When did George Harrison leave the Beatles? Friday 10th January 1969. George Harrison quietly left the Beatles during the filming of Let it Be. He was fed up with being the quiet Beatle and growing tensions within the band, and he was ready to start exploring his own musical interests. The other Beatles didn’t make a big deal out of it, but Harrison’s departure marked the end of an era. Here’s a look at why he left, and what happened next.
Harrison quit the band in 1969 during the recording of ‘Let it Be’
In the storied history of The Beatles, no single event had a bigger impact than Harrison’s decision to leave the band in 1969. During the recording of their seminal album ‘Let it Be’, George simply couldn’t bear to be part of the group any longer.
His retreat was felt by everyone. Lennon and McCartney continued with the record, but there were palpable tensions throughout the studio. Without Harrison’s creative flair and technical skill, part of The Beatles’ immediacy and appeal was lost; especially as his guitar solos provided an exciting break from their usual song structures.
After months of hard work it was finally released on May 8th 1970, named after one of McCartney’s unfinished compositions in tribute to what once was.
As much as ‘Let It Be’ is a gift for fans today, it also stands as a reminder that no group lasts forever and only the truest magic can transcend time itself. Ultimately we will always wonder what could have been if Harrison stayed in the band until its very end.
Why did George leave?
While being in the most successful and iconic rock band of all time had its perks, it had its drawbacks too. Unfortunately for George Harrison, he decided that those drawbacks were simply too much to handle and he decided to take a walk one day – quitting The Beatles! According to Harrison, if he wasn’t going to be able to get along with John, Paul and Ringo, then there was no point in him being there.
How did George leave the Beatles?
Members of the Beatles and the crew normally ate in a small dining room in Twickenham studios where the band were recording at the time.
George normally attended those lunches but on this occasion he didn’t show up.
John Lennon was quoted as saying regarding the occasion:
Here’s an interview with John about the break up of the Beatles:
George Harrison later said of the incident:
The remaining three Beatles were seemingly in denial when Harrison left the group, but that didn’t stop them from carrying on with rehearsals. Lennon took the lead and decided to use it as a moment of humour, suggesting they try their hand at The Who’s ‘A Quick One, While He’s Away’ – a title that never fails to make me chuckle every time. It’s said that while running through the song, Lennon called out sarcastically “OK George, take it!” What a way to keep spirits high! Classic Lennon humour throughout!
Let’s look at a quick run-up of the situation leading up to this point:
George Harrison joined the Beatles in 1962
When George Harrison joined the Beatles in 1962, no one could have imagined that the band would become one of the most successful acts of all time.
Already it had established itself as a local sensation in Liverpool, but with George’s addition to the lineup, things began to take off. He not only brought energy and enthusiasm to the group, but also an incredible array of musical chops beyond his years.
As he came into his own as a musician, he helped shape the sound of The Beatles, introducing melodies and structures unlike any heard before.
From their debut album, Please Please Me, through Abbey Road and beyond, Harrison’s influence can be seen throughout The Beatles’ songs – singable lines, innovative guitar parts and famously catchy choruses are just some of his hallmarks.
His passion for music helped shape some of the biggest singalong tunes ever written, iconic songs that would go on to define an entire culture – namely Beatlemania.
Truly, George Harrison was a genius; and his work with The Beatles cemented him in history as one of rock’s greatest legends.
He played on all of the band’s albums from 1963 onwards
From the moment The Beatles first stepped onto the Ed Sullivan show in 1963, they became an instant sensation.
And one of the most integral contributors to their success was George Harrison, the youngest member of the band. Despite not being the main songwriter, George’s guitar playing, rhythm licks and vocal harmonies can be heard on every album released by T
he Beatles until their official break-up in 1970. He was also a major songwriter for some of their most beloved hits, including “Here Comes The Sun”, “Something” and “Taxman”. Throughout his time with The Beatles, George remained a vital part of their sound. From adding instrumental flourishes to bringing a fresh perspective on collaboration to the group meetings, he played an especially prominent role among them from 1963 onwards.
