Although she and Harrison were a close couple, Pattie was rarely present in the studio while The Beatles were recording.
It was one of those flat cap attitudes which we were losing by then. I think if Maureen came to the studio five or six times that would be about it, and in all the years Pattie came several times at most. I don’t remember Cynthia coming much when she was married to John. It was just something that didn’t happen.
Despite this, she appeared on a number of Beatles songs. Pattie participated in the chorus of ‘Yellow Submarine’, recorded at Abbey Road on 1 June 1966, and helped out on the song’s various special effects.
She was also present for the 10 February 1967 orchestral overdubs for ‘A Day In The Life’, which were filmed for a mooted television special but never shown. And on 25 June she sat cross-legged on the studio floor as The Beatles performed ‘All You Need Is Love’ for the Our World satellite link-up; also present were Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Richard, Eric Clapton, Keith Moon and Jane Asher.
Perhaps the song most prominently featuring Pattie was ‘Birthday’ on the White Album; she performed backing vocals on the song with John Lennon’s then-girlfriend Yoko Ono.
Although George Harrison later downplayed the connection, saying he envisaged it being sung by Ray Charles, it is widely held that he wrote ‘Something’, one of Abbey Road’s highlights, for Pattie.
He told me in a matter-of-fact way that he had written it for me. I thought it was beautiful and it turned out to be the most successful song he ever wrote, with more than 150 cover versions.
Pattie and George Harrison were arrested on 12 March 1969 at their Esher home for possession of marijuana, following a police raid. It took place on the day of Paul McCartney’s wedding to Linda Eastman.
I was with George in the office when that call came through. It was the end of a long day at Apple. Pattie rang and said, ‘They’re here – the law is here,’ and we knew what to do by then. We phoned Release’s lawyer, Martin Polden. We had a routine: he came round to Apple, and we all went down by limousine to Esher, where the police were well ensconced by then – and I stood bail for George and Pattie. They went off to the police station.
Pattie’s relationship with George began to decline after The Beatles’ trip to India in early 1968.
George had become obsessive about meditation. He was also sometimes withdrawn and depressed.
My moods started to mirror his and at times I felt almost suicidal. I don’t think I was ever in any real danger of killing myself but I got as far as working out how I would do it: put on a diaphanous Ossie Clark dress and throw myself off Beachy Head.
In March 1970, George and Pattie Harrison moved into a new house – Friar Park, a Victorian Gothic mansion near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.
That whole period was insane. Friar Park was a madhouse. Our lives were fuelled by alcohol and cocaine, and so it was with everyone who came into our sphere. We were all as drunk, stoned and single-minded as each other. Nobody seemed to have appointments, deadlines or anything pressing in their lives, no structure and no responsibilities.
George’s attentions often wandered to other women, and Pattie knew that he was unfaithful to her – most notably with Ringo Starr’s wife Maureen.
She was the last person I would have expected to stab me in the back. I discovered from some photos that she had been staying in the house with George while I had visited my mother in Devon. He had given her a beautiful necklace, which she wore in front of me.
Then I found them locked in a bedroom at Friar Park. I stood outside banging on the door yelling: ‘What are you doing? Maureen’s in there, isn’t she? I know she is!’ George just laughed.
Eventually he opened the door and said: ‘Oh, she’s just a bit tired so she’s lying down.’
I went straight to the top of the house and lowered the flag bearing the om symbol that George had been flying from the roof and hoisted a skull and crossbones instead. That made me feel much better.
Maureen wasn’t even prepared to be subtle. She would turn up at Friar Park at midnight and I would say: ‘What the hell are you doing here?’ ‘I’ve come to listen to George playing in the studio.’ ‘Well, I’m going to bed.’ ‘Ah, well, I’m going to the studio.’
Wow, I am stunned to learn about George and Maureen.
My GOD… this George with Maureen thing is just flat out childish! And Pattie’s reaction was almost equally childish – which was, unfortunately, not much of a surprise to me.
I could just imagine the “temperature” of the Beatles inner circle back in 1968-1969. John and Yoko were making a saga; George was having drunken fling with his best friend’s wife.
Whether it is true or not, I feel I can imagine why Paul shied away from the marriage issue at the time.
I can’t help it – I have to applaud Paul for getting the “itches” out of his system by playing the fields before tying his first knot with Linda.