George Harrison’s Collaborations With Other Musicians ‘Drove a Wedge’ Between The Beatles The once-close relationship between John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr became strained in the late 1960s, and the four Beatles began working with other musicians. This was a startling shift for the band, who had previously exclusively worked together. Harrison, who had begun to feel suffocated by The Beatles, found this fascinating. Those who knew the band say Harrison’s ambition to collaborate with other artists drove The Beatles apart. While still a member of The Beatles, George Harrison began collaborating with other musicians. The Beatles spent almost all of their time together in the first half of the 1960s. They lived in tight accommodations in Hamburg, embarked on more chaotic globe tours, and recorded for long periods of time. They spend a lot of time together even when they weren’t on tour or working on an album. This changed as the decade progressed. The comrades began to drift apart, both musically and personally. Harrison, in particular, desired greater involvement in the songwriting process, but Lennon and McCartney refused. As a result, he began to listen to other artists, such as Bob Dylan and The Band. Harrison paid them a visit in Woodstock, New York. “He came to visit with me and met a couple of the other guys,” The Band’s Robbie Robertson stated, according to Graeme Thomson’s book George Harrison: Behind the Locked Door. “He was curious to see what was real. ‘What do they do up there in those mountains?’ He wanted to hang out and soak up some of this energy.”
He was pleased with what he heard and observed. It made life after The Beatles appear both possible and exciting. To the surprise of some who knew The Beatles, he began collaborating with other musicians. “It all came as a shock, with the freedom Apple brought, when the Beatles started playing with other musicians and finding out what other people did,” Apple Corps director Tony Bramwell explained in Bob Spitz’s book The Beatles: The Biography. Working with different musicians was liberating for George Harrison. Harrison had become accustomed to The Beatles’ hectic schedule. He found that working as a musician may be different during his time with The Band. “It was kind of an escape from Beatledom for him, and he was really drawn to what Bob and The Band were doing,” said Jonathan Taplin, The Band’s road manager. “It wasn’t like what was going on in London or San Francisco.” It was much more based in Woodstock, extremely family-oriented, with kids all around.”
The visit also prompted Harrison to start writing on “All Things Must Pass” after hearing The Band’s song “The Weight.” It also helped that he had the opportunity to play alongside Dylan, whom he had always admired. “George adored it.” “He loved being with Dylan because he adored his music, and he was very happy,” his wife Pattie Boyd recalled. “He was completely liberated from the people he believed were holding him back.” Writing and playing with Bob really provided him a boost of confidence.” The Beatles’ squabbles became more regular. While Harrison was enjoying his independence in New York, things within Apple Corps were becoming increasingly stressful. “They could never agree on anything,” stated Bramwell. “Ego began to take precedence over success.” Any of Paul’s recommendations were instantly rejected by John, while Paul killed George’s and George rejected John’s. I can’t recall a single decision that was unanimous or even close to unanimous.” This dynamic, predictably, did not last. In 1970, The Beatles revealed their breakup to the world.