The 3 Artists George Harrison Treasured in the 70s

In the constantly evolving realm of Rock and Roll, the 1970s represented a pivotal epoch. A single individual emerged as an outstanding figure within this era – the iconic guitarist and vocalist, George Harrison. Renowned for his pivotal role in shaping The Beatles’ sonic landscape, Harrison’s prowess as a composer and instrumentalist continued to flourish following the band’s disbandment in 1970. Nonetheless, one consistent aspect throughout the 1970s was Harrison’s profound admiration for certain artists.

In an exclusive conversation with Rolling Stone magazine in 1979, George Harrison unveiled his personal playlist, exposing the three artists who left an indelible mark on him during this transformative decade. Let us delve into the musical companions who embarked on this extraordinary journey alongside Harrison.

Artists George Harrison loved in the 70s

Bob Dylan

One of the most profound and enduring associations in the realm of music was the camaraderie between George Harrison and Bob Dylan. Their connection can be traced back to the 1960s, a period when The Beatles were at the pinnacle of their fame. In 1968, they combined their creative energies and crafted two extraordinary compositions, namely, “I’d Have You Anytime” and “If Not For You.”

“I’d Have You Anytime” found its place on Harrison’s groundbreaking 1970 album, “All Things Must Pass,” while “If Not For You” was recorded by Dylan, gracing his album “New Morning” that very year. Their collaboration was a testament to their mutual veneration and creative synergy.

This friendship extended beyond the realm of songwriting; it continued to evolve over the years. In the late 1980s, Harrison and Dylan, along with other musical luminaries, joined forces to establish the supergroup known as the Traveling Wilburys.

Harrison’s reverence for Dylan was so profound that he would clandestinely record their collaborative sessions and remain concealed while they composed together. The late Tom Petty, another member of the Wilburys, recounted this in a 2002 interview with Rolling Stone, saying, “George quoted Bob as if quoting scripture. Bob genuinely held George in high esteem. George would lean over the balcony, capturing Bob on video while Bob remained unaware. Bob would sit at the piano, playing, and George would record it, listening to it throughout the night.”

Tom Petty added, “George held Bob in such reverence. At the end of the first day, he said, ‘”We acknowledge that you are Bob Dylan, and so much more. However, we shall converse with you in the same manner as we would with anyone else.’ Bob responded, ‘Fantastic. Believe it or not, I am in awe of you all. It’s mutual.'”

Elton John

Elton John, the legendary British pianist and vocalist, embarked on his musical odyssey in 1962, a year prior to The Beatles‘ debut album release. Nevertheless, his solo debut did not transpire until 1969. His musical journey bore the indelible influence of The Beatles, much like numerous other musicians of his era. John’s admiration for the Fab Four was unequivocal when he rendered a rendition of “Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds” in 1974, with none other than John Lennon making a guest appearance on the composition.

Although Elton John shared a more intimate connection with John Lennon, his association with George Harrison was equally meaningful. He recounted how Harrison played a pivotal role in aiding him to overcome his addiction in a 2019 interview with Virgin Radio Breakfast. ” ‘Cease insufflating that marching powder into your nostrils,’ George cautioned him. ‘It has been twenty-nine years. The nose is still intact!'” Elton John fondly remembered Harrison’s counsel.

Eric Clapton

Another profound friendship that George Harrison forged during the 1960s was with the renowned guitarist and vocalist Eric Clapton. Their initial connection revolved around their shared affection for guitars, but it swiftly evolved into a profound friendship.

Clapton’s impact on Harrison’s music was so profound that he became the sole non-Beatles member to deliver a guitar solo on a Beatles record. The iconic guitar solo gracing Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” featured on the eponymous Beatles album, often referred to as the “white album,” was a testimony to their musical rapport.

However, their friendship encountered several obstacles, particularly when Clapton became romantically entwined with Harrison’s spouse, Pattie Boyd, while she was still wed to the Beatle. Harrison’s matrimony confronted challenges during this period, but he chose to transcend the betrayal and persist in preserving a robust friendship with Clapton. Their connection was so enduring that they embarked on a joint tour in Japan in 1991. This tour marked Harrison’s second and ultimate solo tour, with Clapton playing a pivotal role in it.

Throughout the tour, Clapton not only performed in Harrison’s ensemble but also rendered several of his own compositions, including “Wonderful Tonight,” “Old Love,” and “Badge.” Notably, “Badge” was co-authored by Clapton and George Harrison. This tour, laden with shared musical interludes, served as a testament to the depth of their friendship and the enduring potency of music in transcending personal tribulations.

George Harrison’s fondness for these three artists—Bob Dylan, Elton John, and Eric Clapton—remained unwavering throughout the 1970s, and their friendships continued to evolve over the years. The profound influence they exerted on Harrison’s life and musical journey stands as a testimony to the timeless potency of camaraderie and creative collaboration in the realm of music.

In conclusion, George Harrison’s musical legacy extended well beyond his tenure with The Beatles, stretching into the 1970s and beyond. His admiration for Bob Dylan, Elton John, and Eric Clapton serves as a testament to the enduring bonds that music can forge, even in the face of life’s adversities. These artists’ impact on Harrison’s life and music exemplify the timeless power of friendship and creative cooperation.


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