Q: ‘Derek Taylor said you crave your own space and have a long memory?’
George Harrison: ‘Most people need your own space. I still have it, even though occasions like this when I do an album I come out and say hello to people. I couldn’t live in a house full of journalists and have them ask me questions all the time, what was the other question?’
GH: ‘Ah, the memory. Sort of more in the past, a lot of brain cells are missing now. Sometimes you don’t want to remember things, sometimes you can’t and sometimes they just pop out there.’"
Q: ‘How did “Revolution” end up on a sneaker commercial?’
George Harrison: ‘From what I understand, they were just going to use the song, re-record it with Julian Lennon, but Yoko got really pissed off at that idea because I don’t think she likes Julian, and she insisted that it be the Beatles version. She has no right to insist that because there’s a conflict of interest, it’s in the Beatles and Apple’s interest not to have our records touted about on TV commercials, otherwise all the songs we made could be advertising everything from hot dogs to ladies’ brassieres. We never took advertising. We could have done our Coca-Cola commercials, just like everybody else. We tried to have a little discretion, keep a little taste, that’s what we felt. The four of us tried to keep our songs in running orders on the records, we tried to make good records, we tried to do something as quality, and something to be proud of. When it’s out of our hands, it’s like we’re made into prostitutes.’
Q: ‘Capitol’s new tapes ruin the running order of your old albums.’
GH: ‘This is the problem of not having any control anymore. It’s unfortunate. We should have been able to retain the control. That’s the way it all went.’"
Q: ‘Have you listened to the Beatles CDs?’
George Harrison: ‘I did buy a CD player when they issued them, yeah. I listened to some of them. I still prefer the old versions, how I remember them on vinyl. There’s a lot of stuff that you can hear now that’s good. In some cases, there’s a lot of stuff that you shouldn’t hear so loudly, that’s somehow come out in the mix. On Sgt. Pepper I keep hearing this horrible sounding tambourine that leaps out of the right speaker. It was obviously in the original mix, but it was never that loud.’
Q: ‘There are still thirty or so songs not on CD. How would you make them available?’
GH: ‘Well, it’s none of our business anymore, when our contract expired we lost any control we had over the Beatles’ product.’
Q: ‘How would you like to see it done?’
GH: ‘I suppose if you took all the songs you could put them in order in sequence of years as they were recorded, then as the technology advanced and our technique progressed, then you’d hear them in proper order. Or, you could put all the singles on one, or the B-sides on another.’"
Q: ‘If I had read every Beatles book and seen every documentary, in a general sense what would I have missed?’
George Harrison: ‘Do you want me to tell you something nobody else knows?’
GH: ‘A lot of the stuff in the books are wrong. A lot of them are written out of malice, or from people with axes to grind for one reason or another. And they’ve perverted certain things for their own gain. Not many are actually factual and honest. There is a saying in the old house that I have, it’s in Latin, translated it says “those who tell all they have to tell, tell more than they know.” So you probably know more about the Beatles, from reading those books, than there actually was.’
Q: ‘What would those people who look so closely miss?’
GH: ‘Well, there’s that expression, you don’t see the forest for the trees. Basically the Beatles phenomena was bigger than life. The reality was that we were just four people as much caught up in what was happening at that period of time as anybody else.’"
Q: ‘You’ve recently been a filmmaker, and now you’re making your first video. What can we expect?’
George Harrison: ‘We haven’t made the video, we’re not making it until next Wednesday.’
Q: ‘What do you have in mind?’
GH: ‘We’re still just talking about it, it’s a bit early for that.’
Q: ‘Next week?’
GH: ‘That’s it. It’s silly, isn’t it? We’ll finalize what’s going to happen. It’s difficult to make a video that doesn’t look like all the other videos. Occasionally there’s a really nice one. Like that Dire Straits or Peter Gabriel. But you can’t say “oh I’m going to make one like Peter Gabriel” because he’s already done that. This video isn’t going to be me making a movie. Maybe later when we start doing different singles off of the album then maybe I’ll work more along those lines. I’ve just finished the record, mixing it, all the art work and mastering it and then it’s like “make a video…” so this video. Gary Weis is making the video. I knew him from “The Rutles.” Gary has a real good sense of humor, he’s done the Saturday Night Live stuff as well. It’s how to present it so it’s funny but at the same time the song isn’t particularly a comedy song. Neither was You Can Call Me Al but they gave it a comical flavor.’
