George Harrison didn’t understand why fans made musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and even his fellow Beatle, John Lennon, into “super incredible people” once they died. He argued there were a lot of incredible people in the world.
George Harrison said that after Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin died, fans made them into incredible people
In 1989, George told Mark Rowland that he didn’t understand when fans turned deceased musicians into saint-like beings. He included John in that. Rowland mentioned George’s song about John Lennon, “All Those Years Ago.”
He said, “I always looked up to kind of like not mythologizing him but really keeping …”
George interjected, “Well, that’s the problem that’s happened since. You know, okay, John was special, but there’s a lot of other special people, too. If you die … they made people like Janis and Jimi Hendrix and all them people who died, suddenly became like these super incredible people.
“But I think it’s harder to live in a way. It’s much easier to die than it is to live. And in fact, dying and living are the same thing. We’re half-dead anyway. The moment you’re born you start the road to death.”
George on his friend John Lennon
The former Beatle said it was unfair to classify fallen musicians as incredible people when there were so many incredible people in the world. That included John.
“But John, you know, he was a good lad, he was—there was a part of him that was saintly, that aspired to the truth and great things,” George said. “And there was a part of him that was just, you know… a looney! [Lauaghter.]
“Just like the rest of us! And he had his mood swings and that, but he was basically very honest. If he was a bastard one day, he’d say, ‘Ah well, f*** that, you know, I’m sorry, I was wrong.’ And he’d just deflate any feeling you had against him, any negative feeling. Not like some other people I know who sit on walls … and don’t come clean.”
The former Beatle didn’t think anyone would remember him after he died
George didn’t think fans would make him into an incredible person after he died because he didn’t think anyone would remember him.
His wife Olivia told the LA Times that George knew his first album outside The Beatles, All Things Must Pass, “meant things to people. He knew it helped people in their lives — people wrote to him, they told him. And he said, ‘Even if it’s one person, even if it helps somebody, then that’s great.’ But he wasn’t concerned about how he would be remembered,” Olivia said.
She added, “Not that he didn’t want to be remembered, but he didn’t expect to be remembered. Which I always thought was impossible.”
However, if George wanted fans to remember him for anything, he wanted it to be for his gardening, Olivia claims in a new interview with the Sunday Times.
“George, she says, wanted most of all to be remembered as a gardener,” the Times writes. “One who ‘wrote one or two good tunes.'”
It’s safe to say people have remembered George 20 years after he died and will continue to in the years to come.