Ukulele Heroes - George Harrison

3 Feb 2011

Ukulele Heroes - George Harrison

Another hero for you and another George - this time though its the Fab George, George Harrison.

george harrison got a ukulele

It seems pointless for me to provide a biography of the man, George Harrison, as I am sure that most of my readers will know who George is and his time in the Beatles.  The fact he was a huge fan of the ukulele is perhaps less well known to ukulele beginners.  When I say huge fan, I mean enormous.  George has reportedly been quoted claiming he liked the ukulele more than his guitar!

George recalled first encountering the ukulele at home as a child with the music and movies of George Formby, and during his life acquired some wonderful ukuleles.  I read a story that suggested that George carried two ukuleles with him when he travelled so he could be sure that he would always be able to strum with a friend.

Whether the ukulele was ever used in the backing of Beatles tracks is unclear, but George certainly used them in his solo work, and on the cover of his seminal "All Things Must Pass" album, he can be seen holding a ukulele.  When the surviving Beatles got together to put their Anthology work in place, on the recording of Free As A Bird, George can be heard in the closing bars strumming "When I'm Cleaning Windows" as a nod to his love for both George Formby and the ukulele.

George would encourage anyone around him to pick up the ukulele, and as well as John Lennon and Paul McCartney both being players, friends would get roped in to have a strum.  George's son Dhani is a fan of the uke also.

George sadly passed away in 2001.  As a fitting tribute, at the George Harrison memorial concert at the Royal Albert Hall, Paul McCartney started his tribute to George (playing the track "Something") by opening the song  accompanied only by the ukulele.  The highlight of the evening though was the closing track.  Georges great pal Joe Brown walked centre stage, ukulele in hand and sang the incredibly moving "I'll See You In My Dreams".

He also was known, despite his star status, to attend George Formby uke society meetings and built up a great friendship with fellow uker Joe Brown with a shared love of the instrument.


  1. He is NOT holding any instrument on the cover of his "All Things Must Pass" album.


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