George Harrison used to think being a Beatle was “detrimental” to his solo career. However, the guitarist also said he never pursued one following the group’s split. George only released his first post-Beatles album, All Things Must Pass, as a reaction to leaving the band. He had to release his stockpile of songs to move on in life.
George Harrison | GAB Archive/Redferns
George Harrison ‘never really pursued a solo career’
George’s friend Tom Petty told Rolling Stone that George didn’t seek out a solo career.
“He told me something once like, ‘I never really pursued a solo career. All Things Must Pass was a reaction to leaving the Beatles. I had to do something.’ And when that went so well, he made another one,” Petty explained.
“But he never really had a manager or anybody to report to, and I don’t think he had any interest in touring. He told me many times he was very uncomfortable being the guy up front having to sing all the songs. It was just not his idea of fun.”
George also released All Things Must Pass because he had so many songs stockpiled. During his time with The Beatles, George had a quota of only a couple of songs per album. Eventually, they mounted up. George started feeling like he couldn’t move on without releasing the stockpile. So, that’s why All Things Must Pass was a triple album. Once the record did well, he continued releasing music, thus launching him into an impromptu solo career.
However, George was more comfortable sitting around with his friends and jamming. If he recorded it, released it, and the fans enjoyed it, that was fine. George’s priority wasn’t making new music, though. He didn’t like promoting himself through interviews, music videos, and touring.
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George said being a Beatle was ‘detrimental’ to his solo career
Although he never pursued one, George said being a Beatle was “detrimental” to his solo career. During a 1987 interview, E! said, “The Beatles will always be the yardstick by which everything in his life is measured.”
George said, “Maybe it’s detrimental having been The Beatles. Sometimes I felt that if I was just like you know, Joe Blow or somebody, and here’s his new album, they’d listen and think, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s pretty good.’ But when they say it’s George Harrison, it’s like, ‘Ah, not him again.’ You know? That kind of thing.”
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Ultimately, George wanted to be an ordinary guy who made music whenever he felt like it
George didn’t exactly choose to embark on a solo career, but once he entered, it was hard to stop, especially when fans and critics loved his first couple of albums. When they started disliking them, though, George blamed it on the fact that they measured everything he did on The Beatles.
Ultimately, George became disenchanted with the music industry and fans for demanding things of him when he didn’t even want a solo career.
“The pressure, you know, of the people expecting you to do something,” George told Entertainment Tonight. George hated being “put in a little box and looked at through microscopes.” It made him feel paranoid, “afraid to go anywhere and to play guitars with other people.”
“Try to be just an ordinary person and play a few tunes but they won’t let you do that,” George said. “They want you to come out there with flames coming out of your fingers, singing all these things that don’t really exist. It’s just all in their concept of what it was. Then is then, and now is now.”
In the end, George stopped caring about what people wanted. It was all a big diversion, and he hated diverting from his true mission: being God-conscious.
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