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It’s been a huge week for the sale at auction of guitars previously owned by major artists. An electric guitar owned by George Harrison sold for $430,000.(George first electric guitar, The Hofner Club 40)
On May 19, Julien’s held their Music Icons auction which included an even bigger guitar sale.
The guitar that Bob Dylan played on his first electric tour, which was actually owned by Robbie Robertson and loaned to him numerous times, went up for auction and sold for an incredible $490,000. A portion of the proceeds for the sale went to the American Indian College Fund.
Over four hundred other lots also went up for sale ranging from items from the early days of rock to signed album covers by such new artists as Imagine Dragons.





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Olivia Harrison, talks about how George’s collaborations with Indian musicians helped shape her own musical tastes

Among the pioneers who helped to popularise world music, few have done more or had more kudos than George Harrison. In the mid-60s, the Beatles’ guitarist took lessons from Ravi Shankar and introduced the exotic sound of the sitar to Western pop music fans via his songs with the Beatles.

As his wife for 25 years until his death in 2001, Olivia Harrison enjoyed a ringside seat at his collaborations with Shankar and other Indian musicians and they then explored a glorious range of other world music styles together, from Mexican corridos to Bulgarian folk music. Unsurprisingly, George’s influence permeates her playlist selections and her current project, releasing his archive of recordings by some of the greatest Indian musicians of the 20th century.“Being married to George gave me a crash course in Indian music,” she says. “George recorded many great Indian classical musicians, but he never revisited the recordings because he didn’t look back, he just kept moving forward. But I couldn’t sleep if I thought the tapes George made were going to degrade and never be heard. They’re a wonderful legacy.” The archive will be released on the HariSongs imprint, in conjunction with Craft Recordings, a division of Concord Music Group.

Olivia’s first taste of Indian music came when the likes of Shankar, flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia and santoor player Shuvkumar Sharma stayed with Harrison when he was producing the 1974 album Shankar Family & Friends. “Those musicians were the finest exponents of their instruments and it was a divine experience. While they were staying, they did three nights of concerts, which George recorded. The tapes have just been sitting there and that’s what inspired me to do HariSongs,” she says.

Before their release, however, comes the reissue of two important but out-of-print Shankar recordings produced by George, both of which feature on Olivia’s playlist.

‘Raga Manj Khamaj’ was originally released on the album In Concert 1972, which was released on Apple the following year. Featuring a ‘dream team’ of Shankar on sitar, Ali Akbar Khan on sarod and Alla Rakha on tabla, it was recorded at New York’s Philharmonic Hall before Olivia knew Harrison. “I wish could have been there because it’s a great historic moment,” she says. “That was one of Ravi’s favourite ragas. I remember him talking about it.” By the time of her second Shankar choice, ‘Sarve Shaam’ from the 1996 Harrison-produced Chants of India, she had got to know him as a family friend. “You revered Ravi,” she says of the great man. “He carried with him that great tradition, but he was also a very modern man and had a great sense of humour.”

Partly recorded in India and partly at Harrison’s Friar Park home in Henley-on-Thames, Olivia recalls the recording sessions well. “Ravi was very specific about the mantras and how they were recorded and orchestrated and George really wanted people to understand the vibrations of those chants was beneficial to their well-being.”

The track on her playlist is a particularly poignant choice. “At the end of his life George said to me that all he could listen to was ‘Sarve Shaam’,” Olivia remembers. “After all the sounds and sights and tastes you experience over a lifetime, it came down to the purity of ‘Sarve Shaam’.” The piece was also performed as the opening blessing at the Concert for George memorial, held at London’s Albert Hall in 2002.

Two other Indian selections on Olivia’s playlist also carry memories of George. One of U Srinivas’ very first albums, Mandolin Ecstasy, was “one of George’s favourite albums,” she says. “I think he was only 15 or even younger at the time. We went to see him in concert and afterwards George had a chance to inspect his electric mandolin. He had one made just like it and tried to play like Srinivas. He’d have a go at anything.” A track from one of Srinivas’ later albums recorded on Real World features on this issue’s covermount CD.

‘Bhoop Ghara’ from Call of the Valley, recorded in 1967 by Shivkumar Sharma, Hariprasad Chaurasia and slide guitar player Brijbhusan Kabra, was “something George had on our juke box. We played it as a remedy in our home if you were feeling a certain way. Kabra was one of George’s heroes as a slide guitarist, up there with Ry Cooder.”

The Harrisons met Cooder through the American producer Russ Titelman, who also introduced them to another of Olivia’s playlist choices, ‘Kalimankou Denkou’ from the Mystère des Voix Bulgares Vol 1 album, first released on an obscure label in 1975 and a surprise world music hit when re-released on 4AD a decade later. “Russ brought the album with him when he was working with George and we loved it,” Olivia says. When several of the singers on the album, including Yanka Rupkina, were working in London as Trio Bulgarka, the Harrisons invited them to their Friar Park home to give a private concert. “Russ and George stood in the hall and harmonised with them. It was a very reverential experience.”

