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Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison

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Overview

"It is a story like none other: George Harrison reached the glittering pinnacle of musical superstardom as a Beatle - then gave up the quest for fame in his search for God. In this unique and intimate biography, Joshua Greene, who studied under Harrison's yoga teacher and recorded with the former Beatle, provides a moving portrait of one of the twentieth century's most extraordinary people. In Here Comes the Sun, Greene draws on surprising firsthand acounts and dozens of transcripts of little-known recorded conversations that enrich this riveting ...
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Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison

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Overview

"It is a story like none other: George Harrison reached the glittering pinnacle of musical superstardom as a Beatle - then gave up the quest for fame in his search for God. In this unique and intimate biography, Joshua Greene, who studied under Harrison's yoga teacher and recorded with the former Beatle, provides a moving portrait of one of the twentieth century's most extraordinary people. In Here Comes the Sun, Greene draws on surprising firsthand acounts and dozens of transcripts of little-known recorded conversations that enrich this riveting and authoritative book." "Like his fellow Beatles, George escaped from the gritty streets of working-class Liverpool, survived a tough musical apprenticeship in underground clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg, and became one of the most famous and successful musical artists in history. Before long, though, disillusioned with both the price and the rewards of celebrity and content to let Lennon and McCartney bask in the limelight, he began the journey that would transform his music and redefine the rest of his life. Here Comes the Sun traces George's exploration of Eastern religion - from his first visions in the mid-sixties to his increasingly important meditation practice to his studies and lasting friendship with Ravi Shankar, who showed him the harmonious link between music and spirit, to the profound devotion of his later years." Greene pays special attention to Harrison's stunning late-Beatles and solo career, revealing how such huge hits as "Something." "Here Comes the Sun," and "My Sweet Lord" were informed by George's ever-deepening spiritually. George's spiritual commitment prompted him to organize the Concert for Bangla Desh, a fundraising milestone in rock-and-roll history, and led him to make a worldwide number-one hit record from an ancient Sanskrit chant. Eventually, it was George's reverence for God that helped him find and live in love and peace in the years before his death in 2001 at age fifty-eight.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Author and film producer Greene focuses on the metaphysical in his examination of George Harrison, choosing to document the Beatle's relationship with Hindu philosophy and Krishna devotees over his more complex-though admittedly well-covered-relationship with his bandmates. The resulting portrait is at times flat, as Harrison gets along with just about everyone on his spiritual path, and Greene is reluctant to cast his subject in a negative light. That's a shame, as the highlights of the book feature a conflicted and embattled Harrison dealing with disappointment, frustration and loss, of which there is plenty in the Beatles' shared history. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Historian and Emmy-nominated writer and filmmaker Greene studied with George Harrison's guru and recorded Hindustani devotional music with the former Beatle at one point in the 1970s. Drawing on those experiences, he attempts an overview of Harrison's life and musical career, but there is an unfortunate focus on his spirituality; readers will not find much on Harrison's music. To his credit, Greene studiously avoids the tabloidlike nature of some earlier Harrison biographies (e.g., Geoffrey Giuliano's Dark Horse: The Life and Art of George Harrison). This, however, is a mixed blessing, as the overall biographical material seems fairly general and at times sketchy, except when it comes to Harrison's spiritual path. The Beatles period in particular could be more detailed. This book, illustrated with 20 pages of black-and-white photographs, will interest Harrison and Beatles fans, but it is neither a definitive guide to Harrison's music nor a truly comprehensive biography. Recommended for larger public libraries with significant popular culture collections.-James E. Perone, Mount Union Coll., Alliance, OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A friend of George Harrison offers informed reflections on the late musician's spiritual quest. Out of the insanity, claustrophobia and estrangement that came with being a member of the Beatles, Harrison emerged an affected man, in search of God and peace. Filmmaker/biographer Greene (Justice at Dachau, 2003, etc.) portrays his friend as introspective and modest, inspired by an experience with LSD (‘ "From that moment on, I wanted to have that depth and clarity of perception," ' Harrison told Rolling Stone.) Harrison reached beyond intoxicants into the bliss of yoga and cosmic chants, a buzz that took him "into the astral plane." He wanted others to share his contact with the mystical and spoke of his spirituality during concerts, where his comments were met with, at best, indifference. Though he spent considerable time exploring the Hindu religion, writes Greene, the musician was a restless quester, always looking for ways to put his spiritual house in order. Greene writes of a newfound "levelheaded dispassion" as Harrison moved into his sixth decade, a sense of liberation from the material world coupled with an affirmation of nature and a personal recognition of his place in the scheme of things. Greene presents a man deeply engaged in the world he longed to transcend.
From the Publisher
* It has always seemed to me a convincing proof of the greatness of the Beatles that the bulk of "The White Album"—that voluptuous crack-up of a record, full of smut and lunacy—was written at a meditation camp in the Himalayas. Geniuses that they were, at Rishikesh, India, the Beatles answered the pull of the transcendental with an equivalent downward thrust of their own; commanded by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to focus on bliss, nothingness, and the white light of eternity, they came up with "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" and "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey." Apart from George Harrison, that is. While John and Paul strummed and swapped their ribaldries, and Ringo went home early with tummy trouble (too much spicy food), George was rigorous, sober, down with the program. It had been his idea to go there, after all. His best Rishikesh songs are solemn and beautiful: the devotional murmur of "Long, Long, Long" and the elegiac "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." And according to Joshua Greene's "Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison," in his solemnity the heavy-browed young guitarist would remonstrate with his fellow Beatles: "Too much time spent writing . . . struck George as a distraction from their purpose in coming to India, and he said as much. 'We're not here to talk music. We're here to meditate.' 'Calm down, man,' Paul said. 'Sense of humor needed here, you know.'"
Perhaps a spiritual biography is humorless by definition. The spirit doesn't tell jokes; it strives wordlessly for perfection. One reads of course of the constant merriment of the Dalai Lama, and the Maharishi himself was apparently quite prone to the giggles, but the mirth of these sages seems to be of a very rarefied and cosmic order. Earthly laughter—the guffaw, the yip, the cackle—is different, and there isn't too much of it in "Here Comes the Sun," suffused as it is with the earnestness of the seeking soul. Greene, who met George through London's Radha Krishna Temple in the 1970s, has efficiently separated from the mass of Beatle data the single thread of his subject's religious endeavors, and writes of them with the unblinking identification of the fellow devotee. "George had discovered singing God's glories through the Krishna mantra," we read on Page 145. "It made him feel good; it was easy and musical. How wonderful to think that God played a flute, that he was a musician." What we have here, not to put too fine a point on it, is new age prose—moon-faced, quietly zealous, and limpidly free of skepticism.
On the other hand, this is rather the key in which the story of guru-hungry George demands to be written. The story of Paul, flashing his two raised thumbs like a pair of small horns, necessitates a different approach. Christopher Sandford's "McCartney," with wit and some bemusement, paints the jaunty "head Beatle" as a comic figure on the very grandest scale: an irrepressible entertainer, a stranger to doubt, absurdly vital, rebounding from vicissitude, part of humanity's immune system. A key moment occurs in January 1980, when the first Wings tour of Japan is derailed on arrival by the discovery at Narita Airport of what McCartney would later refer to as "a bloody great bag of pot right on the top of my suitcase." The Japanese customs officers are not amused, and McCartney is promptly incarcerated. Things look bleak; there is the prospect of a long sentence, even hard labor. To console himself, the prisoner performs an impromptu medley of show tunes and Beatles standards for his fellow detainees, thus granting his future biographer the following prize-winning image: "McCartney had finished Toot, Toot, Tootsie, Goo'bye' and was nearing the end of 'Hey Jude' when the consul came."
This is essence of McCartney: The Fabness—a twinkling amalgam of professionalism, personal toughness, and showbiz brio—cannot be dented. It drove the other Beatles m
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470127803
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 6/29/2007
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 588,429
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Joshua M. Greene (Long Island, NY) is the author of two acclaimed biographies and the producer of numerous award-winning films. His articles have appeared in print media internationally, and his books on the Holocaust were adapted for broadcast on PBS and the Discovery channel.
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Table of Contents