His presence could be heard in every note and detected in every chord change – a testament to his brilliant musicianship. Ultimately, it was this vibrant creative force that helped propel The Beatles into becoming one of the most influential bands ever.
He briefly rejoined for their final performance on top of Abbey Road Studios in 1970
On New Year’s Day of 1969, The Beatles proudly released their eleventh and final studio album, Abbey Road. The eponymous recording was met with rave reviews from fans and critics alike – signaling a powerful denouement to the most influential band of the 20th century.
Little did they know, however, that this would be the final performance that the four friends would share. Following their disbandment in April 1970, individual projects began to spring up across London and elsewhere – taking John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr down drastically different paths.
Despite the divergence in future endeavours, however, McCartney had one dream – to return once more to their iconic Abbey Road Studio one last time for an unforgettable performance commemorating their 11-year journey as The Beatles.
After painstakingly persuading each member, arrangements were set in place for just such a special occasion – John would fly in from America for two days before returning to work on his solo project; George travelled from Oxfordshire, and Ringo left Los Angeles.
On 30 August 1970 – standing atop the roof of Abbey Road Studios – together they reunited once more as The Beatles. Performing songs namely “Two of Us”, “Dig a Pony”, “I’ve Got a Feeling”, “Don’t Let Me Down” amid planes soaring overhead and no audience other than passersby under clear blue skies – it was paramount evidence that some things are greater than fate itself.
For this momentous brief reunion, no further words can craft justice for what unfolded so brilliantly that day: an unforgettable performance ending a remarkable journey of friendship and music.
After the break-up of the Beatles, Harrison released several successful solo albums
Although the break-up of the Beatles shook their millions of adoring fans, George Harrison went on to have a successful solo career as a singer/songwriter.
Following the band’s split in 1970, Harrison released several albums that received both critical and commercial acclaim. His first record was All Things Must Pass, which featured the hits “My Sweet Lord” and “What is Life?”. Other well-received albums followed suit, including Living in the Material World and Dark Horse.
As Harrison began to hone his craft as a solo artist, he explored different musical territories with elements of guitar playing, Indian influences, and introspective themes of spiritual growth. All these elements would become defining features of Harrison’s mature sound — something very different from the early works of the Beatles but just as beloved by old fans and new listeners alike. T
Throughout his solo career and beyond, George Harrison left an indelible mark on modern music history.
Thus, even after the ultimate dissolution of The Beatles as we knew them, Harrison continued to make beautiful music for years to come. In doing so he reaffirmed what many believed all along: that The Beatles were far more than just four lads from Liverpool with guitars — they were true innovators whose influence still reverberates today.
He passed away in 2001 aged 58 after a battle with cancer
It was one of the most shocking news stories to hit the community. On 29th November of 2001, 58-year-old battle with cancer had come to an end.
At this point in time, the world had already been aware of his illness for a year but was still devastated by the news that one of The Beatles was no longer with us.
His passing left an indelible mark on modern culture as he introduced different musical territories and explored introspective themes. His solo career and collaborations with other musicians are still being celebrated today.
In addition, George Harrison was an avid philanthropist who donated a considerable sum of money to various charities throughout his life. He was also the first Beatle to get involved in social issues and later founded The Material World Charitable Foundation, which continues to provide help for numerous causes around the world.
When did George Harrison leave the Beatles – In Summary
George Harrison was the youngest member of the Beatles, joining in 1962 when he replaced original guitarist Pete Best.
-He played on all of the band’s albums from 1963 onwards and wrote some of their most famous songs, including ‘Here Comes The Sun’ and ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’.
-Harrison quit the band in 1969 during the recording of ‘Let it Be’, citing disagreements with John Lennon and Paul McCartney over musical direction. He briefly rejoined for their final performance on top of Abbey Road Studios in 1970.
-After the break-up of the Beatles, Harrison released several successful solo albums, starting with 1971’s ‘All Things Must Pass’.
-He passed away in 2001 aged 58 after a battle with cancer.