Tom Petty Thought George Harrison Wanted John Lennon’s Acceptance ‘Pretty Bad’

George Harrison and John Lennon didn’t always have the best relationship. Initially, John thought George was too young to join The Beatles and treated him like a little brother. George held his own against John’s early treatment, but he didn’t stop viewing John as his older brother. He admired everything that John did. Some of George’s closest friends saw how much he wanted John’s acceptance.

George Harrison and John Lennon posing on an airplane in 1964.
George Harrison and John Lennon | Bettmann/Getty Images

George Harrison thought John Lennon was embarrassed having him in The Beatles

In Martin Scorsese’s documentaryGeorge Harrison: Living in the Material World, George explained that he thought John was initially embarrassed having him in The Beatles (then the Quarrymen) because he was so young.

John was three years older than George, who was 15. However, George wowed John with his guitar playing skills. George even taught John new chords and showed him that a guitar is supposed to have six strings.

In Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison, Joshua M. Greene wrote that George initially admired John’s “worldliness, his apparent sexual prowess and aggressive self-assurance, but he never let John’s sarcasm get the better of him. George would simply talk back and ‘give him a taste of his own.'”

When The Beatles became famous, George became known as the “quiet” Beatle. John and Paul were the songwriters. They occasionally gave George a “piece of the action” but later made fun of him for writing his own songs.

John and George grew close, though. When the band visited Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in India in 1968, George and John bonded over their shared love of meditation and spiritualism.

However, their relationship became strained when the band started to break up. After George briefly quit The Beatles during the filming of Let It Be, John quickly suggested they replace him with Eric Clapton. Then, shortly after that, the group broke up, and none of them got along.

Later, John offered George an olive branch by inviting him to work on his new album Imagine in 1971. They worked on “How Do You Sleep?”

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Tom Petty thought George wanted John to accept him ‘pretty bad’

Years later, when George became close with Tom Petty, John’s influence was still prevalent, and Petty saw it. According to Rolling Stone, George told Petty that he “really, really admired John.” Petty continued, “He probably wanted John’s acceptance pretty bad, you know?”

In a special edition of Rolling Stone called “Remembering George,” Petty said George loved John and his bandmates deep down. “I just know what I’ve heard from George as the years went by. But he was very funny, like, ‘The Beatles, they weren’t all that they were cracked up to be [laughs],'” Petty said.

“He loved the Beatles. He used to b**** sometimes about individual Beatles who got on his nerves. But he really loved them down deep, and I knew this. I think that a lot of George’s personality was formed by George.

“This is just a guess, but that was the way it appeared to me. He looked up to John so much. He said, ‘Oh, John would be a Wilbury in a second.’ He’d say about Paul, ‘Paul is a year older than me, and he still is.’ But he really loved Paul, too. And he really loved Ringo.”

Petty wasn’t George’s only friend that saw how much he looked up to John.

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Jim Keltner also said George looked up to his bandmate

Drummer Jim Keltner also saw how much George admired John. Keltner worked closely with both Beatles, so he saw it first hand.

In “Remembering George,” Keltner said, “To describe Geoge’s relationship with John is to say that John was truly his big brother. Now I’ve heard Paul say he felt like George was his little baby brother. And that was very touching to hear that just recently.

“But I know that in fact John was older than both of them, and John was kind of the big brother to the whole deal. George was very, very, heavily influenced by John, all of John’s thinking and the way John did things in the world, and the way he handled his Beatledom. I think that George was very affected by that.”

George and John had their ups and downs with each other. One minute they acted like best friends who had a tight bond, and the next, they were mean to each other. John was a bit harsh when he wanted to be.

John was mad that George hardly talked about him in his memoir, I Me Mine. He said he didn’t have any influence on George’s life, which was far from the truth. George didn’t care, though. He knew he and John loved each other.

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