George Harrison Didn’t Understand Why Paul McCartney Used so Many Beatles Songs in ‘Give My Regards to Broad Street’
After The Beatles broke up, George Harrison and Paul McCartney didn’t have the best relationship. None of The Beatles did, except Ringo Starr, who played drums on many of his ex-bandmates’ albums. However, George and Paul’s relationship improved after John Lennon died in 1980.
At a 1984 press conference, George revealed that he’d been in touch with Paul and was complimentary of his work. Well, as complimentary as George could be. He still had some opinions about Paul’s latest cinematic failure.
George Harrison said he liked Paul McCartney’s song ‘No More Lonely Night’
During a 1984 press conference promoting Derek Taylor’s Fifty Years Adrift, George revealed that his relationship with Paul was going well and that he liked Paul’s latest hit, “No More Lonely Nights.”
“I have recently been very much in touch with Paul and musically-see all the pens are coming out for this one, I love it-I think ‘No More Lonely Nights’ is a lovely song,” George told the press, sitting beside Taylor, who was once The Beatles’ long-time press officer. “I like it a lot.”
In 1984, Paul released his film, Give My Regards to Broad Street, and an album of the same name. While the film was a failure, the album did OK. In the U.S., it peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard 200. “No More Lonely Nights” reached No. 6 in the U.S. and No. 2 in the U.K. (per Beatles Bible).
George had one critique of Paul and his new film
Out of the 15 tracks on Give My Regards to Broad Street, Paul chose to cover six Beatles songs: “Good Day Sunshine,” “Yesterday,” “Here There And Everywhere,” “For No One,” “Eleanor Rigby,” and “The Long And Winding Road.” George told the press that he thought that was strange.
“I haven’t seen his movie so I can’t comment…,” George said before someone asked him about the Beatles songs in the film. “I’ve not really heard it all, I’ve heard ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and ‘For No One,’ I think. It’s OK, it’s OK. I can’t understand why he did it. Makes me think it must be because he got the publishing of it or something.”
One press member asked George if he thought Paul’s covers were sacrilege. “No, he wrote the songs,” George replied. “It’s like he says, I mean, if I wanted to sing ‘Here Comes the Sun,’ is that sacrilege? I mean, I wrote it. It’s the same, Paul wrote those songs, and good on him, he can do them.
“I think he would have been better off to have not done so many of them and had more new tunes. But he’s not doing so bad.”
Ringo wasn’t pleased to re-record The Beatles’ songs, and Paul regretted not recording more original tunes
According to Beatles Bible, Paul wanted to record all of the music in the film live on camera. Initially, George Martin, The Beatles’ ex-producer who served as producer on the movie, suggested Paul pre-record the backing tracks to cut take times. Then, everyone else would record live.
This method made history. Beatles Bible wrote, “it was the first time two sets of 24-track recording equipment – one for the pre-recorded tracks, another for the live performances – had been synchronised to cameras.”
However, Ringo Starr, The Beatles’ drummer, who helped Paul in the movie, wasn’t happy. He didn’t want to re-record The Beatles’ songs.
“Ringo wasn’t happy to get involved with it,” Paul said (per Beatles Bible). “We had some songs in the film where we wanted him to drum on them, but he didn’t want to attempt a new version.
“I can see it from his point of view, actually, because it would have been, ‘Did I drum good on version A or version B?’ and he didn’t even want a comparison. From my point of view, I’m looking at a song. I’m looking at one of my songs. I don’t want to be ashamed of anything I’ve written.”
However, Ringo pulled it off in the end.
Paul told Playboy (per Beatles Interviews) the film was about trying something new. Still, Paul would’ve agreed with George. There should have been more original tunes.
“I guess the ultimate luxury professionally is to be able to change your direction, to work in another medium. It’s what a lot of people would like to be able to do. It has also given me a chance to see professional actors at work, and now I can tell the acting profession, ‘Nobody need worry about me; there’s no danger from me.’
“Still, it’s been great fun and I’ve learned a lot. It’s a good little film, a nice evening out. I only regret I didn’t write a completely new score.”
For some time, The Beatles were critical of each other’s work. They were brutally honest sometimes, but George and Paul loved each other regardless.