Graham Nash Called Out George Harrison for Collecting Royalties From a ‘Disgusting Mess’ of a Cover

George Harrison was the ‘Quiet Beatle,’ but he wasn’t afraid to share a negative opinion. Graham Nash once lashed out at him for this trait.

Graham Nash covered the George Harrison song “If I Needed Someone” when he was in The Hollies. Nash felt the band put out a solid cover, but Harrison didn’t agree. He publicly criticized the song, saying he didn’t want to be associated with it. Nash didn’t take the insult lying down. He ripped Harrison for using his platform to insult a smaller artist and wondered if Harrison would collect royalties from the cover he hated.

Graham Nash didn’t appreciate George Harrison’s negative opinion of a cover

The Hollies covered “If I Needed Someone” in 1965, much to Harrison’s distaste. He noted that the band had “spoilt it” and sounded like session men on the record. Nash was not happy when he heard this.

“Sometimes, even Saint George didn’t know when to keep his snarky views to himself,” Nash wrote in his book Wild Tales. “He felt as though he owned the f***ing song and no one else had a right to interpret it. It wasn’t as though the Beatles had never done cover versions in their career. I should have reminded him of toss-offs like ‘A Taste of Honey’ and ‘Mr. Moonlight.’ Or his own anemic version of ‘Devil in Her Heart.’ I guess I also should have taken my own advice and kept my mouth shut, but two weeks after his outburst, I was still seething.”

Incensed, Nash took to the press to express his frustration with the Beatle.

“Not only do these comments disappoint and hurt us, but we’re sick and tired of everything the Beatles say or do being taken as law,” he told NME (via Far Out Magazine). “The thing that hurt us the most was George Harrison’s knock at us as musicians. And I would like to ask this: if we have made such a disgusting mess of his brainchild song, will he give all the royalties from our record to charity?”

George Harrison later turned down Graham Nash when he auditioned for Apple

Harrison and Nash later developed a friendship, but not before they hit another bump in the road. Crosby, Stills & Nash auditioned for Apple Records in the late 1960s, and Harrison turned them down. As a jet-lagged Harrison listened to their pitch, Stephen Stills made a fatal blunder.

“I wasn’t really thinking,” Stills said, per the book CSNY: Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young by Peter Doggett. “I turned round and said, ‘Hey, would you ask Paul if he’d like to produce us?’ I didn’t know at the time that Paul was busy working with Mary Hopkin, and didn’t have time, and it was George that wanted to produce us. So I stuck my foot well in it. I’m not sure George ever forgave me for what I did, and I don’t blame him really.”

At this point in the ’60s, Harrison was fed up with being overshadowed by McCartney. The comment was enough to turn him off the band entirely.

What artists have covered The Beatles’ ‘If I Needed Someone’?

While Harrison brought attention to The Hollies’ cover of “If I Needed Someone,” they are far from the only artist to have covered the song. Artists like James Taylor, Roger McGuinn, and the metal band Type O Negative have also released covers. With these covers, the artists join the many musicians who have tackled Beatles songs.

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