Why did George Harrison walk out during Let it Be?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by helter, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. Yovra

    Yovra Forum Resident

    I think the Beatles were seriously out of balance after their India-'vacation'. I've forgotten where I've read it, but there's a theory that their stay in India could have caused a 'shift' in the band towards George. But Ringo had problems with the food, Paul kept writing songs instead of meditating, John stayed for the course but also kept composing new songs and after India dived into his affair with Yoko and other drugs of choice.
    I think George was already restless en searching after they stopped touring and when his songs were getting better and better it became more obvious that Lennon and McCartney weren't having their 'little brother' steal the show. So even mediocre Lennon and/or McCartney-ditties were getting more attention than very good songs by Harrison.
    I think it's a miracle that George attended the LiB-sessions at all and later even introduced Billy Preston which was a fine effort to lift the mood.
    Well, we wouldn't have that great "All Things Must Pass"-album without it!
  2. john lennonist

    john lennonist THERE ONCE was a NOTE, PURE and EASY...



    I have the book: Doug Sulpy and Ray Schweighardt's "Get Back: The Unauthorized Chronicle of The Beatles' Let It Be Disaster."

    Obviously I'm a Lennon guy, but that book is down-right it's farcical :laugh: -- way pro-McCartney, anti-Lennon.

    One of its many ludicrous contentions is that John and Yoko had come to believe that one need not speak to communicate, so they didn't speak at all at the sessions for several days... anyone who's heard all the tapes hear several days in a row with no talking from Lennon? :shake:



    Ringo seemed to feel the same way as George -- note the lyrics in Ringo's song "Early 1970".
    .
  3. Jim Foy

    Jim Foy Well-Known Member

    Yovra wrote: "So even mediocre Lennon and/or McCartney-ditties were getting more attention than very good songs by Harrison."

    Yes, that's right.
    The Lennon/McCartney songs certainly weren't among their best during the Get Back sessions and the songs George came up with were of a much higher standard in comparision.
    It must have been difficult for him not only to be ignored but also to see Paul acting as if a mediocre song like 'Teddy Boy' was a masterpiece (On the Nagras one can hear that Lennon couldn't stand it).

    Yovra wrote: "I think it's a miracle that George attended the LiB-sessions at all and later even introduced Billy Preston which was a fine effort to lift the mood."

    Well, George had a very positive attitude towards the sessions when they started out at Twickenham.
    However, he got fed up and left but were persuaded to return which he did when the sessions switched to Apple.
    To let Billy Preston join the procedings was George's contribution in order to make an effort to make things work.
    Actually a positive move istead of just being annoyed.

    john lennonist wrote: "One of its many ludicrous contentions is that John and Yoko had come to believe that one need not speak to communicate, so they didn't speak at all at the sessions for several days... anyone who's heard all the tapes hear several days in a row with no talking from Lennon?"

    When listening to the Nagras from Twickenham John rarely joins in any conversation.
    He seems to be either apathetic or hyperactive depending on when he had his latest fix ...
    However, when the band moves to Apple it seems as if he pulls himself together and during the Apple sessions he talks a lot.
    carville likes this.
  4. Perian

    Perian Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Norway
    Well, both Ringo and George also thought Allen Klein was a good guy and great manager material so just because they had an issue with Paul doesn't make them right. At the time Paul probably wasn't desperate to be in a band with them either.
  5. guppy270

    guppy270 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Levittown, NY
    Not to make excuses, but it couldn't have been easy suddenly switching back to the early 60's method of very early morning recording sessions, and in a cold movie studio. Especially for someone as admittedly lazy as John Lennon. I forget, did the Apple sessions begin later in the day?

    It seems hard to believe nowadays of 3-4 years between albums that only 2 months elapsed between the release of a double album (The Beatles) and the beginning of their next sessions. Of course, it also appears they were all confused as to what they were actually doing. Were they recording an album? Filming rehearsals for a live show? If that is so, it can't help that George and Ringo seem dead against any kind of live show at all. Either way, album or live show, they all had to come up with new tunes pretty qucikly. Paul came up with some good/great ones and some mediocre ones, George came up with some great ones that amazingly the Beatles didn't want to use, and John seems to have been caught short with not much to offer.

