In the News:
Musician Kept the Faith
Posted March 4, 2006
Branded as the quiet one when Beatlemania hit, George Harrison mystified, confused and enthralled many when he became outspoken in his devotion to Hindu philosophy.
"Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison" takes a flattering look at Harrison's faith, his devotion to fellow Krishna followers and, to a lesser degree, how his music was shaped by both.
Joshua M. Greene, who knew Harrison, fleshes out Harrison's faith with anecdotes from those who were closest to him from the mid-1960s through the early 1970s, when he was the most public with his religious beliefs.
The result is a fascinating read, especially for those who are less familiar with Harrison's post-Beatles life, but one that doesn't do enough to put Harrison's faith into perspective.
Rarely are Harrison's actions questioned or viewed in a more critical light. And because the book focuses on his religious beliefs, it's harder to get a well-rounded view of who Harrison was.
But taken for what it purports to be -- an examination of Harrison's spiritual journey -- "Here Comes the Sun" largely succeeds. Some of the most fascinating parts of the book -- and where it works best -- are when Greene examines how Harrison's faith created conflict in his life.
In one particularly compelling passage, Harrison raises concerns about losing his grip with friends.
"George had his rock and roll friends and he had his transcendental friends, and he liked to keep them separate," Greene writes. More examination of that dynamic would have strengthened the book, as would more details about Harrison's later years when his musical output dwindled.
Too often, Greene resorts to overly flattering descriptions of meetings Harrison had with other Krishna devotees throughout the years, describing the gatherings in such detail that we even learn, repeatedly, what vegetarian foods were served.
Clearly, Harrison was a deeply religious man, and that influence was seen in his music, in varying degrees, throughout his career.
Any reader who doesn't know a thing about Harrison would come away from "Here Comes the Sun" with the impression that he was all about Krishna, all the time. But a cursory listen to his musical output alone would prove that false, as would an examination of his many other interests, including film producing.
But "Here Comes the Sun" does well to further develop that aspect of
Harrison's career, which often is kept in the dark.