George Harrison and Jeff Lynne Worked Well Together on ‘Cloud Nine’ Because of Their Mutual Dislike of Pop Music

Before George Harrison started any part of his 11th studio album, Cloud Nine, he needed a producer, and the first person that came to mind was Jeff Lynne, ironically. George once called Lynne a Beatles copycat. However, he realized how wrong he was and contacted Lynne.

After meeting, the former Beatle wanted to get to know the ELO frontman and producer before they started work. George had to make sure they’d be good songwriting partners. Lynne passed the test, and the pair began Cloud Nine. Once they started, George realized why he and Lynne worked well together.

George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Eric Clapton performing at the 1987 Prince's Trust Concert.
George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Eric Clapton | FG/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

George Harrison knew he wanted Jeff Lynne to help him with ‘Cloud Nine’ but had to get to know him first

Initially, George knew it was ironic that he wanted Lynne to produce Cloud Nine. However, that was the reason why George wanted the producer. If Lynne was a Beatles copycat, that was OK with George. He wanted someone who made music like him.

“I had to have somebody who I respected and who I felt had a legitimate input and, likewise, somebody who was aware of my past and wasn’t just going to crowd me out, or turn me into some sort of thing that I wasn’t,” George told Anthony DeCurtis (per George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviews and Encounters.)

“That’s all. So when I thought of Jeff, I hadn’t ever met him. I thought, just from his records, he would be really good if we sort of got on together. So it was really a question of, first of all, finding somebody to get in touch with him, and then meeting with him without saying, ‘Well look, right down the line try and make a record, and you’re it.’ I didn’t want to frighten the fellow away.”

George also wanted to get to know Lynne to see if they’d be good songwriting partners. In a 1987 interview with Entertainment Tonight, George explained that it was difficult sitting down to write songs with somebody after having written on his own for so long.

George explained, “I think it’s important you get to know each other to a point where you don’t have any fear about inhibition, so you don’t mind making a fool of yourself, then you’ve got all that out the way, and you’re able to begin.”

RELATED: Why George Harrison Stayed Outside During The Beatles’ Meeting With Elvis Presley

George said he and Lynne worked well together on ‘Cloud Nine’ because of their mutual dislike of pop music

When George and Lynne hung out, they got along really well.

“As it happened it turned out very good, and he’s an excellent record producer and also as a songwriter and a performer himself, so the help from the musicians, I’ve always had help from my friends as musicians, but the main input really that helped me this time was in the production side,” George explained on Midday with Ray Martin (per George Harrison on George Harrison).

“Because it’s a bit tiring doing everything yourself, you know, and I think the input, which is what I’ve been missing over the last few albums, I got it with Jeff Lynne.”

George and Lynne worked well together because they had a mutual dislike of pop music.

“Well, another reason why I like Jeff Lynne was because there’s certain things that I don’t like about pop music,” George said. “I’m sure most people don’t like everything, but Jeff and I fit in together good, you know, we both have a dislike for certain clattery sounds and stuff like that, and I wanted to try and get it so it wasn’t so much like a computer record that didn’t have any human feel to it, you know?”

RELATED: Janis Joplin Wished George Harrison Had Seen Her and Big Brother and the Holding Company Perform Instead of Paul McCartney

The pair had a lot of fun recording ‘Cloud Nine’

George said he enjoyed making Cloud Nine before he and Lynne went into the studio. The former Beatle just had fun writing tunes with Lynne.

George told Entertainment Tonight, “We’d get through the first bit and get to the next bit, and he’d go back, and he’d say maybe that bit can be a bit better. He’s a real hard worker at it, and it made me think a bit more about what we were doing, but we’ve had times when it was just fun as well.

“You know, we’d just put a microphone up, to write the lyrics, it was always fun because we’d just have a few beers and then just sing anything and see what came out.”

George liked working with Lynne so much that he asked him to join The Traveling Wilburys in 1988. Lynne became one of George’s best friends and remains one.

RELATED: George Harrison’s Son, Dhani, Was Upset He Didn’t Play Chuck Berry During His 1987 Prince’s Trust Performance