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Most of the time, George Harrison didn’t enjoy being a Beatle. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and on some occasions, the band’s producer George Martin either treated George as a junior member or a glorified session man. No one cared about his songs. Touring the world constantly throughout the first half of the 1960s aged him too.

However, somewhere along the way, George came to terms with being a Beatle. Releasing an album and playing for hundreds of fans suddenly wasn’t as daunting. George got a new generation of fans, and those who’d been through Beatlemania were older. No one was chasing him down anymore.

George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Yoko Ono at The Beatles' Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1988.
George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Yoko Ono | Sonia Moskowitz/IMAGES/Getty Images

George Harrison said being a Beatle aged him

When The Beatles became popular, they protected each other from nervous breakdowns on tour and worked relatively well in the recording studio. However, their bond cracked somewhere along the way.

Nine years after The Beatles broke up, George told Rolling Stone he “never” thought of being a Beatle again. “Not in this life or any other life. I mean, a lot of the time it was fantastic, but when it really got into the mania it was a question of either stop or end up dead.

“We almost got killed in a number of situations – planes catching on fire, people trying to shoot the plane down and riots everywhere we went. It was aging me.”

For George, being a Beatle was like having a previous incarnation. He likely felt that way because he saw Beatle George as someone else. According to Rolling Stone, George once said, “The Beatles exist apart from myself. I am not really Beatle George.

“Beatle George is like a suit or shirt that I once wore on occasion, and until the end of my life people may see that shirt and mistake it for me. I play a little guitar, write a few tunes, make a few movies, but none of that’s really me. The real me is something else.”

George came to terms with being a Beatle

After The Beatles, George recorded All Things Must Pass. When the triple album did well, he made another. However, he distanced himself more and more from fame.

“You have to have a big ego in order to keep plodding on being in the public eye,” George said. “But most of my ego desires as far as being famous and successful were fulfilled a long time ago.

Initially, in the 1970s, George consciously became obscure. “I enjoy being low profile and having a peaceful sort of life,” he said. In the 1980s, George continued to do what he wanted. Meanwhile, the Beatlemania fans grew up, and the Beatle craze mellowed.

During an interview on Aspel & Co., George said he’d attracted new younger fans after releasing Cloud Nine. They didn’t hound him like the Beatlemania fans, though, which was nice. By then, George seemed to have come to terms with being a Beatle.

In a 1987 interview, Creem Magazine pointed out that George seemed comfortable having been a Beatle.

“Well, I’ve had a lot of years,” George replied. “It was terri­ble around ’69, and in that period: every­body’d seen the movie ‘Let It Be’ and it was really tense and nasty. And the years that followed that were hard because we were all sort of shell­shocked from the ’60s.

“But as things have settled down I’ve come to terms with it and it’s sunk into the past. We’ve gotten older and new generations have come along, I spent years avoiding interviews and going on TV to get to a point where I could go out, walk down the street and go in a shop and just do regular little things that ordinary peo­ple do.

“Everything’s cool and it’s quite en­joyable. And now, if somebody comes up and says, ‘Alright, George,’ and they just congratulate you and thank you for all the music you did in the past and what you’ve been doing ­that’s nice. It’s the
concentrated mania that would make anybody go crazy. It had its low point around the end of the ’60s and it did have
a hangover period into the ’70s, but I’m cool now.”


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He still loved the band deep down

After George came to terms with being a Beatle, he only looked at the positives. Some good things happened in the band’s 10 years.

“But we had a great time,” George told Rolling Stone in 1979. “I think fondly of it all, especially as we’ve been through all the aftermath of Apple. Everybody’s sued each other to their hearts’ content, and now we’re all good friends.”

George wasn’t the type of person who stewed in bitterness. He would’ve come to terms with such a massive part of his life sooner or later.