In 1976, Lorne Michaels offered The Beatles $3,000 to reunite on his show, Saturday Night Live. Seven months later, George Harrison signed on as the musical guest while Paul Simon had hosting duties. That show had two great moments.
In one skit, George confronted Michaels about the pay. Then, George and Simon performed together in one of the most famous performances on SNL. Simon enjoyed performing with the ex-Beatle. He said it was an “effortless” collaboration.
Paul Simon said performing with George Harrison was ‘effortless’
Simon spoke very highly about his performance with George on SNL in a special edition of Rolling Stone, “Remembering George.”
“The roots of my friendship with George Harrison go back to 1976, when we performed together on Saturday Night Live,” Simon said. “Sitting on stools side by side with acoustic guitars, we sang ‘Here Comes the Sun,’ and ‘Homeward Bound.’
“Though we’re in the same generation and weaned on Buddy Holly, Elvis and the Everly Brothers, it must have seemed as strange to him to be harmonizing with someone other than Lennon or McCartney as it was for me to blend with someone other than Art Garfunkel.
“Nevertheless, it was an effortless collaboration. The mesh of his guitar and voice with my playing and singing gave our duet an ease and musicality that made me realize how intrinsic and subtle his contribution was to the Beatles’ brilliant creative weave.
“He made musicians sound good without calling attention to himself.”
Simon thinks George’s songwriting was ‘stylistically close’ to his
During his segment in “Remembering George,” Simon continued to say that he thought George’s songwriting was similar to his own.
“His songwriting, too, which I always thought to be stylistically close to mine, was gentle and sad with country and skiffle influences rippling beneath his often sardonic lyrics,” Simon said. “It all seemed deceptively simple until masterpieces like ‘Here Comes the Sun’ and ‘Something’ made people realize that the Beatles has three major writers competing for the limited space of the vinyl LP.”
Simon didn’t understand why people called George the ‘quiet Beatle’
Like George’s good friend, Tom Petty, Simon didn’t understand why people called George the “quiet Beatle.” Petty said that George “never shut up,” but Simon explained George’s temperament better.
“They called him ‘the quiet Beatle,’ but he wasn’t particularly quiet; he simply didn’t demand to be heard,” Simon said. “He knew who he was, where he’d come from, what he’d accomplished.” Simon continued to explain that George “wasn’t humble, but he projected a humility that implied a vision of his fame seen in a larger context.
“God gives us color and fragrance, the gardener waters and weeds,” Simon concluded, referring to George’s green thumb.
George had a profound effect on many people, even if they weren’t in his circle of close friends.