The Quiet Beatle, George Harrison Dated the Quiet Ronette, Estelle Bennett: ‘There Was Something About Him That Made Me Open up and Spill Out’

The Beatles’ George Harrison and The Ronettes’ Estelle Bennett didn’t bond over being the quiet members of their respective bands. George wasn’t “the quiet Beatle” any more than Bennett was “the quiet Ronette.” In the early 1960s, those were just the nicknames the press gave them for unknown reasons.

If George and Bennett really were quiet, they never would have struck up a conversation with each other at a party in 1964. They wouldn’t have dated or talked for hours on the phone late into the night either.

The Ronettes, Estelle Bennett, Ronnie Spector, and Nedra Talley posing for a photo wearing matching white outfits in 1964.
Estelle Bennett, Ronnie Spector, and Nedtra Talley | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

George Harrison and Estelle Bennett met at a party in 1964

According to Ronnie Spector, Bennett’s sister, and fellow Ronette, the girl group first met The Beatles on their first tour of the U.K. in 1964. Both groups attended a show-business party in London and quickly became friends. However, two of The Beatles had other ideas.

While John Lennon put the moves on Spector (she denied his advances because she was dating Phil Spector), George set his eyes on Bennett. They started talking and found that they had a lot in common, not just that the press called them quiet.

According to Weekly View, Bennett said, “We kept running into each other at parties and gatherings and always found our eyes meeting no matter how many other people were in the room. George and I talked whenever we’d see each other.

“We found we liked the same things, long walks while wearing comfortable clothes and being with sincere people who liked us for ourselves and not because we were in show business. I think I was the happiest when I was talking with George.”

Like most of the world by then, Bennett became enchanted with George. “There was something about him that made me open up and spill out anything that was on my mind,” she said. “I think he felt the same way, for he’d often call late in the evening and talk on the phone for hours.”

RELATED: George Harrison Once Admitted That It Was a ‘Bit Ironic’ That He Loved Working With Jeff Lynne

George and Bennett went on a double date with John and Spector

After Spector rejected John, they remained friends. So, it wasn’t awkward when they went on a double date with George and Bennett, especially when the sisters’ mother accidentally attended.

“My mother toured with us everywhere,” Spector explained to People. “John and George were picking us up at the hotel to take us to dinner. They were so nice and polite, they said, ‘Mrs. Bennett, would you like to go to dinner with us?’ And my mother said, ‘Sure, let me get my purse!’

“I almost had a heart attack! We were just at the age where we wanted to go out and have fun, and here’s Mom with us!? No no no. But we didn’t know how to say that. So we took her to dinner like good little girls, and of course John and George were so polite: ‘Ok, Mrs. Bennett, we’ll wait for you to get your purse.’ And I’m looking at them: ‘We wanna see England without mom!'”

Unfortunately, George and Bennett’s romance was cut short when The Beatles left for Paris around the time The Ronettes left to return to the U.S. The pair saw each other again when The Beatles came to the States for the first time, but George was different.

RELATED: George Harrison’s Son Tried Really Hard Not to Become a Musician Like His Father

The quiet Beatle was different in America

When The Beatles touched down in America, they didn’t know what to do with themselves. Beatlemania had skyrocketed, and the group was essentially prisoners in their hotel rooms. According to Spector, The Ronettes were the first friends The Beatles thought of calling to help them.

“I remember them coming to New York the first time, and John Lennon called me saying, ‘Ronnie, we don’t know what to do. We’re prisoners here.’ They were in either the Warwick or the Plaza Hotel. ‘You gotta come up and get us out of here,'” Spector told Rolling Stone.

“They didn’t know anybody in America. So me, Estelle and Nedra – the three Ronettes – would go up there. He said, ‘Please bring the 45 records.’ So we’d sit there on the floor and listen to records. We had the best time. I remember he got upset because the Supremes came in, because people came in just to take pictures with them.

“But they were our buddies; we were having fun. I remember George going, ‘Oh, no. We’ve got to take a picture.’ So they’d get up, leave us and come right back and sit down on the floor and continue our conversation about rock & roll.”

So, the Ronettes were The Beatles’ only salvation in their hectic world at the time. In America, they couldn’t be themselves like they were when The Ronettes were in their neck of the woods. Bennett realized this when she tried to start her romance with George again.

“We saw each other many times,” Bennett said. “I was with him at the party after their concert and on other evenings when we just sat around the hotel with the rest of the group.

“But somehow things weren’t the same. We couldn’t recreate the same relationship we had when I was in London…Over there he’s at his best, he’s relaxed, he’s George Harrison, Englishman and not George Harrison, Beatle.”

Bennett is right; George had to shrug on his Beatle George skin for that tour and all the others. Therefore, he wasn’t himself and couldn’t have the kind of relationship he’d had with Bennett when they were in the U.K. It wasn’t personal. However, they made great memories and stayed friends.

RELATED: Mick Jagger Said George Harrison Was ‘Quite a Complicated Person’