John Lennon Can Make George Harrison Laugh So Hard He Can’t Play Guitar
via Nebo Sha Lennon / Youtube
In the midst of one of The Beatles’ most nerve-wracking performances, John Lennon, renowned for his mischievous streak, decided to inject some unexpected humor into the atmosphere. Breaking free from the tension, he launched into a series of outrageous antics that caught the attention of the entire band and sent ripples of laughter through the audience.
As Lennon himself later recounted, his comedic assault was so potent that it disarmed even the ever-stoic George Harrison, rendering him helpless with laughter and momentarily silencing his guitar.
Not only did Lennon’s unexpected antics provide a welcome break from the pressure of the concert, but it also served as a testament to the deep bond and playful camaraderie that existed within the band, even in the face of intense professional demands.
The incident at this stressful concert perfectly encapsulates the dynamic within The Beatles. It showcases how, even during high-pressure situations, they retained their ability to lighten the mood and find joy in each other’s company.
George Harrison was laughing so hard he just couldn’t continue performing
In 1965, Shea Stadium in New York became the epicenter of Beatlemania. The cavernous arena pulsed with the nervous energy of the Fab Four, facing their most formidable audience yet. But instead of cowering under the spotlight, John Lennon decided to rewrite the script.
He launched into a side-splitting performance, a one-man comedy routine channeling the manic energy of Jerry Lee Lewis. He attacked the piano not with fingers, but with his very feet, a spectacle that had George Harrison howling with laughter, his guitar temporarily silenced.
“I was putting my foot on it and George couldn’t play for laughing. I was doing it for a laugh. The kids didn’t know what I was doing,” Lennon shared in The Beatles Anthology.
Paul McCartney also remembered the scene of Lennon monkeying around, “He was into his comedy, which was great. That was one of the great things about John. If there was ever one of those tense shows, which this undoubtedly was, his comedy routines would always come out.”
George and John once fought onstage “over something stupid”
The early days of The Beatles were a whirlwind of excitement and relentless energy. Long hours, demanding schedules, and the occasional use of stimulants fueled their performances, but also led to moments of tension. Lennon and Harrison, despite their close friendship, weren’t immune to occasional onstage friction.
In one such incident, their youthful exuberance and the pressures of the moment bubbled over into a playful food fight. As Lennon later described in Hunter Davies’ The Beatles: The Authorized Biography, “We were just kids as well. George threw some food at me once onstage.”
Although the duo did not come down to physically hurting each other, they did hurl some hurtful words toward each other.
Lennon recalled, “We usually ate onstage as we were onstage so long. The waiters would send us up beer onstage as well as food, so now and again we’d end up getting pissed while we were playing. Anyway, this time George threw some food at me over something stupid. I said I would smash his face in for him. We had a shouting match onstage, but that was all. I never did anything.
“I felt closer to him than all the others”
The Beatles’ internal dynamic was a complex tapestry of love, rivalry, and creative friction. While John and George weren’t immune to occasional disagreements, their bond remained strong throughout their journey together. Harrison, in particular, felt a deep connection with Lennon, even describing him as the Beatle he felt closest to.
Their friendship blossomed in the early days of the band. “John and I spent a lot of time together from then on,” Harrison reminisced, “and I felt closer to him than all the others, right through until his death.”
As Yoko Ono entered Lennon’s life, the dynamic shifted. Harrison acknowledged a decrease in personal contact with his friend, but the underlying connection remained. “On the odd occasion I did see him,” Harrison revealed, “just by the look in his eyes I felt we were connected.”
Lennon and Harrison’s relationship, like many close friendships, wasn’t without its challenges. Yet, their ability to navigate these complexities while cherishing the core of their connection is a testament to the power of their bond.