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Working Class Mystic
A Spiritual Biography of George Harrison
Gary Tillery
ISBN: 9780835609005
Book (Paperback)
Quest Books
6 x 9
200 pages
December 13, 2011


"Often referred to as the “Quiet One,” George Harrison is given full voice in Gary Tillery’s compact, yet highly enlightening Working Class Mystic. Tillery nicely summarizes Harrison’s life and music, framing the ex-Beatle’s life in terms of his life-long spiritual quest. One result of Harrison’s search, which manifested itself as the seminal benefit rock concert known as the Concert for Bangladesh, is perhaps Harrison’s greatest legacy. The sad ending of Harrison’s life at such a young age and the life-threatening experience he and his wife Olivia faced at their home by a crazed intruder are leavened with the peace Harrison felt, even in the face of death. The music, Harrison’s sense of humor and his commitment to living in the spiritual world make this book ultimately uplifting and a great read.
" --Steve Matteo, author of Let it Be and Dylan and editor of Pulse magazine

"One of the more fascinating Beatles biographies, Working Class Mystic is neither hagiography nor rushed cash-in, but a richly informative account, understanding and empathetic, thankfully without much of the dourness that tarnished Harrison's later recordings. A worthy companion to Tillery's earlier book on Lennon, it is an insightful portrait of one of music's more complex characters, and should be devoured by Harrison's devout disciples." --Joe Goodden, The Beatles Bible

"Having first known him back in the days when he was called only 'the quiet Beatle,' it thrills me no end that George's inner journey has now been so splendidly chronicled." --Victor Spinetti

John Lennon called himself a working class hero. George Harrison was a working class mystic. Born in Liverpool as the son of a bus conductor and a shop assistant, for the first six years of his life he lived in a house with no indoor bathroom. This book gives an honest, in-depth view of his personal journey from his blue-collar childhood to his role as a world-famous spiritual icon.

Author Gary Tillery’s approach is warmly human, free of the fawning but insolent tone of most rock biographers. He frankly discusses the role of drugs in leading Harrison to mystical insight but emphasizes that he soon renounced psychedelics as a means to the spiritual path. It was with conscious commitment that Harrison journeyed to India, studied sitar with Ravi Shankar, practiced yoga, learned meditation from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and became a devotee of Hinduism. George worked hard to subdue his own ego and to understand the truth beyond appearances. He preferred to keep a low profile, but his empathy for suffering people led him to spearhead the first rock-and-roll super event for charity. And despite his wealth and fame, he was always delighted to slip on overalls and join in manual labor on his grounds. At ease with holy men discussing the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, he was ever the bloke from Liverpool whose father drove a bus, whose brothers were tradesmen, and who had worked himself as an apprentice electrician until the day destiny called.

Tillery’s engaging narrative depicts Harrison as a sincere seeker who acted out of genuine care for humanity and used his celebrity to be of service in the world. Fans of all generations will treasure this book for the inspiring portrayal it gives of their beloved “quiet” Beatle.

A native of the Southwest, Gary Tillery was born in Phoenix in 1947. In 1968-69 he served in Vietnam with the United States Air Force. His enlistment was over in 1970. After two decades in the business world, primarily as co-owner of an advertising agency in suburban Chicago, he turned his time and energy to his lifelong passion for literature and art. He published a collection of interrelated short stories set in Vietnam titled "Darkling Plain", and began a series of humorous novels featuring "soft-boiled" detective Jack Savage--the first two titled Death, Be Not Loud and To An Aesthete Dying Young. Tillery is also a professional sculptor. His most prominent work is the sculpture for the Vietnam Memorial in Chicago. He also created the bronze bust of Steve Allen for the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood; and through his association with the Rotblatt-Amrany Studio he created, among other works, the life-size bronze of Luis Aparicio at U. S. Cellular Field.
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