The birthplace of the world’s most famous band the Beatles remembered George Harrison on Saturday as an inspirational musician, a spiritual man of conviction and a reluctant celebrity.
Outside the Liverpool house where Harrison was born 58 years ago, fans from as far afield the United States and Australia braved the northern English cold to pay tribute to the man known as the “Quiet Beatle.”
“George: a man of conviction along with John. Rest in peace,” said a note written by a fan placed with a bunch of flowers on the windowsill of the tiny house in Arnold Grove.
Eddie Porter, who guides fans around the city on a Beatles Magical Mystery Tour, held a minute’s silence outside the red painted house for the youngest member of the Fab Four, who died on Thursday in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer.
Porter turned his tour into a George Harrison tribute, playing his music and songs as the 34-year-old blue and psychedelic bus revisited places immortalized in Beatles’ songs.
The bus, an exact copy of the one used in the Beatles’ film “Magical Mystery Tour” took fans from the bank, barber’s shop and bus shelter made famous in the 1967 hit “Penny Lane” to the red gates of the Strawberry Fields children’s home sung about in “Strawberry Fields Forever.”
Mike Byrne, creator of the Beatles Story museum at the city’s renovated Albert Dock, said more than twice the average number of visitors had flooded to his museum on Saturday to pay their respects and sign a book of condolence.
“I think people in Liverpool will remember George as a very nice man. He was very well respected, not controversial in any way. He did not seek attention. He wanted to stop Beatlemania,” he said.
“The people in the business recognized that the songs he wrote like ‘Something’ and ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ were special,” he added.
FLAGS FLOWN AT HALF MAST
Flags were flown at half mast outside the city hall while inside a shopping center near the site of the Cavern Club, where the Beatles played 292 times, flowers, pictures, cards and written tributes surrounded statues of the band.
Harrison’s statue had flowers and photographs stuffed between it and his guitar.
“To George: Thank you for making my teenage years more wonderful,” one local woman had written, while another walked silently up to the statues, tears in her eyes, clutching a single red rose.
The Beatles’ former manager, Allan Williams, remembered Harrison as a man of spirituality whose musical potential was stifled by Lennon and McCartney, who wrote the majority of the Beatles songs.
“His suffering is over now, and because of his spirituality, I hope he has gone where he wanted,” he said.
A long-time devotee of Hare Krishna, Harrison was always in search of religious meaning in his life.
Steve Barnes, manager of the “From Me to You” shop which sells Beatles memorabilia across from the “Lucy in the Sky” cafe, said Harrison had gone to the great Cavern in the sky. Others agreed.
“You will always be alive because we have your beautiful music and our love for you. Don’t rest in peace. Get your guitar and give God a treat. Oh, and say hi to John,” another tribute said.