Finding George Harrison

Renee performing Crackerbox Palace

As a child, I was introduced to the Beatles through the animated film, The Yellow Submarine or the “yellow sungarine” as my brother called it. Singing along with the tunes, I became encaptivated with different Beatles songs such as “When I’m 64,” “Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” and of course “Yellow Submarine.” As I grew older, “Help” and “Yesterday” were at the forefront of my Beatles knowledge. I recognized Paul McCartney and John Lennon as the songwriters of the Beatles and did not really deal with the other two all too much. I did end up seeing Ringo Star in concert, which was an awesome time at the age of 9, the Allstar band singing “Liverpool” and my dad smiling made me realize that maybe there were other talents in the Fearsome Foursome that I was neglecting.

Still, George Harrison in my mind was only known for “Here Comes the Sun,” a song I felt was overdone and underwhelming. What did George Harrison offer the Beatles? My adolescence couldn’t put my finger on it. Then, at the ripe age of 18, I found “Got My Mind Set On You.” While it isn’t his greatest hit, the George Harrison I once knew as a one hit wonder became illumined in a more ecclectic way. There was something about the melody that drew me in, and I was singing the tune on repeat within a week. Why hadn’t anyone ever told me that George had other songs? Why hadn’t I searched his name before to see that he did his own work? Up until this point, I was blinded by the ignorance of my youth. I can’t say that this experience is what changed me, though.

At 23, preparing for a livestream show called “My Sweet George,” a tribute to George Harrison, my father told me I would be performing Crackerbox Palace, a song I had never encountered before. How was I supposed to feel for a song I didn’t know, and perform it for a crowd of intense Harrison fans? It was only after watching the music video that I really understood what was happening. Take after take, practice after practice, I willed myself to channel Harrison in my facial expressions, my body movements, and my overall being. In the moments of recording, I felt myself become an image of George Harrison. With my spirituality enlightened by daily yoga and meditation, my faith in God as a theology masters student, and my new arrival to the George Harrison fan club, I can definitely say I’ve opened my arms to a newer, more freeing world…a world with Harrison’s many hits on repeat.