George Harrison Wondered if Someone Else Would Have Had Similar Success if They Put out The Beatles’ Songs

George Harrison wondered if someone else would’ve had success if they released The Beatles‘ songs. He didn’t think much of the band’s catalog, including his own songs. George didn’t understand what The Beatles were doing to get hits.

Beatles fan waiting for the band in New York in 1964.
The Beatles’ fans | Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

George Harrison wasn’t impressed with The Beatles’ songs

The Beatles admitted to being crummy musicians. They didn’t care about being the best. Instead, they worried about their songwriting and how everything sounded.

Paul McCartney said (per George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviews and Encounters), “George is the one of us who is interested in the instrument” and “the other three of us are more interested in the sound of the group.” However, George didn’t practice either.

“To be a guitarist, you’re supposed to practice a couple of hours a day,” he said. “But, I mean, I don’t do that… Well you know, I mean, the thing is… individually we’re all… I suppose we’re all crummy musicians, really.”

George’s opinion about The Beatles’ musicianship didn’t change. During a press conference in 1974 (per George Harrison on George Harrison), George revealed he didn’t think The Beatles’ songs were that good.

“I don’t think the Beatles were that good,” he said. “I think they’re fine, you know.”

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George wondered if someone else would have had similar success if they’d put out The Beatles’ songs

In 1969, George spoke to the BBC’s David Wigg about The Beatles’ newest album, Abbey Road. He didn’t know what The Beatles did to make hits and wondered if someone else would have had similar success if they’d released The Beatles’ songs.

“One person may dislike certain things, somebody else likes it,” George said. “Which is, makes it difficult doing albums because we’re all influenced by different things. And the Beatles has always been, sort of, a lot of different music.

“It’s never been one sort of ‘bag.’ [Laughs.] But the thing is that you can set a high standard and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a hit. You know, this is one thing. I don’t know, the market for hits is … you know, I just can’t figure it out.

“I know when the Beatles put out a single it’s a ‘hit.’ But I don’t know if … sometimes I feel that if somebody else had put out the same thing but done it their way it mightn’t be a hit. I don’t know. It’s very difficult. I’ve really decided I haven’t got a clue what’s commercial and what isn’t.

“And that’s the problem, you know, trying to decide what is and what isn’t a single.” 

The Beatles were a phenomenon, so no one will ever understand why so many people loved them. However, George guessed that maybe international radio stations had something to do with it.

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George thought American’s played music on the radio better than the British

George thought the American music industry was good at getting albums out to the people. Unlike the U.K.

“I think the American idea is really good where they just put out an album and the stations over there, you know, they have a lot of independent stations, unlike Britain, you see,” he said. “That’s a problem with Britain, you’ve got your good old BBC, full stop. You know, maybe Radio Luxembourg if the weather’s fine. 

“You know, this is the thing I don’t like. It’s the Monopolies Commission… Britain in a way, you know, it cuts its own throat.”

Whatever The Beatles’ songs had, people loved them and continued to today.

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