How George Harrison Reacted to ELO Sounding Like The Beatles

George Harrison felt an ELO song sounded like The Beatles. That feeling paved the way for a new chapter in his career.

George Harrison said an Electric Light Orchestra song sounded like The Beatles. He went on to work extensively with one member of ELO. John Lennon felt ELO derived their sound from one of the Fab Four’s most well-known psychedelic tracks.

George Harrison felt ELO sounded so much like The Beatles he wanted to work with Jeff Lynne

During a 1987 interview with Entertainment Weekly, George was asked about a time he said an unnamed ELO song sounded like The Beatles. “That’s one of the reasons why I tried to get Jeff Lynne, because he knew about … OK, most people knew about The Beatles, but he really knew about ’em,” he said. “And I was looking to work with somebody who would know my past and not disregard that, but who I would also respect, as a writer and producer. But it is a bit ironic, I know.

“I think in those days I was a bit sensitive to all that kind of stuff, having just got nailed in court for the other song [‘My Sweet Lord’ and its similarities to ‘He’s So Fine’],” he said. “Every song I listened to on the radio sounded like other stuff, and yet I had to go through that hassle.”

How George Harrison let Jeff Lynne make his mark on The Beatles

George and Lynne went on to form a successful musical partnership. Lynne produced Cloud Nine and Brainwashed, George’s final albums. The former features two of George’s best-known hits: “Got My Mind Set on You” and “When We Was Fab.” George also formed a supergroup with Lynne called the Traveling Wilburys. The other members of the band included the classic rock icons Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and Roy Orbison.

Lynne also made his mark on The Beatles. He produced “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love,” two hit singles the band released in the 1990s. Lynne helped The Beatles stay commercially relevant when a genre called Britpop was drawing extensively from the Fab Four. Stepping into the shoes of George Martin and Phil Spector to produce The Beatles was a huge responsibility, and it’s a testament to Lynne’s talent that George let him fill those shoes.

John Lennon felt ELO derived their sound from 1 Fab Four song

George wasn’t the only member of The Beatles who felt ELO sounded Beatlesque. During a 1980 interview from the book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, John said it was pointless for The Beatles to reunite. After all, a contemporary band was mimicking the Fab Four.

“ELO is son of ‘I Am the Walrus,’” John said. “If somebody wants ‘I Am the Walrus’ music, they just have to buy ELO records. Different schools of ‘Son of Beatles’ exist continually.” Not all ELO songs sound like “I Am the Walrus,” but the song definitely paved the way for ELO’s style of music (progressive rock).

George and John felt ELO sounded like The Beatles and a member of ELO later made his mark on the Fab Four.

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