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Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison Hardcover – January 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (January 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047169021X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471690214
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Author and film producer Greene focuses on the metaphysical in his examination of George Harrison, choosing to document the Beatle's relationship with Hindu philosophy and Krishna devotees over his more complex—though admittedly well-covered—relationship with his bandmates. The resulting portrait is at times flat, as Harrison gets along with just about everyone on his spiritual path, and Greene is reluctant to cast his subject in a negative light. That's a shame, as the highlights of the book feature a conflicted and embattled Harrison dealing with disappointment, frustration and loss, of which there is plenty in the Beatles' shared history. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

* It has always seemed to me a convincing proof of the greatness of the Beatles that the bulk of ""The White Album""—that voluptuous crack-up of a record, full of smut and lunacy—was written at a meditation camp in the Himalayas. Geniuses that they were, at Rishikesh, India, the Beatles answered the pull of the transcendental with an equivalent downward thrust of their own; commanded by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to focus on bliss, nothingness, and the white light of eternity, they came up with ""Why Don't We Do It in the Road?"" and ""Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey."" Apart from George Harrison, that is. While John and Paul strummed and swapped their ribaldries, and Ringo went home early with tummy trouble (too much spicy food), George was rigorous, sober, down with the program. It had been his idea to go there, after all. His best Rishikesh songs are solemn and beautiful: the devotional murmur of ""Long, Long, Long"" and the elegiac ""While My Guitar Gently Weeps."" And according to Joshua Greene's ""Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison,"" in his solemnity the heavy-browed young guitarist would remonstrate with his fellow Beatles: ""Too much time spent writing . . . struck George as a distraction from their purpose in coming to India, and he said as much. 'We're not here to talk music. We're here to meditate.' 'Calm down, man,' Paul said. 'Sense of humor needed here, you know.'""
Perhaps a spiritual biography is humorless by definition. The spirit doesn't tell jokes; it strives wordlessly for perfection. One reads of course of the constant merriment of the Dalai Lama, and the Maharishi himself was apparently quite prone to the giggles, but the mirth of these sages seems to be of a very rarefied and cosmic order. Earthly laughter—the guffaw, the yip, the cackle—is different, and there isn't too much of it in ""Here Comes the Sun,"" suffused as it is with the earnestness of the seeking soul. Greene, who met George through London's Radha Krishna Temple in the 1970s, has efficiently separated from the mass of Beatle data the single thread of his subject's religious endeavors, and writes of them with the unblinking identification of the fellow devotee. ""George had discovered singing God's glories through the Krishna mantra,"" we read on Page 145. ""It made him feel good; it was easy and musical. How wonderful to think that God played a flute, that he was a musician."" What we have here, not to put too fine a point on it, is new age prose—moon-faced, quietly zealous, and limpidly free of skepticism.
On the other hand, this is rather the key in which the story of guru-hungry George demands to be written. The story of Paul, flashing his two raised thumbs like a pair of small horns, necessitates a different approach. Christopher Sandford's ""McCartney,"" with wit and some bemusement, paints the jaunty ""head Beatle"" as a comic figure on the very grandest scale: an irrepressible entertainer, a stranger to doubt, absurdly vital, rebounding from vicissitude, part of humanity's immune system. A key moment occurs in January 1980, when the first Wings tour of Japan is derailed on arrival by the discovery at Narita Airport of what McCartney would later refer to as ""a bloody great bag of pot right on the top of my suitcase."" The Japanese customs officers are not amused, and McCartney is promptly incarcerated. Things look bleak; there is the prospect of a long sentence, even hard labor. To console himself, the prisoner performs an impromptu medley of show tunes and Beatles standards for his fellow detainees, thus granting his future biographer the following prize-winning image: ""McCartney had finished Toot, Toot, Tootsie, Goo'bye' and was nearing the end of 'Hey Jude' when the consul came.""
This is essence of McCartney: The Fabness—a twinkling amalgam of professionalism, personal toughness, and showbiz brio—cannot be dented. It drove the other Beatles m

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Customer Reviews

Much appreciated by those of us who were influenced so much by his spirituality.
Karen E. Martin
What makes this book wonderful and distinct is that it explores the influences that helped George Harrison develop, share and explore his spirituality.
BeatleBangs1964
The book is very well written, easy to follow, well documented, professionally presented and really quite moving.
MLPlayfair

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 54 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 VINE VOICE on March 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As much as I enjoyed this book, I will suggest that readers go in knowing that it is really not for those who aren't Beatle experts. This does not offer much in the way of new information in re the Beatles and there are a few errors which Beatle Literati will pick up immediately.

