George Harrison anticipated something bad might happen when The Beatles were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Specifically, he felt one of his fellow classic rock stars might say something bad about him during the ceremony. Here’s a look at what the rock star said about George.
What George Harrison asked a rock star at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
The Beatles were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, making them one of the earlier acts to receive that honor. The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger inducted them into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with a brief speech. During the speech, he revealed that George asked him a question beforehand.
“When I got here tonight, I saw George [Harrison] and he said, ‘You aren’t going to say anything bad about me are you?’” Jagger recalled. “I couldn’t think of anything, really — on the spur of the moment — bad to say about — because in England during those very early days, just while The Beatles were recording their first songs, it was a real wasteland. England had nothing really to offer as far as pop music was concerned.”
The pre-Bealtes music that Mick Jagger criticized at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Jagger went on to call out specific songs as being part of that “wasteland.” “The big hits here that came from England were things like Acker Bilk, ‘Stranger on the Shore’ — this is what they thought of in England,” he said. “‘A Midnight in Moscow’ by Kenny Ball — now we all remember that one.”
For context, “Stranger on the Shore” is a smooth jazz instrumental. According to The Official Charts Company, it reached No. 2 in the United Kingdom, remaining on the chart for 55 weeks. Meanwhile, “Midnight in Moscow” is another jazz instrumental. The Official Charts Company reports it reached No. 2 in the United Kingdom as well, remaining on the chart for 21 weeks. It appears Jagger was not a huge fan of jazz instrumentals.
What The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger thought about The Beatles in general and George Harrison in particular
Jagger concluded his speech by praising The Beatles. He thanked them for helping The Rolling Stones break through with “I Wanna Be Your Man,” a Lennon-McCartney tune The Rolling Stones recorded. He also said he was friends with The Beatles even if there was friction occasionally between the two groups.
Jagger’s speech at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame wasn’t the only time he paid tribute to George. According to Billboard, Jagger released a statement following George’s death in 2001. “I am very saddened by George’s death and will miss him enormously,” he said. “He was the first musician I knew who developed a truly spiritual side and he was generous with his time to both charity and to friends.” Keith Richards also mourned George in a statement. Jagger didn’t have anything bad to say about George at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame — or following his death decades later.
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