George Harrison facts: Beatles singer's family, wife, children, songs and death explained

3 November 2023, 11:50

George Harrison
George Harrison. Picture: Getty

George Harrison was known as the 'quiet Beatle' during his time with the Fab Four, but he became one of the most popular singer-songwriters in his own right.

Here are some fascinating facts about the legendary musician George Harrison that every fan should know:

  1. When did George Harrison join The Beatles?

    The Beatles
    The Beatles. Picture: Getty

    Aged 15 in July 1957, Paul McCartney met John Lennon and his band, the Quarrymen, at the St Peter's Church Hall fête in Woolton.

    The Quarrymen performed mostly rock and roll and skiffle music. McCartney was soon asked to join as a rhythm guitarist.

    Paul told John about his friend George, and in 1958, he auditioned for the band. Lennon felt George, having just turned 15, was too young. However, he later joined after socialising with the group and became accepted as a member.

    After trying several names, they chose The Beatles in August 1960, and signed drummer Pete Best before a residency in Hamburg, Germany.

    Within a few years, and with the arrival of drummer Ringo Starr, the Fab Four quickly became the biggest stars on the planet, selling over 800 million records worldwide.

  2. Who was George Harrison's wife?

    George Harrison with Pattie Boyd in 1964
    George Harrison with Pattie Boyd in 1964. Picture: Getty

    George Harrison married model Pattie Boyd in 1966, with Paul McCartney as best man.

    He and Boyd met in 1964 during the production of the film A Hard Day's Night, in which 19-year-old Boyd had been cast as a schoolgirl.

    They separated in 1974, with Boyd saying was largely due to George's many infidelities. One of which culminated in an affair with Ringo's wife Maureen. She later married Eric Clapton, and was the inspiration behind his song 'Wonderful Tonight'.

    George later married Dark Horse Records secretary Olivia Trinidad Arias in 1978.

    George Harrison With Wife Olivia in 1991
    George Harrison With Wife Olivia in 1991. Picture: Getty
  3. Did George Harrison have any children?

    Dhani Harrison in 2014
    Dhani Harrison in 2014. Picture: Getty

    George Harrison's only child is Dhani Harrison, whom he had with his second wife Olivia in 1978.

    He is an artist in his own right, beginning with assisting in his father's final album, Brainwashed, and completing it with Jeff Lynne after his father's death in November 2001.

    He is also the founding member of the band Thenewno2.

  4. When was George Harrison attacked?

    On December 30, 1999, George and his wife were attacked at their home by Michael Abram, a 36-year-old man.

    Abram broke in and attacked George with a kitchen knife, puncturing a lung and causing head injuries, before Olivia struck him with a fireplace poker and a lamp.

    Abram suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, and believed that George was an alien and that the Beatles were witches from Hell.

    George later said: "[he] wasn't a burglar, and he certainly wasn't auditioning for the Traveling Wilburys."

  5. When did George Harrison die?

    George Harrison
    George Harrison. Picture: Getty

    In May 2001, George revealed he had undergone an operation to remove a cancerous growth from one of his lungs.

    In July, he was being treated for a brain tumour. On November 29, 2001, he died at a friend's home in Los Angeles, aged 58.

    An outpouring of grief from Beatles fans around the world followed, leading to his song 'My Sweet Lord' going back to number one in the UK.

  6. What were George Harrison's biggest songs?

    George Harrison - Got My Mind Set On You (Version II) [Official Music Video]

    George became the first of the Beatles to score successful singles and albums as a solo artist, despite being restricted in his songwriting while in the band.

    Among his most famous songs were 'My Sweet Lord', 'What Is Life', 'When We Was Fab', and his cover of 'Got My Mind Set On You'.

    His biggest album was his 1970 debut All Things Must Pass.

    He also wrote the Beatles classics 'Something', 'When My Guitar Gently Weeps' and 'Here Comes the Sun'.

    The Beatles - Something

  7. When was George Harrison born and who were his parents?

    George Harrison was born on February 25, 1943 in Liverpool.

    He was the youngest of four children of Harold Hargreaves Harrison (1909–1978) and Louise (née French, 1911–1970).

    Harold was a bus conductor who worked as a ship's steward, and Louise was a shop assistant. He had one sister, Louise, and two brothers, Harold and Peter.

  8. Which faith did George Harrison follow?

    George Harrison - My Sweet Lord

    By the mid-1960s, George was an admirer of Indian culture, and introduced it to the other Beatles.

    During the filming of Help!, they met the founder of Sivananda Yoga, Swami Vishnu-Sivananda.

    Between the end of the last Beatles tour in 1966, and the beginning of the Sgt Pepper recording, he made a pilgrimage to India with his wife Pattie. Harrison embraced the Hare Krishna tradition, and became a lifelong follower.