George Harrison did not like touring in the slightest. After being on the road with The Beatles for about six years, George’s nerves were shot. He’d grown increasingly paranoid that he’d be killed. There were predictions that the band would perish in a plane crash, and their plane did catch on fire at one point. Everywhere they went, there were mobs of people trying to get at them. In the Philippines, fans actually spit on The Beatles after they snubbed the president’s wife.
Fortunately for George, that all stopped when The Beatles decided to stop touring in 1966. However, George found himself back out on the road in 1974, somehow, despite his distaste. George’s 1974 Dark Horse tour didn’t prove to be much better than any of The Beatles’ tours, though. In fact, it was probably worse considering George was flying solo, in America, no less, without a voice.
George seldom toured after that. He played few gigs throughout the rest of his life, including The Beatles’ Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, a performance for the Prince Trust, and a small tour with Eric Clapton in Japan. But George could hardly be bothered. He much rathered to play a Holiday Inn in the middle of nowhere than take the stage for some massive tour.
George Harrison said he’d rather play a Holiday Inn in Minnesota than go on a massive tour
During a rare 1987 interview with Entertainment Tonight, George said that he disliked touring so much that he’d rather play a Holiday Inn in Minnesota than go on a massive worldwide tour.
The interviewer asked him whether he’d ever thought about playing clubs since he thought the whole “hoopla” of doing a tour was tough. “I think what I like to do is play in somewhere like the Holiday Inn in Minnesota or somewhere, you know? Somewhere where nobody goes, or there’s just a few old people in the corner who don’t know who you are, and then you can just be [imitates guitar noises] and just play, you could have a few friends there, a few beers on the piano and do that kind of thing.”
Playing a Holiday Inn sounds more like George’s speed. Once he’d experienced that massive world tours with the Beatles and then again, one last time, in 1974, he was sick of doing the same things over and over. One of the biggest things that George didn’t like about tours, other than that they exhausted him, was that people started expecting things of him.
George didn’t like that fans only wanted to hear the old Beatles hits
One of the biggest things George hated about touring and performing, in general, was the crowd’s expectations. Anytime he played somewhere, fans expected him to play Beatles hits.
“The pressure, you know, of the people expecting you to do something,” George said. “It’s a wonder we didn’t all go bananas really because I mean just say for that instance that Prince’s Trust. It was bad enough me and then Ringo. If you imagine Paul there as well, people are gonna-they’re expecting to hear you know whatever, I don’t know what they’re expecting to hear, but we could never deliver that, can’t deliver the goods.
George couldn’t understand what else people wanted from him after craving everything Beatle for years. “On one hand, you’ve been so put in a little box and looked at through microscopes to the point where you could be the most paranoid people in the world, afraid to go anywhere and to play guitars with other people. And suddenly you have to come back out and just try and be ordinary,” he said.
“That’s the thing, is try to be just an ordinary person and play a few tunes but they won’t let you do that. They want you to come out there with flames coming out of your fingers, singing all these things that don’t really exist. It’s just all in their concept of what it was. Then is then, and now is now.”
George thought touring with The Beatles was boring
Touring with The Beatles was mostly boring for George. He got sick of playing the same songs over and over each night. Plus, the crowds of screaming girls were hardly listening to the music anyway.
“We became popular, and all this stuff happened where we sang the same songs a lot, we still had a laugh, it was still good fun though,” George explained about touring as The Fab Four. “But you know the-that side of it, of playing like as a musician lost the edge there because we just played the same tunes that we play recorded, go around the world singing the same 10 songs and every year, we’d lose one and add a new one, and it got a bit boring being fab.
“You’d only see one show at a time, you see, we saw-we did it every night. You know [mock singing ‘She Loves You’]. It’s like, ‘Ah, god, not again.’”
George told Rolling Stone in 1979 that “Beatling” seemed like an eternity. “The Beatles fortunately did that hit-and-run. But 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. It might have been fun for everybody else, but we never saw the Beatles…
“We were just four relatively sane people in the middle of madness. 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.’”
At the end of George’s life, he was doing what he wanted, making music-not touring. But could you imagine getting to see George Harrison play at a Holiday Inn?
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