Grantland’s Steven Hyden:
Being a Beatles fan in 2014 doesn’t offer much in the way of adventure; the band’s story has been told and retold many times, and the rote romanticism has rubbed away some of the richness of the individual characters. In the case of Harrison, his persona as a soft-spoken and dryly witty mystic has been well-established by handsomely produced hagiographies like the 2011 Martin Scorsese–directed Living in the Material World. While my appetite for Beatles ephemera is considerable — I’ve watched Living in the Material World so many times I can recite the “George hands Tom Petty a ukulele out of his car trunk full of ukuleles” story from memory — the process of turning Harrison into a sainted humanitarian has stripped him of his humanity. What I appreciate most about The Apple Years is how it restores several obscured chapters of the story, showing Harrison to be weirder, angrier, grumpier, and darker than his carefully stage-managed posthumous image might indicate. For better or worse, Harrison put his life into the songs. Fortysome-odd years later, it’s the songs that seem to provide the most complete picture of the man.