One of the first records I remember listening to when I was little was my parents' The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl double album. Inside it had all these pictures of the band and screaming fans and Beatles buttons and pins and posters. It was my favorite record and I played it over and over again. Whenever anyone asked, I told them the Beatles were my favorite band in the whole world. And that's still true to this day.
So I'm sitting here very very sad this morning upon hearing of George Harrison's death. It's hard to believe that a band that broke up before I was even born could have such an impact on my life, but it has. I know nearly every word of every Beatles song, and most of my favorites are still those first ones from the Hollywood Bowl album. I can hear every song in my head, complete with all the crackles and scratches of an over-played record, with all the screaming girls in the background.
In 1993 when I went to England to row in the Henley Women's Regatta, my friend and I stopped to check out George's house. It was one of the highlights of my trip, though George wasn't my favorite Beatle, John was. But George was my second favorite, which is a silly thing to say. It's really hard to like any one Beatle more than any of the others, it's like asking a parent which child s/he loves more. You just love one for certain qualities and another, no less strongly, for different traits.
I'm usually not one to believe in or think much about heaven, but strangely that was my first thought upon hearing the news. I pictured those white puffy clouds like you see in the movies, and I pictured a young John, in a black 60's style suit with a white shirt and narrow tie, standing in front of a big golden gate with arms outstretched, a smile on his face, welcoming George. It sounds cheesy. Perhaps it was. And I don't know why John wouldn't be wearing a more comfortable outfit in heaven, but it's what I thought at the time, and it gave me some comfort.
I'm going to listen to the Beatles today, and I'm going to start off with Here Comes the Sun, from Abbey Road. It's one of my favorite Beatles songs and has provided me with a lot of solice and hope over the years. Appropriately enough, it was written by George.