The Beatles: George Harrison prevented Fab Four song from being in a movie

The Beatles: George Harrison prevented Fab Four song from being in a movie

John Lennon: George Harrison discusses star in 1990

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In 2000 Wes Anderson was working hard to bolster his film career. After Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, the now Academy Award-winning director was working on his third picture, The Royal Tenenbaums. While bringing the film’s final touches together, he wanted to create a “certain kind of mood” using some tracks from The Beatles’ repertoire.

In 2014 Anderson explained: “We had gone through a long process of trying to get permission for these Beatles songs and in those days they weren’t doing it.

“That changed, but at that time we were trying to break the thing and get it to happen. The problem was we had some pretty good ins. We’d used some John Lennon music in Rushmore and Yoko Ono… I always had a feeling that she’s been supportive of me, even though I don’t know her.”

Although he had good connections to The Beatles, he struggled to get the sign off for Hey Jude.

He explained: “Paul McCartney had seen [Tenenbaums] and he said yes, but George Harrison was sick and dying.”

Harrison was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1997. The star was treated with radiotherapy, which he thought was successful at the time.

In November 2000 he began radiotherapy once again for a brain tumour in Switzerland, after having a cancerous growth removed from his lungs.

Anderson continued: “You had to get everybody to sign off and George was just not possible.

“No one was going to say: ‘Oh before you die could you please watch this movie and tell us whether we can use the music for it?'”

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Harrison later died on November 29, 2001 from his illness.

Anderson explained, without Harrison’s approval, he looked elsewhere for the performance of Hey Jude.

He said: “So then we got [singer] Elliot Smith, then I thought I’d like to see if Elliot Smith could do this.”

Unfortunately, it didn’t go how he wanted it to. He said: “He did a version but he wasn’t in a great mental or physical space at the time and it just was not a successful recording session.”

Anderson continued: “It was kind of a mess. He did Hey Jude but he wasn’t happy with it and it didn’t really work. He wasn’t comfortable with the whole situation it seems.”

Eventually, the director found his musician.

“Then at the last minute I got asked by Mark Mothersbaugh,” he recalled. “‘Can we do this?’ Mark and [music supervisor] George Drakoulias and I, we just went in and very quickly we did the whole thing and we had good revisions and Mark just made it happen. And then it was fine.”

This wasn’t the only issue The Fab Four had with their music in film.

In the 1980s Paul McCartney hated one piece of his music in a John Hughes movie.

During Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Hughes inserted a set of brass instruments over Twist and Shout, much to McCartney’s dismay.

He commented: “If it had needed brass, we’d have stuck it on ourselves!”


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