The very short answer: George, because he was brilliantly talented as a guitarist, songwriter and musician; and a genuine, hilarious, honest, humble, complex and intriguing, not to mention beautiful (inside and outside), soul.
The semi-short answer: George. There are so many reasons, but it all comes down to the fact that he was amazingly talented; an incredible songwriter, composer and guitarist; a genuine, very honest and kind soul; an individual who was far from perfect and never claimed to be so either; someone who once said that his goals in life was “To do as well as I can at whatever I attempt. And someday to die with a peaceful mind.” (Something he undoubtedly succeeded in); and one of the most profound and truly good people to ever grace this earth.
The longer answer (also posted in the “I Me Mine” section of the blog, and elaborated on a bit more):
As a Beatlemaniac, I obviously love all four Beatles - but like many, I do have a favorite. For me, it’s George, and it has been since I first encountered The Beatles.
My eleven-year-old reasoning at the time was that I liked his humor, I liked the way he sang “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You” in A Hard Day’s Night, I liked the way he looked, and I couldn’t resist after he said, “Oh, by all means, I’d be quite prepared for that eventuality.”
Head over heels, my adoration was soon accompanied by respect as I grew older and read increasingly about The Beatles, becoming all the more intrigued by George.
So, to keep it as brief as possible, here are the top seven reasons why George is my favorite Beatle, and my all-time favorite person.
His songwriting and composing
It never ceases to amaze me that he wrote lyrics such as “Within You Without You” at the age of twenty-three… and that his solo career (so often underrated and overlooked) is filled with gems that should be classics. What also grips me is the fact that, in all his lyrics, there seems to be a bit of humor lurking around. His songwriting had such depth; even his love songs were never really just straightforward, happy-go-lucky tunes.
Listen to things like the solo in “Something” - the feel and emotion of it is stunning. Or the instrumental “Marwa Blues,” which is so beautiful, it can’t be adequately described. Or his incredible slide guitar playing.
I could go on for ages, but for the sake of space will wrap it up by saying that he was a fantastic, brilliant songwriter and composer who need not shy away from being compared to the great Lennon/McCartney songwriting team. George remains just as good (and sometimes better).
What an astonishing musician he was
Not just that he reportedly played 26 (!) instruments; I particularly mean the way he was just such a great, understated guitarist! Just listen to all of his playing through the years.
There are quotes in books and such that essentially say that George could have played anything Clapton, Hendrix etc. played, but left that limelight to them. To me, George is the ultimate guitar hero, because he is so understated and so fabulous.
I’ve found myself reading a quote by him that made me really thoughtful, because it was so serious, only to then turn the page to find a quote that nearly made me fall out of my chair with laughter.
He had such a wonderfully dry and hilarious sense of humor… it made reading The Beatles Anthology all the more enjoyable, because I was always waiting for another quote to make me laugh. (Okay, admittedly, I did first read all of George’s quotes.) What I also respect is his - and the other three’s - ability to laugh at and about himself. They never took themselves all too seriously… something a lot of people could learn from.
His attitude toward people
What I mean is - think about who organized the first really major benefit concert? It was George with the Concert for Bangladesh… and he was really looking to help people with so many things he did. It was never about his ego, or presenting himself to the media and public as a compassionate person. He just was compassionate. I’d venture to guess that he gave far more to charities and other good causes than are publicly known.
Also, he must have been an incredible friend who is sorely missed. Just watch Living in the Material World to hear how much his friendship means to everyone.
Not enough to say it is brilliant. From the Beatle years through his solo career, including The Traveling Wilburys, his music is timeless. This reason goes hand in hand with reason one, but just to reiterate again: George’s music is incredible.
You read about, and see, how amazing he was, how grumpy, how deep, how hilarious, how humble, his perseverance and his spirituality, and so much more… and it all adds up to make George completely unique, complex and, ultimately, irreplacable.
His intriguing personality
When I found this quote by Tony Barrow in The Best of The Beatles Book, I thought it wrapped it up fittingly:
“Not only was George the Beatle who changed the most during the lifespan of the group, he was the one who was seen very differenly by different people. To some he was serious, studious and sometimes sulky. Others saw him as a pleasant, chummy and cheerful lad. Others would say he was far too deep for them. In a way, everyone was right, and he was all of these things and more. George wasn’t a simple person to assess, even once you got to know him, but the one characteristic that never changed was his fundamental sincerity. George genuinely believed in what he said and did.”
Much the same, Larry Kane sums it up neatly with these two quotes:
"George: ‘…I’ve been the same all along. I talk when I feel like it. I shut up when I don’t feel like talking.’
The last line tells you all you need to know about George Harrison: no pretense, no showboating, a strong sense of self and, for an entertainer in the glare of the spotlight, nary an ounce of superficiality.”
"George [Harrison] was one of the most unaffected people I’ve ever met, in showbusiness or out."
Another succinct quote (cited in While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrisonby Simon Leng) is by Doris Troy:
"George was beautiful, his soul was beautiful, and his mind was beautiful. His attitude was beautiful, he was just a beautiful guy, he was one of a kind. There’s not many people like George, I’m telling you, and I’ve met a lot of people over the years. The man was one of a kind."
To finish this ramble off:
"I play a little guitar, write a few tunes, make a few movies, but none of that’s really me. The real me is something else." - George Harrison