Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Beatles History: George Harrison Leaves the Beatles

A legendary Beatles fact is that on February 10, 1969, George Harrison left the Beatles for a short time during the Let It Be sessions at Twickenham Studios, where the band was filming their recording work to be released as a film culminating in a live concert. Harrison had recently returned from Woodstock, where he had been playing and jamming with Bob Dylan and The Band.

George Martin has commented in many interviews that given John's preoccupation with Yoko, Paul had more and more assumed responsibility for organizing the group and its musical and film projects. According to Martin, the other Beatles were growing increasingly resentful of his bossiness.

Harrison himself admitted many times after the Beatles' final break-up that he had ignored Paul's bossiness for the sake of peace but that he was becoming increasingly frustrated with what both he and Lennon perceived as an absolute preoccupation by McCartney with perfecting his own songs, giving perfunctory attention to the compositions of Lennon and Harrison. George stated unequivocally that this attitude even resulted in his accumulating many songs that simply weren't getting recorded.

On February 10, 1969, the Let It Be film chronicled an argument during which McCartney criticized Harrison for his playing on "Two of Us." Harrison's first response (on camera) was to say that he'd play it any way McCartney wanted--or perhaps not play at all. His second response was to simply quit the band. He was later approached by Neil Aspinall, who convinced him to rejoin the band and finish the album.

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