Feb 252012

Did you catch George Harrison‘s son, Dhani, on Conan the other night? I did. Dhani was promoting a new app he helped develop that presents his father’s “stunning stash of vintage axes.” The app, like most apps, didn’t turn me on—not to mention the fact that I’m typically not into gear porn—but Harrison the Younger was delightful: loaded with poise, charm, humor, and all the qualities we could hope for in George’s kid.

It took awhile for Dhani to catch on, didn’t it? While John’s boys, Julian and Sean, long ago burst on the scene and then settled into the occasional feature trumpeting a new, understated release…while Stella McCartney has spent years as a celebrated fashion designer (not that I would understand that scene, but I do see photos of her arm-in-arm with celebrities and fellow fashion designers)…while Zak Starkey follows in the footsteps of Keith Moon to prove to the world that he’s a bigger son of a drummer than Jason Bonham…Dhani seemed to be kept under wraps until he appeared on stage as part of a star-studded tribute to his father, playing acoustic guitar on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Let’s face it: Dhani has claimed the title of Coolest Offspring of a Beatle. It’s looking like he’ll have to mess up royally to lose that title, unless Paul’s 8-year-old kid from his failed marriage to Hamish Stuart Heather Mills develops into a childhood sensation or one of his other kids with Linda springs forward and does something special.

So who is the second-coolest offspring among members of The Beatles?


  22 Responses to “Who’s the Second-Coolest Offspring Among Members of The Beatles?”

  1. Dhani burst into my attention during the Concert for George. Same maturity, poise, and charm as now. And thenewno2 ain’t too shabby either. Also well worth a follow on FaceBook for their off-the-wall posts.

    Very impressed by DH. Plus he elicited a worthwhile comment from Paul at the CfG, when Paul repeated Olivia’s observation that with all George’s contemporaries on stage with Dhani, it “looks like George stayed young and we all got old.”


  2. That has to be my favorite HOF performance. Dhani must have had a clue as to what was coming from rehearsal and he gives a nod to Prince right before the solo (3:30). I love the look on his face when Prince falls back off the stage. Priceless.

    Then there’s Prince going old school on a Telecaster and shredding it… what can you say? Awesome.

  3. tonyola

    I feel a little sorry for Julian Lennon. He had some moderate talent, but he was also blessed (cursed) with John’s looks and vocal similarity. When he was trotted out in 1984, John’s murder was still pretty fresh in people’s minds. The hype about Julian being the “second coming” of his dad was unbelievable. His first album (Valotte) was a platinum smash and people were ready to cast palm fronds at Julian’s feet. When his second album (The Secret Value of Daydreaming) sounded like slick ’80s synthpop and revealed the limits of Julian’s talents, the backlash was savage. It’s not a bad album for what it is, but it didn’t sound like John. The party was over. I don’t know how much of Julian’s career was manipulation or his own doing, but I understand that he became quite embittered about the whole affair.

  4. cherguevara

    Have you heard any of James McCartney’s music?


  5. I’ll defend Sean Lennon here. I really like his first record, although I didn’t buy the follow up because I was scared off by the really cheesy medieval video. I happened to see him with his new model girlfriend when he opened for Beth Orton about a year ago and they were really good. I bought the GOSTT record and like it a lot. While Julian had Phil Ramone create a lush backdrop reminiscent of Imagine to conjure up eerie echo of his father, Sean really seems to have some deeper connection to his father’s creative style, and songs that catch the weird uniqueness of Cry, Baby, Cry or even A Day in the Life.

    Sean Lennon gets a really bad rap because he is the favorite son with all the advantages (see Charlotte Kemp-Muhl), and the self-promoting mom. His slightly chubby appearance, especially next to model and actress girlfriends, contributes to a whiff of undeserved entitlement, but I think the work he’s done and his apparently genuine desire to make interesting music and seemingly genetic capacity to do so, make him a reasonably worthy heir.

  6. Hearing a couple of Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger things after writing this, I realized that they bear a slight resemblance to Autumn Carousel. I still like ’em, though.

  7. machinery

    I remember watching that HOF show on TV and it had me thinking, can one guitar solo redeem Prince from all my general dislike of him and his music? The answer: yes.

