Tania, "We have to go,"
and so I called up and said, "Should we come?"
And he said, "Where are you?"
OK, so, we got on a plane and came immediately,
and, um...it was very...
You know, it was very powerful.
I mean, they would walk us round where the various stages of the attack took place.
When they picked him up, they put him on this stretcher
and they're carrying him downstairs,
and there were two people who had just started work that weekend.
And he's being carried out, stabbed,
he'd eight stab wounds, and he looks over and he says,
"So what do you think of the job so far?"
Which is a great kind of...very George.
So Dhani and Livy and George...
came up to this house...
and he just was so distraught.
I've never, ever had a time when there's so many tears have been shed -
just total grief - of no death.
Just grief of what a horrible thing somebody could do
to another person, without actually killing them.
He was very, very badly attacked, and...
by the time he died, he didn't even have a single scar on him.
I mean, he was like a yogi.
He moved on from that, physically and mentally,
and didn't let it affect him.
But it definitely took years off his life, you know.
If you're trying to fight cancer
and then you're trying to stay alive for something like that, you know,
it's got to take it out of you, you know?
We went to Fiji to be,
"Take us to the island where there isn't anybody,
"and then take us in a boat and drop us off at the cove
"where there isn't anyone on the beach, where there isn't anyone."
And then he'd disappear.
It's like, he's only with me, and then he would go off on his own.
But he'd come out, like, dressed in banana leaves, or something,
you know, with, like, heliconias and things.
He liked to...for him, I think that was just like building a fort out of bracken.
I had an experience which, um...
..speeds up the whole idea of, um...
You know, if you have something happen to you physically, then,
you know, people go in hospital, or have, you know, something wrong with them
and, um, you know, have a shock or something like that,
and then you think, "Wow, yeah, I could be dying now."
Now, if I was dying now, what would I think?
What would I miss?
If I had to leave my body, you know, in an hour's time,
what is it that I would miss?
And I think, "Well, I've got a son who needs a father,
"So I have to stick around for him. as long as I can.
"other than that, I can't think of much reason to be here."
We had this whole 30 years together,
and then at the end you're able to just decant that time.
We spent that summer together and we had so much fun.
It's amazing, you know, at the end of your life, here's the conversation -
"I hope I wasn't a bad husband."
"Well, I hope I was an OK wife.
"How did we do? How did we do?"
And then you think, "I'm so glad.
"I am so glad that we just kept walking this path together."
And all those other things that came and went
we just swatted away and batted away in between us, you know?"
He had a long battle with his cancer.
He's such a brave lad.
What do you miss the most about George?
Uh, his humour, his friendship...
his, um, love.
I've lost racing drivers, phew, so many of my friends have been killed.
I've been with them when they've died.
I've had an enormous exposure to emotional experiences.
And yet, I don't think there's much else that's ever given me
such a long-lasting...
bereavement as George's loss.
And I can't say that I was one of George's very best friends,
cos a lot more people spent a lot more time with him than I did.
But I, at least, felt such a closeness to him
that it still affects me to this day.
I could give you a dozen names,
and I'll bet you they would say the same as I'm saying.
It wasn't a skill.
It was just an aura which provided us with a feel-good factor
that we didn't get from very many people in our lives.
The last weeks of George's life, he was in Switzerland,
and I went to see him, and he was very ill.
And, you know, he could only lay down.
And while he was being ill and I'd come to see him,
I was going to Boston,
cos my daughter had a brain tumour.
And I said, "Well, you know, I've got to go,
"I've got to go to Boston," and he goes...
..it's the last words I heard him say, actually...
And he said, "Do you want me to come with you?"
So, you know, that's the incredible side of George.
God, it's like Barbara fucking Walters here, isn't it?
There was a profound experience that happened when he left his body.
It was visible.
Let's just say, you wouldn't need to light the room...
..if you were trying to film it.
You know, he, um...
He just lit the room.
# Namah Parvati
# Pataye Hare Hare Mahadev
# Namah Parvati Pataye Hare Hare
# Namah Parvati Pataye Hare Hare
# Shiva Shiva Shankara Mahadeva
# Hare Hare Hare Hare Mahadeva
# Shiva Shiva Shankara Mahadeva
# Shiva Shiva Shankara Mahadeva
# Shiva Shiva Shankara Mahadeva
MUSIC: "Long, Long, Long"
# It's been a long, long, long time
# How could I ever have lost you
# When I loved you?
# It took a long, long, long time
# Now I'm so happy I found you
# How I want you
# How I love you
# You know that I need you
# Oh, I love you... #
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
The second and concluding part of Martin Scorsese's portrait of George Harrison.
Part two looks at Harrison's post-Beatles days - as a member of the Travelling Wilburys and a solo artist, as well as looking at his non-musical ventures, including his work as a movie producer and his family life with wife Olivia and son Dhani.
Racing legend Jackie Stewart tells of George's love of motor racing, Monty Python's Eric Idle recounts how George saved the Life of Brian from catastrophe by re-mortgaging his mansion to help finance it, and there are contributions from Travelling Wilbury bandmates including Tom Petty.
Harrison's widow Olivia Harrison gives a poignant account of her life with the Beatle, including the harrowing tale of the night when a violent intruder attacked them at home one evening in 1999. Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Olivia and Dhani Harrison, among many others, talk openly about George's many gifts and contradictions and reveal the lives they shared together.