George Harrison
1943 – 2001

"He and the other Beatles were an enormous part of my life
in every imaginable way" – Howie Castle

This is a page of personal tributes from around the world.
It was initially compiled on December 8th, 2001, a day that commemorated the 20th anniversary of the death of John Lennon

Ron O'Quinn, Georgia, USA

As Programme Director of Swinging Radio England, Ron (pictured, right, with George) represented the station on the Beatles' August 1966 USA Tour, alongside Kenny Everett, representing Radio London and Jerry Leighton, representing Radio Caroline. Ron has very generously agreed for his own photographs taken during the tour to be used on this page and has penned the following personal tribute:

Just like the rest of the world I am deeply saddened by the death of George Harrison.

Over the 35 years since the 1966 Beatle Tour I have been asked many times, "Which of the four was your favorite?" I always replied, "George Harrison." George was genuine and not a little perplexed with his good fortune. Several times while I was interviewing him he would ask about my background. He seemed fascinated with American Radio and when he found out that I came to SRE from WFUN in Miami he expressed his desire to visit Miami Beach incognito. He said that the success of the group made it impossible to just be a tourist. He lamented that he had been everywhere, but could never "see the sights." George asked many questions about American television and some of the commercials that were on the air. As a matter of fact he joked about the amount of feminine hygiene products that were advertised.

(Left: Ron's Tour Pass)

George, like the vast majority of us in that time period, smoked cigarettes, and my recollections of him include the memory of George being the fastest draw in the west with a cigarette lighter. He almost always had his lighter and going when anyone near him put a "fag" in their lips.

(Right: Yet another Press Conference)

The Beatles were not just a group. They were a "happening." My job put me in contact with a lot of famous acts, but nothing can ever replace the memories of fans screaming so loudly that the music was totally unrecognizable.... of fans holding all night vigils outside the hotels where we stayed.... of fans crying and screaming when George handed me a newspaper and I threw it into the crowd so that I would not be attacked ...The memory of people stopping me so that they could "shake the hand that shook the hand of the Beatles." Still pretty unbelievable after all these years.

The family of George Harrison has suffered a great tragedy and I like millions of fans around the world feel that loss. We all have access to George Harrison music, but I am luckier than most because I also have personal memories. I knew George Harrison and George Harrison knew me.

Graham Webb, Queensland, Australia
I first met George at the Sydney press conference in 1964 but only shaking his hand. It wasn't till July 1965 in Madrid, Spain that I got to spend time with him and the other three Beatles. I was very privileged to be invited by Brian Epstein to have a private interview with the boys in their Phoenix hotel room. After a round of handshaking and many questions about Australia in their best "Aussie" accents, we finally got around to a "One-On-Four" interview which lasted longer than half-an-hour.
My impressions of all...............
John: He was the boss and most talkative.
Paul: The friendliest who helped me take two wonderful photos of John in the window (since lost)
George: The quietest who seemed to be more of an observer.
Ringo: Talkative but not very friendly; more cynical than the others.

Overall, I must say that after my initial nervousness about meeting the world's most famous quartet they did seem to be very natural and mostly unaffected by their fame.

Howie Castle, San Diego, California
Our Program Director told the KOGO news staff quietly on Monday, November 26th that George Harrison was "days, maybe only hours away" from passing on and that we should be prepared. Then I heard the news when I awoke this morning. It makes you feel kinda old and a little lonely. He and the other Beatles were an enormous part of my life in every imaginable way.

Peter Young, London
Respect to the late George Harrison who turned me on to soul music in a big way. I was a massive Beatle nut when I was a kid and one week, I was watching 'Ready Steady Go' when 'The Fabs' were on. When Cathy McGowan asked George what music he liked to listen to at home he replied, "The Miracles, Impressions, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye". That was the start of my love of soul in all its forms.

Of course George later produced Billy Preston, Doris Troy and Ronnie Spector on Apple, and great records they were too.

PY paid tribute to George during his BBC LDN show of December 5th, by playing 'Jacob's Ladder' by Doris Troy, 'That's the Way God Planned It' by Billy Preston and The Beatles' 'For You Blue' from 'Let It Be'.

A man who touched our livesby Mary Payne

Anyone who, like me, was a teenage Beatles fan, will feel a tremendous sense of personal loss at George's untimely death. Losing John Lennon and accepting that four brilliant musicians would never reunite to create their magic was hard. Knowing that George has gone and the Fab Four is now reduced to two, is a bitter pill to swallow.

"I wore an Official Beatles Sweater and styled my hair like theirs; I lived and breathed Beatles"

It's hard to believe that it was thirty-eight years ago, in 1963, when the first Beatles Fan Club Christmas Record was delivered to delighted club members. Years later, it's apparent that the Fabs were improvising on a script which had been intended to sound like 'wacky teenage fun', but had been penned by someone of more mature years. On December 25th, I was in floods of tears because my mother didn't want me to play the record in the living-room for all to hear. "But I promised them!" I wailed hysterically. The Beatles' Christmas message was much too important to be confined to my bedroom; they were family. I played their records every day; knew everything about them; poured my heart out to them in letters when I was meant to have been taking notes in class; wore an Official Beatles Sweater and styled my hair like theirs; I lived and breathed Beatles. They simply had to be a part of my Christmas. Earlier that very same month, I'd been privileged to meet them at the Southern Area Fan Club Convention, at London's Wimbledon Palais.

George and I exchanged merely a handshake and a single word each on that afternoon of December 14th 1963. We said "Hello". Sad to say, it was the only time our paths ever crossed.

This is my personal tribute to George, on behalf of the 3,000 fans who were there that afternoon, experiencing the thrill of their young lives in meeting the Beatles. All of those present that day will now be at least fifty years old, but surely not one of us can ever have forgotten the occasion when George and the others literally touched our lives. Each encounter with each fan was a small moment in George's existence, and it must have been wearying having to shake 3,000 people by the hand. For every one of us, however, it was a major and unforgettable event.

George's family cannot help but be comforted by the knowledge of how much he contributed to the world and how very much he was loved.

Anyone who wishes to add their own memory of George is welcome to contribute

Ron O'Quinn's photographs are used by kind permission.

Back to 'Reliving the Sixties'