George Harrison, Mad Day Out, 28 July 1968. Photo presumably either by Don McCullin, Stephen Goldblatt or Tom Murray.
“Everybody lives their lives thinking this is reality and then say to people like us, ‘Oh, you’re just escaping from reality.’ They seriously term this scene - of waking up, going out to work, going home again, going to sleep, dreaming, waking up again, and all that - reality! But in actual fact you’re into illusion - it’s nothing to do with reality, because reality is God alone. Everything else is just an illusion.” - George Harrison, Rolling Stone, 1968 [x]
“We stood there for a minute or two, with John swaying gently against my arm. ‘I’m feeling better,’ he announced. Then he looked up at the stars. 'Wow..’ he intoned. 'Look at that! Isn’t that amazing?”.
I followed his gaze. The stars did look good but they didn’t look that good. It was very unlike John to be over the top in that way. I stared at him. He was wired-pin-sharp and quivering, resonating away like a human tuning fork.
No sooner had John uttered his immortal words about the stars than George and Paul came bursting out on the roof. They had come tearing up from the studio as soon as they found out where we were.
They knew why John was feeling unwell. Maybe everyone else did, too - everyone except for father-figure George Martin here!
It was very simple. John was tripping on LSD. He had taken it by mistake, they said - he had meant to take an amphetamine tablet. That hardly made any difference, frankly; the fact was that John was only too likely to imagine he could fly, and launch himself off the low parapet that ran around the roof. They had been absolutely terrified that he might do so.
I spoke to Paul about this night many years later, and he confirmed that he and George had been shaken rigid when they found out we were up on the roof. They knew John was having a what you might call a bad trip. John didn’t go back to Weybridge that night; Paul took him home to his place, in nearby Cavendish Road. They were intensely close, remember, and Paul would do almost anything for John. So, once they were safe inside, Paul took a tablet of LSD for the first time, 'So I could get with John’ as he put it- be with him in his misery and fear.