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The Beatles considered replacing George Harrison with Eric Clapton

By | Published on Monday 4 October 2021

The Beatles

The Beatles once considered firing George Harrison and replacing him with Eric Clapton. And let’s just take a moment to imagine the alternative universe where that actually happened.

It was John Lennon who suggested the line-up change, in a conversation that has now been discovered among 120 hours of audio captured during the band’s recording sessions for their 1970 album ‘Let It Be’. Harrison briefly left the band during those sessions as he felt that his songs were not being given enough attention in the studio.

While Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were sympathetic to Harrison’s feelings, according to the Daily Mail, Lennon said that the guitarist’s resentment had become “a festering wound” and the rest of the band had “allowed it to go deeper”. Lennon proclaimed: “I think if George doesn’t come back by [next week] we ask Eric Clapton to play”.

Elsewhere in the tapes, McCartney jokes to Harrison about Lennon being distracted by Yoko Ono being in the studio, saying: “It’s going to be an incredibly comic thing if in 50 years’ time people say the Beatles broke up because Yoko sat on an amp”.

These snippets come from many hours of audio and video that were recorded by director Michael Lindsay-Hogg during the making of ‘Let It Be’, which is also the material being turned into that three part Beatles documentary by Peter Jackson – hence these 50 year old tapes are of interest again. Jackson’s three part series is set to arrive on Disney+ next month.

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