What makes this book wonderful and distinct is that it explores the influences that helped George Harrison develop, share and explore his spirituality. In fact, it is this very sharing on George Harrison's part that makes his music so distinct.

The few errors contained are nothing on the level of those in Bob Spitz' biography. Spitz' errors are so glaring that you wonder how on earth he could write it without checking. To add insult to injury, Spitz has taken personal issue with critics and Beatle experts who have called him on these errors and purports to have written the "definitive" Beatle biography.

I like the way this author hones in on why George's spiritual hunger was not satisfied by material success while living in the Material World. George's spiritual Long & Winding Road took him through Hindu teachings as well as the Hare Krishna devotees. At no time did George commit himself to any one faith or expression of faith; as stated in his own song, "if you don't know where you're going, any road'll take you there."

It has been well documented that the former Beatle was at home with Hindu teachings and philosophy; yoga; mediatation and the traditions of each. Even so, he kept his mind open to new and different ideas and possibilities. Greene does an excellent job of exploring and examining this aspect of the man's life. Greene also does an excellent job of explaining what rituals George practiced and his rationale for the forms these expressions took.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Arch Llewellyn on June 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
George Harrison is still the most mysterious Beatle, and I was excited to see a book that promised to shed more light on his lifelong devotion to Indian religion. Long after the famous 1968 retreat with the Maharishi, George remained a serious devotee of Indian music and philosophy; I was curious to know how that passion deepened after the Beatles broke up, when George was out of the public eye and free to follow his Eastern bliss.

Unfortunately, most of the book recycles information you can find in any standard Beatles biography, and it peters out just a few years into his solo career. The author's only real angle is that he knew a handful of members from the Hare Krishna temple George supported off and on throughout his life. It's disappointing to see George surrounded by these American ISCKON followers while his relationship with, say, Ravi Shankar goes almost totally unexplored; the author's tendency to make up dialogue instead of reporting what his interviewees actually said adds to the sense that there really isn't enough new information here to warrant a book.

Part of the problem too may lie with George. After his disastrous Dark Horse tour in 1974, when he found out his fans didn't want to follow a rock star (even an ex-Beatle) into the mystic, his interest in India seems to have softened. Friar Park and its massive garden became maybe the best expression of his later beliefs, an eclectic, private act of devotion far from the public eye. I wish this book had worked a little harder at pulling back the shrubs.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Julie D. Kelemen on April 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
George Harrison was the Beatle with the spiritual reputation. Some even wrote him off as a nut case or someone who had succumbed to the cult of the Hare Krishnas. (He was a great benefactor and supporter of the group.)

Our western culture often writes off public figures who take spiritual turns in life, treating them as quacks, cranks, kooks and people who can no longer be taken seriously. In some ways that's what happened to "the quiet Beatle."

But in this book's sympathetic analysis, Harrison emerges as someone resembling a modern-day Buddha or St. Francis of Assisi (my comparison, not the author's). While Harrison wasn't born into wealth and privilege as Francis and the Buddha were, he did attain it in very young adulthood as a member of the Beatles "royal family." And like Francis and the Buddha, in his young adulthood he grew to struggle with questions of "Is that all there is?" because he had it all and still felt empty.

So he set out on the journey to find true holiness. This is the book that documents that journey.

If you seek dirt or gossip about George here, you won't find much. The book was written by Joshua Greene, a former Hare Krishna devotee who greatly respects and admires Harrison and actually spent time in his presence and knew Harrison's ISKCON friends. That given, Greene does manage to nicely walk the tightrope between saccharine and salacious in giving a seemingly accurate portrayal of both Harrison's strengths and weaknesses.

The author's familiarity with Hindu scriptures and spirituality is a great asset in this book.
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