Although born in Los Angeles, Olivia’s grandparents came from Guanajuato in Mexico. “I grew up with Mexican music and watched Mexican movies and my father played guitar and sang and recorded in the 30s,” she says. In 2016, Olivia presented a Songlines Music Award to the Mexican singer Lila Downs for her album Balas y Chocolate. “I didn’t know much about her until then, but I saw her perform and what a force!” Olivia says. “Last year I brought over a mariachi orchestra and we had a private concert at Friar Park because I got tired of waiting 30 years for someone else to do it. It was my way to let my friends experience that music – which was what George was always trying to do. He wanted people to understand and be moved by the music that he loved.”

Her playlist ends with a unique version of George’s 1968 song ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ by the ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro. She discovered his version when it went viral on YouTube in 2006. It has since received 15 million views. “Lots of people wrote to me or sent me a link saying ‘have you seen this?’ I was really floored by it,” she says. “Jake is a master and I then saw him play it one Christmas in Honolulu with an orchestra and it was beautiful. George wasn’t around to hear Jake’s version but he would have loved it.”

ORDER “IN CONCERT IN 1972” (2018) … H E R E .


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Members of The Beatles dominate a newly-published list of the UK richest musicians by the UK’s Sunday Times via Business Insider Singapore.

The list of the 1,000 richest people in Britain based on “identifiable wealth,” including land, property, assets such as art and racehorses, and significant shares in public companies; it does not, however, include money in private bank accounts.From the master list, Business Insider has revealed the 36 richest musicians in the country, with members of The Beatles taking three of the top eight spots. Paul McCartney and wife Nancy Shevell lead the musicians list at £820 million, with Olivia and Dhani Harrison – the widow and son of George Harrison – at No. 7 with £230 million, while Ringo Starr sits at No. 8 with £220 million.

Others in the top 10 include Irish rockers U2 at No. 3 with revenue of £569 million, Elton John at No. 4 with £300 million, Rolling Stones rockers Mick Jagger and Keith Richards at No.’s 5 and 6 with £260 million and £245 million respectively, and Sting at No. 10 with £190 million.Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Roger Waters, Ozzy Osbourne and members of Queen, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd also appear in the top 36 breakdown


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‘Electronic Sound’ is a musical marker, one that George Harrison laid down during a period of intense inventiveness in a world where anything was possible.

In his introduction to the George Harrison: The Apple Years 1968-1975 box set, Tom Rowlands of The Chemical Brothers says that Electronic Sound “hangs on the wall of my studio, just next to my own Moog modular, beaming inspiration straight to my brain”. Rowlands had bought a second-hand copy of the LP from a Japanese record shop in the mid-90s and was amazed by what he heard.

Recorded in November 1968 and February 1969, George Harrison’s Electronic Sound was released on 9 May 1969. It was the second – and final  record released on The Beatles’ Apple Records subsidiary, Zapple Records, and was yet more proof that George was ahead of his time and, in many respects, the most musically inquisitive of the four Beatles. Electronic Sound is made up of two long pieces of music, originally one on each side of the LP, that are performed on the Moog Synthesizer IIIP, purchased by George from its inventor, Robert Moog. The record was made against a background of musical exploration that characterised London and Los Angeles in 1968… Avant-garde ideas were everywhere.

Side One of the LP, ‘Under The Mersey Wall’, is an 18-minute piece that references the river on which Liverpool is built, and it was recorded at Kinfauns, George’s home in Esher, Surrey, in February 1969. The title also refers to a weekly column in The Liverpool Echo, written by another George Harrison (no relation), entitled ‘Over The Mersey Wall’. In 1970, white noise from this track was used on ‘I Remember Jeep’, one of the jams included on Harrison’s monumental solo album All Things Must Pass.

Side Two of the album, titled ‘No Time Or Space’, was the first to be recorded and was done in Los Angeles in November 1968. George had finished work on The Beatles (aka “The White Album”) and had flown to America’s West Coast to produce Jackie Lomax’s Apple album, Is This What You Want?, at Sound Recorders Studio in Hollywood. Lomax’s album featured a Moog that had been brought to the studio by Bernie Krause, who, along with musical partner Paul Beaver, had recorded The Nonesuch Guide To Electronic Music earlier in 1968, and was acting as something of a salesman for Robert Moog’s invention. It was following work on the Lomax album that George, with Krause’s help, recorded the 25-minute piece.

