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Irish stars tribute to George Harrison...

George Harrison "knew that his place in popular culture was absolutely secure," Bob Geldof said of the former Beatle who lost his battle against cancer on November 29 aged 58.

Geldof was one of the first stars to react to Harrison's untimely death. Upon the announcement of his passing, tributes poured in, including from key Irish figures.

A frequent visitor to Ireland, "George had his Irish roots," Prime Minister Bertie Ahern pointed out at the Anglo-Irish summit in Dublin.

And as his British counterpart Tony Blair said, "The generation of Bertie and myself, we grew up with the Beatles."

Yet Sir Paul McCartney's "baby brother", the second Beatle to die after John Lennon was killed in 1980, influenced many generations, such as that of the Boomtown Rats and U2.

Bob Geldof remembers his first encounter with one of rock's legendary figures. "I remember when the Boomtown Rats started he came to see us in Oxford and I was shocked and stunned when he walked into the room: There was a living Beatle."

Bono also expressed appreciation for Harrison's musical talent. "There was a certain mysterious and unknowable quality about his music which made him a very attractive figure and gave a whole new dimension to the Beatles."

At their concert in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday (November 30), U2 paid tribute to the great late ex-Beatle by covering one of his most popular songs, 'My Sweet Lord', and dedicating their song 'Kite' to him, which contains the line "I know that this is not goodbye".

The "quiet" Beatle, as he was dubbed by many for he avoided the spotlight, "was curmudgeonly about the fame thing. But he was very gentle," said Geldof.

An unlikely rock icon, yet he was one. Not only was he the guitarist of the band which shaped rock 'n roll, but he also pioneered the idea of rock charity fundraisers. His highly successful 1971 charity concert for Bangladesh, the first major fundraiser, prompted Geldof to ask him for advice while organising Live Aid in 1985. "I remember him with a profound sense of gratitude, " Geldof recalls. "As he said himself, how do you compare with the genius of John and Paul, but he did, very well. All the way back he measured up. Maybe because of the necessary competition between the other two his standard of songwriting was incomparably better than lots of their contemporaries anyway."

Although much of Harrison's musical talent was overshadowed by the Lennon-McCartney songwriting duo, he wrote many of the Fab Four's top hits - 'Here Comes the Sun', 'Something' and 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' to name but a few - before embarking on a successful solo career with his trademark guitar lines.

Geldof doubts that there's anyone who "can't remember each one of his guitar lines."

George Harrison was a musician, a philanthropist and a mystic. His last words were, unsurprisingly, "Love one another."

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