George Harrison’s Son Reveals How Covers ‘Unlock’ New Meanings in His Father’s Songs

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In the realm of music, few legacies are as long-lasting and influential as that of George Harrison. A legend of The Beatles, his melodies have left an indelible mark on generations.

Yet, beyond the spotlight, there is a figure who shares an even deeper connection with George’s compositions—his son, Dhani Harrison. Since George’s departure in 2001, Dhani has taken on the role of not just preserving, but illuminating his father’s musical legacy.

Completing George’s final album, Brainwashed, and remastering a substantial portion of his catalog, Dhani Harrison sheds light on the transformative power of cover versions.

A Resonant Home

Growing up amidst the echoes of his father’s creativity, Dhani’s connection to the music is profound. What sets Dhani apart is his unique vantage point—he spent his formative years in the very house where many of George’s iconic melodies took shape.

As a witness to the artistic process, Dhani’s perspective offers an intimate insight into the evolution of these timeless compositions.

Yet, it’s the reinterpretations of George’s songs that often hold the key to finding the hidden layers of meaning. Dhani’s ears are attuned to the transformative power of cover versions. These fresh renditions breathe new life into familiar tunes, providing him with an enriched understanding of his father’s musical narratives.

These covers serve as prisms, refracting the brilliance of George’s creations into unexpected hues.

In a candid conversation with NPR in 2016, Dhani unveiled his journey of sharing George’s musical heritage with the world. He also shed light on his brainchild, the 2014 charity tribute concert, George Fest: A Night to Celebrate the Music of George Harrison.

George Fest saw a lineup of exceptional artists, including Brian Wilson, Norah Jones (daughter of George’s close friend Ravi Shankar), The Flaming Lips, and Cold War Kids. Through their covers, Dhani gained novel insights into his father’s songs.

The Power of Perspective

Through George Fest, Dhani had the opportunity to witness his father’s songs through a new lens. Performers like Brian Wilson, Norah Jones, The Flaming Lips, and Cold War Kids brought fresh interpretations, breathing life into familiar refrains. These covers acted as windows, revealing different vistas within George’s musical landscape.

In the interview, NPR probed into Dhani’s experience, asking, “Do the different interpretations of your dad’s music ever help you find any new insights into his work? Is there ever a moment when a song sort of reveals itself as something different than what you’d considered?”

Dhani revealed that certain covers indeed “unlock” fresh perspectives. He highlighted his appreciation for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s version of ‘The Art of Dying’. “I didn’t realize that was like grunge until I saw BRMC play it,” Dhani shared. Such reinterpretations opened his eyes to new aspects of the music.

George’s Quiet Legacy

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While Dhani ardently preserves his father’s musical contributions, he recognizes that George’s relationship with covers was complex. George’s understated nature and aversion to the limelight might have led him to view reinterpretations with a mix of intrigue and caution. His approach to his music further deepens the narrative, hinting at a sense of protectiveness over his artistic creations.

George’s own musical preferences carried a distinct flair. He found solace in the classics of the ’50s and ’60s, with a soft spot for the likes of Dire Straits. Dhani’s teenage exploration of sounds introduced his father to new sonic landscapes, from classic favorites like Hendrix to contemporary bands like the Black Crowes.

Dhani’s journey mirrors a heartfelt tribute to the profound bond he shared with his father. Taking the reins to complete Brainwashed alongside Jeff Lynne, Dhani embraced a unique role, stepping into his father’s shoes to preserve and extend the musical legacy. The studio, once a place of collaboration, became a sanctuary where Dhani could continue the creative dialogue.


In a world where covers breathe fresh life into melodies, Dhani’s perspective shines a light on George Harrison’s enduring legacy. As chords resonate and notes cascade, Dhani ensures that his father’s music remains a bridge connecting generations, a testament to the timeless power of artistic expression.

Through the lens of Dhani’s journey, George’s songs continue to evolve, engaging hearts and minds across eras.

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