In the early days of The Beatles, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were roommates, and although they didn’t spend too much time together, they remained close. They often worked together and hung out with each other. Yet they did not always get along perfectly. Harrison threw a huge wrench in their relationship when he had an affair with Starr’s wife. He also threatened legal action over Starr’s cover of his song. Although he gave permission for Starr to cover it, Harrison was reportedly not happy with the result.
George Harrison praised Ringo Starr before they met
In 1960 The Beatles went to Hamburg and played many shows at several different clubs in the city. Here they honed their skills as artists. In Germany, Harrison also became acquainted with Starr’s talent as a drummer, although he had not yet met him.
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Starr was playing with the band Rory Storm & the Hurricanes at the time. Harrison didn’t think much of the group, but he was impressed by Starr’s talent.
“The only person who is good in the band is the drummer,” he wrote in a letter to a friend, according to the book Ringo: With a little help by Michael Seth Starr. In 1962, Starr joined The Beatles, replacing original drummer Pete Best.
George Harrison threatened to take Ringo Starr to court over a cover of his song
Eight years later, The Beatles broke up, but Starr continued to work with his former bandmates. In 1976, Starr released the album Ringo’s rotogravure and recruited Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney to contribute.
“Well, Paul asked to write a song. I asked John and … eventually he came up with ‘You Got Me Cooking,’” Starr said. “I also asked George to write one, but there was an old one of his that was never released by someone I’ve always loved… I asked him if instead of writing one to write, that old one can have? He said well; it saved him work. It’s called ‘I Still Love You’, a big ballad thing.
When Starr finished recording the song under the title “I’ll Still Love You”, Harrison was reportedly not happy with the result. He threatened legal action, and the former bandmates settled out of court. Starr didn’t hold on to hard feelings, though. In 1988, he joked about it during an appearance on the show Aspel & Company. When asked about any arguments between the two, Starr replied, “Well, the last time we were angry was when George sued me.”
After explaining that Harrison wasn’t happy with the song, Starr said he told him, “Chase me if you want, but I’ll always love you.”
The two musicians remained friends despite their ups and downs
Starr and Harrison didn’t let their differences get in the way of their friendship for long. In the event, Starr invited Harrison to help out Ringo’s rotogravure not long after learning that Harrison was having an affair with his wife.
They remained good friends for the rest of Harrison’s life. Years after his death, Starr still chokes up talking about Harrison.
“I’m such an old crybaby,” Starr told Rolling Stone in 2019. “He lies very ill there – not for long. And I have to go to Boston because my daughter is having surgery. And then I said, ‘Well, you know, I’ve got to go, George,’ and he said, ‘Do you want me to come with you?’ You know, he dies in a little while: “Do you want me to come with you?” How many people who say big things like that to you really give themselves away?”