Beatles Biographer Grapples With the ‘Paradox’ of George Harrison

Author Philip Norman explores the complex life of George Harrison in his latest biography.


The Paradox of George Harrison

In his new biography, Philip Norman delves into the fascinating contradiction that was George Harrison. Harrison, known for his compositions in the Beatles and as a solo artist, was both incredibly famous and yet, at times, overshadowed and underappreciated.

Norman's book, "George Harrison: The Reluctant Beatle," examines the different facets of Harrison's life. From his rock star persona to his deep embrace of Hinduism, his struggles as a film producer, and his complicated personal relationships, Harrison lived a complex and multi-faceted existence.

According to Norman, Harrison's character had not been fully explored until now. The author found that the elusive man was a bundle of different personalities, which made the story all the more intriguing.

A Contradictory Figure

Norman highlights several examples of the contradictions within Harrison's life. Despite his anti-materialistic views, he was the first pop star to write a song about income tax. He showcased both nobility and scandalous behavior, such as having an affair with a former bandmate's wife and mortgaging his lavish mansion to fund a film.

Norman also reveals that Harrison's personality had its complexities. While he promoted meditation and spirituality, his first wife claimed that he became disagreeable after learning to meditate. These contradictions painted a fascinating portrait of Harrison.

Throughout the book, Norman unveils the various layers of Harrison's paradoxical nature, allowing readers to gain a deeper understanding of the man behind the music.

Uncovering George Harrison

In a recent interview, Philip Norman discussed the process of writing about George Harrison. He expressed regret over a previous obituary he wrote, acknowledging that it was ill-timed and failed to capture the complexity of Harrison's character.

Norman also mentioned his attempts to reach out to Harrison's widow and son for their perspective on his portrayal. However, due to past criticisms and misunderstandings, he understood why they might decline the opportunity.

The release of Peter Jackson's documentary "Get Back" did not drastically change Norman's view of Harrison, but he did shed light on certain off-camera incidents. Norman also noted Harrison's prolific film production career and his attraction to the medium from a young age.