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Once George Harrison learned there was more to life than boogying all the time, he didn’t have much in common with other rock stars. Years later, though, George got along with everyone again.

George Harrison and Elton John performing at the Prince's Trust Concert in 1987.
George Harrison and Elton John | FG/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

George Harrison said he couldn’t relate to other rock stars who ‘boogie all the time’

Like any celebrity, George liked to go out and party with his friends, especially in his early career.

George’s widow, Olivia, told Rolling Stone that George had a “crazy side” that liked to have fun. His first wife, Pattie Boyd, claimed he split his time between intense meditation and heavy partying.

“He would meditate for hour after hour,” Boyd wrote in her memoir, Wonderful Tonight. “Then, as if the pleasures of the flesh were too hard to resist, he would stop meditating, snort coke, have fun, flirting and partying…. There was no normality in that either.”

However, partying soon lost its fun. George was sick of the paparazzi. Then, he found something more meaningful than partying: spirituality. Once George embarked on his spiritual journey, nothing else truly interested him, even music. He knew his one path in life was to be God-conscious and to connect with his maker in every way possible. However, his spirituality began to alienate him from everyone else.

In 1977, George told Mitchell Glazer at Crawdaddy that he got to a point where being a rock star was one big deviation. Soon, George had nothing in common with other rock stars. He didn’t want to waste his life boogying all the time.

“Since I got involved with it in the ’60s, I’ve been heavily into it and then at times come right back out of it,” George said of partying. “There are a lot of people in the business that I love, friends, you know, who are really great but who don’t have any desire for knowledge or realization.

“It’s good to boogie once in a while, but when you boogie all your life away it’s just a waste of a life and of what we’ve been given,” George said. “I have to pull myself back out of that maya. Unfortunately, I don’t have much to relate to the friends who just boogie all the time. It’s very difficult.

“I can get high like the rest of them, but it’s actually low. The more dope you take the lower you get, really. Having done that, I can say that from experience. Whatever it is you just need more, and the more you take the worse you get.”

George got along better with other rock stars later on

By the early 1970s, George had lost all interest in partying.

In Here Comes The Sun: The Spiritual And Musical Journey Of George Harrison, Joshua M. Greene wrote, “Critics wondered if he had ‘gone crackers’ from too much meditation while friends felt disconnected from him, and with good reason: he had lost interest in all-night parties with nonbelievers.

“He declined invitations so consistently that even old chums viewed his enthusiasm for God as wandering beyond reasonable boundaries.”

Eventually, though, into the 1980s, George realized he could have relationships with other rock stars who’d been famous in the 1960s and 1970s. They’d all filled their egos back then but had settled down.

During a 1987 interview on The Today Show, a reporter talked about George’s recent Prince’s Trust performance. She pointed out that George and the friends who joined him on stage, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Elton John, and Jeff Lynne, seemed to have a real support system and friendship.

“They’re really nice,” George replied. “I think the older we all get, the nicer we become; they become; I’m sure maybe I’ve gotten nicer too, I don’t know. But they are, they’re really good.

“I mean, they’ve all been through so much. I think their egos have all been satisfied or knocked down and up and down to such an extent that they sort of value friendship. They’re good, good guys.”


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George often teased starting a band with Elton John, Eric Clapton, and others

Later in life, George loved performing and jamming with other rock stars like he did at the Prince’s Trust Concert. That’s what he lived for, playing in a band with friends. George even teased joining a group.

“Elton, apparently, is forming a band for over 40-year-olds, which I’m told I’m going to be in,” George said on The Today Show.

During an interview with MuchMusic, George spoke about his plans and wanting to do something with Clapton and Lynne.

“I shouldn’t really say this because they don’t know about it, but I’d like to do something, not just a solo album for myself, I’d like to try and get involved with maybe Jeff Lynne and maybe Eric Clapton and do something together new like that, just a one-off. Or maybe just Jeff and I; if not, I’ll do one on my own again.”

The interviewer asked, “A new band in the making here?” George replied, “The Traveling Wilburys. Don’t tell anybody.”

George did form a supergroup, but it wasn’t with Elton John, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Lynne. He formed The Traveling Wilburys with Lynne, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and Roy Orbison.

George always loved being in a band. It was great that all of the Wilburys left their egos at the door and just made music.