Four years before his death in 2001, George Harrison gave what turned out to be his final performance in a surprise appearance on VH1.
On Thursday, fans across the world celebrated what would have been Harrison’s 73rd birthday, and remembered “the quiet Beatle” for his contribution to the global songbook.
According to TV personality John Fugelsang, George’s 1997 performance happened quite spontaneously. Harrison had accompanied his friend Ravi Shankar to help promote Shankar’s latest album “Chants of India.”
“George Harrison rarely ever appeared on TV and we weren’t sure how long he’d want to stick around,” Fugelsang explained after Harrison’s passing.
During his time in the studio Harrison opened up in an extremely candid way about his feelings on faith, life and being a Beatle. One of the topics George explored was the deep connection between music and spirituality.
“For each individual to be able to sit and turn off, um… ‘turn off your mind, relax and float downstream’ and listen to something that has its root in a transcendental, because really even all the words of these songs, they carry with it a very subtle spiritual vibration,” Harrison explains to Fugelsang.
“And it goes beyond intellect, really. So if you let yourself be free to let that have an effect on you, it can have an effect, a positive effect.”
After a career encompassing interview someone handed Harrison a guitar and he began to play selections from his storied career in music, including his iconic song “All Things Must Pass.”
When the performance was broadcast in 2001 on the day that Harrison passed away, messages from his friends and family passed along the bottom of the screen that reminded fans of how much love the artist put out into the world.
“We will miss George for his sense of love, his sense of music and his sense of laughter,” Starr remarked after his death.