The guitarist and singer George Harrison was a crucial element for The Beatles sound and after the band came to an end in 1970, reinforced even more his skills as a songwriter, showing that he could be really successful on his own.
During the 70s, Rock and Roll was evolving quickly and many different bands were appearing on the scene, however, Harrison’s favorite artists remained more or less the same as he revealed in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 1979. He was asked which artists he was listening to at that moment and Rock and Roll Garage recovered what he said about them over the decades and his connection with some of them.
The 3 artists George Harrison said he liked to listen to in the 70s
George Harrison and Bob Dylan first met each other in the 60s when The Beatles were still active and they wrote two songs together a few years later in 1968: “I’d Have You Anytime” and “If Not For You”.
The first one appeared on Harrison’s groundbreaking album “All Things Must Pass” released in 1970 and the second one was recorded by Dylan, being featured on his album “New Morning” (1970).
Their friendship only grew stronger in the following decades. So it’s not a coincidence that they ended up being bandmates when the supergroup Traveling Wilburys was created in the late 80s.
Harrison was such a big fan of Dylan that he would even hide when they were writing together and make a secret bootleg of the American artist. The late guitarist and singer Tom Petty, who was also a member of the Wilburys, recalled that in an interview with Rolling Stone back in 2002.
“George quoted Bob like people quote Scripture. Bob really adored George, too. George used to hang over the balcony videoing Bob while Bob wasn’t aware of it. Bob would be sitting at the piano playing, and George would tape it and listen to it all night.”
Tom Petty continued:
“One day George was hiding in the hedge at the house where we were recording. As everybody flew off, George would rise up out of the bushes with his video going. He also did that with Bob. I think George frightened Bob. When the Wilburys started, George was so reverent of Bob. At the end of the first say, he said, ‘We know that you’re Bob Dylan and everything. But we’re going to just treat you and talk to you like we would anybody else.’ Bob went, ‘Well great. Believe it or not, I’m in awe of you guys. It’s the same for me.’”
“I said to George, ‘That is really amazing, how you said that to Bob.’ George goes, ‘I can say those sort of things. But you can’t.’ [laughs] George adored Bob Dylan. Like ‘Dylan makes Shakespeare look like Billy Joel.’ George absolutely adored the Wilburys. That was his baby from the beginning. He went at it with such great enthusiasm. The rest of his life, he considered himself a Wilbury,” Tom Petty said.
The legendary British pianist and singer Elton John started his musical career in 1962, one year before The Beatles released their first album. However, he would only release his solo debut seven years later, in 1969. He was deeply influenced by The Beatles, like most part of the musicians from that era and always shared his love for the band. He even ended up covering “Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds” in 1974 with John Lennon appearing on the track.
Although Elton was closer to John Lennon, he also had a good relationship with Harrison. He recalled how much the Beatle was important to help him to recover from his addiction. He talked about it in an interview with Virgin Radio Breakfest Now in 2019. “’Stop putting that marching powder up your nose,’ George Told him. “Twenty-nine-years it’s been. The nose is still here!” Elton John said about Harrison’s advice.
Like with Bob Dylan, Harrison’s friendship with the guitarist and singer Eric Clapton also started in the 60s. Both became friends first obviously talking about guitars and then really developed a great connection in life.
Clapton ended up even being the one person who wasn’t a Beatles member and played a guitar solo on a Beatles record. He performed the guitar solo in the George Harrison track “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. The song was featured on self-titled Beatles album, also known as the “white album” (1969).
But their friendship also had a few bumps on the road, especially when Clapton “stole” Harrison’s wife. Pattie Boyd was married to Harrison from 1966 to 1977 and Clapton fell in love with her when she was still married to the Beatle. With Harrison’s marriage not going really well, Clapton and her ended up getting together. They married two years later in 1979 and stayed together until 1989.
Although that is something not many friends would accept, Harrison left that behind. He still continued to be a good friend of Clapton. They even ended up touring together in 1991 in Japan, being the second solo tour Harrison ever did and that ended up being also the last one.
Clapton was part of his band during those shows but he also sang a couple of songs from his career like “Wonderful Tonight”, “Old Love” and “Badge”. The last one curiously was recorded by Clapton’s supergroup Cream in the late 60s but it was co-written with George Harrison.