Q: ‘So you want to make people laugh.’
GH: ‘Well, I’d like it to not look like the same old videos that just keep coming. At the same time, with the limited time span I’m pretty much in the hands of Gary. It’s up to him to do it really good.’
Q: ‘What makes you laugh?’
GH: ‘A lot of things. I’ve always like comedy, back when I was a kid I liked the Goon Show, I was a big fan of Peter Sellers, and later on I was a good friend of his. I liked Peter a lot. I loved Monty Python, I couldn’t explain how much I liked it. The rut that television gets into, and people’s lives, Python just blew all that away by making fun of everything. Right down to the style of television we’ve been watching. The result is that I got to know some of them and we made “The Life of Brian” and “Time Bandits” and a couple of films with Michael Palin, so that kind of stuff makes me laugh.’"
Q: ‘You haven’t been idle, musically. How did you pick these songs [for Cloud Nine]?’
George Harrison: ‘I had a lot of demos, I played them to Jeff, he picked them out. I asked him to write me a song, too. Since I’ve not been making albums I’ve done a lot of other people’s songs. Just as demos, some old tunes, I do a quick version. I like the idea of singing somebody else’s songs.’
Q: ‘Such as?’
GH: ‘Dylan’s “Every Grain of Sand.” A great song. I did a version of that, a couple of other Dylan songs, writing other crazy songs. He wrote me a song, we wrote a couple together, and the song that they’re putting out as a single is one that neither of us wrote, from the very early 1960s called “I’ve Got My Mind Set on You.”’
Q: ‘Which sounds like nothing you’ve ever done.’
GH: ‘It’s true, that came about because Jim Keltner just started playing that drum pattern and the song seemed to fit right on there. Does this bother you?’
Q: ‘I’m just surprised you’re still smoking.’
GH: ‘Well, off and on. You know, something like this, it’s, ah, on.’"
George Harrison’s cameo in The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash: "The sureness of Eric Idle’s judgment was encouraged and confirmed by George who plunged into Eric’s project as publicist, adviser and as actor, playing a nosey reporter interviewing press officer Eric Manchester (Michael Palin) as he lied about and denied the decline of Rutle Corps." - Derek Taylor, I Me Mine.
“The great thing about The Rutles is that even though it was a parody it was the nicest thing about The Beatles. It was done with love, even though it was a send-up. And because of Eric Idle being a good friend of mine, it have him access to things that any other potential Beatle filmmaker wouldn’t have. I showed him footage that was obscure, like when we first came into NYC, in the back of a limousine and Paul’s listening to a radio and a guy is saying ‘the Beatles are going to be here at the station to read their poetry.’ And that isn’t a famous bit of footage. So in the Rutles you see them, and he’s listening to the radio, and the disc jockey ‘and the Rutles are coming to talk about their trousers.’ And also, just the detail, where they got exactly what sort of suits we were wearing on that day, even at Shea Stadium, little marshal’s badges, the Rutles even had the psychedelic guitars, it had a good eye for detail. At the same time, it sent up documentaries, the style and those boring questions that they ask.” - George Harrison in an interview with Charles Bermant, 1987
The Beatles - “Shout” - Anthology 1
Recorded: 19 April 1964, IBC Studios, London
"Shout never made it from the Beatles’ early stage repertoire on to their discs, which makes this Around The Beatles recording especially rare. The Isley Brothers’ 1959 original was so long that it had to be split over two sides of a 45, called Shout - Part I and Shout - Part II. This Beatles recording is essentially Part II, with Paul, John, George and Ringo swapping the lead vocal role while raising and lowering the volume in keeping with the lyric." - Anthology 1 liner notes