2015 Lifetime Achievement Award: George Harrison

Tom Petty pays tribute to his fellow Traveling Wilburys bandmate and touches on Harrison's lasting influence on popular music
  • Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
    George Harrison
  • Photo: Steve Jennings/WireImage.com
    Tom Petty
February 06, 2015 -- 9:00 am PST
By Tom Petty / GRAMMY.com

(In addition to the GRAMMY Awards, The Recording Academy presents Special Merit Awards recognizing contributions of significance to the recording field, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustees Award and Technical GRAMMY Award.)

He never wanted to be the star of anything. But, that's the place fate left him. He thought he was best as a team player. But we all know there was just too much great music in him to be contained by modesty.

When the Beatles ended all he had held inside came flowing out, manifesting itself in the 1970 album All Things Must Pass —  a landmark LP that is still stunning by the quality of the songs and its complete originality. Like it or not, he was now the frontman of the band and more and more great music would flow from him the rest of his life.

It would take volumes to even list his musical achievements and I'm not going to try. His love of Indian music also produced volumes of lovely music, as well as creating a lasting influence on popular music. George truly was the peace and love guy. It wasn't a fad for him. He walked the walk. He dropped some beautiful wisdom on us without preaching, and always keeping a sense of humor, he was forever mindful that we are all so, so human.

It's my guess that he's the only artist on tonight's program who actually changed the world.

Hare Krishna.

(A three-time GRAMMY winner, Tom Petty and George Harrison won the 1989 GRAMMY for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for Traveling Wilburys Volume One by the Traveling Wilburys — a supergroup that also featured Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison. Petty earned a 57th GRAMMY Awards nomination — his 18th — for Best Rock Album for Hypnotic Eye with the Heartbreakers.)

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