Eric Clapton Warned George Harrison’s Wife Olivia About Dating Him

Eric Clapton warned George Harrison‘s future wife, Olivia, about dating him. George was in a rough patch when he met Olivia in the early 1970s. He’d just split with his first wife, Pattie Boyd, who left him for Clapton.

George Harrison and Eric Clapton performing during a tribute concert for Carl Perkins in 1985.
George Harrison and Eric Clapton | Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Eric Clapton fell in love with George Harrison’s first wife

George met Boyd on the set of The Beatles’ A Hard Days’ Night in 1964. They married in 1966. However, somewhere along the way, their marriage began to crack. Boyd was tired of George’s transgressions. Around that time, Clapton told Boyd he was in love with her.

Boyd stayed with George for a time until he told her to leave and be with Clapton.

In a 1979 interview with Rolling Stone, George said, “Yeah, well after I split up from Patti [Boyd, Harrison’s first wife], I went on a bit of a bender to make up for all the years I’d been married. If you listen to ‘Simply Shady,’ on Dark Horse, it’s all in there – my whole life at that time was a bit like [laughing] Mrs. Dale’s Diary [a now defunct British radio soap opera].”

Rolling Stone asked if he was “going down fast.” George replied, “Well, I wasn’t ready to join Alcoholics Anonymous or anything – I don’t think I was that far gone – but I could put back a bottle of brandy occasionally, plus all the other naughty things that fly around. I just went on a binge, went on the road . . . all that sort of thing, until it got to the point where I had no voice and almost no body at times.”

That is until George met Olivia in 1974.

“I met Olivia and it all worked out fine,” he told Rolling Stone. He mentioned the song he wrote about Olivia, “Dark Sweet Lady,” which includes lyrics: “You came and helped me through. When I’d let go. You came from out the blue. Never have known what I’d done without you.”

“That sums it up,” George said. In 1972, Olivia started working at A&M Records. She spoke with George over the phone often because A&M was distributing George’s new record label, Dark Horse Records. Olivia impressed George, so he arranged for her to work at the record label. They met in person shortly after and quickly started a relationship.

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Eric Clapton warned George’s wife Olivia about dating him

When Olivia met George, he was still in the process of splitting with Boyd. Olivia told Yahoo Entertainment that George was “having a bit of a little bit too much fun,” referring to George’s “bender.”

She admitted that she “definitely had some trepidations” about getting romantically involved with a Beatle. Olivia explained that even Clapton warned her about what type of person George was at the time.

“I thought, ‘Hang on, hang on. Do I really want to get into this?’ Eric said, ‘If you’re going to be with George, you better pull your socks up.’ Which meant, get ready for the ride. I don’t think he meant it in a negative way. He just meant that there’s a lot goes on in this world, you know? And he was right about that. … But George was just a real person.”

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George said getting remarried and starting a family was ‘wonderful’

George divorced Boyd in 1977. Olivia gave birth to the couple’s only son, Dhani, in late 1978. Shortly after, the couple married in a quiet ceremony. George told Rolling Stone that starting a family was “wonderful.”

“Everybody who has a baby thinks their child is wonderful, and it is,” George said. “I’m enjoying it a lot.”

Olivia gave George the opportunity for a fresh start. Who knows what would have happened if George hadn’t met Olivia.

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