We learned a lot about The Beatles in Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back, but watching the three-part documentary only reaffirmed just how witty the group was and how snarky George Harrison could be. We know about Cranky George from stories from the quiet Beatle’s friends like Tom Petty. Certainly, we know how painfully honest George could be too.
Jackson’s documentary showcased some of George’s best one-liners firsthand. Most of them seemed to come in Part 1, before George quit, which is understandable. He was reaching his peak in those early days at Twickenham Studios.
When The Beatles played ‘Don’t Let Me Down,’ George Harrison thought it was ‘awful, actually’
While The Beatles were rehearsing John Lennon’s number, “Don’t Let Me Down,” in Part 1, John and Paul McCartney agreed that the song sounded great. On the other hand, George thought it sounded horrible and didn’t ghost around it. He told it as he saw it. “I think it’s awful, actually,” he said. “Same old s***.”
Paul saught enthusiasm while George said the album would turn into something they didn’t like
While the band was discussing their plans for the TV special, Paul said they needed enthusiasm because he felt like the only one who wanted to do it. George said whatever they did would once again turn into something they didn’t like. “I think we should forget the whole idea of the show,” he said.
George didn’t want any of his songs played during the TV special because they ‘always turn out s*****’
Discussions of the TV special really wound George up. At one point, he said that he didn’t want any of his songs played during the show because they “always turn out s*****.” We would disagree, but that was just George’s opinion.
‘Maybe we should have a divorce’
During all the bickering, George slapped the rest of his bandmates with a doozy. “Maybe we should have a divorce,” he said. Although no one really responded to him, George wasn’t kidding. He was an inch away from quitting, and we all knew it.
‘I don’t give a f*** if you don’t want it. I’ll put it in my musical’
One night, George watched a TV program called Europa. After seeing the pomp during the waltz, George was inspired to write “I Me Mine.” He played it for The Beatles, but they didn’t seem too enthusiastic about it. George responded with: “I don’t give a f*** if you don’t want it. I’ll put it in my musical.”
‘The idea of the boat is completely insane’
Later, Michael Lindsay-Hogg and The Beatles discussed the TV special again. At one point, Paul suggested they give some lucky fans boat tickets to come with them to Africa for a torchlit concert at an ancient amphitheater. George already didn’t want to go abroad for the TV special, along with Ringo Starr, so the idea was not going to change his mind. He said being stuck on a boat with fans was his version of a nightmare. “The idea of the boat is completely insane,” George said bluntly.
‘I’ll play anything you want me to play, or I won’t play if you don’t want me to play’
During rehearsals for “Two Of Us,” frustrations between George and Paul reached their peak. “I’ll play anything you want me to play,” George said. “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.” It wasn’t long after that George nonchalantly quit.
George told The Beatles to ‘write into the NME and get a replacement’
After fighting with Paul throughout “Two Of Us” and “Get Back,” George quit unexpectedly. However, one of the tensest moments in Jackson’s documentary was also one of the calmest. No screaming matches resulted in someone storming out and never returning. “I think I’ll be leaving the band now,” George said. “When?” John replied as if George was just leaving to go get some lunch. “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.”
‘You know, f*** all that. I’m just gonna do me for a bit’
Later, in Part 3, George told John that he wanted to release a solo album but didn’t want to ruin “The Beatles bit.” “I’ll tell you what I’d like to do,” George said. “I’ve got so many songs that I’ve got me like my quota of tunes for the next 10 years or albums. I’d just like to maybe do an album of songs… It would be nice to mainly get them all out the way. And secondly, just to hear what all mine are like altogether… But it’d be nice if any of us can do separate things as well. That way, it also preserves this The Beatles bit of it more.”
He thought he could give his tunes away, but then again, he didn’t really want to. “You know, ’cause all these songs of mine I could give to people who could do ’em good,” George continued. “But I suddenly realized, ‘You know, f*** all that.’ I’m just gonna do me for a bit.”
The Beatles thought the rooftop performance was a success, but George Harrison was releaved
After The Beatles played their rooftop concert for the unaware passersby on Saville Row, George and the band retired to the studio in the basement to talk about its success. But George was the only one who was thrilled it was over with. “There’ll be no more rooftops,” he said.
No, there wouldn’t be because The Beatles broke up within the following year. The rooftop concert, the climax of Jackson’s documentary, was the band’s last hoorah. George, however, would carry on being as snarky for the rest of his life.
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