Pop & Hiss

The L.A. Times music blog

« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

Paul McCartney, Tom Hanks, Eric Idle, Tom Petty salute George Harrison

April 14, 2009 |  4:14 pm

Paul McCartney topped the star-studded turnout Tuesday in Hollywood for the unveiling of a Walk of Fame star for his former Fab Four band mate George Harrison at a ceremony that also drew such celebrity friends and admirers as Tom Hanks, Tom Petty, Eric Idle, Jeff Lynne, Joe Walsh, T-Bone Burnett and Harrison’s widow, Olivia, and their son, Dhani.

“Hare Krishna” was all Dhani Harrison had to say after alternately touching and humorous tributes from his mother, Idle and Hanks as well as Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge.

“I asked myself, ‘What would George think about a star on Hollywood Boulevard?' ” his close friend and Monty Python alum Idle said. “I thought I heard his voice, and it said, ‘It’s a bunch of old bollocks.’ ”

McCartney wasn’t among the scheduled speakers, and when he hopped up to the microphone after taking part in a round of photo snaps with the assembled guests in front of the freshly minted star, it had been shut off. He simply shouted, “Thank you!” to the hundreds of fans who spilled out into Vine Street in front of the Capitol Records Tower, where Harrison’s star now sits near those of the Beatles and John Lennon.

Hanks, prefacing his remarks with the explanation that “I’m representing the Americans,” told the crowd that Harrison’s first guitar had cost the equivalent of 75 cents. “But he desired to make it sing, and to make that guitar weep.”

In conjunction with the star ceremony, Capitol-EMI Records announced that a new compilation of Harrison’s post-Beatles recordings will be released June 16, spanning the different labels he recorded for before his death in 2001. “Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison” will also touch on his Beatles legacy with three of his Fab Four songs, “Something,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Here Comes the Sun,” represented in live recordings from the 1971 all-star Concert for Bangladesh charity event he spearheaded. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Leron Gubler, who emceed the ceremony, also noted that Martin Scorsese is working on a documentary about Harrison’s life.

At a private reception following the ceremony in Capitol's historic recording Studio A, many of the guests debated how the spiritually minded musician would have responded to the event. Idle noted that this was the second posthumous salute to Harrison in Hollywood he had been invited to speak at, following his 2002 induction into the Hollywood Bowl's Walk of Fame.

Hanks recalled the impact of seeing the Beatles on "The Ed Sullivan Show," and his feeling that more than with any other band, each album the group released "was an event." He also spoke of his fondness for the Dave Clark Five, whom he inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year, and that he's exploring the possibility of working with Clark on a documentary about the group, whose string of Top 10 hits in 1964 and '65 created a strong rival to the Beatles.

The enthusiasm toward Harrison displayed by the fans and the collected musicians, actors and others made an impression on Burnett. "It's nice to see people are still excited about something," the producer, singer and songwriter said.

-- Randy Lewis

Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images