Footage of John Lennon and George Harrison recording 'How Do You Sleep?'
Credit: NBC/White House

John Lennon and George Harrison open up about The Beatles in rare audio, 1974

John Lennon and George Harrison always had a keen bond during their time in The Beatles, Lennon provided Harrison with the sounding board he needed when discovering his own songwriting talent. After the band broke-up, through a run of petty squabbles, their relationship largely deteriorated.

This rare audio sees an attempt at reconciliation as Lennon and Harrison meet up to discuss all things Beatles, their inspirations as songwriters, as well as some other notable rock stars, and could well be one of their very last conversations, in December of 1974.

The recording comes to us via a radio interview in which they got two Beatles for the price of one—a lucky draw. Harrison had arrived at the show intent on rectifying a series of unfortunate fall-outs. It began with Harrison’s lasting legacy in music, his Concert For Bangladesh, which saw problems arise rather quickly.

As part of the mammoth benefit concert, created in aid of those affected by the constant famine and war that tore through the country, Harrison was trying to get The Beatles back together. While Paul wasn’t likely to take to the stage with the rest of the band, the guitarist had managed to convince both Lennon and Ringo. That is until Harrison made one small change to the offer— John could come but Yoko would have to stay at home.

Naturally, this did not please Lennon and he refused to take part in the concert without his wife and partner.

So in 1974 with Harrison in New York and Lennon taking part in one of his rare live performances and much of their disagreements feeling further and further away, the opportunity was too good to turn down. George made his way to see his old friend John at Madison Square Garden and tried to put out the smouldering remains of their Beatles bridge.

The clip below is a result of that meeting and sees both the Beatles relish taking on the role of interviewer. Engaging with their interviewee and pushing for hard answers to difficult questions.

The pair share their thoughts on writing their lyrics as well as how Lennon was a more than changeable character. After discussing Harrison’s favourite Beatles songs ‘Strawberry Fields’ and ‘Norwegian Wood’, the duo then discuss their admiration for Bowie or “David Boo-wee as he’s called in America”.

It’s a rarely heard audio which is unlike any other we have of The Beatles. This is George Harrison and John Lennon not only trying to reconnect, not only trying to rationalise their lives and their work, but in admiration of those working around them.

It’s a piece of Beatles history after The Beatles were history.

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