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Saturday, 1 December, 2001, 11:29 GMT
Flood of tributes for Harrison
George Harrison
Beatles guitarist Harrison: "Never any arrogance"
Britain's most respected public figures and musicians have paid tribute to former Beatle George Harrison, who died at the age of 58 after a long illness.

Buckingham Palace issued a statement saying that the Queen was "very sad" to hear the news.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "The music and the personalities of the band were the background of our lives.

"I think people will be very sad at his death.

Tony Blair
The Beatles inspired millions to play the guitar
"He was not only a great musician and artist, but he did an immense amount for charity as well, and so he will be very, very sadly missed by people right round the world."

Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said he was deeply saddened to hear of Harrison's death and said that the music of the Beatles "symbolised the hopes and aspirations of people of my generation".

"They motivated my generation, yet their music cut through generations," he said.

'Post-war generation'

In the House of Commons one MP, Labour's Jane Griffiths, said that Harrison's death made it hard to carry on parliamentary work.

Ms Griffiths, 47, said: "For those of my post-war generation, it has been a little difficult speaking in this House today - the day that saw the passing of George Harrison.

TV screenwriter Carla Lane
Lane: friend of the late Linda McCartney
"Some of us may be inclined to weep now that George's guitar gently weeps no more," she said.

One of Harrison's best friends, his neighbour, the comedian Kenny Lynch, said: "It is not fair. I'm so upset about it. I was only talking to him a few weeks ago.

"Why should someone like George die when Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden are still on this earth?"

Noel Gallagher, a lifelong Beatles fan, who named the Oasis hit Wonderwall after one of George Harrison's albums, said: "It's very, very sad.

"I hope he's found what he spent his life searching for."

Writer Carla Lane said: "I hope Liverpool pays homage to him.

"He had a wonderful, dry sense of humour. "He was a very nice, warm full-of-fun guy in a very droll way."

Musician Bob Geldof
Harrison advised Geldof over Live Aid

'Enthusiasm'

Former Monty Python comedian Michael Palin, who met Harrison through the musician's film company, Handmade Film, said: "I was amazed and delighted he was such a Python fan.

"He enabled us to make Life of Brian and other films like A Private Function - none of these would have happened without his enthusiasm.

"George had a great sense of humour - some of the best laughs I've had have been with George."

Musician Bob Geldof said he was "shocked and stunned" to hear of Harrison's death.

Python Michael Palin
Palin met Harrison through the ex-Beatle's film company

"I doubt there's a person listening to this show that can't remember each one of his guitar lines," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Geldof said Harrison had given him advice when he was organising the Live Aid concert in 1985, adding: "I remember him with a profound sense of gratitude."

'Generous'

Jools Holland was one of the last musicians to work with Harrison, who composed and recorded a track for Holland's latest album.

Jools Holland
Jools Holland organised Harrison's last session
Holland said: "I'm deeply saddened to hear of the loss of my dear friend George.

"We've not only lost one of the most important figures in popular music, but more importantly one of the friendliest, most generous and funniest of people I've ever met."

Veteran DJ Bob Harris said: "I was so impressed with him. It goes back to this warmth he had. He just had such a lovely spiritual vibe to him.

"It's absolutely no surprise at all to discover that his last thoughts were: 'Let's all just try to love one another.'"

Former EMI publicist Max Clifford said: "There was never any arrogance about George Harrison.

"The success of My Sweet Lord was wonderful for anybody that knew George, because he always been in the shadow of John and Paul."

John Birt
John Birt is a fellow Liverpudlian
Philip Norman, who wrote the Beatles biography Shout, said: the news had come as an "awful shock".

"There was a certain bitterness about him, but later in life he realised what good fortune he had enjoyed.

"He had a happy marriage and a son and realised there was more to life than being a Beatle."

Jean Cathadrell, president of the Beatles fan club, said: "George accepted the fact that his days were numbered, but none of us realised how few days left he had."

'Important'

Former BBC director general Lord Birt, himself from Liverpool, called Harrison "a brilliant, accomplished guitarist".

Lord Birt said: "George really was important.

"He wasn't a genius in the way that John and Paul clearly were, set apart.

"But he was a great guitarist, and he did contribute to the creation of the unique Beatles sound."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney
"I love him dearly"
Former Monty Python member Michael Palin
"He had tremendous energy"
Musician Sir Bob Geldof
says George Harrison leaves behind a unique legacy
George Harrison's biographer Alan Clayson
"He resented Beatle mania"
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