Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hunter Davies on George Harrison

"How George Harrison Split The Beatles"

The headline somewhat misrepresents the points made by Davies. Here's the passage that comes closest to saying that George triggered The Beatles' demise:

George was the first, from my observation, to get pissed off by being a Beatle. He had by then developed – ahead of them. Long before the Apple rows or before Yoko came into John’s life, or Linda into Paul’s, elements usually listed in their break-up, George was desperate to move on and leave them all behind. He’d done all that, that phase in his life was over, and found wanting.

It's clear that George grew very disillusioned with life as a Beatle. He may have even done so before John did. But George didn't act on those emotions in the same vocal, confrontational way that John did; he lacked John's angry force of will. After manager Brian Epstein died in 1967 and Paul attempted to fill the resulting leadership void - what I view as the beginning of the long end - , it was primarily John who pushed back against the move. It was John who, more than anyone else, refused to play nice at being a Beatle. George, on the other hand, was more of a passive presence. Just think of when he told Paul that he'd play whatever he wanted him to while rehearsing during the "Get Back" sessions. John would not have displayed that kind of grace, however passive-aggressive it was.

Because The Beatles' breakup was such a tangled web, I sometimes content myself with the broad, evasive explanation for it: To greater and lesser degrees, John, Paul, George, and Ringo were all responsible, and yet each of them was also a helpless player in this grand drama that pitted them against forces beyond their control. No one of them created The Beatles, and no one of them destroyed The Beatles.

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