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People dubbed George Harrison the quiet Beatle. In reality, he was measured, thoughtful, stoic, and principled. That last trait led to George’s diva moment in Hamburg, Germany, before The Beatles made it big. It resurfaced years later when the guitarist stood up to John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s nitpicking while George Martin offered no support.
George Harrison refused to clean up his vomit in a diva moment during The Beatles’ early years
George once said The Beatles didn’t have a clue about performing live until they went to Hamburg. Playing multiple shows per day in front of raucous crowds honed their skills. John once said he was born in Liverpool but grew up in Hamburg.
They weren’t yet the Fab Four when they started another Hamburg residency in mid-April 1962. Still, that didn’t stop George from going full diva and refusing to clean up his own vomit.
As Craig Brown writes in 150 Glimpses of The Beatles, George got sick on the floor near his bed in the flat provided to them by Star-Club owner Manfred Weissleder. He refused to clean it up. So did the person tasked with cleaning the apartment.
When the mess remained, the cleaning lady appealed to Weissleder to intervene. He charged a Star-Club bouncer with forcing George to clean it. Harrison still refused, even as the puddle mingled with food crumbs and cigarette butts to create an unholy stench.
The bouncer finally grew tired of seeing the mess and threw it away as The Beatles protested. It was the end of George’s first diva moment. He refused to clean up his mess until the sight and smell of it became too much for a visitor to bear. The hill he chose to die on might have been a small one, but George stood firm and stubborn. He did the same thing in The Beatles’ later years.
George’s stubborn streak showed throughout his Beatles career
Whether George was being a diva or stubborn or just refused to relent isn’t really that important. The crucial thing is he didn’t back down. He stuck to his guns several times during his Beatles days.
Ringo Starr said George and Paul once had a two-hour argument that wasn’t over music. No, they battled over who would drive the van after a pit stop in the early days. The guitarist and bassist famously had a standoff during the Let It Be / Get Back sessions over George’s playing.
Also in the early years, George shouted and threw food at John during a performance. That was nothing compared to their battle in early 1969. Sick of having his songs overlooked, being ridiculed, and being treated like a junior member, George had a fistfight with John when his frustrations boiled over.
The so-called quiet Beatle also had a sentimental side. He adorned Ringo’s drum kit with flowers when the timekeeper returned to the band after briefly quitting the group. Yet George Harrison’s headstrong nature also produced at least one diva-like moment when he flat-out refused to clean up his own vomit.
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