Cynthia Lennon Described Teenage George Harrison as ‘The Kid Who Tagged Along’

As the youngest Beatles member, George Harrison made music with John Lennon and Paul McCartney as part of The Quarrymen. During her 2005 memoir, Cynthia Lennon commented on Harrison’s personality — and how he “tagged along” when it came to projects with the other two songwriters.

George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and John Lennon created music as The Quarrymen

Singer-songwriter John Lennon (1940 - 1980) of The Beatles, with his wife Cynthia at the Dorchester Hotel, London
Singer-songwriter John Lennon (1940 – 1980) of The Beatles, with his ex-wife Cynthia Lennon at the Dorchester Hotel, London | Evening Standard/Getty Images

Before writing songs for the Beatles, Lennon attended school with his ex-wife Cynthia Powell (later Cynthia Lennon). Around the time Cynthia and John Lennon dated, John Lennon was making music with the other “Quarrymen.” 

That includes Paul McCartney, about a year younger than Lennon, and 16-year-old George Harrison. During her 2005 memoir John, Cynthia Lennon recalled attending early gigs and rehearsals. 

“From the start, I loved their music: I never minded spending lunchtimes on that little stage because it was fascinating to watch them teach each other new chord sequences, work out the tunes to popular songs, and begin to put together their own,” she wrote.

Cynthia Lennon wrote that George Harrison ‘tagged along’ with the other members of the Quarrymen 

These performers first started writing music as teenagers, with McCartney and Lennon taking on added roles within the group. Even when they were the Quarrymen, Cynthia Lennon noticed the dynamic between these artists.

“George was the kid who tagged along,” Cynthia Lennon wrote in the same memoir. “He was always serious, and his shy, toothy grin only ever flickered for a moment before it disappeared. He was quiet and seemed troubled as he trailed behind John and Paul, deferring to them even though he was a fantastic guitar player.” 

“They tolerated him because he was good,” she continued, “but they patronized and often ignored him when they were absorbed in something together.”

Of course, when the Beatles formed, the official lineup included McCartney, Lennon, Harrison, and drummer Ringo Starr. Together, the artists earned international recognition, with Harrison penning a few songs for the rock band. (The Lennon-McCartney duo are credited on most Beatles originals).

“When I met John, he had a lot of power, really,” Harrison said in Martin Scorsese’s documentary, George Harrison: Living in the Material World. “Sometimes they’d pick somebody to march behind on the way to war. Well, he was certainly out front.”

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John Lennon Taught George Harrison Something Important in the Songwriting Process, but Jeff Lynne Later Disputed It

George Harrison walked out of one Beatles rehearsal during ‘The Beatles: Get Back’

Harrison temporarily left the Beatles before their rooftop performance, as seen in the Disney+ original series The Beatles: Get Back. The main reason, as seen in the video clips, was McCartney and Lenon refusing to entertain his original songs. 

Eventually, the foursome reconnected for Abbey Road. After the Beatles officially disbanded, Harrison released music as a solo artist, including “Got My Mind Set On You,” “What Is Life,” and “My Sweet Lord.”