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George Harrison had some surprising thoughts after The Beatles split in 1970. Out of the group, George was the least suited for fame. By 1969, George was getting frustrated with John Lennon and Paul McCartney for putting him on the back burner. He was sick of being a glorified session man and briefly quit during the Let It Be Sessions.

So, when The Beatles split, George should’ve been the most relieved. However, he wasn’t, not entirely. George hoped for a day when The Beatles made music together again. He assumed that he and his bandmates only needed some time apart to get recording solo out of their systems.

The Beatles during filming for 'Magical Mystery Tour' in 1967.
George Harrison and The Beatles | Potter/Express/Getty Images

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

The Beatles had deep-rooted problems when they broke up. It all collectively reached boiling point.

George was 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 told WABC-FM New York’s Howard Smith (per Beatles Interviews). “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.”

Despite it being a tense time, George looked at the positives of The Beatles’ split and hoped for the best. He wanted out of the band before the rest. However, he assumed that all The Beatles needed was some time apart to explore solo careers.

“I’m sure that after we’ve all completed an album or even two albums each, then that novelty will have worn off,” George said.

George hoped The Beatles recorded together again because it would’ve been selfish if they didn’t

After The Beatles went their separate ways, it’s unclear what George thought would’ve happened. Would The Beatles reunite after the novelty wore off? George didn’t know; he only knew that he was open to future collaborations. Interestingly, he also said it would be selfish of The Beatles if they didn’t record together.

“I’ll certainly try my best to do something with them again,” he said. “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.

“You know, it’s no more gloomy than it’s been for the last ten years. It really isn’t any worse. It’s just that now over the last year — what with John, and lately with Paul– everything that they’ve thought or said has come out, you know, to the public. It’s been printed.

“But the main thing is, like in anybody’s life, they have slight problems. And it’s just that our problems are always blown up, shown to everybody. But it’s not really… it’s not a problem. It’s only a problem if you think about it.”

George had high hopes after The Beatles disbanded. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as he wanted.


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Nine years later, he had no desire to join the band again

Somewhere along the way, something changed. George’s sentiments on The Beatles’ split altered, and his hope that they’d record again once they churned out some solo albums went out the window.

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. We almost got killed in a number of situations – planes catching on fire, people trying to shoot the plane down and riots everywhere we went. 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.”

Eventually, The Beatles reunited in the 1990s to record “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love,” although John didn’t get to be there. George wrestled with his Beatle days long after they split. There were positives and negatives in the aftermath. Being a Beatle didn’t harm his solo career, but it also put him in a box where the world could constantly look at him under a microscope.