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George Harrison once channeled his father, Harold, while defending his own son, Dhani, during a run-in with the police. When George was a boy, something happened to make his father come to his rescue. When Dhani needed George during his brush with the law, the former Beatle didn’t hesitate. He defended his son just as his father had done for him.

George Harrison with his wife, Olivia, and their son, Dhani, in Paris, 1988.
George Harrison, his wife, Olivia, and their son, Dhani | GARCIA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Harold Harrison became a school hero after punching one of his son’s teachers

In 1984, Paul McCartney told Russell Harty that George’s dad became a school hero after he punched a teacher. George’s teacher had caned him and hurt him badly. When Harold found out, he was furious and went to the school the next to have a word with the teacher. Although, instead of speaking, Harold punched the man.

“I remember this time George got caned, George Harrison, ’cause we were mates at school, and I mean we never really did anything wrong but we might have like tight trousers and ted hairdos, so that pointed you out as somebody who is a trouble-maker,” Paul explained.

“So George got done once, and the teacher missed him and got him here [on the wrist] — whack — so he had a couple of big weals here, you know, those rash things. And he went home, and he’s having his tea with his dad, and they were all chatting about how it went at school.

“And his dad said, ‘What’s that?’ when he saw these things, you know, and George said, you know, ‘Teacher did it.’ So the next day, they were in class, and somebody poked their head round the door, ‘Ah, Mr.,’ whoever the teacher was who caned George, ‘come out for a moment please.’

“He came out, and it was George’s dad there. And he said ‘Did you do that to my son?’ and he goes ‘Yes, I did,’ and he goes — whack! [makes punching movement] (laughter) Oh! Right there. Oh, he was a hero. He was just the school hero then, George’s dad. That was it.

‘I used to tell my dad, ‘You know, I got caned, dad.’ He said, ‘Well, you probably did something wrong.'”

George defended his son, Dhani, during a run-in with the police

Just as Harold defended him, George defended Dhani when the time came. In Martin Scorsese’s 2011 documentary, George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Dhani told a story about how his father defended him during a run-in with police.

“I was 15 and then had some little run-in with some policemen and he told the policemen to f*** off,” Dhani said. “That’s when I realized that he was actually cool, on my side and not just a scary dad, you know? And he was very very close to me after that.

“We kind of would run off down the garden and hide, don’t tell you mom kind of stuff, you know?”

George and Dhani were a lot alike.


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George rebelled against his father just as Dhani did with George

Harold defended George, and George defended Dhani. However, Dhani and George were similar in how they rebelled as teenagers.

When George quit school obsessed with his guitar, his father grew concerned. Harold wanted his son to get a good job, but he joined The Beatles instead.

Years later, when Dhani was a kid, to rebel in his family, he had to join the Combined Cadet Force at his school. In Martin Scorsese’s documentary, Dhani said that George hated when he walked around the house in his uniform. Dhani further rebelled by going to college for a degree in industrial design and physics.

George and Dhani rebelled against their fathers but soon had another thing in common. Dhani eventually followed in his father’s footsteps. As George’s health failed, Dhani realized it was futile to resist becoming a musician.

He soon became a great artist in his own right and made his father proud, just as George did Harold. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the Harrison family.