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Fall of a Super Star: George Harrison
Flags are at half-mast in Liverpool as the city mourns one of its most famous sons, George Harrison. He rose to international fame at the age of 17 as a member of the Beatles and went on to a career as a leading British film producer. Musically, he defined a generation, with borrowings from Eastern music and religion. Millions of fans worldwide have been united in their grief and tributes have been paid by musicians and world leaders as diverse as Michael Jackson and Queen Elizabeth. Nickalus Witchell reports.
George Harrison was an unlikely rock star, an unassuming man, cynical about celebrity, concentrating on what mattered, the music. He’d been a heavy smoker for many years. Three years ago, he disclosed that he had cancer. He’d gone to Los Angeles for a final attempt at treatment. He died at a friend’s house yesterday afternoon. In a statement, his family said, he left this world as he lived in it, conscious of God, fearless of death, and at peace.
Of the four young Liverpudlians whose music had such an influence on popular culture in the 1960’s, only two now survive. Paul McCartney first met George Harrison at school.
Paul McCartney: He’s a lovely man, I love him dearly. I grew up with him and I like to remember all the great times we had together in Liverpool and with the Beatles and ever since, really. Say, I’m very sad for him and his family and for all of us. A fantastic guy, lovely man, great sense of humor, I was lucky enough to see him a couple of weeks ago and he was still laughing and joking. A very brave man and I’m just privileged to have known him and I love him like he’s my brother.
In a statement, Ringo Starr, the other surviving Beatle, said: “We will miss George, for his sense of love, his sense of music, and his sense of laughter.”
Tony Blair, in Dublin with the Irish Prime Minister, was ten when the Beatles had their first number one.
Tony Blair: I never had the privilege of meeting George Harrison, but the generation of Bertie and myself, I mean we grew up with the Beatles. You know, their music, and the band, the personalities of the band were the background for our lives. I think people will be very sad at his death and I think it’s worth pointing out that he wasn’t just a great musician and artist, but he did an immense amount for charity as well, so he will be very, very sadly missed by people right around the world.
In Liverpool, the city that was theirs and which they made famous, some people laid flowers for George Harrison at a statue of the Beatles. Others signed a book of condolence. And on Penny Lane, about which they once sang a song, memories were stirred.
Fan 1: We used to watch him when the Cabin and the rooftop sessions, and followed their music. It’s a very sad day for the people of Liverpool today.
Fan 2: I was really, really sad about it because it looked like it was going to happen, you know. But I was really sad.
In New York, the city where 21 years ago, John Lennon was shot dead by a deranged fan, at Strawberry Fields, tributes were being paid to another member of that group, a man whose music inspired many.
Bob Geldof: I think almost uniquely possibly in music and certainly in guitar, are a guitarist’s paces, his, all his solos or his little licks can be hummed by practically everyone in the world. I don’t think there is another guitar player can claim that.
Some months ago, just before his final illness, George Harrison undertook his last project. It was the reworking of a 1970 album entitled, “All Things Must Pass.”
Nickalus Witchell, BBC News.
mast: n. 桅杆
diverse: a. 不同的
unassuming: a. 谦逊的，不装腔作势的。
cynical: a. 愤世嫉俗的
Bertie: 指爱尔兰总理伯蒂·埃亨（Bertie Ahern）。
condolence: n. 哀悼
Penny Lane: 披头士曾有一首歌叫“Penny Lane”。
deranged: a. 发疯的
lick: n. （美国俚语）（即兴插入的）爵士乐装饰乐句，小过门。