George Harrison’s Mom Said He Was the Most Serious Beatle Because He Didn’t Think He Could Afford to Make a Mistake

George Harrison took his role in The Beatles seriously. He enjoyed his work as a guitarist, but he also feared making a mistake. He was the youngest member of the band and wanted to prove himself, and he also knew that his mistakes would hold more weight than the others. According to his mother, Harrison never even smiled during performances to avoid making mistakes.

George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr stand in a line against a white wall.
The Beatles | Bettmann/Contributor via Getty

George Harrison was the youngest member of The Beatles 

Harrison was younger than his bandmates, something that bothered John Lennon. 

“George was the youngest, and it was obvious,” author Tony Bramwell said, per the book George Harrison: Behind the Locked Door by Graeme Thomson. . “He looked very young, even younger than his years. John Lennon didn’t particularly like him and didn’t want him in the band. He regarded him as too young, a kid, but Paul [McCartney] was pushing for him.”

Harrison recognized that Lennon was embarrassed of him. Due to his age, he was also deported from Germany when The Beatles were playing a residency in Hamburg.

George Harrison worried that he couldn’t make a mistake in The Beatles

While onstage, Harrison’s bandmates used to laugh and shout at the audience. Harrison never behaved that way, though.

“[The Cavern Club] was really a dump,” Harrison’s mother Louise said per The Beatles: The Authorized Biography by Hunter Davies. “There was no air at all. The walls ran with sweat all the time. The sweat used to drip off them or off the walls and onto the amps and short them. But they’d just carry on all the same, singing on their own. John used to shout out things at the audience. They all did. They’d tell them to shut up. But George never used to say anything or smile.”

Harrison told Louise that, as the lead guitarist, he couldn’t afford to make a mistake.

I used to ask him why he didn’t,” Louise said. “He always looked so serious. Girls were always asking me why he looked so serious. He used to say, ‘I’m the lead guitar. If the others make mistakes through larking around, no one notices, but I can’t make mistakes.’ He was always very serious about his music, and the money. He always wanted to know how much they were getting.”

He still had a sense of humor

Though Harrison was serious on stage, he tried to maintain a sense of humor in his life. In fact, he said that one of the biggest misconceptions about him is that he’s a serious person.

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“That I am serious,” he said, per the book George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviewers and Encounters. “Pisces are depicted as two fish going in opposite directions. Many people do not see my humorous side.”