George Harrison Didn’t Participate in Any John Lennon Tributes: ‘I Don’t Think John Would’ve Taken Part in Them Either’

George Harrison didn’t want to be a part of any John Lennon tributes after his former bandmate died in 1980. However, that didn’t mean George loved John any less.

George Harrison and John Lennon at London Airport in 1965.
George Harrison and John Lennon | Harry Thompson/Evening Standard/Getty Images

The bandmates had a complicated relationship

George and John didn’t immediately hit it off when they first met. John thought George was too young to join The Beatles and didn’t like that he tagged along like a little brother. However, George knew how to hold his own whenever John made biting remarks.

Eventually, they grew to respect one another. When George started his spiritual journey, John watched, amazed. They bonded over spirituality, chanting while sailing through the Greek Islands and meditating for days at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in India.

When George got annoyed at Paul McCartney for being domineering and abruptly quit The Beatles, John defended him. After the group went their separate ways, George said he had the strength to organize the Concert for Bangladesh because John had instilled boldness in him.

John and George’s relationship healed faster than both of their relationships with Paul. The older Beatle showed George he wanted to continue to work with him in some capacity when he invited George to play on Imagine.

Whatever George and John’s relationship was like, George revealed the pair were never mad at each other for very long.

“But John, you know, he was a good lad, he was—there was a part of him that was saintly, that aspired to the truth and great things,” George told Mark Rowland in 1989. “And there was a part of him that was just, you know… a looney! [Lauaghter.]

“Just like the rest of us! And he had his mood swings and that, but he was basically very honest. If he was a bastard one day, he’d say, ‘Ah well, f*** that, you know, I’m sorry, I was wrong.’ And he’d just deflate any feeling you had against him, any negative feeling. Not like some other people I know who sit on walls … and don’t come clean.”

So, George knew John wouldn’t take it personally if he didn’t participate in any of his tributes.

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George Harrison didn’t participate in any John Lennon tributes

The Beatles guitarist got a horrible call in the middle of the night on Dec. 8, 1980. Initially, he thought his other fellow Beatle, Ringo Starr, had died, but it was John. George was upset John didn’t get to leave his body the right way but soon realized his former bandmate was in a better place.

George felt strongly about what happened to John but chose not to participate in any John Lennon tributes. He revealed that John wouldn’t have taken part in them either during this during an interview with Sunday Sunday in 1990.

“I don’t think John would’ve taken part in them either, actually,” George laughed. Sunday Sunday asked, “Well, why did you feel so strongly that you wouldn’t take part in them?”

George replied, “I didn’t really feel strongly, it’s just that all the time, you know, you must realize, every month there’s a request to do some kind of show like that and you either, you know, end up doing that for the rest of your life or doing what you want to do. I don’t do live concerts anyway and didn’t see any point, really.”

George paid tribute to John in his own way, through song.

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George had his own John Lennon tribute

George had his own John Lennon tribute. Instead of performing, George honored his friend by recording a song called “All Those Years Ago.” George initially wrote the tune for Ringo, but he turned it into a song for John after he died.

“Straight away, I changed it and made it you know more as a thing about John. Specifically about him,” George told Entertainment Tonight in 1987. “It was hard to sing it really because, you know, I mean at that time it was not long after you know his-he was killed and you know it’s sort of a bit difficult to sing it.

“At least take one was. Maybe by the time I’d done take eight, I was just not really thinking too deeply about what I was saying.”

George knew John would’ve enjoyed “All Those Years Ago” and that he wouldn’t have been offended if George didn’t turn up for any of his tributes. It makes one wonder, though. If George didn’t want to do any John Lennon tributes, what would he think of his own, including Concert for George?

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