Capitol Records, 14 April 2009: George Harrison’s Walk of Fame Star Ceremony: The Star Is Revealed At Last
Note: This is the second of two galleries (first gallery here) focusing on George Harrison’s Walk of Fame star ceremony outside Capitol Records, April 14, 2009. Full gallery and writeup after the jump.
As previously mentioned, former Beatle George Harrison (1943-2001) was honored with a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame outside Capitol Records, shortly before noon Tuesday. George is now the second Beatle to receive an individual star following John Lennon. He succombed to cancer near the end of 2001 at Paul McCartney’s house, right here in Los Angeles. Surviving wife, Olivia, and son, Dhani, accepted Tuesday’s honorary award on behalf of George.
The incense was lit outside Capitol Records. The music was cranked. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Leron Gubler welcomed the crowd warmly at 1130, briefly pointing out a few celebrity guests in attendance, in the event that the people congregated around the small stage somehow failed to notice them. He then welcomed the first speaker to the stage: Eric Idle. Eric Idle sported an amazing snakeskin suit, and in true Idle fashion did not disappoint. Approximate pullquotes follow.
- “I can just hear George’s voice right now, were he asked what he thought about the fact that he just received a star on the Walk of Fame. He’d say, “What a load of bollocks.”
- “I asked Ringo what he thought about George’s star, and he said, ’Where’s my star!?’ And I told him, ’Drummers don’t get stars.’”
- “Paul’s here. Apparently he’s in town for Coachella this week. I always thought that was some sort of venereal disease, but apparently it’s something that you bring back from the desert.”
Eric then turned serious for a few moments, speaking about how gracious Paul had been during the period of time that George was dying. The mood quickly turned somber, but like any good speaker with an audience in the palm of his hand, Idle shifted gears toward the end and brought smiles back to the faces:
- “Many of you don’t know that George died in Paul’s house, in fact. That’s the epitomy of friendship, and something that I remind John Cleese of quite often.”
Tom Hanks was up next. A few approximate quotes again:
- “That’s right, I’m here to represent America. For the Americans
(dramatic yet effective pause) … the Americans that made the Beatles #1!”
- “Were you there? Were. You. There?” (Goes on to describe first hearing “Please Please Me” in 1964, AM radio in-dash, sister’s car, even describes the make of the car, waxes philosophic on how things would never be the same after that moment; praises Fender, praises Elvis. Presses home the fact that George’s first guitar had cost him the equivalent of $0.75 at the point of purchase.)
- (Closing quote) “All Things Must Pass, sure. But George will live forever.”
I have to say, Tom did A-OK. District 4 City Councilman Tom LaBonge then said a few words and, unless I’m confusing him with Hanks, also made note that he saw the Beatles perform live at Los Angeles’ own Dodger Stadium back in 1966. LaBonge brought some special guests from the Concert for Bangladesh days onto the stage. He also came equipped with a loaf of bread, which he presented to Olivia.
Olivia and Dhani were finally up. Olivia described life with George in brief, saying “He was funny as the day is long, and just as perplexing.” Dhani was quiet, just like his father, thanking the crowd briefly. They then revealed the star in grandiose fashion with Leron Gubler, who is a total pro at this sort of thing by now.
Tuesday’s event also coincided with an exciting announcement by Capitol. Funny how these things work:
CAPITOL/ EMI ANNOUNCES GLOBAL RELEASE OF GEORGE HARRISON’S FIRST EVER CAREER-SPANNING SOLO HITS COLLECTION, ‘LET IT ROLL: SONGS BY GEORGE HARRISON,’ ON JUNE 16
CD and Digital Collection Features Harrison’s Solo Hits, Remastered, Plus Live Recordings from 1971 Concert For Bangladesh
Stay tuned to the site closer to June 16 for more info on that. But now…Starwatch! Brief list of select few celebrity attendees personally recognized by yours truly (you’ve probably already spotted most of these in the photos, without my help):
- Jeff Lynne (ELO)
- Tom Petty (No joke: Right as Tom hit the sidewalk a mysterious, gigantic smoky transudation broke free from the confines of his mouth. Uh, Tom!? Loved it. Oh To Be a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Rock Star! )
- Heartbreakers drummer Steve Ferrone
- Ed Begley, Jr
- Paul McCartney
- Nancy Shevell, Paul’s girlfriend
- Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson
- Joe Walsh
Many more celebs and hangers-on were there, but this day was all about George, Olivia and Dhani. Olivia and Dhani appeared to be thoroughly enjoying the festivities. Following the event, Paul attempted an impromptu address of the crowd with the microphone, saying “Thanks,” – with the mic already off, the speech of gratitude was not meant to be. Tell us out in the desert this Friday, Sir Paul. Fun Fact and quick note on shoes: Paul favors Reebok, while Tom Petty prefers laceless nu-thrashed Chucks. (I’m with Tom on this one 110%. Sorry, Paul.)
There’s something inherently goofy about Walk of Fame stars, and yet they are a part of Hollywood like nothing else ever will be. No other city has such a proud tradition of celebrity worship. We actually cement our idols right into the damn sidewalks over which we tread on a daily basis. It may sound silly, but the above photo of Olivia and Dhani’s hands breaks my heart. I’m just so fortunate that I still have my own father. Without giving away too much information about your author I’m roughly the same age as Dhani Harrison, give or take, and my father is the same age that George would have been this year, had he lived. Love ya Dad.
Final personal note: The first rock albums I ever heard were Beatles albums down in my aunt’s basement, when I was a very small child. She had all the classics down there, but my favorites at that time were The Beatles [White Album], Abbey Road, Hey Jude and Magical Mystery Tour. They all blew my mind, and I’ve been searching nonstop for better albums – by any artist – ever since. (I don’t think they exist, though I keep hoping.) As such, Tuesday was probably one of the most fun days I’ve ever had writing and shooting for this site, over the four years we’ve been doing this. Thanks for reading.