Sunday, December 5

The Beatle who hated beatlemania

George and the Beatles in Germany in 1965 and with his wife Olivia in 1977.

Harrison recovered the title I Me Mine after a decade to name a book in which he collected excerpts from a long conversation with his friend Derek Taylor, a journalist and publicist who had worked as a press officer for the Liverpool quartet. like the lyrics of many of his songs commented by himself and an extensive selection of images. The volume was at the time of publication, and remains today, the closest thing to an autobiographical work by one of the Fab Four.

The Beatle who hated beatlemania

The original artifact was put on sale in 1980 in an exclusive limited run, numbered and signed by the author, at 335 pounds a copy. There were later editions at much less dissuasive prices, but in all of them a good part of the color graphic material disappeared, which has now been recovered in a stunning new 640-page version published in Spanish by Libros Del Kultrum, with a translation by Eduardo Hojman.

The Beatle who hated beatlemania

In an interview with Playboy magazine in September 1980, John Lennon was “pained” to see that his name barely had any relevance in Harrison’s book. “I consider it a glaring omission,” he pointed out. My presence in his life is conspicuous by its absence. It seems that Lennon did not quite understand the nature of I Me Mine, which should not be considered so much a volume of memoirs to use as a collection of memories and reflections in which the author’s passage through the most influential pop group of the story does not carry more weight than his passion for gardening (the book is dedicated “to all the gardeners in the world”), sitar music or car racing.

The Beatle who hated beatlemania

Even so, it is revealing to read the paragraphs in which Harrison talks about his years in the Beatles with the jaded and disdainful tone of someone who tells of a mistake of youth. Not a trace of nostalgia in his words. Beatlemania. For nothing in the world would I want to experience something like this again. […] It’s like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, you know, you’re sane in a place where everyone else is nuts. ” It is not the only brutal simile that he uses to define life in the group. «We were condemned because we had no [espacio]. It’s the same thing that happens to monkeys at the zoo. They die”. And at another time he writes: «None of the beatle experiences were that good. I ended up getting tired even of extreme emotions. No one actually laughs twice at the same joke, unless you get really stupid. ”

The Beatle who hated beatlemania

Words of affection

These judgments by Harrison about his famous band can be daunting to Beatles fans, who may find little consolation in a strangely sentimental passage in which the author of Here comes the sun admits that being one of the Fab Four had also his good things: “If one of us didn’t have them all with him, the others covered him. We protected each other […]. Sometimes I miss them. We were very fond of each other ».

The Beatle who hated beatlemania

They are the four most affectionate phrases that George dedicates in the book to his former colleagues, to whom, on the other hand, he does not reproach them any serious. Probably, the intervening years had helped to temper the burden of resentment that Harrison accumulated in the late Beatles period, in which he felt personally neglected by Lennon and artistically bossed around by McCartney. As is known, his forceful response to the vortex of bad vibes that the end of the group became was the creative explosion of the triple album All things must pass and the consolidation of a spiritual journey that had begun in an encounter with Swami Vishnu Devananda during the filming of Help !, in 1965.

Rich in contradictions

But Harrison had a complex personality that made good that aphorism of Nietzsche that says that one is productive only at the cost of being rich in contradictions. The apostle of the inner light and the cosmic reverberation who was ecstatic contemplating the gardens of his Gothic mansion in Friar Park could go from deep meditation to cocaine addiction without ruffling his hair. Behind that peaceful, mystical and somewhat inscrutable image was a joker, partying and noisy Mister Hyde that he enjoyed in the company of the Monty Pythons and the best Formula 1 drivers of his time.

Aware of how paradoxical this range of interests could be, he himself tried to give some explanation in I Me Mine that would reconcile his passions, although he did so using arguments that were not entirely convincing. “For many people, racing is absurd from a spiritual point of view,” he says. Cars pollute, kill, maim and make noise. However, being a good runner implies reaching a higher perception. And those who shine among the best have experienced some degree of expansion of consciousness.

Beyond his weaknesses and contradictions, Harrison is revealed in the book as a lucid, passionate and generous person. He continued to be so until his death on November 29, 2001, at the age of 58. He was never a proud man, and perhaps there is no more obvious proof of his proverbial humility than the comment he dedicates in the book to the wonderful Something, the second most covered song in the entire Beatles catalog, only behind Yesterday: « It likely has a five-note range that fits most singers very well. I guess it is my best known song, since more than 150 versions were made. My favorite is James Brown’s, which is excellent. It is difficult to give yourself less after having created something so exalted.

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