Pattie Boyd Said George Harrison Was ‘Surrounded By Yes-Men’

By the end of George Harrison and Pattie Boyd’s relationship, the fractures in their dynamic had been deepening for a while. Boyd explained that she felt the distance between them growing as their marriage went on. She said this was partly due to the constant flow of people who surrounded them. According to her, this had a detrimental effect on their communication.

George Harrison and Pattie Boyd | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

George Harrison and Pattie Boyd married in 1966

In 1964, Harrison and Boyd met on the set of A Hard Day’s Night, The Beatles’ debut film. Harrison was taken by her right away — he asked her to marry him on the day they met. She had a boyfriend and turned him down, but they saw each other again at a photo shoot. At this point, she was no longer with her boyfriend and began dating Harrison.

After two years as a couple, Harrison and Boyd married at the Epsom register office in Surrey, England. While together, Harrison wrote the love song “Something” about Boyd.

She believed he was surrounded by ‘yes-men’

By the time they married, Harrison had been a global celebrity for years. Because of this, he didn’t like to go out in public, as he didn’t like being recognized. Boyd said that the number of people they saw began to narrow into a small group.

“We didn’t listen to the radio because George wouldn’t let us, and we didn’t have newspapers, and the people who came to see us were either musicians or worked for Apple,” Boyd wrote in the book Wonderful Tonight.

Two people who were very often around were Kumar Shankar, the nephew of Harrison’s friend Ravi Shankar, and Harrison’s assistant.

“George also had a secretary called Doreen. She didn’t live at Friar Park and I can’t remember where she came from, but she was in the house every day,” Boyd wrote, adding, “She and Kumar were friends and they would go out together on their days off. She dismissed me, ignored what I said, treated me as if I was a nobody in my own home and my wishes and opinions were insignificant.” 

Boyd explained that this caused the communication between herself and Harrison to deteriorate further. 

“It was not a conversation I could have with George: we didn’t communicate on any level anymore,” she wrote. “He was surrounded by yes-men. When I challenged him about it he said, ‘Well, I’d hate to be surrounded by no-men.'” 

George Harrison wrote a song about his split from Pattie Boyd

Harrison and Boyd divorced in 1977, but their relationship had effectively been over for several years. He began dating his future wife, Olivia Harrison, and Boyd was involved with her future husband, Eric Clapton. Harrison wrote the song “So Sad” about their troubled relationship.

“Now it’s got to be shelved/It’s too late to make a new start/ And he feels so alone/ With no love of his own,” he wrote.

Harrison credited his relationship with Olivia with helping him out of this dark place.

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