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Harrison’s Old Brown Shoe

Grammy Museum taps artists' private collection

Nearly 10 years after George Harrison died, the life of the most private of the Beatles will be on display at the Grammy Museum in downtown L.A.

The exhibition on Harrison’s life, lyrics and loves will range from his guitars and stage outfits to song lyrics in his own handwriting and personal photographs. Bowing Oct. 11, it is tied to the anniversary of his death and the Martin Scorsese docu “George Harrison: Living in the Material World,” directed by Martin Scorsese, which airs Oct. 5-6 on HBO.

The Grammy Museum sees itself as an educational institute that takes guests behind the craft and business: “The museum is built on great music, but it’s not just about music for music’s sake,” said exec director Bob Santelli.

The museum is currently featuring a display on James Brown, and Santelli said that when he speaks to younger visitors he points out that the Godfather of Soul was also the spiritual godfather of such youth faves as Usher and Michael Jackson.

Santelli noted that with this deeper mission of bridging generations in mind, artists and their heirs are more inclined to open their personal collections to the facility.

The King of Pop was a contributor. “Michael Jackson gave us objects and helped us,” said Santelli.

John Lennon and Harrison’s widows similarly pitched in.

“We are here to celebrate their husbands’ or sons’ legacy,” Santelli said. “Baby boomers were touched by their music. It’s equally important to make sure young people hear the story of George Harrison, what he did when he left the Beatles. Families appreciate we are getting new, younger audiences for their music.”

Harrison’s widow, Olivia, said of the new exhibit: “We are very pleased with the results of our collaboration with the Grammy Museum. Bob and his team have brought a great deal of passion and commitment to the project; their collective efforts have resulted in a wonderful exhibit. We look forward to sharing our memories of George with his fans through this first major exhibition about his life.”

Next up for the Grammy Museum is to take some of its exhibitions abroad. To that end, Santelli has visited London and Paris with the intent of bowing Bob Marley and Bob Dylan exhibitions in those cities in 2012.

“There’s a real demand for American music history in Europe and Asia,” said Santelli.

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