Preface.

1. Beginnings.

2. George among the Savages.

3. A Price to Pay.

4. A Father to His Spirit.

5. Rebirth.

6. In the Land of Gods.

7. Devotees.

8. Looking for Krishna.

9. All Things Must Pass.

10. The Sky beneath His Feet.

11. Dark Horse.

12. Laws of Nature.

13. Sacred Ground.

14. Going Back.

Afterword.

Acknowledgments.

Notes.

Credits.

Index.

Photographs.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2009

    just what i was looking for!

    george harrison has long been one of my favorite artists. not only was i fascinated by his music, but his spiritual journey intrigued me. this book satisfies both of those quests. if you are interested in reading about someone who rose to the "top" but discovered there was so much more to life than that, this is the book for you! it is inspirational!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    GEORGE.....

    I had the pleasure of meeting Mr.Green at the NY Open Center...and enjoyed his book over and over again....for those of us who loved his light and his music....this opens up a pathway into his quest to enlightentment.....from his youth, the Beatles...his life with Patty and his love of Krisna...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

    George dream

    I had a dreamone night that george was with me but he told me his story a then he tells me that he would love it if i was his favorite.so he is and ha will always be

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 22, 2011

    A DIFFERENT LOOK

    Learned some things about the Beatles and George. Some parts got boring about his religion because it was dragged out too much. He would have been more at peace had he gave his life to Jesus Christ. The author was a Krishna follower so he was a bit biased but that was to be expected. George seemed in the book to be a tortured soul.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    Changed my life

    This book, though not real great on the research side (dates are often off) it was a compelling look at how Harrison's life was profoundly changed when he found God. It is not preachy, though it does depict a short period around 1974 when George did become very engrossed in spreading the word of his new faith. It is in fact a warm, loving portrait of a man who loved the world but only wanted to find God. <BR/> This book showed me that God is all, and showed me that the Beatles, though great, were just a part of the Big Picture.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2006

