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articolo tratto da Rolling Stone n 887 del 17 gennaio 2002


Elton John Remembers George

"He was the sage of the Beatles. He found something worth more than fame."

I actually hadn't seen George since Linda McCartney's memorial service. But during the older days - when I was behaving myself not too well but having basically a very good time - I have very fond memories of playing on Cloud Nine, George's album. And George was always very, very kind to me. When I first came to America and the Elton John album was, like, Number Eighteen or Nineteen on the charts, and I was pinching myself, looking at all the records on the charts by my heroes - I got a telegram from George congratulating me. I've still got it somewhere. It was just a very thoughtful thing for him to do. It meant the whole world to me.Then, after I got to meet him and hang out with him and play on his records, he continued to be very, very generous in spirit to me. Toward the end, I didn't see much of him. But I still remember staying up until eight o'clock in the morning recording and then asking him to play "Here Comes the Sun." And he did, and it was magical.It's very hard to put into words. He was very forthright, and he actually administered quite a few tellings-off to me about my drug problem. There was this one night in Los Angeles when he said, "Listen, for God's sake, go easy on the marching powder, because it's not going to do you any good." That was the evening I tried to change Bob Dylan's wardrobe. I was saying, "You can't keep going round in clothes like that, you've got to come upstairs, I'll give you a few clothes." And the abject look of horror on Bob Dylan's face was unbelievable. Because, can you imagine? I was like, "Oh, yeah, I've got a couple of Versace numbers upstairs that'll really suit you, Bob." And George was present for this. So he administered a little talk to me.

George always spoke his mind. He could be a little intimidating when he wasn't in a good mood, like we all can. The last time I saw him, he was a bit grumpy toward me, and I felt, "Oooh." But who knows what he was having to deal with? He had a pretty rough ride the last four or five years. George was happiest with his close friends, who were mostly British musicians like Joe Brown and Alvin Lee. He didn't like celebrity. I think he'd had enough by 1970 to last three lifetimes. George just relished his gardening and his motor racing, and he loved his privacy. As a result of that reclusiveness, there was a little bit of curmudgeonly commentary about bands - saying he hated Oasis and U2, bands today aren't as good. And they probably aren't.
But, again, he was very forthright. There was no holding back. You know, at a time when Oasis were kissing the Beatles' feet, George Harrison said, "Well, they're rubbish."

Of course, George's other passion was his movies, HandMade Films. I invested in a couple of them myself. And he had the guts to make Monty Python's Life of Brian, which we should all thank him for. He had a very wicked sense of humor, a bit like Lennon - very, very cutting.

He was a bit like an earth mother, in a way. He loved his gardening, he loved his wife, he loved his kid, he loved his house, Friar Park, and he restored that house as much as he could. I mean, it's a huge fucking house.

I think he was the kind of sage of the Beatles. He was the youngest member. But as people said, he was very spiritual and very serious about his religious beliefs. It wasn't just a five-minute-wonder thing with him. He found something worth more than fame, more than fortune, more than anything. I think that helped him the last few months of his life. Because he was pretty stoic.

As a guitarist - well, the trademark of a great guitarist is that you can always identify their sound, and with George you can always tell it's George Harrison playing. All his solos are very melodic - you can almost sing his solos. And he was his own songwriter as well. I think All Things Must Pass, apart from [John Lennon's] Walls and Bridges, is the best post-Beatles solo album. And it shocked a lot of people, because it's such a colossal, great-sounding album, full of great songs, and it was a triple album. I don't think people expected that to come out of George Harrison. It was totally different from anything the Beatles had ever done. And I think that's a huge achievement. I remember hearing "My Sweet Lord" in a taxi somewhere, I can't remember what city, and I thought, "Oh, my God," and I got chills. You know when a record starts on the radio, and it's great, and you think, "Oh, what is this, what is this, what is this?" The only other record I ever felt that way about was "Brown Sugar," by the Rolling Stones. "My Sweet Lord" was a song that everybody sang, and whether they thought about it consciously or not, it made another train of thought spiritually available.
Of all his songs - and I know this is such an obvious choice - I think "Something" is probably one of the best love songs ever, ever, ever written, and probably the best Beatles love song. It's better than "Yesterday," much better. It's a beautiful, beautiful song, structure-wise and in every way. It's like the song I've been chasing for the last thirty-five years. Every time I hear that song . . . I don't know, it just comes from where George was. It's the perfect song. Just one of the best songs ever written.
Basically, George was very much a man of peace. Even when he was being attacked in his house, he wasn't fighting the guy off, he was trying to restrain him by words. So the last few years, with the throat cancer and the attack and then various business stuff going wrong, George had a lot on his plate, and he came through it a man of peace. And that says a lot for Olivia, his wife, as well. When I think of him, I don't remember any specific conversation or anecdote. I just remember that when we hung out, music was played, conversation was provocative and there was a lot of laughter. I feel very privileged to have known him, to have played on his records. I've played on a Lennon record. I've played on a Ringo record. I've played on a Dylan record. And I've played on a George Harrison record. And I'm very, very happy to have had the privilege.