Dozens of famous musicians gathered this weekend to honor the legacy of George Harrison at an event aptly named George Fest: A Night to Celebrate the Music of George Harrison. The event, which featured performances by the likes of Brian Wilson, Norah Jones and more, was one of many tributes to the Beatle, whose first six solo albums were recently compiled in a new box set, The Apple Years 1968-75. The highlight was former Beach Boys Wilson and Al Jardine taking on “My Sweet Lord” with help from Heart‘s Ann Wilson and Flaming Lips‘ Wayne Coyne.
George Fest, which also featured performances by “Weird Al” Yankovic, Harrison’s son Dhani, and members of the Killers, Spoon, Velvet Revolver and more, took place on September 28th at Los Angeles’ Fonda Theatre. The show doubled as a benefit for the Jameson Neighborhood Fund, which raises money for local charities. One hundred percent of ticket sales for George Fest went to Sweet Relief, a charity that aids career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet.
In addition to the performances below, Spoon’s Britt Daniel and Alex Fischel teamed up with Flaming Lips’ Steven Drozd for Let It Be‘s “I Me Mine,” Ben Harper took on “Give Me Love (Peace on Earth)” from Living in the Material World and Heart’s Ann Wilson recruited Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum for the All Things Must Pass track “Beware of Darkness.”
Leading up to the event, Conan O’Brien – who made an unannounced appearance at George Fest – showcased many of the performers on his talk show for what he had dubbed George Harrison week. On various nights, Norah Jones sang “Behind That Locked Door,” from All Things Must Pass, Dhani performed “Let It Down” and “Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll),” from the same record, Paul Simon covered “Here Comes the Sun” and Beck had fun with “Wah Wah,” also from All Things Must Pass.
The box set, which Dhani oversaw, also came out last week. In addition to the six Harrison albums that Apple Records released, it included a number of previously unheard recordings. A notable one was “This Guitar (Can’t Keep From Crying),” which features guest appearances by Eurythmics‘ Dave Stewart, Dhani, Kara DioGuardi and, on drums, Ringo Starr.
Similarly, George Fest attracted some star-studded performances. Here are some highlights:
“Weird Al” Yankovic, “What Is Life”
Conan O’Brien, “Old Brown Shoe”
Brandon Flowers, “Got My Mind Set on You”
Perry Farrell, Dhani Harrison, Karen Elson, Norah Jones, Wayne Coyne, “Here Comes the Sun”
Dhani Harrison, “Savoy Truffle” and “Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp”
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, “Art of Dying”