    I've read Sulpy's book. IMO I must say that in a lot of his writings in books and online, Sulpy is often way too snarky and dismissive of a lot of things for me (he's like the Michael Barrier of Beatles study...animtaion fans will know what I mean). He doesn't seem to actually like any of The Beatles, or their work....but he hates Beatles Paul the least, I guess. Not that you have to be perpetually sunny or cheerful or whitewash anything, but there should be a happy medium.
  6. My recollection is that there is a point early on at Twiwckenham where they realize they don't have many up-tempo songs (remember there was the plan to do a live concert), and George as much as admits that all his songs are on the slow side. When introducing "All Things Must Pass" to the others, he says he's not sure what he wants them to play on it. John is quite positive about taking a keyboard part on ATMP - his attitude to George's songs is not always dismissive (compared with, say, his attitude to "Maxwell" & Bathroom Window" which were both rehearsed ad nauseam!
  7. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    Contract Writers of the Purple Sage

    George found red M & M's in the break room.
  8. brainwashed

    brainwashed Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    John had no clue what to play on All Things Must Pass. He tried organ, piano, guitar and some off-the-wall keyboard-type instrument (an omnichord?)). He never bothered learning the chords or harmony parts either. At one point when rehearsing Let It Down John complains that George's chords are TOO complicated for him to play. This must have grated George to no end. John offered nothing on I Me Mine... all he did was waste an entire morning making fun of it while the others actually learned in from scratch. The version shown in the film is the culmination of a few hours work on a song written just the night before. John waltzes with Yoko. The only song John really contributed to was For You Blue. The outtakes show George actually giggling as John attemtped his lap steel solo. John had little to say after George performed a lovely version of Isn't It A Pity. No response during or after Hear Me Lord or Window, Window either. He didn't care for Old Brown Shoe which was all but finished in an afternoon. He plays some uninspired rhythm guitar while George plays piano. At some point Billy Preston takes over on piano and George laughs that he'll have to learn the guitar now. John stops playing. Not sure what to make of Something. John does offer up some lyrical encouragment, but when he takes a turn singing it later it sounds more parody than anything else.

    George may not have liked Paul dictating every guitar phrase, but he was beyond upset that John cared little for his own songs. It must have been tough for George because at this stage most of his songs were quite good indeed. Did John write ANYTHING that was released during this period? Across the Universe had already been written AND recorded a year earlier. His part of I've Got A Feeling was written at the tail end of the White Album sessions. One After 909 was written in 1959 and recorded in 1963!! Don't Let Me Down was written in mid-1968, though George and Paul substantially changed the music and arrangement. I guess he did write one.... Dig It. The song was recorded several times with different lyrics, but it wasn't as off-the-cuff as it seemed to be. Even songs that ended up on Abbey Road but routined during the Get Back sessions, like Mean Mr. Mustard, Polythene Pam and Sun King were written is 1968. Quite a dry spell for one of the best writers in history. Ron
  9. maxheadroom

    maxheadroom Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sao Paulo, Brasil
    I read the book "Get Back: The Unauthorized Chronicle of The Beatles' Let It Be Disaster." and I don't think it's pro or anti anyone.
    John and Ringo were apathetic about the whole project, George was fed up with everything and Paul was the only enthusiastic person about the whole thing and that was that.

    Of course Paul annoyed George to the point they had that fight, which became a famous scene on "Let it Be", but I think that gets blown out of proportion. I think Paul and Ringo trying to work on George's new song "I Me Mine" while John first mocked it as a "House of the Rising Sun" ripoff and later waltzed with Yoko while the others played says a lot more about tense relationships than that fight scene.

    Also, Paul's contributions to George's "Abbey Road" songs are brilliant.
  10. TonyF

    TonyF Member

    Location:
    St Louis
    Hey:

    A few years ago Emerick came to a local University to give a talk
    @ the Schools Sound engineering program and I attended. Most
    of the talk and Q&A concerend the Beatles. He was pretty emphatic
    that after they returned from India something was definately wrong.
    Emerick said that the last session where there was the old vibe
    was Hey Bulldog before they left to see the Mahareshi. Harrison
    had a number of long simmering beefs with both McCartney and
    Lennon. My understanding was that Harrison walked out over the
    the row concerning Yoko's presence and let's not forget the"biscuit"
    incident as well. Let's face it; it was culmination of many things.
    Lennon's Yoko Obsession and drug induced apathy, financial problems
    and pressures with Apple. Paul trying to to Prod Lennon and Harrison
    into to something they were both tired of(the Beatles) but weren't
    quite sure how to let go of. A mix certain for trouble IMO.




  11. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
    Having listened to all the Nagra tapes in circulation, I feel the Sulpy book is fair in its portrayal of what they contain regarding the interpersonal dynamics reflected on the tape.

    I think some of Sulpy's musical assessments are off the mark. There's a 10 minute improvisatory segment from the 8th or 9th at Twickenham that I find to be one of the unreleased highlights of the sessions - a segment which Sulpy dismisses in a sentence as monotonous. Probably the Beatles most successful improvisatory endeavor I have heard, and reminiscent of some Grateful Dead (a cross between Fire on the Mountain and Dark Star)
  12. Gary Freed

    Gary Freed Well-Known Member

    With the 500 or so books about the Beatles there are accounts given in several as to why Harrison walked out.

    Jonathan Gould gives another account in his recent book "Can't Buy Me Love".
  13. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
    The difference is the Sulpy book (being essentially an annotated summary of the Nagra tapes) is backed by evidence that any sufficiently determined Beatles fan can download
  14. No Bull

    No Bull Well-Known Member

    I have always thought Lennon was negative about Harrison's music...and not just the LIB sessions. Lennon stated after the release of All Things Must Pass that Harrison's best work was yet to come; thus really slighting a masterpiece. he also said they gave George "Do You Want to Know a Secret" becuase it was 3 chords and it was all George was capable of singing.

    Lennon always seemed to go out of his way to slight George's songs as well as his singing.. I never understood why George seemed to favor John over Paul so much...I have never read a paul quote that was negative about George's musical abilities.

    On a different note does anyone belive the story that goerge punched John backstage during his Dark Horse tour?
  15. brainwashed

    brainwashed Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    One thing to remember is that Emerick QUIT after just 6 weeks of White Album sessions, and except for a brief return for The Ballad Of John & Yoko session (16 April 1969), wasn't in the studio from 16 July 1968 until he returned on 21 July 1969. Unfortunately for him, he was there when John wanted to do his "Revolution" thing. The slower version that more or less morphed into Revolution #9. The song(s) were worked on for more than a month. The only songs completed during the WA sessions with Emerick in the engineer's chair, were Revolution #1, Revolution #9, Don't Pass Me By, Blackbird, Everybody's Got Something To Hide, Good Night, Ob La Di, Ob La Da and the basic tracks for Cry Baby Cry. Funny looking at it, but the much-despised Ob La Di was worked on during 6 sessions, including scrapping the first version and re-recording it from scratch. Revolution #1 and #9 were worked on for more than 10 sessions. This doesn't include work on the "single" version that took an additional 4 sessions. I guess it was ok for John to work and work on HIS song(s) but didn't like Paul doing the same on his tunes.

    Emerick was not there when the four Beatles went back to Paul's house to watch The Girl Can't Help It between sessions, then returning to Studio Two full of glee and good cheer and recorded Birthday (18 September). Nor was he there when the Beatles moved their equipment into an annex closet to get down and dirty and record Yer Blues (13 August). They did this quite purposefully to feel closer together. He wasn't there when the rest of the Beatles festooned flowers all over Ringo's drumkit when he returned after leaving sessions for week or so. Nor was he there when they recorded their tv appearances for Revolution and Hey Jude... both were very highly regarded by all who were there. He wasn't there for the marvelous rooftop session (30 January 1969), nor in February at Trident where the Beatles recorded I Want You (She's So Heavy) that saw George and John record hours and hours of guitar overdubs shoulder-to-shoulder. He wasn't there for the early Abbey Road sessions in April and May where the Beatles got along very well, all refreshed from a few months off to pursue individual projects and vacation. It was during these sessions when they all realized they COULD work together and enjoy the experience. George and Paul were especially close during this period. They worked together on harmonies and both greatly enhanced the other. John may have felt left out some (he missed the early summer sessions due to a car accident) and he did far less backup singing than usual, but the sessions went along smoothly. It's too bad Emerick has such a negative slant on things, post Sgt. Pepper. Not to belabor my own point of view, but Emerick quit during the sessions for Magical Mystery Tour too. Exhaustion? He was not yet 22 years of age. Amazing George Martin and the rest of the crew could handle the pressure, but Emerick could not. Ron
    thedudeabidz likes this.
  16. Slokes

    Slokes Forum Resident

    Location:
    Greenwich, CT USA
    I think you are right about the factors behind George's walkout, but at risk of revealing a hole in my Fabology studies, what was the biscuit incident? I have this image of George standing over a box of Peek Freens, screaming "Thanks for leaving me all the broken ones, John!"
  17. Ray K.

    Ray K. New Member

    Location:
    Philadelphia (PA)
    I heard it was Lennon brushing up against him one too many times in the bathroom stall.
  18. Terry

    Terry Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee
    No. You're simply bombarding us with ridiculous posts.
  19. brainwashed

    brainwashed Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Apparently Yoko opened up George's biscuit tin and helped herself without asking. She also sat on George's amp from time to time, another thing that irked George to no end. Ron
  20. TonyF

    TonyF Member

    Location:
    St Louis
    Hey:
    I don't want to simplify some of Geoff's statements. He did state that
    they had their ups and downs and there were still some good days. When
    the Yoko issue was brought up(regarding the breakup) he did say blaming her was an oversimplification of what was a complicated situation. My
    recollection is that were a number of serious rows even during the
    Abbey Road sessions( ie where John confronted Paul @ his house
    and smashed the painting he had given him). My memory may be wrong
    but Emerick was also working on other projects and duties even during the
    Beatle periodaside from the times he walked out ect.
    So it would make sense that he wouldn't always be around.
    At the talk he even mentioned this.

    QUOTE=brainwashed;6409442]One thing to remember is that Emerick QUIT after just 6 weeks of White Album sessions, and except for a brief return for The Ballad Of John & Yoko session (16 April 1969), wasn't in the studio from 16 July 1968 until he returned on 21 July 1969. Unfortunately for him, he was there when John wanted to do his "Revolution" thing. The slower version that more or less morphed into Revolution #9. The song(s) were worked on for more than a month. The only songs completed during the WA sessions with Emerick in the engineer's chair, were Revolution #1, Revolution #9, Don't Pass Me By, Blackbird, Everybody's Got Something To Hide, Good Night, Ob La Di, Ob La Da and the basic tracks for Cry Baby Cry. Funny looking at it, but the much-despised Ob La Di was worked on during 6 sessions, including scrapping the first version and re-recording it from scratch. Revolution #1 and #9 were worked on for more than 10 sessions. This doesn't include work on the "single" version that took an additional 4 sessions. I guess it was ok for John to work and work on HIS song(s) but didn't like Paul doing the same on his tunes.

    Emerick was not there when the four Beatles went back to Paul's house to watch The Girl Can't Help It between sessions, then returning to Studio Two full of glee and good cheer and recorded Birthday (18 September). Nor was he there when the Beatles moved their equipment into an annex closet to get down and dirty and record Yer Blues (13 August). They did this quite purposefully to feel closer together. He wasn't there when the rest of the Beatles festooned flowers all over Ringo's drumkit when he returned after leaving sessions for week or so. Nor was he there when they recorded their tv appearances for Revolution and Hey Jude... both were very highly regarded by all who were there. He wasn't there for the marvelous rooftop session (30 January 1969), nor in February at Trident where the Beatles recorded I Want You (She's So Heavy) that saw George and John record hours and hours of guitar overdubs shoulder-to-shoulder. He wasn't there for the early Abbey Road sessions in April and May where the Beatles got along very well, all refreshed from a few months off to pursue individual projects and vacation. It was during these sessions when they all realized they COULD work together and enjoy the experience. George and Paul were especially close during this period. They worked together on harmonies and both greatly enhanced the other. John may have felt left out some (he missed the early summer sessions due to a car accident) and he did far less backup singing than usual, but the sessions went along smoothly. It's too bad Emerick has such a negative slant on things, post Sgt. Pepper. Not to belabor my own point of view, but Emerick quit during the sessions for Magical Mystery Tour too. Exhaustion? He was not yet 22 years of age. Amazing George Martin and the rest of the crew could handle the pressure, but Emerick could not. Ron[/QUOTE]
  21. brainwashed

    brainwashed Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Boston, MA
  22. dancarlsen

    dancarlsen Active Member

    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    Interesting if you read the context of the quote George doesn't seem to be saying it from a personal animosity point of view, but instead from a musical one:

    Question: "What's your relationship like with John and Paul now?"

    George: "It's very good. I haven't seen John since he's been in the States (Tuesday March 13,1973, during a brief rehearsal of 'I'm The Greatest' at the Sunset Sound Recorders Studios in Los Angeles). I spoke to him a lot on the telephone. He's in great shape. I met Paul recently, and everything is very friendly. It doesn't mean everybody is going to form a band."

    Question: "Are you amazed about how much The Beatles still mean to people?"

    George: "Not really. I mean it's nice. I realise that The Beatles did fill a space in the Sixties. All the people that The Beatles meant something to have grown up. It's like anything you've grown up with; you get attached to things. I understand The Beatles, in many ways, did nice things and it's appreciated that the people still like them. They want to hold on to something. People are afraid of change. You can't live in the past."

    Question: "Are you involved with any serious negotiations to get The Beatles back together for one night?"

    George: "It's all a fantasy, putting The Beatles back together again. If we ever do that, it's because everyone is broke. I'd rather have Willie Weekes on bass rather than Paul McCartney. With all respect to Paul, since The Beatles I've been in a box, taking me years to be able to play with other musicians. Paul is a fine bass player, but he's a bit overpowering at times. I'd join a band with John Lennon any day, but I couldn't join a band with Paul McCartney. That's not personal, but from a musical point of view."
  23. brainwashed

    brainwashed Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Without resorting to being an amateur psychiatrist, I get what George is saying. With John, even during the early 70's, George was allowed to contribute whatever he wanted during studio sessions. This was true when he guested on other artists recordings too. Something he probably enjoyed quite a bit. With Paul, he probably felt more constrained and may have worried that Paul would "suggest" things much as he had in the Beatles and what he continued to do with Wings members. I think it was the different personalities that helped George answer as he did. No disrespect intended towards anyone. Ron
  24. soundQman

    soundQman Idealist of the Musical Apocalypse

    Location:
    Arlington, VA, USA
    Exactly. John acknowledged George's superiority as a guitarist.
  25. wayneklein

    wayneklein Deus Irae

    Yes, this is pretty well documented. Wooler made a snide comment or implied that John going off with Brian Epstein on vacation somehow made him gay. It's been years since I've read the reference but Wooler was, I believe, hospitalized and was paid off later.

    You're right--It's been years since I read this but Lennon commented that he ALMOST hit him:
    He states, "George insulted her right to her face and I didn't hit him, I don't know why. Ringo (Starr) was alright but the other two really gave it to us. I'll never forgive 'em."

    It seems they ALMOST got into a fistfight according to other sources through the years.


    As far as the earlier story about John and George coming to blows I don't know that it's "science fiction" but the story has floated around for years. I can't recall where I last read it though.

    The difficulty with Beatles history is that some of it is well documented while other parts are heresay and have grown into mythical proportion so much so that even THEY can't tell you what happened as it has gotten polluted over the years.

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