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Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart had a special friendship with George Harrison that started in the 1980s. They inspired each other. Later, Stewart played a significant role in the making of George and The Traveling Wilburys’ debut album.

Stewart said the former Beatle had an “eclectic brain” that was “never-ending.”

George Harrison, Dave Stewart, Chrissie Hynde, and Tom Petty at an event in 1990.
George Harrison, Dave Stewart, Chrissie Hynde, and Tom Petty | Lester Cohen/Getty Images

Dave Stewart met George Harrison in the 1980s

In 2019, Stewart told Forbes that he was a huge fan of George and The Beatles when he was young. Then, he was fortunate enough to become friends with his idol in the 1980s.

“Having been really influenced by the Beatles’ more psychedelic stuff I became really great friends with George Harrison in the ’80s and all the way through until he got very ill,” Stewart said. “In the Martin Scorsese film you see a lot of interviews with George, that’s me interviewing him. Some of it’s my footage of him.

“But George was a really big influence on me, not musically, although he was an absolute genius musically and I’d have this amazing time sitting around in the kitchen with him playing and going on holiday with him and his family, Olivia and little Dhani.”

Stewart had a significant influence on George too. After going to a Eurythmics concert, George wrote “Devil’s Radio.”

Stewart said George had an ‘eclectic brain’ that was ‘never-ending’

It didn’t take long for Stewart to realize what type of person George was in private. Like many of George’s friends, he knew that George had a very active mind that never stopped.

“But it was more the way he would think in he had a really mad sense of humor, like something in the Monty Python films,” Stewart said. “Then at the same time very spiritual and at the same time that eclectic brain was never-ending.

“Under his breath he’s got this classic Liverpool sense of humor… But it’s just the way they always were, even when they were first interviewed in America. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with and write with Paul [McCartney] and become mates with George, who was such a great friend.”


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The Eurythmics musician lent his house to The Traveling Wilburys

In 1988, George, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison came together to record The Traveling Wilburys’ debut album. George was staying with Stewart then and asked him if they could record the album at his house.

“It was a nice environment because you could kinda sit outside,” Petty said in a video of the making of the album. “It was warm, and the doors were always open.”

George added, “We had a little, tiny studio, but it wasn’t a studio, it was more like just a control room with a vocal booth. So we didn’t have any space to play the guitar, so we set up in his kitchen.

“It wasn’t soundproofed or anything and we just put like five chairs around the kitchen and put the microphones up and that’s it. So all them guitar parts, all them acoustic guitar parts were just in this kitchen.”

The Traveling Wilburys used household objects in the recording process, including Stewart’s kitchen shelves on the song “Rattled.”

Lynne said, “There was nothing off-limits, you know? You could record where you liked, so it was opportunity to get sounds that you never got before.”

Stewart and George remained friends until George died in 2001.