George Harrison Said It Was Good The Beatles Split up Because Then They Didn’t Have to Compromise

George Harrison always looked at the brighter side of things, including The Beatles‘ split. While the world mourned the end of one of the most famous rock band’s in history, and his bandmates went their separate ways, George considered the positives of shedding his Beatle George façade.

First of all, George didn’t have to push and fight to get his songs on an album. He didn’t have to compromise on anything either. He was free to make music the way he wanted and turn his plethora of songs into a seven-times platinum album.

The Beatles recording audio for 'Yellow Submarine' in 1968.
The Beatles | Keystone Features/Getty Images

George Harrison was tired of pushing to get his songs on The Beatles’ records

In 1970, shortly after The Beatles broke up, George spoke to WABC-FM New York’s Howard Smith (per Beatles Interviews). Smith said he didn’t know George was a great songwriter because there were few of his songs on Beatles albums.

George had been writing songs since “Don’t Bother Me” in 1963. However, whenever he showed them to John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and their producer, George Martin, they shot him down. George only got a few songs per album, so he stockpiled most of them for later.

“It was the way the Beatles took off with Paul and John’s songs, and it made it very difficult for me to get in,” George said. “And also, I suppose at that time I didn’t have as much confidence when it came down to pushing my own material as I have now.

“There are four songs of mine on the double ‘White Album.’ But now the output of songs is too much to be able to just sit around, you know, waiting to put two songs on an album. I’ve got to get ’em out, you know.”

George said The Beatle who “would be the heaviest would get the most songs done. So consequently, I couldn’t be bothered pushing that much.

“Even on ‘Abbey Road’ for instance, we’d record about eight tracks before I got ’round to doing one of mine. Because you say, ‘Well, I’ve got a song,’ and then with Paul — ‘Well I’ve got a song as well and mine goes like this — diddle-diddle-diddle-duh,’ and away you go!

“It was just difficult to get in there, and I wasn’t gonna push and shout. But it was just over the last year or so we worked something out, which is still a joke really — Three songs for me, three songs for Paul, three songs for John, and two for Ringo.”

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George said it was good that The Beatles split up because then they didn’t have to compromise on anything

When The Beatles broke up, it wasn’t because they were fighting over how many songs each of them had on an album. There were other deep-rooted problems in the band, and it all collectively reached boiling point.

Still, George was set free. Suddenly, he could release his stockpile of songs he’d kept locked away, waiting. He could be a solo artist if he wanted and didn’t have to compromise on anything. So, for George, leaving The Beatles wasn’t all bad.

“Paul and John and myself have got just so many songs, I think this is a good way, you know, if we do our own albums,” George said. “That way we don’t have to compromise. I mean, we lose whatever we get from each other — we sacrifice that in order to do a total sort of thing.

“Because in a way, Paul wants to do his songs his way. He doesn’t want to do his songs my way. And I don’t wanna do my songs their way, really. I’m sure that after we’ve all completed an album or even two albums each, then that novelty will have worn off.”

It didn’t wear off. Although, in 1970, George was willing to collaborate with his bandmates on something eventually.

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George said ‘it’s very selfish’ if the group doesn’t record together

What did George think would happen after they recorded their own music for a while and the novelty wore off? George didn’t know; he only knew that he was open to future collaborations.

“I’ll certainly try my best to do something with them again. I mean, it’s only a matter of accepting that the situation is a compromise. In a way it’s a compromise, and it’s a sacrifice, you know, because we all have to sacrifice a little in order to gain something really big.

“And there is a big gain by recording together — I think musically, and financially, and also spiritually. And for the rest of the world, I think that Beatle music is such a big sort of scene — that I think it’s the least we could do is to sacrifice three months of the year at least, you know, just to do an album or two. I think it’s very selfish if the Beatles don’t record together.”

George’s sentiments changed later on. In 1979, George told Rolling Stone that he would never become a Beatle again.

“Not in this life or any other life,” he said. “I mean, a lot of the time it was fantastic, but when it really got into the mania it was a question of either stop or end up dead. It was aging me.

“But we had a great time. I think fondly of it all, especially as we’ve been through all the aftermath of Apple. Everybody’s sued each other to their hearts’ content, and now we’re all good friends.”

George made peace with his Beatle days and moved on to more spiritual ventures.

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