George Harrison Was Very Nervous About All the ‘Macabre’ Events Surrounding the Beatles

Long before John Lennon’s murder and a violent home invasion at George Harrison’s house, Harrison began to worry about some of the events happening around The Beatles. He explained that he wanted to stop touring in 1965, roughly a year before the band’s final tour. Harrison believed that their level of celebrity was almost dangerous. He felt distinctly unsafe sometimes. 

A black and white picture of George Harrison of The Beatles playing an electric guitar and wearing a turtleneck.
George Harrison of The Beatles | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The musician grew tired of fame after taking LSD

Harrison enjoyed his rise to success but grew weary of fame after taking LSD for the first time. He felt that he had changed his perspective on life and understood that a different way of living was possible.

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“That presented a problem as well, because then the feeling began in me of, well, it’s all well and good being popular and being in demand, but you know, it’s ridiculous, really,” he told Rolling Stone in 1987. “I think, from then on, I didn’t enjoy fame. I enjoyed it in a sort of teenage way up until then, and then I realized that this is serious stuff. This is my life being affected by all these people clamoring and shouting, and all those newspapers writing. That’s when the novelty disappeared, around 1966, and then it became hard work.”

George Harrison started to worry about the danger surrounding The Beatles

Beyond this, Harrison felt slightly nervous about some of the more fervent fan behavior. Harrison agreed that some of the things happening around The Beatles were “macabre.”

“I sensed this in 1965, and I said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want ticker-tape parades,” Harrison said, adding, “‘I don’t want to be put on this big pedestal.'”

He said that they got into a few “scrapes and near misses” over the years.

“I mean, planes with engines on fire and things like that,” he said. “Every time we went to Texas, we nearly got wiped out. The first time just by the police not listening to our advance man tell them how to handle the situation. We landed on the runway in Houston; they put about four police at the airport, and so there were thousands of kids. They were actually running along the runway, and the pilot just turned the engines off and let the plane coast to a stop. Within a few minutes, they were all over the plane. They were on the outside of the plane, knocking on the windows and all over the wings. It was ridiculous.”

A group of people threatened to kill Ringo Starr, and it seemed that wherever they went, there was some sort of political or social unrest. It reached a point where if Harrison heard fireworks while performing, he assumed someone had opened fire on the band.

George Harrison said it was a relief when The Beatles stopped touring

Harrison said that he felt a sense of relief after the band’s final show.

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“There was a sense of relief after that, getting home,” he said. “Then we spent what seemed like fifty years going in and out of each other’s houses, writing tunes and going into the studio for Sgt. Pepper and the White Album. But for me, I think for all of us, it was just too much. The novelty had worn off. Everybody was growing up. Everybody was getting married and leaving home, in effect I think it was inevitable, really.”

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