Tom Petty’s Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Speech For George Harrison

Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Bravo Magazine

He often said he wasn’t pursuing a solo career at all,” Tom Petty shared as he inducted George Harrison into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. “He never hired a manager or had an agent. He just loved playing music with his friends.”

The ceremony which took place on March 15, 2004, honored the former Beatle who passed away from cancer in 2001.

“[He] loved guitars,” Harrison’s Traveling Wilbury’s bandmate continued. “And he loved rock ‘n’ roll and he loved Carl Perkins and he loved Little Richard.”

George Harrison namechecked Little Richard in his own Rock & roll Hall of Fame induction speech for the Beatles in 1988.

“And he loved Dhani and Olivia [Harrison],” Petty added. “And he loved to stay up all night long and play the ukulele ‘til dawn.”

George was a man who really lived every minute of his life,” Petty later adds. “He really filled a room. He was a very upbeat person. He had a very keen sense of humor. A very keen sense of spirit. He was never preachy, he led by example.”

Petty also noted Harrison’s humanitarian contribution to popular music, 1971’s Concert for Bangladesh.

Years before Live Aid,” Tom notes, “George invited the idea of rock ‘n’ roll giving back to the people.”

I know many of you in the room knew him,” he concludes. “He was my dear friend and yours and the world’s. He achieved much more than being a successful artist. He was a truly great man.”

Petty then asks those present to salute George with a final Hare Krishna.

Petty’s remarked were followed by a brief congratulations from producer, friend and ELO mastermind Jeff Lyne as well as an all-star jam on White Album’s ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ – during which Prince stole the show.

George Harrison passed away from cancer on November 29, 2001.

His last public statement was a simple one.

Love one another,” George is reported to have remarked.


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