George Harrison and Bob Dylan were some of the biggest names in music, and they were fans of one another’s work. Harrison idolized Dylan and was thrilled that he had the chance to perform with him. Through their collaboration and mutual respect, Dylan and Harrison formed a friendship. After Harrison’s death, the reclusive Dylan offered a rare public statement about his friend.
George Harrison was a huge fan of Bob Dylan
Harrison and Dylan met in the 1960s. While they met up many times over the years, they collaborated extensively in the 1980s in The Traveling Wilburys. Here, Harrison didn’t hide that he was a fan of Dylan.
“George quoted Bob like people quote Scripture,” fellow Wilbury Tom Petty told Rolling Stone. “Bob really adored George, too. George used to hang over the balcony videoing Bob while Bob wasn’t aware of it. Bob would be sitting at the piano playing, and George would tape it and listen to it all night.”
Harrison even went so far as to hide in the bushes to capture footage of Dylan.
“Yeah,” Petty explained. “One day George was hiding in the hedge at the house where we were recording. As everybody flew off, George would rise up out of the bushes with his video going. And he did that with Bob.”
The American musician gave a moving statement about the former Beatle
In the 1990s, Harrison was diagnosed with cancer. He died of the disease in 2001. Following his death, the ordinarily reclusive Dylan issued a statement about his friend. In his statement, per CNN, he described Harrison as “a giant, a great, great soul, with all of the humanity, all of the wit and humor, all the wisdom, the spirituality, the common sense of a man and compassion for people.”
Dylan added that he, along with many other people, would greatly miss Harrison.
“He inspired love and had the strength of a hundred men,” Dylan’s statement read, per the book George Harrison: Behind the Locked Door by Graeme Thomson. “He was like the sun, the flowers and the moon, and we will miss him enormously. The world is a profoundly emptier place without him.”
George Harrison gave Bob Dylan a warning when he joined The Traveling Wilburys
Though Harrison looked up to Dylan, he wanted to make sure that he didn’t let his ego get the best of him.
“When the Wilburys started, George was so reverent of Bob,” Petty explained. “At the end of the first day, he said, ‘We know that you’re Bob Dylan and everything, but we’re going to just treat you and talk to you like we would anybody else.’ And Bob went, ‘Well great. Believe it or not, I’m in awe of you guys, and it’s the same for me.’ I said to George, ‘That is really amazing, how you said that to Bob.’ George goes, ‘I can say those sort of things. But you can’t.’ [laughs].”