    I think Sean is the 2nd best. He did a bunch of cool stuff with cibo mato, no? That’s hipster cred right there.

  8. cherguevara

    Sean participated in a panel discussion I lead last October and I can say he was really down to Earth and genuinely enthusiastic about music, instruments and even things related to the Beatles. Totally approachable and open.

    I downloaded the album Dhani Harrison made with Joseph Arthur and Ben Harper, Fistful of Mercy, and I can barely remember the name of the group, let alone the songs themselves. I’m generally a fan of Joseph Arthur, but that album is really, really forgettable.

  9. I did like Valotte but did you ever hear Saltwater off the Help Yourself album? Ugh!

  10. Evidently, legend has it that Prince used to do guitar solos at his high school’s basketball games in Minneapolis. They blew people away.

  11. ladymisskirroyale

    Thank you for mentioning Cibo Mato. I saw him when he anonymously appeared as part of their “band” back in the 90’s. He also guested or hang out with a lot of other NY musicians in those days.

  12. He was also seen on Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Cibo. I really like and enjoy Sean’s solo music.
    And Dhani has definitely been a GREAT ambassador for his father’s legacy.

  13. Sean Lennon loses major points for me by singing through his beard on this rendition of “Sail On Sailor.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tpVz0pI4hQ

  14. We need to add that practice to the Glossary, don’t we?

  15. BigSteve

    Can Sean really be old enough to be doing the combover thing?

  16. Among other things, have they violated a rule against having too many musicians lined up evenly at the foot of the stage?

  17. What’s the musician at the back, on the high riser at the 42-second mark spinning? Did a lottery drawing follow this performance?

  18. cherguevara

    I like the Japanese Kenny G guy. To cop another musician’s sound and look is either pathetic or brazen. But also, kind of funny. At least he’s not playing his horn from the side of his mouth.

  19. When you’ve got a smile like Kenny G’s you’ve GOT to play that thing out of the side of your mouth.

  20. alexmagic

    Prince at the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame remains my favorite live-on-TV musical performance of the last two or three decades. Pretty much everything about it is amazing, from the smile that breaks out on Harrison’s face when he sees Prince coming in from offstage (3:30), to the utter determination that Prince shows from the second we can see him to win this thing and demolish Petty/Lynne/Lynne’s hired gun Marc Mann (Prince, after all, was also inducted that night) without ever losing the spirit of the song, capped off by the look he throws back to the rest of them at 4:30.

    Additional highlights: the glee on Harrison’s face when Prince pulls the pre-planned faint-into the crowd bit at 4:50, Prince letting everybody off the hook at around 5:03 when he gives Petty the signal for a Double Rock Squat and – my personal favorite – at 6:15 when he throws his guitar into the air and it never lands. I believe my theory at the time is that it probably burst into doves just above the camera.

    The final capper, speaking well to Harrison’s coming out as the New #1 Beatle Son, is the story that Dhani ran backstage to thank Prince as soon as the hugs and on-stage congrats were done, but not only did Prince strut right offstage as soon as the song ended, he also strutted straight out of the building.

  21. alexmagic

    To speak to the general question, Dhani has a lock on #1 because he’s giving the people what they want in a Legacy Beatle: positively evokes the look of his father, comes off as a genuinely nice guy with no (public) hang-ups about who he is, no really embarrassing musical projects to date.

    If we’re ranking them purely in terms of general “coolness”, I think the top spots go to Dhani, Stella, Sean and Zak Starkey in that order. It’s tough to rank after that, since most of the rest are so low-key and Julian is so far removed from his fame height. I’d be inclined to go with Julian at #5 for admirably handling getting a raw deal (and genuinely being more famous than any of the rest at his peak in the mid-’80s), then Mary McCartney at #6 for being on the back cover of McCartney.

    I do think that Sean Lennon has displayed the most upside, talent-wise. As said above, he’s put out/been involved with plenty of good music, especially when Cibo Matto is added in. I really liked his first album and thought Friendly Fire was pretty good. He just needs help with presentation and should call on the McCartneys and Dhani with help there. It’s also a shame that neither of John’s kids seem to have inherited the rock part of his voice.

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