Why John Lennon Thought George Harrison Was A Flop

The Beatles, the legendary band that reshaped music history and became a global sensation, had a bond so strong that they could practically finish each other’s musical sentences. But even in this tight-knit group, tensions sometimes simmered.

John Lennon, the outspoken and often sharp-tongued leader, once made a notable comment about his bandmate, George Harrison. Lennon, known for his wit, remarked that Harrison’s music had lost its spark.

This raises an intriguing question: Was Lennon teasing his friend, or did he genuinely think Harrison’s career was slipping? Let’s delve into the context of Lennon’s remark, assess Harrison’s solo work, and see if Lennon’s criticism had merit.

Was George Harrison Losing His Edge?

In a 1975 interview featured in the book, Lennon on Lennon: Conversations With John Lennon*, Lennon shared his thoughts on a Harrison live performance.

Though Lennon didn’t outright criticize the show, he hinted at its lack of impact. He talked about the fickleness of fame, where artists can be seen as “in” or “out” based on public perception. Lennon stated, “George is out for the moment. And I think it didn’t matter what he did on tour.”

Lennon drew parallels to The Beatles’ career, noting their fluctuations in popularity. He applied this notion to George, suggesting that the public and media had moved on, regardless of Harrison’s performance quality.

According to Lennon, this shift in public perception meant that Harrison wouldn’t receive the same level of enthusiasm, regardless of his efforts.

Harrison’s Album “Extra Texture” and Its Reception

Harrison’s 1975 album, Extra Texture (Read All About It), received decent recognition but didn’t match the success of his earlier works. It peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 chart and stayed there for 11 weeks. While not a failure, it fell short of albums like All Things Must Pass or Cloud Nine.

The album produced two singles: “You” and “This Guitar (Can’t Keep from Crying)”. “You” did better, reaching No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and lasting ten weeks.

However, “This Guitar (Can’t Keep from Crying)” didn’t chart. This was surprising given its nod to Harrison’s iconic “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

The music industry is unpredictable, with songs from various eras experiencing resurgences. Tracks like Lady Gaga’s “Bloody Mary” or Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” found new popularity in later years. Maybe a song from *Extra Texture* could also have a resurgence.

No Hard Feelings, Just Musical Differences

Lennon’s critique of Harrison’s live show doesn’t overshadow their relationship. While John had reservations about George’s musical direction, there was no underlying animosity.

In the interview, John showed understanding of George’s decision not to perform with Paul McCartney. He playfully joked about George changing his mind soon, indicating a light-hearted approach.

This casual banter revealed a nuanced dynamic between the former bandmates. John’s closing statement, “If we’re gonna play, we’re just gonna play,” showed a willingness to set aside personal opinions for potential reunions. Their bond seemed to transcend commercial success, reflecting a deep-rooted friendship beyond industry metrics.

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