George Harrison and John Lennon were close for most of the time. George was like a little brother to John, and they bonded. But their relationship was always a step away from ending. George often felt like he wasn’t part of the band, mostly because John and Paul McCartney were the chief songwriters. Eventually, toward the end of The Beatles, George and John’s relationship became even more fragmented. While filming Let It Be, they had a fistfight that resulted in George storming out. His departure didn’t phase John, and their relationship sailed into rocky waters.
Later, John was hurt that he wasn’t included in George’s autobiography, I, Me, Mine. The ex-Beatles’ relationship never really healed after that. However, following John’s death in 1980, George paid tribute to his ex-bandmate in the only way he knew how; through music.
What was George Harrison and John Lennon’s relationship like?
In the documentary, George Harrison: Living in the Material World, George explains that he thought John was initially embarrassed to have him in The Beatles because he was so young. John was this older bad boy, and George looked about 10 years old. However, George really wowed John with his skills. George even taught John new chords and told him that a guitar was supposed to have six strings. John had been playing with only four.
As The Beatles grew more famous, George retreated to the back and became known as the “quiet” Beatle. John and Paul were the leaders of sorts, writing most of the songs. But they gave George a “piece of the action” occasionally.
John and George were close for a time, but that all went downhill when the band started to break apart. None of the bandmates truly liked each other toward the end of The Beatles, but John and George actually came to blows. The filming of Let It Be was the worst time for the band, and George stormed out. John already had George’s replacement in mind; Eric Clapton, George’s friend, who, by that point, was already in love with George’s wife, Patti Boyd.
After The Beatles broke up, John offered George an olive branch by inviting him to work on his new album Imagine in 1971. They worked on “How Do You Sleep?” together, which was a dig at Paul. But when George offered John an olive branch back, inviting him to play at his Concert for Bangladesh, for whatever reason, John and Yoko Ono did not attend.
Fast forward to George’s autobiography, I, Me, Mine. John took offense that he was not mentioned. In John’s last interview with Playboy, he spoke about how it hurt that George didn’t talk about him in the book. “My influence on his life is absolutely zilch and nil,” he said. Sadly, the ex-bandmates never got to sort things out between them.
George Harrison wrote John Lennon a song after he died
John was murdered outside his home in New York City in 1980. His death shocked the world, but no one was more shocked and sad than his fellow Beatles. George grieved the loss of his friend in the only way he knew; through music.
George penned a touching tribute song to John shortly after his death. In 1981, he released the song “All Those Years Ago,” which included references to John’s songs “All You Need Is Love” and “Imagine.”
The lyrics say, “But you point the way to the truth when you say. All you need is love… And you were the one they backed up to the wall. All those years ago. You were the one who imagined it all. All those years ago.”
According to Express, George talked about John in an interview in 1990, saying, “I hadn’t seen him for so long. I didn’t see him for two years anyway, occasionally [I’d] maybe send a postcard, and it’s knowing that he’s on the other end of the telephone if you do want to call. That’s the difference. Now you need the big cosmic telephone to speak to him. But I believe that life goes on, and so to me, I can’t get sad.”
George said, “We’ll meet somewhere down the line,” and they did. George was the next Beatle to die. So now they’re watching over Paul and Ringo Starr, playing guitar together again.