It's hard to believe it was already 10 years ago that George Harrison lost his battle with cancer. Most people remember where they were when they learned that Kurt Cobain committed suicide or the Challenger space shuttle fell out of the sky; for whatever reason, I remember the exact moment that I heard about George's death. He had always been my favorite Beatle, so much so that I celebrated his birthday (February 25) every year as a teen, and as soon as I heard the news coming over the car radio I couldn't help but break down and cry.
My appreciation for Harrison's music has only expanded over the past decade, especially after watching the all-star Concert for George on repeat. So in memory of the quiet one, the master guitarist, the innate pop songwriter, here are six unforgettable George Harrison melodies that left their mark on the rock cannon.
"My Sweet Lord"
"My Sweet Lord" has such an innate, immediately familiar melody that for years I thought it was a cover of a traditional hymnal instead of an original tune. A ballad for Krishna, Harrison wrote it around the time that the Beatles dissolved and released it on his first solo album, All Things Must Pass.
"All Things Must Pass"
Speaking of that tumultuous time, this song of sorrow and perseverance is also one of Harrison's finest works. The flood of songs he released immediately following his band's breakup spoke to just how talented he was and how overshadowed he had been by Lennon and McCartney's work in the Beatles.
"Think for Yourself"
Rewind a few years, and this 1965 George Harrison-penned Beatles tune seems to foreshadow what's yet to come for the band: The defiant lyrics, the experimentation with psychedelic melodies and horns seem to propelling the band into less straightforward songwriting territory.
There's a reason why Frank Sinatra frequently hailed "Something" as one of the greatest love songs of the past 100 years. Listening to Ol' Blue Eyes sing it is pretty great, but my favorite cover might be this one by Ray Charles.