Hundreds of George Harrison’s biggest fans and best friends, including Paul McCartney and Tom Petty, turned out Tuesday to see a posthumous star for the quiet Beatle unveiled during a raucous celebration on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Fellow former Beatle McCartney stood next to Harrison’s widow, Olivia, and son, Dhani, as the star was unveiled in front of the landmark Capitol Records building.
“Thank you very much!” he yelled to hundreds of screaming fans wearing Beatles T-shirts and holding signs, albums and flowers to honor Harrison.
The only other surviving member of the band, Ringo Starr, did not attend. But one of Harrison’s friends, Monty Python’s Eric Idle, said he had recently spoken to Starr.
“He said, ‘What about mine?’” Idle said. “I said, ‘They don’t give drummers stars.’”
Harrison already shared a Walk of Fame star with all of the Beatles, but only he and John Lennon, who was shot to death by a deranged fan in 1980, have their own stars. Harrison, the youngest of the Beatles, died of lung cancer in 2001 at age 58.
“He was a beautiful, mystical man living in a material world,” Olivia Harrison said of her late husband.
Standing next to her, Dhani Harrison uttered the mantra “Hare Krishna.”
Incense smoke snaked into the air during the dedication as Petty, sporting dark sunglasses, mingled with such celebrity guests as Jeff Lynne, T-Bone Burnett and Tom Hanks.
“He had the most remarkable sense of humor,” said Idle, who talked about having a hard time knowing what to say about his friend and fellow Englishman.
After the ceremony, Idle, Olivia and Dhani Harrison, McCartney and his girlfriend, Nancy Shevell, and others attended a luncheon at Capitol Records’ spacious Studio A. They, Lynne, Petty, Ed Begley Jr., Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, and others hugged and chatted while sipping champagne and dining on vegan food.
Born in Liverpool, England, in 1943, Harrison was 15 when he and fellow schoolmate McCartney joined Lennon in the group that would become the Beatles.
The Beatles’ lead guitarist, Harrison also wrote several of the group’s best songs, from “Taxman,” “Here Comes the Sun” and “Within You, Without You” to “Something” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” His love of Eastern music and culture also influenced such classic Beatles recordings as “The White Album” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
Harrison launched a successful solo career after the Beatles broke up in 1970, releasing the acclaimed “All Things Must Pass” album that same year and the “The Concert For Bangladesh” in 1971. He went on to record nearly a dozen solo albums and recorded with Petty, Lynne, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison as part of the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys in the 1980s and early 1990s.
He also produced numerous films, including “The Life of Brian” and “Time Bandits.”
Capitol/EMI, which sponsored the star, announced Tuesday that a career-spanning collection of Harrison’s solo hits, titled “Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison,” will be released in June.
Martin Scorsese is directing a documentary on Harrison that includes interviews and extensive archival materials.
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