Happy Birthday George Harrison

by Chris Murray on February 24, 2012

I so much enjoyed Martin Scorsese’s recent film documentary on the the life of George Harrison, Living in the Material World, that was broadcast by HBO in October, 2011. I also treasure Olivia Harrison’s book of the same title that was published by Abrams at the same time. I was most fortunate to spend an afternoon with George at his home in England in 1982. Scorsese used a photograph of George in his film that I had taken while enjoying a walk with him through his wonderful garden.

George tending a lilly in his garden at Friar Park, 1982. Copyright ©Chris Murray. All Rights Reserved.

George Harrison: Living in the Material World by Olivia Harrison.

“He had everything – all the wealth, all the fame, whatever he wanted. But he was not attached to it. It didn’t seem to matter much to him, because he was searching for something much higher, much deeper.” – Ravi Shankar, from George Harrison: Living in the Material World by Olivia Harrison

George enjoyed my book Illuminations from the Bhagavad-Gita that I coauthored with the artist Kim Waters, originally published in 1981 by Harper-Collins. I happened to be in London when my friend and publisher extraordinaire, Brian Roylance, called me with an invitation from George to come to his home, Friar Park, for a visit. Brian was the founder of Genesis Publications who produce the most extraordinary limited edition books and with whom I enjoyed a close professional relationship as the U.S. distributor for Genesis Publications for over twenty years. Brian had given George a copy of Illuminations from the Bhagavad-Gita on my behalf.

Illuminations from the Bhagavad-Gita.

Brian Roylance outside George’s home, Friar Park, 1982. Copyright ©Chris Murray. All Rights Reserved.

It was a remarkable afternoon and one that I will never forget. George’s garden was absolutely magical and to walk through it with him was a very special treat indeed. George dedicated his first book, I Me Mine, “to gardeners everywhere”. He loved gardens and was a great gardener himself. After our walk George made me a cup of coffee in his kitchen while we looked through Illuminations together.

George enjoying Illuminations from the Bhagavad-Gita in his kitchen, 1982. Copyright ©Chris Murray. All Rights Reserved.

I Me Mine by George Harrison, Genesis Publications, 1980.

We love George Harrison at Govinda Gallery. In February of 2002 we organized a photographic tribute in honor of George that featured photographers Harry Benson, William Coupon, Barry Fenstein, Astrid Kirchherr, Gered Mankowitz, Linda McCartney, Max Scheler, Mark Seliger, Jurgen Vollmer, Robert Whitaker, and Baron Wolman.

Hamburg 1961 by Jurgen Vollmer and Los Angeles 1992 by Mark Seliger.

I miss George Harrison and Brian Roylance, and the inspiring creative work they both did will last forever. Hare Krishna!

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