They were the original boyband, but The Beatles were not allowed to be men, revealed George Harrison to Billy Connolly before he died in 2001. The 77-year-old comedian reminisced of his friendship with The Beatles on The Adam Buxton Podcast last week, sharing an amusing case of mistaken identity when Harrison was thought to be a retired Manchester United footballer.
Connolly said he never met John Lennon, but admitted: “I’m friendly with all the other Beatles.
“I like George Harrison. He’s not my favourite, none of them is my favourite. I treasure my friendship with them.
“George was a lovely man. I spent a lot of time with him. A lot more than the other ones.
“I remember we went for Chinese food in the East End of London and a waiter came out and served us.”
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The comedian continued: “And then he came back all shuffly footed, and he said, ‘I believe there’s somebody here I should know.’
“One of the guys who was with us pointed to George and said, ‘He used to play for Manchester United.’
“[The waiter] said, ‘Great can I have your autograph?’ George signed it.
“He went away quite happy. And the waiter came back and he asked me something.”
Billy Connolly was friendly with The Beatles over the years
He added: “And I said, ‘That’s okay man.” And I turned to George and I said, ‘I love man, you don’t have to learn anybody’s name. Just call them man.’
“George said, ’It’s good to be a man.’ And I said, ‘I suppose it is, it’s very nice.’
“He said, ‘We were the boys for so long.’ It was funny to see his side of it. He wasn’t allowed to be a man.”
Buxton asked Connolly what Beatles questions he would ask Harrison, to which he replied: “Yeah, just about songs. They didn’t realise he was a writer.”
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Harrison, who is best known for writing Here Comes The Sun once revealed what his favourite Beatles album was.
It turns out the quiet Beatle favoured Rubber Soul of the Beatles’ albums, according to the book This Bird Has Flown: The Enduring Beauty of Rubber Soul, Fifty Years On.
In 1995, George said: “Rubber Soul was my favourite album even at that time, I think that it was the best one we made.
“The most important thing about it was that we were suddenly hearing sounds we weren’t able to hear before.”
He added: “Also, we were being more influenced by other people’s music and everything was blossoming at that time — including us.”
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ 12th and final studio album Let It Be.
And to coincide with it, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is making a documentary film full of unseen footage from the studio recording.
In a statement, Jackson said: “The 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us, ensures this movie will be the ultimate ‘fly on the wall’ experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about. It’s like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together.”