The guitarist and singer-songwriter would have turned 74 today; he died of complications from lung cancer at age 58 on Nov. 29, 2001. While he became iconic as a member of The Beatles, alongside John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Harrison enjoyed a lengthy and successful solo career beginning in the late 1960s, while the Fab Four were still together. In the late ’80s, he scored success in another band, supergroup Traveling Wilburys, with Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty.
Over the length of his solo career, Harrison placed 15 songs on the Hot 100, with five hitting the top 10 and three reaching No. 1. His first chart entry, the double-sided “My Sweet Lord”/”Isn’t It a Pity,” ruled for four weeks in 1970-71 (with “Lord” later the focus of a famed copyright infringement case). While all four Beatles would top the Hot 100 on their own, that single made Harrison the first to earn the honor.
Harrison topped the Hot 100 again with “Give Me Love — (Give Me Peace on Earth)” (one week, 1973) and “Got My Mind Set on You” (one week, 1988), the last song by a Beatle to lead the list. (“Got” also sports Starr on drums.)
As a soloist, Harrison’s history on the Billboard 200 albums chart features 20 titles (through 2014), with two hitting No. 1: All Things Must Pass, which includes “Lord,” reigned for seven weeks in 1971, and his next studio LP, Living in the Material World, led for five frames in 1973.
Harrison contributed to two of the most vaunted chart records, as The Beatles hold the marks for the most No. 1s on both the Hot 100 (20) and Billboard 200 (19). Meanwhile, Traveling Wilburys’ first album, 1988’s Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 1, reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and spun off four top 10s on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart.
George Harrison’s Biggest Billboard Hot 100 Hits
1, “My Sweet Lord”/”Isn’t it a Pity” (No. 1 peak, four weeks, beginning Dec. 26, 1970)
2, “Got My Mind Set on You” (No. 1, one week, Jan. 16, 1988)
3, “Give Me Love – (Give Me Peace on Earth)” (No. 1, one week, June 30, 1973)
4, “All Those Years Ago” (No. 2, July 4, 1981)
5, “What Is Life” (No. 10, March 27, 1971)
George Harrison’s Biggest Billboard Hot 100 hits (as a soloist) chart is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100, through the March 4, 2017, ranking. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. Due to changes in chart methodology over the years, eras are weighted to account for different chart turnover rates over various periods.