The Best of George Harrison is a 1976 compilation album by English musician George Harrison, released following the expiration of his EMI-affiliated Apple Records contract. Uniquely among all of the four Beatles' solo releases (apart from live albums), it mixes a selection of the artist's Beatles-era songs on one side, with later hits recorded under his own name on the other.
The song selection caused some controversy, since it underplayed Harrison's solo achievements during the 1970–75 period, for much of which he had been viewed as the most successful ex-Beatle, artistically and commercially. Music critics have also noted the compilation's failure to provide a faithful picture of Harrison's contribution to the Beatles' work, due to the omission of any of his Indian music compositions. In a calculated move by EMI and its American subsidiary, Capitol Records, the compilation was issued during the same month as Harrison's debut on his Warner-distributed Dark Horse label, Thirty Three & 1/3.
The Best of George Harrison peaked at number 31 on the US Billboard 200 chart and was certified gold by the RIAA in February 1977, but the album failed to place on Britain's top 60 chart. It is the first of three hits-oriented Harrison compilation albums, and was followed by Best of Dark Horse 1976–1989 and the posthumously released Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison. The album was issued on CD in 1987 featuring the cover artwork from the original British release, rather than the design created in-house by Capitol and used in the majority of territories internationally in 1976. The compilation has yet to be remastered since this 1987 release.
George Harrison, MBE (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was an English musician, singer and songwriter who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles. Although John Lennon and Paul McCartney were the band's primary songwriters, most of their albums included at least one Harrison composition, including "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something", which became the Beatles' second-most-covered song.
Harrison's earliest musical influences included Big Bill Broonzy, George Formby and Django Reinhardt; Chet Atkins, Chuck Berry and Ry Cooder were significant later influences. By 1965 he had begun to lead the Beatles into folk rock through his interest in the Byrds and Bob Dylan, and towards Indian classical music through his use of the sitar on "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)". He developed an interest in the Hare Krishna movement and became an admirer of Indian culture and mysticism, introducing them to the other members of the Beatles and their Western audience by incorporating Indian instrumentation in their music. After the band's break-up in 1970, Harrison released the triple album All Things Must Pass, from which two hit singles originated. He also organized the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh with Ravi Shankar, a precursor for later benefit concerts such as Live Aid. Harrison was a music and film producer as well as a musician; he founded Dark Horse Records in 1974 and co-founded HandMade Films in 1978.
Harrison released several best-selling singles and albums as a solo performer, and in 1988 co-founded the platinum-selling supergroup the Traveling Wilburys. A prolific recording artist, he was featured as a guest guitarist on tracks by Badfinger, Ronnie Wood and Billy Preston, and collaborated on songs and music with Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Tom Petty, among others. Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 11 in their list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
Harrison's first marriage, to Pattie Boyd, ended in divorce in 1977. The following year he married Olivia Trinidad Arias, with whom he had one son, Dhani. Harrison died in 2001, aged 58, from lung cancer. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in India, in a private ceremony according to Hindu tradition. He left almost £100 million in his will.
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