George Harrison was proud of everything The Beatles did in their short time together. However, he grew tired of being “Beatle George” early on. In fact, George was the first Beatle to want out of the band after he’d grown bored, tired, and paranoid touring throughout Beatlemania.
The “quiet Beatle” preferred being in The Beatles when they weren’t famous, not just because he hated fame and everything that came with it. He was the most enthusiastic about The Beatles’ early days because they had freedom.
George Harrison said being a Beatle was often boring
During a rare 1987 interview with Entertainment Tonight, George talked about what he hated most about being in The Beatles. He said it was boring having to play the same songs over and over on tour.
“We became popular, and all this stuff happened where we sang the same songs a lot, we still had a laugh, it was still good fun though,” George explained. “But you know the-that side of it, of playing like as a musician lost the edge there because we just played the same tunes that we play recorded, go around the world singing the same 10 songs and every year, we’d lose one and add a new one, and it got a bit boring being fab.
“You’d only see one show at a time, you see, we saw-we did it every night. You know [mock singing ‘She Loves You’]. It’s like, ‘Ah, god, not again.'”
George much rathered the early days of The Beatles because they could play whatever they wanted. The days where the pressure was off, and they wouldn’t face backlash from fans who expected to hear their hits.
George Harrison was more enthusiatic about the early days of The Beatles
Entertainment Tonight pointed out that George seemed more enthusiastic about the early days of The Beatles when they were playing in the clubs. George explained he liked that period because that’s when The Beatles were truly a band.
“When we became the famous Fabs it was really all over, sort of that aspect of just being a group playing and ‘What are we going to do?’ Where we didn’t have to care, where we could drink and just be up there being a rock band in our leather suits,” George explained.
George said the band even lost their edge as musicians once they became famous. They just played the same tunes day after day. After a while, George became disenchanted with touring as a Beatle and also as an ex-Beatle. He could never escape his past as one of the Fab Four and didn’t like it when fans expected him to sing Beatles’ hits. Eventually, George started to hate all the pressures of being a rock star, making him less-than-enthusiastic about releasing new music into his solo career.
All George wanted to do was make music, and if people liked it, that was fine by him, but he didn’t like the expectations that came with being a famous rock star.
“In the Sixties we overdosed on that, and then I consciously went out of my way at the end of the Sixties, early Seventies, to try and be a bit more obscure,” George explained to Rolling Stone in 1979. “What you find is that you have a hit and suddenly everybody’s knocking on your door and bugging you again. I enjoy being low profile and having a peaceful sort of life.”
George would have been happy playing smaller shows in the middle of nowhere
Years after touring with The Beatles at the height of Beatlemania and facing pressures from fans during solo tours, George wanted to return to the days where he could play smaller venues. He’d have even played at a Holiday Inn in Minnesota, where no one knew who he was or anything about The Beatles.
George explained to Entertainment Tonight, “I think what I like to do is play in somewhere like the Holiday Inn in Minnesota or somewhere, you know? Somewhere where nobody goes, or there’s just a few old people in the corner who don’t know who you are, and then you can just be [imitates guitar noises] and just play, you could have a few friends there, a few beers on the piano and do that kind of thing.”
George couldn’t have been less suited for The Beatles even if he tried. We’re thankful he joined in the late 1950s; otherwise, we’d have never heard his excellent music. However, it’s still sad that George felt like he couldn’t do what he wanted, playing music. There was always something that made it more complicated, so George tried hard not to have a music career. He didn’t have an agent or a manager. He was just George Harrison.