    The Quiet Beatle Revealed

    Here Comes the Sun, written by Joshua M. Green, is a story about the life of the 'Quiet Beatle' George Harrison. It begins when George was a child, growing up in a poor family living in Liverpool. It goes on to tell of his adolescent years, meeting Paul and joining what would be later argued as the greatest band in the world. Following George's life from beginning to end, it goes far beyond the Beatles. He got burnt out from the stardom and pursued a life of spirituality through music. This biography was an amazing portrayal of George Harrison, both as a Beatle as well as a devout follower of his spirituality. Being a great fan of the Beatles' music, it was the first book I have read revolving particularly around George, and it was fascinating to learn so many things about him that have been hidden behind the 'Fab Four's' image. Parts of the biography were slow and drawn out, but for the most part it was quite informative as well as intriguing. Any George Harrison fan should pick up this book to learn about him beyond his life as a Beatle. Any Beatle fan for that matter, because George Harrison has too long been kept from the spotlight by his fellow band mates.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2006

    A Modern Francis of Assisi/Buddha Story

    George Harrison was the Beatle with the 'spiritual' reputation. Some even wrote him off as a nut case or someone who had succumbed to the cult of the Hare Krishnas. (He was a great benefactor and supporter of the group.) Our western culture often 'writes off' public figures who take spiritual turns in life, treating them as quacks, cranks, kooks and people who can no longer be taken seriously. In some ways that's what happened to 'the quiet Beatle.' But in this book's sympathetic analysis, Harrison emerges as someone resembling a modern-day Buddha or St. Francis of Assisi (my comparison, not the author's). While Harrison wasn't born into wealth and privilege as Francis and the Buddha were, he did attain it in very young adulthood as a member of the Beatles 'royal family.' And like Francis and the Buddha, in his young adulthood he grew to struggle with questions of 'Is that all there is?' because he had it all and still felt empty. So he set out on the journey to find true holiness. This is the book that documents that journey. If you seek 'dirt' or gossip about George here, you won't find much. The book was written by Joshua Greene, a former Hare Krishna devotee who greatly respects and admires Harrison and actually spent time in his presence and knew Harrison's ISKCON friends. That given, Greene does manage to nicely walk the tightrope between saccharine and salacious in giving a seemingly accurate portrayal of both Harrison's strengths and weaknesses. The author's familiarity with Hindu scriptures and spirituality is a great asset in this book. He beautifully weaves in a few stories from those scriptures to help the reader see and understand why those scriptures touched Harrison's soul and were his rock that supported him throughout his late- and post-Beatles life. The book also expresses funny anecdotes about the intersection of spirituality, rock 'n roll, and humor in Harrison's life. In Harrison's Friar Park estate, between large pictures of his most revered gurus, he'd hung the famous depiction of dogs playing cards. When Harrison tried to hold a 1969 Paris hotel press conference to help prevent French Krishna devotees from being hassled by police, reporters refused to listen. They kept asking stupid questions about mop top haircuts and whether the Beatles were really breaking up. The press had no interest in spiritual matters. It grew to a mob scene in which George and his good friend, an American from the London Hare Krishnas (complete with dhoti and shaved head) escaped by shimmying down a nearby laundry chute. They fell two stories, but landed safely in a pile of dirty linen, much to the astonishment of women folding towels in the basement. Reporters followed them down the chute, and in a scene that could have been out of _A Hard Day's Night_, Harrison and the Krishna devotee bolted out to a taxi, reporters in hot pursuit and throwing themselves before the taxi to prevent departure. Harrison never was able to fully extract himself from that Beatlemania. The guy mostly just wanted to be left alone while still pursuing his music, but the 'left alone' wasn't to be, and so he turned to Hindu spirituality as his refuge, befriending fledgling Hare Krishna devotees in England and growing to be their major benefactor. In one chapter, Greene weaves in a beautiful story from Hindu scripture in which Krishna is surrouded by the gopis--cowherd girls who would cry when Krishna left after singing to them. One cannot help seeing the similarity between gopis and groupies, and how stories about Krishna reverberated with Harrison's own life. Not that Harrison saw himself as a god. Far from it. But others did--those who refused to see him in anything other than his bigger-than-life BEATLE/demigod persona. He hated that. 'We've got to show them we're more than these bodies,' Harrison told a friend after a man approached him at a NYC sidewalk cafe and said, 'Aren't you George Harrison?' and Har

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2006

    George is my Hero

    I loved this book, George is by far my favorite Beatle and this was the first Harrison book I ever bought(i ahve a lot of Beatle books) and it really showed me more about Geroge than i ever knew, and it only makes me want to learn and appreciate him more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2006

    My Sweet Lord, George was really Something

    To find his inner peace, George Harrison began on a road the passed from Liverpool up to the banks of the Ganges. A metamorphosis of a Beatle into a spiritual butterfly. A musical journey that is well noted for any fan of the Fab Four.A mystical journey however, is much more cerebral. Joshua Greene describes his warm friendship with George as only a true believer could.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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