George Harrison said people wouldn’t want to see “three old men hobbling around the stage pretending to be the Fab Four.” He was sick of people asking him if The Beatles would ever reunite.
George Harrison performing at Bob Dylan’s anniversary concert in 1992.
George Harrison didn’t like how much fans wanted the Fab Four to reunite
The spiritual Beatle always appreciated the fans, but he didn’t understand why some of them never let go of The Beatles. He had a problem with the people who wanted the band to continue or reunite. During a 1974 press conference (per George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviews and Encounters), George said he realized The Beatles filled a space in the 1960s and that the group meant a lot to people.
However, he also knew that some people were too attached. “I can understand that the Beatles did nice things and it’s appreciated that people still like them,” George said. “The problem comes when they want to live in the past, when they want to hold on to something. People are afraid of change.”
By the mid-1970s, George had grown sick of people asking if The Beatles were ever going to reunite. During a 1979 interview with Rolling Stone, George said the fans who were after that had no regard for the group’s well-being.
“They’ve got lots and lots of songs they can play forever,” George said. “But what do they want? Blood? They want us all to die like Elvis Presley? … Every year we were Beatling was like twenty years; so although it might only have been five or six years it seemed like eternity. That was enough for me, I don’t have any desire to do all that.
“People used us as an excuse to trip out, and we were the victims of that. That’s why they want the Beatles to go on, so they can all get silly again. But they don’t have consideration for our well-being when they say, ‘Let’s have the Fab Four again.’”
George said people wouldn’t want to see ‘three old men hobbling around the stage pretending to be the Fab Four’
Coincidentally, there were several occasions where the Fab Four could’ve reunited. First, it could’ve happened at George’s 1971 benefit concert, the Concert for Bangladesh. George invited all of his former bandmates, but only Ringo Starr signed on.
George didn’t want to be forced into a reunion; it had to happen naturally, if at all
In 1987, the organizers of the Prince’s Trust Concert asked George to perform. George didn’t know that they also asked Ringo. According to Rolling Stone, George and Ringo had no idea the other signed on to perform until they told each other.
When George found out, he suddenly felt like they were trying to swindle him into a Beatles reunion. However, they didn’t ask Paul McCartney.
“I felt straightaway, somebody’s trying to set this up again,” George said. “You know, it’s one thing going on as me. But if I’m going on as the Beatles, I want to be able to have some sort of control over it.”
George didn’t want to be forced into anything, even if he had come to terms with being a Beatle. If it was going to happen, he wanted it to be natural. During an interview with Count Down Holland, George said, “Well, it depends; if we end up being good friends again, it will happen naturally. But we can’t force anything.”
Eventually, George, Paul, and Ringo reunited to work on The Beatles Anthology, although George was initially reluctant to participate. The Beatles released two new songs, “Free As A Bird” and ” Real Love,” with two of John’s old demos. In the end, fans got what they wanted for decades, and George reunited with his bandmates on his own terms.
Not to mention, it was a healing moment for all. The last time all The Beatles were together, it was tense between them. The multi-media project allowed the group once last chance to make things right.