George Harrison and Elton’s friendship was the bond that was shared over their understanding of each other. It also revolved around the mutual sense of fame they had due to their musical talents. Yet, the former Beatle revealed that he didn’t really think much of Elton’s music. He commented about his lack of creativity and craftiness in his songs.
This all happened in an interview with India Today all the way back in 1976. He explained his love for Indian music there which was introduced to him by his friend Ravi Shankar. When he was asked about contemporary pop, he replied, “Well, I don’t really know,”
“There isn’t too much going on that I seem to like. When the Beatles started off, our influences were Tamla-Motown and Chuck Berry, and that’s the music I still like. My favorites are Smokey Robinson (I’ve written two songs about him) and Stevie Wonder. Otherwise, George Benson and, of course, anything Dylan does is worth a listen.”
India Today continued with it and asked, “Is that it? Is that the only music you like?” Then it all happened. Harrison didn’t speak very highly of Elton and other fellow musicians. He said,
“Well, Elton John’s music is something I’ve never thought much of,” George said. “It all sounds the same, though I think he’s written a good song once (many years ago, of course). His music is made to a formula: throw in lyrics, throw in four chords, shake well, and there it is, the new Elton John super-hit!”
Despite all these, George cared about John a lot. All these musical and artistic differences are something to have but as a friend, he had a big role in Elton’s life. Elton has always talked about his drug addiction and how it nearly tore him apart. As a friend, George helped and played a part in helping Elton get away from all those stuff. George was a bystander and had seen John in his pitiful and sorrowful state.
This made the Beatle spit some truths to him and it had a great effect on Elton. Elton remembered to Rolling Stone, “It’s very hard to put into words. He was very forthright, and he actually administered quite a few tellings-off to me about my drug problem, I think he was the kind of sage of the Beatles. He was the youngest member. But as people said, he was very spiritual and very serious about his religious beliefs. It wasn’t just a five-minute-wonder thing with him. He found something worth more than fame, more than fortune, more than anything. I think that helped him the last few months of his life. Because he was pretty stoic.”
Even though their musical approaches were different, they worked together on several occasions. The first performance was at Prince’s Trust Concert in 1987 and even asked Elton to appear on his album, Cloud Nine. Elton is not really known for being experimental and it reveals his talent for making things simple. Harrison was a master of reinvention and was very experimental. This is why it’s not really surprising that Harrison had such thoughts in regard to Elton.