A reclusive rock star unable to hide from his past

Click to follow
The Independent Online

He is a middle-aged man, with a passion for gardening, a marriage that has endured formore than two decades and a home in the quaint town of Henley-on-Thames.

He is a middle-aged man, with a passion for gardening, a marriage that has endured formore than two decades and a home in the quaint town of Henley-on-Thames.

By this description, George Harrison could be one of thousands of faceless middle-class Home Counties inhabitants.

But of course he is not. He is an immensely wealthy rock legend - a name known by millions worldwide. Despite 30 years of trying to shake off the past, George Harrison will forever be linked with John, Paul, and Ringo.

It was this that came back to haunt the former Beatle in the early hours of 30 December last year. Friends said this had been his nightmare since the day almost 20 years ago when John Lennon was shot dead outside his New York home.

But George was no John. Labelled a recluse by the media, he had shut out the world at his 120-room, mock-Gothic mansion.

In the 34-acre grounds, he built amagical world complete with an artificial lake and waterfall. And along the perimeter, he installed a complex security system. It is unclear how his attacker, Michael Abram, managed to get past the razor wire, security lights and burglar alarm.

Following his failed marriage to Patti Boyd, Harrison married Olivia Arrias in 1978 - a secretary from his Dark Horse record company.

Though more willing to acknowledge the Beatles' achievements in recent years, he had been quick to distance himself from the band initially and had great success within a year with My Sweet Lord.

In the Eighties he formed the Travelling Wilburys with friends Jeff Lynn, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and the late Roy Orbison. His film company Handmade also had great success with such classics as Monty Python's Life of Brian.

But often his eccentricity overshadowed his music. It was a label pinned on him because of his links with the Hare Krishna movement and the Natural Law party.

Increasingly Mr Harrison and his wife shunned the limelight in favour of the security of their Oxfordshire home. The security that was so traumatically shattered last year.

Comments