George was the greatest guy,” Tom Petty recalled in 2010, when I asked him about his friend and Traveling Wilburys bandmate, the late Beatle George Harrison. “He was funny, but he was tough, too. He didn’t suffer fools. I loved him like a brother and I still really miss him.”
A few years later, Ringo Starr echoed Petty’s sentiments. “George was a beautiful guy,” Starr told me in 2014. “He loved making music, and I loved making music with him.”
Harrison, who died in 2001, would have turned 75 on Feb. 25. But it’s not just his friends and contemporaries who recall him with fondness. In the years since his passing, the Beatle known as “the Quiet One” during the band’s 1960s heyday has been anything but. A steady but carefully curated stream of estate-sanctioned releases have helped burnish his memory recently, including several gorgeous box sets, a deluxe, expanded edition of his memoir, a Martin Scorcese directed documentary and, most recently, a spiffed up edition on vinyl and video of the tribute concert his all-star friends threw to celebrate his life, one year to the day after his death.