So now another is gone. George Harrison, the “Quiet Beatle.” Cancer. Horrible.

In some regards, Harrison was the Rodney Dangerfield of the group. Sure, Ringo seemed to be the one who could get little, if any respect. But the difference is that Harrison actually earned it. While I have previously argued that the Beatles are the premier example of a group that is better than the sum of its parts, that group without Harrison would have been a far paltrier outfit.

Rock and roll was once figured to be about youth and vitality. It was something with chronological limits: “I hope I die before I get old.”

Perhaps this is an argument based on my own increasing chronology, but I’d like to suggest that rock and roll is now about relevance. Otherwise we wouldn’t be so concerned about the failure of Jagger, the fatuousness of Sting, and pomposity of Aerosmith.

And we wouldn’t take a moment to reflect on the passing of a signal musician in the genre’s history.

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