George Harrison, reading fan mail, and Neil Aspinall backstage, photographed for The Beatles Book’s July 1965 issue.
Photo: The Beatles Book
“Well, our parents, of course. Our families, you know. Honestly, all of them. Then there were people like Tony [Barrow], [Tony] Bramwell, Mal [Evans], Neil [Aspinall], Derek [Taylor], Brian [Epstein], and many people. George Martin. Oh, there is so much to remember. A woman, Astrid Kirchherr. And… a really fascinating guy… a bouncer… promoter and manager. His name was Horst [Fascher]. It was in Hamburg.” - George Harrison to Larry Kane in 1965 (in response to the question, “Who were the people who helped you the most?”), When They Were Boys [x]
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“George was a year younger than Paul and I. And I met George probably when he was about 13, and I was 14, and - just behind the air raid shelters, smoking [in the Liverpool Institute playground]. […] It was an ideal place for the rebels to go and have a cigarette; so that’s where I met George.” - Neil Aspinall, Living in the Material World bonus features [x]
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“Having lasted 40 years with The Beatles, Neil [Aspinall] is the only person who’s ever really been able to keep in contact with the four of us at the same time through all the various conflicts and whatever. And I met him when I was like 13 years old, smoking behind the air-raid shelters at the Liverpool Institute high school [big laugh].” - George Harrison, Billboard, 19 June 1999 [x]
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“If he [George] were here, you know, he’d get a kick out of tonight, he’d be wanting to see everybody and party. But there would probably be a lot of people that he would thank and when you think of the span of his entire career, there’s so many people who are in this room tonight that he may want to mention, but I’m going to mention one that I’m sure of, and it’s the person in this room that George knew the longest in his life. That he met behind the air raid shelter when he was sneaking off to have his ciggie at school. Someone who looked after him, and all of them, from the time they were 13 till, for George, the end of his life. And that’s the mysterious Neil Aspinall. [applause]
Thank you, Neil, for holding it together for all these years because really, the whole phenomenon might not have happened or stayed together as long as it did without him. You know, he’s helped us, he’s helped his family and George loved him dearly, and many of you as well.” - Olivia Harrison, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 15 March 2004 [x]
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“It was my privilege to have been his friend.” - Neil Aspinall on George Harrison, 2001 [x]
You’ve never got it down. It’s this fluid thing, music. I kind of like that. I wouldn’t like to be blasé or think, ‘Oh you know I know how to do this.’ In fact I teach a class at a the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys — I do a little songwriting class with the students — and nearly always the first thing I go in and say [is], 'I don’t know how to do this. You would think I do, but it’s not one of these things you ever know how to do.
Q: “Dark Horse, the album and the single, made for a powerful but pessimistic image of desperate competition with your former bandmates and with yourself.”
George Harrison: “That album had some good material but the pressure I got under that year was ridiculous. I went through so many things: produced two other albums, Shankar Family and Friends, and The Place I Love by Splinter. And I produced an Indian music festival, which had taken me years to get together, with 15 ro 16 classical Indian musicians all playing ensemble, like an orchestra - which they never do. In India you see solo players or two performers with a tabla player. In 1974 I went to India, got them all together, they came to Europe, Ravi wrote all the material. It rocked. Then came my own album and this tour I had lined up. And I also met my wife [Olivia] Arias around then.
Having lasted 40 years with The Beatles, Neil [Aspinall] is the only person who’s ever really been able to keep in contact with the four of us at the same time through all the various conflicts and whatever. And I met him when I was like 13 years old, smoking behind the air-raid shelters at the Liverpool Institute high school [big laugh].