The Real Reason John Didn't Want George To Join The Beatles

Let's be honest, here: The Beatles are a fairly well-known band. Even if you're not a huge fan of their music, you're probably at least passingly familiar with their short, yet incredibly sweet career, and perhaps even some of the more tragic aspects of their story. Even individually, they all live (or, in the case of some of them, lived) Lives with a capital L: The troubled history of John Lennon, the many strange adventures of Paul McCartney, the surprisingly dramatic and sad life of Ringo Starr, and, of course, our subject today: George Harrison. 

The job of lead guitarist in The Beatles might seem like a pretty sweet gig, but Harrison almost missed his place among the gods of rock 'n' roll, simply because John Lennon was heavily against him in the beginning. Why was Lennon so adamant about letting young Harrison in the band? Let's find out!

No room for kids in the Quarrymen

Notice how we called him "young" George Harrison just now? Well, for John Lennon, that was the problem. As Dave Lifton of Ultimate Classic Rock tells us, Harrison technically never joined The Beatles. The year was 1958, and the band was still operating under the rather terrible name, The Quarrymen. Harrison auditioned for the spot of the group's third guitarist (Yep, they had a bit of a Lynyrd Skynyrd thing going on). In the most British way possible, his tryout took place on top of a double-decker bus. 

Paul McCartney already knew and liked Harrison, but Lennon was more sceptical. His reservations had nothing to do with casual meanness, though. He was merely concerned that Harrison was too young to keep up with the big boys. Lennon himself was a 17-year-old college student at the time, and Harrison was 14. If you've ever been either age, you can attest that at that point in life, this seems like a huge age difference.

To be fair, McCartney was also younger than Lennon, but in the end, it was Harrison's sheer talent that won Lennon over. The younger man knew his chords, and was a vastly superior guitarist to Lennon himself, who could barely play his instrument at the point. Oh, and there was also another benefit in recruiting Harrison. Not only was his mother completely cool with the kids training in Casa Harrison, but sometimes, she even gave them tiny glasses of whiskey.