The album’s cover was a painting by George. Many years later, his son Dhani asked his father if he could have the painting, which had been left leaning against a wall, somewhat neglected, at home in Henley, to hang in his bedroom. A few years later, George explained to Dhani what the painting was all about: “That’s Derek [Taylor] holding on to all of Apple’s aggravation and problems that are looming over everyone. That’s Neil [Aspinall] frowning and Mal [Evans] smiling with him in the chair. That’s Eric [Clapton] on the right there and the green guy on the front is Bernie [Krause], with his bow tie and pocket square, patching everything through the board. That’s me making the tea [small blue face smiling] and that’s the cat, Jostick, the small green demon-like figure on the front cover.”

The album, and George’s Moog itself, play an important part in The Beatles’ story, as it was taken to Abbey Road studios in the summer of 1969 and used in the recording of The Beatles’ Abbey Road album. As George later recalled, “The Moog synthesiser was enormous, with hundreds of jack plugs and two keyboards. But it was one thing having one, it was another thing making it work. When you listen to the sounds on songs like ‘Here Comes The Sun’, it does some good things, but they’re all very kind of infant sounds.”

Electronic Sound is a musical marker, one that George laid down during a period of intense inventiveness in a world where everything and anything were possible.



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The George Harrison Estate is happy to announce HariSongs, created to release music from George’s archive of Indian Classical music and his collaborations with the finest exponents of that music.

Home to George Harrison’s archive of Indian Classical and World music and his collaborations with the finest exponents of Indian Classical music. First reissues available digitally, including via streaming outlets for the first time.

The George Harrison Estate is happy to announce their new label, HariSongs, created in partnership with Craft Recordings to release Harrison’s archive of Indian Classical and World music and his collaborations with the finest exponents of Indian Classical music.
To celebrate this body of music, HariSongs launches today with two reissues in honour of both Ravi Shankar’s birthday (b. 7th April, 1920) and Ali Akbar Khan’s birthday (b. 14th April, 1922) this month. These titles — both recently out-of-print, and never before available via streaming platforms — are the acclaimed Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan In Concert 1972 and the last collaboration by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, Chants of India. These digital-only reissues are now available for the first time via streaming outlets, as well as to download (In Concert is also on Hi-Res 96/24 and 192/24 formats).

About In Concert 1972

In Concert 1972 was originally released via Apple Records in 1973, with a statement that read: “Within the small community of Brilliantly Gifted Musicians there exists an even smaller world of Masters. Two of these masters recently joined together in concert …”. The album features two of Indian Classical music’s greatest artists at the height of their powers, the sitar maestro Ravi Shankar and master of the sarod, Ali Akbar Khan. The album captures the live recordings from a performance which took place at New York City’s Philharmonic Hall on October 8, 1972 and was mixed and edited by George Harrison (with Zakir Hussain and Phil McDonald). Featuring tabla accompaniment by the great Alla Rakha, this mesmerising concert comprises three ragas played in the jugalbandi style (or a duet played by two solo musicians) and became a poignant tribute to the guru of both soloists (and the father of Ali Akbar), the great Allauddin Khan, who had died but a month previously.



 About Chants of India
Chants of India by Ravi Shankar and produced by George Harrison was originally released in 1997 on Angel Records. Recorded in both Madras, India, and Henley-on-Thames, UK, this collaboration was referred to by Shankar as “one of the most difficult challenges in my life, as a composer and arranger”, and draws upon the sacred Sanskrit texts of the Vedas, Upanishads and other scriptures. He added, “the repetitive use of mantras invoke a special power within oneself and I have tried to imbibe this age-old tradition in this recording… into which I have poured my heart and soul”.



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A Sortabiography to be published this autumn

Eric Idle is writing his memoirs, entitled Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life: A Sortabiography.
To be released in October, the book will cover his life from childhood in an austere boarding school through his successful career in comedy, television, theatre and film.

Anecdotes will include stories from his friendship with the likes  of George Harrison, David Bowie, Robin Williams, Mick Jagger, Steve Martin, Paul Simon and Mike Nichols as well as his fellow Pythons.
Idle has previously written several books, including his US tour diary The Greedy Bastard Diary: A Comic Tour Of America in 2014 and novels including The Writer’s Cut in 2015 and Road To Mars in 2000, this is his first autobiography.
Every other Python has previously written their memoirs, too, except for Terry Jones who is now suffering from dementia.
Idle said: ‘I thought it was time to tell my tale before I suffer from Hamnesia, which is what happens to elderly actors.’
Alan Samson, from publishers Weidenfeld & Nicolson told trade website The Bookseller: ‘Eric’s wonderful autobiography is laugh-out-loud funny, honest, insightful and emotionally intelligent.
‘It also has a helpful summary at the beginning: “Life has a very simple plot. First you’re here and then you’re not.”’
‘His book also illuminates the formation and development of the Monty Python team who redefined comedy nearly 50 years ago. We are all thrilled to be publishing Eric’s brilliant memoir.’