Richard Ashcroft: I sing his songs every night to my son

Click to follow

When I was growing up in Wigan in the early Seventies, we only had three LPs in our home. Two of them were The Beatles – Revolver and the 1967-1970 (Blue Album) compilation – so they were the songs of my childhood.

In my teens, I would watch this unauthorised video we had of them. It was grainy and black and white. I don't believe it contained any original music, but we watched it anyway to look at the band.

The Beatles wrote the rock 'n' roll book. The story contains the kind of extremes that few artists will ever have endured, but they always put music at the top of their agenda.

Then, when I started making music when I was 16 or 17, I began to appreciate at a deeper level how brilliant they were musically. The Beatles made great music, but popular music. It has a truth, but it still sells millions. It is what every musician wants to achieve, whatever they might say publicly.

Musically, George Harrison was a giant. Because of the competitive nature of the band, he had to fight to get his songs on to albums. This must have given him a hunger, because he came out with some of the band's greatest songs: "Something", "Taxman", "If I Needed Someone" and "Here Comes the Sun".

Then came some amazing solo work, with songs such as "My Sweet Lord" and "Isn't It A Pity".

They tend to be, at heart, about peace and love. These ideals are easy to mock, but I wouldn't want to be living in a world in which no one was spreading that message.

Musically and lyrically, George Harrison always gave so much. At times like this, when the world is so crazy, you need more than ever people like him, who are prepared to talk openly and sincerely about such simple hopes.

Early on, he seemed to have got an insight into the game.

It is easy to forget how young he was when it all started, but he came to terms quickly with the plastic nature of the music industry. I guess it frightened him but he was not addicted to the bullshit as so many of them were. He came to terms with it, and looked at it with his wry, cracked slant.

I have only had a fraction of what he experienced, but he showed us how to handle it on our own terms.

Yesterday I went into the studio. One of the songs I rehearsed with my band begins with that three-note variation on D-chord that starts "Here Comes The Sun" and "If I Needed Someone" that George made his own.

Every night I sing "Here Comes the Sun" to my 19-month-old son. He loves it, like me, another generation inspired by George Harrison and The Beatles.

Richard Ashcroft, founder of The Verve, is now a successful solo artist