Known as the “quiet Beatle”, the guitarist George Harrison was an important part of the group’s sound and his contribution to the Fab Four is still very underrated. But the musician had the opportunity to show on his solo career from the 70s until his death in 2001, on all the 12 studio albums he released, all his incredible talent to compose and write successful and meaningful songs.
Over the decades many of his peers talked about his career and one of them is The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, who even named in the “Remembering George“, special edition of Rolling Stone magazine in the early 00s, three songs from Harrison’s career that he likes.
The 3 George Harrison songs that Keith Richards likes
Beatles “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
In the special edition of Rolling Stone magazine called “Remembering George“, Keith Richards praised the late musician saying he was a team player and craftsman.“The thing is, you’ve got your Jimi Hendrix, you’ve got your Eric Clapton. Then you’ve got guys who can play with bands. And George was a band and a team player. To me, that’s way above being some virtuoso flash artist. George was an artist. But he was also a f* craftsman.”
“When you listen to his songs, you’re aware of how much went into it. He didn’t flip anything off. George crafted his stuff very, very carefully. It all had its own feel. This was a guy who could come out with a great song or a great record anytime,” Keith Richards said.
Curiously, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is the only song of the Beatles where the guitar solo was not played by a member of the band. The group invited Eric Clapton to lay down the famous solo and the track was released on their classic self-titled album in 1968.
Another Beatles song composed by George Harrison that Keith Richards praised was “Something”, released on the album “Abbey Road” in 1969. The song remains as one of the most famous songs from The Beatles. Paul McCartney often plays the track in his concerts, dedicating the moment to George.
The Rolling Stones had a project with Youtube back in 2008 called “Living Legends” (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), where Keith and Mick Jagger answered many questions of the fans. At the time, Richards revealed which were the four best bands of all time and one of them according to the musician was The Beatles. “The Beatles, obviously. I mean, I sort of throw them in, obvious.”
A few years before, in 2003, the musician also answered fans questions on his website section “Ask Keith” (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage). He talked about his friendship with The Beatles, saying:“John was a particular good friend of mine. Stories that cannot be told (laughs). George was a lovely guy, we got Paul (a great songwriter) and Ringo, what a guy, what a steady (beat). They came to see us play. We were playing in a pub, at Station Hotel in Richmond, that was our gig.”
Keith Richards continued:
“It was the only one we really had and everybody was having a good time. I turn around and there is these four guys in black leather overcoats standing there. This was soon after ‘Love Me Do’. I mean this was really early on and this is early 60s. From then on we’re always good mates. When George’s new single (was ready) we always made sure we didn’t clash because in those days was like every two months you had to have a new single.”
“We would collaborate with each other. So we didn’t go head to head, because otherwise it seemed like ‘you’re either Beatles or Stones’, bullshit. And we are so similar, that’s not true. We all recognized that and it was one of the great things about it. I mean, between the two bands there was never any sense of competition, was coperation,” Keith Richards said.
George Harrison “My Sweet Lord”
The George Harrison solo career song that Keith Richards told Rolling Stone he admired was “My Sweet Lord”, one of the musician’s biggest hits. The track was released on Harrison’s debut and triple album “All Things Must Pass” (1970). Many other famous artists played on that track with Harrison, including Eric Clapton, Pete Ham (Badfinger), Peter Frampton, Gary Brooker (Procul Harum), Klaus Voorman, Ringo Starr and Alan White.
Even though the Rolling Stones guitarist loved Harrison, he once criticized in a video for “Ask Keith” in 2004 (Transcibed by Rock and Roll Garage) the way that the famous Beatles producer George Martin used to record Harrison’s guitar.
“George (Harrison) was another great mate of mine. I think as you say, that George Martin particularly didn’t serve his guitar sound as well as it could have been done.”
“But it was early days. They were doing those things, they (would) make an album in one night, you know. Listen to ‘Twist And Shout’, you can hear they barely being able to get there, but great records. Just purely a matter of the recording sound, nothing to do with Geroge, he was a great friend of mine.”
“In fact, I’ve met his son, Dhani just two, three weeks ago and there is Dhani Harrison who is the spitting image of George. I kept calling him George (laughs). He was so much like his dad, and George was such a gentle soul. I used to call him ‘farmer George’ because he liked gardening more than anything. (He is) another one sorely missed. I guess the good die young,” Keith Richards said.