Beatles Producer George Martin Apologized To George Harrison Years After The Group's Split

The first time music producer George Martin began working with the Beatles in May 1962, he thought little of them or their songwriting skills. "The material was either old stuff ... or very mediocre songs they had written themselves," he recounted in "All You Need Is Ears: The Inside Personal Story of the Genius Who Created the Beatles." He would later recall that they were "rotten composers" whose "own stuff wasn't any good" (via The Beatles: The Biography). Martin laid into the crestfallen band for more than an hour, ticking off all the negatives, including the band's "lack of suitable material."

In response, George Harrison cheekily retorted that he didn't like Martin's tie, which shocked his bandmates, but had Martin in stitches. Harrison broke the ice and helped solidify a history-making creative union. As Martin and the Beatles continued to work together, the producer's opinion of Paul McCartney and John Lennon's songwriting changed for the better, especially when their songs continued to become massive hits. But Harrison had a harder time of it since he hadn't been writing as long as Lennon and McCartney.

'They'd had a lot of practice'

"They'd had a lot of practice ... They'd been writing since we were at school," George Harrison would recall in a radio interview (via YouTube). "For me, I had to come from nowhere and start writing and to have something at least quality enough to put in the record with all their wondrous hits." It didn't help that George Martin wasn't very interested in Harrison's songs. "I'd concentrate on the guys who were giving me the hits," Martin told CNN in 2001.

Harrison's first song, "Don't Bother Me," appeared on the band's second album, With the Beatles, from 1963, but he had to struggle to break the hold John Lennon and Paul McCartney had on The Beatles' songwriting. Harrison told Guitar World (via Showbiz Cheatsheet) "it wasn't easy in those days getting up enthusiasm for my songs." Martin recalled that Harrison's compositions were "kind of tolerated," but the bulk of the albums' compositions remained firmly in the hands of Lennon and McCartney.

George Harrison quits

Beyond the songwriting, Paul McCartney became more controlling as the years went on with things coming to a head on the recording sessions for their "Get Back" project. Additionally, John Lennon had become antagonistic towards George Harrison, making fun of Harrison's song "I Me Mine" to his face. George Martin didn't help things. "I must say that looking back, it was a bit hard on him," Martin later recalled (via "Sound Pictures: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin, The Later Years, 1966–2016." "It was always slightly condescending. But it was natural because the others were so talented."

On January 10, 1969, Harrison had had enough. He walked out of the recording session and quit the band. At least for 12 days. In 1988, 18 years after the band's breakup, Martin apologized to Harrison. "I hope you'll forgive me," Harrison recalled Martin telling him for not having paid enough attention to his songwriting (via Showbiz CheatSheet). Still, Harrison said he was "quite happy with" his "role in The Beatles." While Harrison had a much smaller number of songs on the Beatle's discography, he wrote some of their biggest hits, including "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Something," and "Here Comes the Sun."