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George Harrison once revealed he’d join a band with John Lennon again any day, but he didn’t have similar sentiments regarding Paul McCartney. There was no way George could be bandmates with Paul again.

John Lennon, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney in the studio in 1868.
John Lennon, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney | Keystone Features/Getty Images

George Harrison said he would’ve been bandmates with John Lennon again

During a press conference in 1974 (per George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviews and Encounters), George talked about The Beatles getting back together. The only way it would’ve happened was if the band went broke.

Besides, George didn’t want to rejoin The Beatles because he’d worked with many great musicians. However, George would’ve joined a band with John, not Paul.

“The point is, it’s all a fantasy, the idea of putting the Beatles back together again,” George said. “If we ever do that, the reason will be that we are all broke… I’d rather have Willie Weeks on bass than Paul McCartney. That’s the truth, with all respect to Paul.

“The Beatles was like being in a box—we got to that point. It’s taken me years to be able to play with other musicians. Because we were so isolated it becomes very difficult playing the same tunes day in, day out. Since I made ‘All Things Must Pass,’ it’s just so nice for me to be able to play with other musicians.”

“I don’t think the Beatles were that good. I think they’re fine, you know. Ringo’s got the best backbeat I’ve ever heard… Paul is a fine bass player … but he’s a bit overpowering at times. John’s gone through all of his scene, but he’s like me, he’s come back around.”

“To tell the truth, I’d join a band with John Lennon any day, but I couldn’t join a band with Paul McCartney, but it’s nothing personal. It’s just from a musical point of view.”

George would’ve been in a band with John, but not Paul

There are many reasons why George would’ve been in a band with John again, instead of Paul. Paul didn’t like when George came forward with his songs. He underestimated George’s talents and treated him like a glorified session man. George had to do tons of Paul’s songs how he wanted them done before Paul finally worked on one of George’s songs.

In a 1979 interview, Rolling Stone pointed out that George and Paul were the least compatible musically. George agreed, but his views of Paul as a bandmate weren’t personal. George liked Paul as a friend, but working together again would be impossible.

“Yeah, well now we don’t have any problems whatsoever as far as being people is concerned, and it’s quite nice to see him,” George said. “But I don’t know about being in a band with him, how that would work out. It’s like, we all have our own tunes to do.

“And my problem was that it would always be very difficult to get in on the act, because Paul was very pushy in that respect. When he succumbed to playing on one of your tunes, he’d always do good. But you’d have to do fifty-nine of Paul’s songs before he’d even listen to one of yours.

“So, in that respect, it would be very difficult to ever play with him. But, you know, we’re cool as far as being pals goes.”

In 1988, George told Mark Rowland (per George Harrison on George Harrison) that he didn’t have a relationship with Paul.

“I think of him as a good friend, really, but a friend who I don’t really have that much in common with anymore,” George said. “You know, sort of like you meet people in your life who mean a certain thing; it’s just like you’re married, and then you’re divorced, and you wish the other person well, but life has taken you to other places, to friendlier … whatever the expression is … confines.”


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The ‘My Sweet Lord’ singer said John would’ve been a Traveling Wilbury in a heartbeat

George’s friends knew how much John and even Paul meant to him. Tom Petty revealed to Rolling Stone that George looked up to John so much and wanted his acceptance. Also, George once told Petty that he thought John would join The Traveling Wilburys in a heartbeat.

“He said, ‘Oh, John would be a Wilbury in a second,'” Petty said. “He’d say about Paul, ‘Paul is a year older than me, and he still is.’ But he really loved Paul, too. And he really loved Ringo.”

It’s uncertain what George saw in John that he couldn’t see in Paul, considering they both often cast him aside and treated him like a younger brother. Maybe their temperaments were different.

George told Rowland, “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. And there was a part of him that was just, you know… a looney! [Laughter.].

“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.”

George loved all of The Beatles deep down. They were his brothers.