In 1970, the world witnessed the dissolution of The Beatles, a breakup often dramatized by the press as fraught with bitterness among the members. Indeed, during the production of their last albums, Abbey Road and Let It Be, internal conflicts, especially between George Harrison and Paul McCartney, marked the end of an era for the band.
The group’s dynamics shifted significantly after the untimely death of their manager, Brian Epstein, in 1967. McCartney inadvertently stepped into a leadership role, a position highlighted in Peter Jackson’s 2021 documentary, The Beatles: Get Back. The film portrays McCartney as the primary creative engine during this period, while John Lennon seemed preoccupied with his relationship with Yoko Ono, and Harrison struggled to find space for his own music.
Despite the friction, the relationship between Harrison and McCartney mended by the late ’70s, reflecting a deep mutual respect. McCartney, known for his assertiveness and critical ear, openly admired some of Harrison’s compositions, particularly those created during the Get Back sessions.
Harrison’s talent shone through on the 1969 release of Abbey Road, featuring his songs ‘Something’ and ‘Here Comes the Sun’. These tracks, along with ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ from The White Album, stand as some of Harrison’s most significant contributions to The Beatles’ legacy.
In a 2020 Reddit AMA, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, McCartney singled out ‘Here Comes The Sun’ as his top pick from Harrison’s repertoire, praising its uplifting essence during challenging times. McCartney’s affection for ‘Something’ was also evident, as he often performed it solo, playing a ukulele gifted to him by Harrison. He shared this sentiment with audiences, recounting intimate jam sessions at Harrison’s home, during his 2022 performance at Glastonbury.
Post-Harrison’s passing in 2001, McCartney’s 2003 album, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, became a tribute to their friendship. The track ‘Friends to Go’ was notably inspired by Harrison, with McCartney expressing in a BBC Radio 6 interview how he felt a deep connection to Harrison’s spirit during its creation, almost as if he was channeling the ‘Quiet Beatle’ himself.