George Harrison fell in love with rock ‘n’ roll as a young teenager. It was like a shock to his system. Then he just wanted to make music with his life. Luckily, his parents supported him and he started playing the guitar. He joined the Beatles and the rest is history.
In the late 1970s, however, George saw a change in rock ‘n’ roll coming. Though he believed most music all sounded the same in the 1980s, George said he thinks the genre has endured over the years.
Rock ‘n’ roll hit the radio when George was 13 years old. The genre entered his life with Fat Domino’s I’m in Love Again, Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel and Little Richard’s Tutti Frutti.
in the Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison, Joshua M. Greene wrote: “The music sent shivers down his spine and made him want to join a band. Back then, anyone could put a band together. One kid drummed on a washboard, another slapped a broomstick bass, a third sang chords on the guitar, another blew a gob iron (what they called a harmonica), and they called themselves a band.”
The three rock songs changed something in George. He never forgot the first time he heard it.
George told Timothy White: “But the main thing that really got me hooked was Fats Domino’s ‘I’m in Love Again’, even before I heard Elvis. I can even see exactly where I was when I heard that…
“And I was kinda crossing the street and I was somewhere nearby when I heard Fats Domino: [sings] ‘Yes, it’s me and I’m in love again!’ It must have been in a radio or record player somewhere. It was like that when I [later] heard Ravi’s music. It touched somewhere deep inside me.
“When I heard Elvis’ ‘Heartbreak Hotel,’ I rode my bike past someone’s house and a gramophone must have been playing. I couldn’t believe the sound of this record.”
RELATED: George Harrison said it was funny people thought he did the backflip in ‘Got My Mind Set on You’ music video
Despite his negative opinion of contemporary rock music, George felt the genre had enduring power.
During a 1988 interview, CNN asked George if rock ‘n’ roll was timeless. George said: “It looks like it because I mean it’s going to take how many years now, I don’t know, they said it wouldn’t last and it did. It has become the most popular music of all time. I think there’s always room for other kinds of music, but this stuff obviously has lasting power.”
In the TV special Rolling Stone: 20 Years Of Rock ‘n’ Roll, George said, “The basic essence that rock ‘n’ roll has to have is that you feel good.”
RELATED: George Harrison’s son Dhani said a ‘brainwashed’ track ‘stank’ of his father
In 1975, George David Herman of WNEW-FM (per George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviews and Encounters) that very few people impressed him musically. Most pop music made him feel tense. The only person who inspired him was sitar legend Ravi Shankar, his musical and spiritual guru.
“Put simply, there are people, I like people, who just convey a kind of sincerity in their music. I’m a huge Smokey Robinson fan just because he’s so sweet musically, he makes you feel good, he makes me feel Wellwhereas a lot of the music I listen to that’s popular music just makes me cramped up.
“Even if I don’t really listen carefully, it’s just the sound and the whole and the repetition, the boring repetition way it’s played…”
George stopped making music in the early 1980s because he felt the record companies wanted the same old rock music. George didn’t want to use synthesizers or machines. He wanted to make good old-fashioned rock music. Finally he went on cloud nine.
Although George said rock would endure, he did not consider it very dynamic and ultimately preferred Indian music to any other genre.
RELATED: George Harrison didn’t miss Paul McCartney at induction into The Beatles’ Rock & Roll Hall of Fame