George Harrison’s closest friends and family gathered in Hollywood on Tuesday to dedicate the late Beatle’s star on the Walk of Fame.
“There’s someone here from every important stage of George’s life and career,” Harrison’s widow, Olivia, said. Harrison, who was 58 when he died of cancer in 2001, becomes the second Beatle with a Hollywood star. John Lennon was the first. The new star is next to the iconic Hollywood headquarters of Capitol Records, the distributor of much of Harrison’s music for the past five decades. Tuesday’s ceremony coincided with the Capitol/EMI announcement that it will release Harrison’s first solo greatest hits collection — “Let it Roll: Songs by George Harrison” — on June 16. Actor Tom Hanks said the world changed for him in January 1964 when he heard his first Beatles song. “That’s when we escaped the doldrums and moved on to a brighter, better, more joyful future,” Hanks said.
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Superstar musicians Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Joe Walsh and Jeff Lynne attended the star’s dedication, but they did not address the crowd. Scores of Harrison fans showed up for the event, with some traveling from as far as Liverpool, England. “We all have deep feelings for George, because he was such a deep-feeling person,” Olivia Harrison said. “He was a beautiful, mystical man, living in a material world,” she said. “He was funny as the day is long and just as perplexing.” His son, Dhani, 30, joked about his father’s star. “It’s good, it’s lovely and it’s nice and shiny and I’m glad it’s not outside of Frederick’s of Hollywood,” he said. Harrison was just 15 when schoolmate Paul McCartney asked him to join his and John Lennon’s band, the Quarrymen. The band evolved into the Beatles and the rest is history. Harrison played lead guitar and sang for the Beatles. Songs penned by Harrison included “Taxman,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun.”
Harrison was a pioneer of what has since become a tradition of rock stars supporting charitable causes with their music. In 1971, he helped organize the star-studded “Concert for Bangladesh” at New York’s Madison Square Garden. In addition to his post-Beatles solo career, Harrison played with several groups — most notably the Traveling Wilburys, alongside Petty, Lynne, Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan.