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John and George Relationship Post-Beatles
1 August 2013
1.17am
LadyBay
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Have just finished the Brown/Gaines book "The Love You Make" which ends with John's death (a graphic description.....again.....what a horrible violent way to die).  John's relationship with Paul in those last years was discussed but not much about George.

Apart from recording on some of his albums early in their post-Beatles days, how much contact did George have with John throughout the '70's? Were they on good terms when John died?  I thought I read somewhere that they also fell out over legal issues. They seemed pretty tight at the time of the break-up - just wondering what happened after that ?

"Try to realise it's all within yourself - no-one else can make you change"

1 August 2013
1.34am
Ron Nasty
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John and George were, unfortunately, at probably their lowest ebb at the time of John's death. George's I Me Mine book had been published earlier in the 1980, and John was deeply offended about how little there was about him and his influence on George's life. I can't remember the exact quote, someone else here may know it, but it was along the lines of, "Every two-bit musician he's played with he pays tribute to but I barely get a mention." George wrote All Those Years Ago in response to smooth the waters, which very soon he was rewriting as a tribute to John in the wake of John's assassination.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
1 August 2013
2.54am
robert
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John and George's post-Beatle relationship is one of the strangest parts of Beatle lore. Here's my take (my emphasized).

Although George's age was always a problem for John the problems begin in earnest at Sgt Pepper with Within You Without You - which I am pretty sure John didn't like. Nor did he much like any of George's Indian influenced music (this is my take). I remember John even complaining about George needing help finishing Taxman and asking for Johns' help and John didn't want to do that - so some of it pre-dates Pepper.

But from Sgt Pepper on, John plays less and less on George's songs. I think George also played back on John's insecurity as a guitar player.Also George HATED Revolution #9, couldn't believe they were putting it out. Called it "avant garde a clue" and Avant garde was "French for bullshit" in reference to John's experimental music. He was bothered by Two Virgins cover and felt that John was hurting the Beatles brand.

Remember, that in spite of Paul and George's argument during Let It Be - it was George and John's off camera argument that ended up either in an actual fight or pretty damn close and that is when George quit  - and John said "If he doesn't come back we'll get Clapton".

Also keep in mind that the line "Run of the Mill" from George's song in All Things Must Pass - came from John's assessment of George's songwriting.

But then when the break up really started to happen, George began siding with John against Paul. I believe John knew how to manipulate people and he did so with George. And certainly during the Imagine album you'd think George and John were best friends. But they had a common enemy - Paul.

But then came the concert for Bangladesh in August 1971. And that is when John was supposed to play but George wouldn't let Yoko perform - this was egged on from both sides by Allen Klein - who literally pitted John and George against each other. When George wouldn't let Yoko perform that began to sour things for John.

As it became more clear that Klein was ripping everyone off, that Paul had been right about the money part and John was wrong, George (who in spite of all his Krishna stuff was the most material one of them all - most concerned about the money) George began to bitterly resent John for all this.

Add to that Klein representing both sides of George "My Sweet Lord" lawsuit, and then John not showing up to sign the final contracts for Apple to get everyone their own money - a meeting that was held in New York for John's convenience - the other three are there and John sends a balloon - George gets on the phone tells John to get his ass over there - John still doesn't show - and I think that snapped it for George.

Although they saw each other briefly in LA during John's lost weekend - they never really spoke again. John reconciled with Paul way more than he ever did with George. George wrote his book - leaving John out deliberately - John lashed back - George may have repented - but too late, for John died - leaving their relationship forever broken.

That's my take on it - pretty much every point in here can be verified.

 

 

 

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1 August 2013
3.41am
LadyBay
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That's all food for thought! - I wanted it to be otherwise but had a feeling it didn't end well. I had forgotten about the Concert For Bangladesh episode. What mja6758 said about the I Me Mine book was new info for me as are all your other points but they make sense.

I think you're spot on with your assessment of their relationship during the break-up - now that you look at it, you can see that it was their mutual despising of Paul and everything he did or said, that was their real point of unity at that time.  I've always hated that footage of George recording How Do You Sleep with John, as they seemed like two school-yard bullies ganging up to pull a nasty prank on someone.

It's sad that George never seemed to really reconcile himself to the others (maybe Ringo excepted) or to his Beatles history.  That is not to put all the blame at his door -far from it- but I guess I would have hoped that because he had such an all-consuming interest in working with what was really important in life and of letting go of negativity, that he could have gotten past all the crap and kinda set an example of forgiveness and appreciation of all they had and had meant to each other.

But that's just me living in la-la land........

 

"Try to realise it's all within yourself - no-one else can make you change"

1 August 2013
4.21am
parlance
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robert said

Although they saw each other briefly in LA during John's lost weekend - they never really spoke again. John reconciled with Paul way more than he ever did with George. George wrote his book - leaving John out deliberately - John lashed back - George may have repented - but too late, for John died - leaving their relationship forever broken.

If you believe Fred Seaman's version of events, George tried to get in touch with John about a month or two before he died to reconcile, and John refused to return the call.

Personally, I think John made too much of the exclusion from George's book (not that it surprised me that he would). He didn't talk about the other Beatles very much at all, it wasn't just John.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

1 August 2013
4.58am
Ron Nasty
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robert said
George HATED Revolution #9, couldn't believe they were putting it out. Called it "avant garde a clue" and Avant garde was "French for bullshit" in reference to John's experimental music. He was bothered by Two Virgins cover and felt that John was hurting the Beatles brand.

While agreeing with many of your arguments, I think any comments George may have made about Revolution #9 and avant garde music in general were revisionist and political. George was the only Beatle who actively participated in the recording of Revolution #9, the two male voices exchanging phrases on it being his and John's, while with Wonderwall Music he recorded the first "avant garde" album by a Beatle, even if only slightly, which he quickly followed up with Electronic Sound, which was easily as avant garde as any of the John and Yoko albums of the time.

There was also some sort of reconciliation after The Concert for Bangla Desh, when he joined John and Ringo on the recording of I'm the Greatest.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
1 August 2013
8.47am
Funny Paper
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I'm no expert, but I've noticed George delivers little underhanded or backhanded compliments about John.

Two examples off the top of my head:  when discussing the spiritual meaning of John's "Tomorrow Never Knows", George said something like (I'm paraphrasing from memory) "John was groping for something that turns out to be the wisdom found in Hinduism, but he didn't know it" -- as though George knows it and can look down on John from a great spiritual height and see how far he tried to go, but didn't quite get to the lofty heights George was at.

Second example, in that televised 1995 anthology, George was talking to the camera about John's contribution in general, and he summed it up by saying, "John was a little genius" -- or something like that, where the praise of "genius" is amusingly offset by the "small print" of the "little".

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1 August 2013
11.21am
robert
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mja6758 said

robert said
George HATED Revolution #9, couldn't believe they were putting it out. Called it "avant garde a clue" and Avant garde was "French for bullshit" in reference to John's experimental music. He was bothered by Two Virgins cover and felt that John was hurting the Beatles brand.

While agreeing with many of your arguments, I think any comments George may have made about Revolution #9 and avant garde music in general were revisionist and political. George was the only Beatle who actively participated in the recording of Revolution #9, the two male voices exchanging phrases on it being his and John's, while with Wonderwall Music he recorded the first "avant garde" album by a Beatle, even if only slightly, which he quickly followed up with Electronic Sound, which was easily as avant garde as any of the John and Yoko albums of the time.

There was also some sort of reconciliation after The Concert for Bangla Desh, when he joined John and Ringo on the recording of I'm the Greatest.

Your points are well taken - and I would offset them with the following observation - (again this is just my view of things - not Gospel) I believe George's temperament was one of high inclusion - meaning that at then end of the day George would rather be included than excluded and he often suppressed his own preferences for the benefit of the whole. This is why he keeps coming back and sticking with the Beatles - even during Let It Be - he negotiated terms, but he came back.

It's also why no matter unhappy he was about something, he would still participate. Thus his being on Rev #9 even though he thought it should not be on the album, ultimately his willingness to play whatever Paul told him to play (ie Two of Us - Hey Jude etc), In the end George wanted to be in a group.

Even after Abbey Road came out he said he thought the Beatles would record again. That it would be wrong to not get together at least once a year and make a record.

He was also his own worst enemy - he is the one (with John) who hated touring and yet he later confessed that ending touring stopped his progression as a guitar player because all he was doing was studio work. I think the 70's found him very conflicted and bitter about a lot things.

My 2 cents (and over priced at that).

 

"She looks more like him than I do."
1 August 2013
12.08pm
Linde
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I have been thinking of this and wondering myself what their relationship was like so this is interesting to read.

You guys have some very interesting points, like the mutual dislike of Paul being their point of unity and all that stuff. I never even came to that conclusion but when I read it it was as if something clicked.

I think that in the end, they were both very stubborn and difficult men to deal with though.

1 August 2013
12.55pm
meanmistermustard
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John did attend one of George '74 concerts as well. Cant remember if they met up afterwards or not.

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1 August 2013
8.45pm
DrBeatle
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mja6758 said

robert said
George HATED Revolution #9, couldn't believe they were putting it out. Called it "avant garde a clue" and Avant garde was "French for bullshit" in reference to John's experimental music. He was bothered by Two Virgins cover and felt that John was hurting the Beatles brand.

While agreeing with many of your arguments, I think any comments George may have made about Revolution #9 and avant garde music in general were revisionist and political. George was the only Beatle who actively participated in the recording of Revolution #9, the two male voices exchanging phrases on it being his and John's, while with Wonderwall Music he recorded the first "avant garde" album by a Beatle, even if only slightly, which he quickly followed up with Electronic Sound, which was easily as avant garde as any of the John and Yoko albums of the time.

There was also some sort of reconciliation after The Concert for Bangla Desh, when he joined John and Ringo on the recording of I'm the Greatest.

Don't forget that George was also the only Beatle other than John on What's The New Mary Jane, too.

It seems that right around when Paul and John reconciled in '74 is when George and John started their rift, which was bitter up until John's death. I need to dig out the source, but George had initially written All Those Years Ago for Ringo's "Stop and Smell the Roses" album (1981) but with lyrics that were a pretty nasty swipe at John, but Ringo refused to sing it for the album. After John died, he rewrote the lyrics to be the tribute we all now know. 

 

Yes, John did overreact to I Me Mine, as George gave Paul and Ringo equally short shrift in the book, but they had a pretty serious falling out the last 5 years or so of John's life. Paul has said often that he's glad that he patched up with John and that the final conversation he had with him on the phone, days before John's murder, was really nice. He's also expressed sadness that George never got to make up with John and how deeply that hurt and angered George.

They're all complex characters, all 4 of them, but George may be the most mysterious of all. 

 

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1 August 2013
8.47pm
DrBeatle
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meanmistermustard said
John did attend one of George '74 concerts as well. Cant remember if they met up afterwards or not.

If I'm not mistaken, George played a couple nights at MSG and had wanted John to join onstage, but there was a tiff (again relating to including Yoko) and George said "forget it." I think John was supposed to play at the 1st show but didn't show up, and then attended the 2nd one. I've read they met up backstage after but that the atmosphere was "frosty."

 

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1 August 2013
11.32pm
meanmistermustard
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I thought John left during Ravi's part. I need to get time to look at Beatle books again.paul-mccartney

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
2 August 2013
3.42am
vonbontee
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Ever get the feeling that the reason Paul and George never became particularly close is because they both had possessive feelings for John? I mean, for the longest time it was the John-Paul partnership, but then we've all seen George in interviews speaking with relish about how he and John bonded around '65-66 when they were the only LSD users in the band, and how for awhile after that they were together as the "spiritual" ones in the band, proseltyizing for the Maharishi and t.m., and (George claims) that there was thereafter a spiritual bond that never really went away? That really feels a bit like George still subtly trying to lord it over Paul, just another way of getting a type of "revenge", just like playing guitar "How Do You Sleep?"

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
2 August 2013
4.13am
#9
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I've read that Harrison and Lennon had multiple fallings-out throughout the 1970s, but around the birth of Sean the two really started drifting apart. Supposedly Harrison called Lennon in 1980 because he wanted to "reconnect" after years without communicating. Lennon never returned the call. It's too bad. I feel really sad knowing that they never reconciled.

2 August 2013
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DrBeatle
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vonbontee said
Ever get the feeling that the reason Paul and George never became particularly close is because they both had possessive feelings for John? I mean, for the longest time it was the John-Paul partnership, but then we've all seen George in interviews speaking with relish about how he and John bonded around '65-66 when they were the only LSD users in the band, and how for awhile after that they were together as the "spiritual" ones in the band, proseltyizing for the Maharishi and t.m., and (George claims) that there was thereafter a spiritual bond that never really went away? That really feels a bit like George still subtly trying to lord it over Paul, just another way of getting a type of "revenge", just like playing guitar "How Do You Sleep?"

True, but how do you explain John insulting George's songwriting as early as '66 (Taxman)? Or John literally "coincidentally" NEVER being present when it was time to record George's songs post-'66? For all the shit George threw at Paul up until his dying day, PAUL was the one who played on all of George's songs and helped him arrange them and played bass, piano, guitars, organ, backing vocals, etc on them.

I think a lot came down to George being so hung up on Paul being condescending toward George about him being the youngest, which is justified on George's part. But from all accounts, John was even worse about this, especially in the early years, so again it makes not a lot of sense. For whatever reasons, George just had it out for Paul and I think more than that, he sort of followed along John...when John was dumping all over Paul in '69 and the early 70s, it was easier for George to tag along with John and join in the bullying than it was for him to stop and think and have his own relationship with both of them. This came back to bite him in the ass post '74 once John and Paul made up and renewed their friendship. It left George in the position of hating Paul while John no longer did. PLUS, until his dying day, Paul was always nice to George even in the face of George's insults, which probably infuriated George more since he never got a rise out of Paul.

George was a complicated and strange guy and this is borne out in so many ways!

 

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2 August 2013
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vonbontee
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DrBeatle said

True, but how do you explain John insulting George's songwriting as early as '66 (Taxman)? Or John literally "coincidentally" NEVER being present when it was time to record George's songs post-'66? For all the shit George threw at Paul up until his dying day, PAUL was the one who played on all of George's songs and helped him arrange them and played bass, piano, guitars, organ, backing vocals, etc on them.

 

Oh sure, I agree with all of that. I'm saying that this George-John "bond" was largely the product of George either wishfully thinking, or knowingly exaggerating it after-the-fact to subtly marginalize Paul.

It's all compelling stuff! Has any band ever had its interrelationships all so relentlessy chronicled and analyzed? I doubt it.

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
2 August 2013
3.14pm
DrBeatle
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vonbontee said

DrBeatle said

True, but how do you explain John insulting George's songwriting as early as '66 (Taxman)? Or John literally "coincidentally" NEVER being present when it was time to record George's songs post-'66? For all the shit George threw at Paul up until his dying day, PAUL was the one who played on all of George's songs and helped him arrange them and played bass, piano, guitars, organ, backing vocals, etc on them.

 

Oh sure, I agree with all of that. I'm saying that this George-John "bond" was largely the product of George either wishfully thinking, or knowingly exaggerating it after-the-fact to subtly marginalize Paul.

It's all compelling stuff! Has any band ever had its interrelationships all so relentlessy chronicled and analyzed? I doubt it.

Agreed. George always cited their strong bond as being because they did LSD together for the first time, but I wonder if John ever thought of it that way? I suspect not at all.

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2 August 2013
3.54pm
parlance
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DrBeatle said

I think a lot came down to George being so hung up on Paul being condescending toward George about him being the youngest, which is justified on George's part. But from all accounts, John was even worse about this, especially in the early years, so again it makes not a lot of sense.

 

Such a complex relationship between those three. I believe the bitterness from George had its roots in his being close to Paul before John came into their lives. People who knew them at the time have spoken of how they hung out constantly. Then John replaced George as Paul's BFF, and George's loss of status lasted a lifetime. But George couldn't resent John because he also looked up to him, making Paul the easier target.

This makes me wonder if Paul started being condescending toward George about his age only when he became friends with John, or if that had always been the case.

 

 For whatever reasons, George just had it out for Paul and I think more than that, he sort of followed along John...when John was dumping all over Paul in '69 and the early 70s, it was easier for George to tag along with John and join in the bullying than it was for him to stop and think and have his own relationship with both of them. This came back to bite him in the ass post '74 once John and Paul made up and renewed their friendship. It left George in the position of hating Paul while John no longer did. PLUS, until his dying day, Paul was always nice to George even in the face of George's insults, which probably infuriated George more since he never got a rise out of Paul.

George was a complicated and strange guy and this is borne out in so many ways!

 

I still come back to this interview as evidence that George had reconciled with Paul.

parlance

 

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

2 August 2013
4.01pm
DrBeatle
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^A good interview, although there are multiple reports of George being quite nasty and miserable toward Paul during and after the Anthology (hell, you can see it in the actual documentary and the bonus features...some bits are uncomfortable enough that they made *ME* squirm in my seat...especially the bits at Friar Park and in the Abbey Road control room). From most accounts I've read, George didn't make peace with his Beatles past and with Paul until 2000 when he knew he was dying. So sad :(

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