Before becaming the Beatles Press office, Derek Taylor was a columnist of the Daily Express.
Taylor describes him as “a very talkative man, with as much interest in expressing himself as anyone else and maybe more than most”. But he’d always been a bit of a clown – there was the time in a hotel when he offered his foot, rather than hand.
One day i went to see Brian Epstein, Derek recalls, becasue i wanted to publish on the newspaper a weekly article wrote by one of the Beatles personally. I tought George could have been the right one.
And i told epestein : “ he doesn’t really ha sto write, i will instead of him, we just will have some talking about whatever, and i will write the article. The weird idea went on and successfully.
With The Beatles’ profile in the ascendant, Taylor’s editors floated the idea of a column supposedly authored by a Beatle, to be ghostwritten by Taylor. George Harrison was chosen, and was initially given approval of Taylor’s copy. However, the first installment didn’t go quite as well as planned.
And with Taylor’s proddings, George talks about his childhood in a decent, “upper-working-class” Liverpool family. There were the usual privations
“It was cold in those times, cold. We only had one fire and we had to warm up the the beds with a bottle of hot water”. But his only real complaints were about school, which he hated (“awful … That’s when the darkness came in”). He left early, with no qualifications, his musical talents unnoticed by teachers. But he’d met Paul McCartney on the school bus and, by the time he was 17, the group they had formed was taking off.
What happened next, the years of the Beatles, is a story George more or less omits to tell. One minute he’s playing gigs with Paul, John and Stuart Sutcliffe in Hoylake; the next it’s 1969, the group has broken up. I play a little guitar, write a few tunes, make a few movies, but none of that’s really me,” George Harrison once said. “The real me is something else.” He preached piety and simple pleasures, yet he lived in a 120-room mansion and collected ultra high-end cars.
“I am not really Beatle George. Beatle George is like a suit or shirt that I once wore on occasion, and until the end of my life people may see that shirt and mistake it for me.”
“My Sweet Lord” “I thought a lot about whether to do ‘My Sweet Lord’ or not, because I would be committing myself publicly (to my beliefs) and I anticipated that a lot of people might get weird about it. Many people fear the words ‘Lord’ and ‘God.’ makes them angry for some reason.
When beatles plit up Phil Spector went to see him “’Y’know, you ought to consider making an album.’ Spector recalls, and he said, ‘I have a few ditties’ for you to hear.’ It was endless! He literally had hundreds of songs — and each one was better than the rest. He had all this emotion built up when it released to me.”