The Beatles: Get Back’: George Martin Never Supported George Harrison, Especially After He Quit

Many fans know that George Harrison had a hard time bringing songs to The Beatles. However, some fans probably don’t know that George had another force standing against him, the group’s faithful producer, George Martin, who many refer to as the fifth Beatle.

Knowing that Martin was an integral part of The Beatles’ success, it’s surprising to hear that he was initially very hard on George. Martin “tolerated” him when he came with songs. Now, Peter Jackson’s new documentary, The Beatles: Get Back, has only reaffirmed that Martin wasn’t on team George. The producer didn’t support George in the recording studio, so why should he support him when he suddenly quit?

George Harrison and George Martin in suits at a Beatles event in 1993.
George Harrison and George Martin | Brian Rasic/Getty Images

George Martin was not supportive of George Harrison when he quit The Beatles

One of the most shocking things we saw in Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back was Martin’s reaction to George’s unexpected exit from the band.

Sure, George was snarky for most of Part 1, but he had a right to be. Paul and John were consistently ostracizing him and turning down his songs, even though they desperately needed new material. It all came to a boiling point when Paul started managing George throughout rehearsals.

“I’ll play anything you want me to play,” George told Paul as they rehearsed “Two Of Us.” “Or I won’t play at all if you don’t want me to play. Now, whatever it is that will please you, I’ll do it.”

So, George understandably quit. “I think I’ll be leaving the band now,” George said. “When?” John replied. “Now. Get a replacement. Write into the NME and get a few people,” George replied. As he left, George told the group off-camera that he’d see them “’round the clubs.”

John nonchalantly suggested they get Eric Clapton to replace him. Martin was also less-than sympathetic. Neil Aspinall tried to defend George, but Martin didn’t want to hear it.

“They’re our songwriting team and he’s his own team,” Martin explained. And if he’s not working on his own songs…” In a way, Martin was insinuating that he had to look after John and Paul, the hitmakers, and that was final. This wasn’t the first time Martin didn’t support George.

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Martin said he acted condescending toward George

In the early days of The Beatles, John and Paul were the chief songwriters. However, once George started writing more, it put a spanner in the works. Rather than welcome George’s ideas and songs, the duo treated George as a glorified session man and made him play what they wanted. They turned his tunes down left and right. Martin thought they had a right, being the hitmakers.

Martin didn’t like George coming forward with songs because he wanted “to concentrate on the guys who were giving me the hits,” Martin told CNN. He didn’t like George coming in and thinking he could be just as great. Initially, George’s songwriting “was kind of tolerated,” Martin said. “‘Oh, yes, we must have a George song on this thing,'” Martin would say condescendingly.

Looking back, Martin regrets his behavior. According to Udiscovermusic, Martin said, “I think the trouble with George was that he was never treated on the same level as having the same quality of songwriting, by anyone – by John, by Paul or by me. I’m as guilty in that respect.

“I was the guy who used to say: ‘If he’s got a song, we’ll let him have it on the album’ – very condescendingly. I know he must have felt really bad about that. Gradually he kept persevering, and his songs did get better – until eventually, they got extremely good. ‘Something’ is a wonderful song.”

For a time, Martin also thought George’s songs were boring. At least up until Let It Be. “He’d been awfully poor up to then,” Martin said (per Culture Sonar). “Some of the stuff he’d written was very boring.”

Martin defended that they didn’t put George down. However, he said they were condescending toward George in the same breath. “The impression is sometimes given that we put him down. I don’t think we ever did that, but possibly we didn’t encourage him enough,” Martin said. “He’d write, but we wouldn’t say, ‘What’ve you got then, George?’ We’d say, ‘Oh, you’ve got some more, have you?’

“I must say that looking back, it was a bit hard on him. It was always slightly condescending. But it was natural, because the others were so talented.”

RELATED: Tom Petty Said George Harrison Only Released ‘All Things Must Pass’ as a ‘Reaction to Leaving The Beatles’

Martin knew he and George were friends in the end

During a 1976 interview with Rolling Stone, Martin said he and George didn’t have bad blood between them. “George and I are good friends, we were chatting on the phone the other day,” he said.

Martin and George did work great together in the last couple of years of The Beatles. Martin often said George was an essential part of the group. “All of George’s influence on the Beatles was very benign and tremendous,” he told CNN. “His message was: Love each other.”

In 1992, George told Guitar World that “they’ve all apologized to me for all that over the years.” He continued, “Look, the thing is, so much has been said about our disagreements. It’s like… so much time has lapsed, it doesn’t really matter anymore.”

Leave it to George to give a “water under the bridge” response to being tolerated and treated horribly in a band as important as The Beatles.