George Harrison’s Life-Altering Advice To Paul Simon

When the famous duo Simon and Garfunkel split up in 1970, many wondered what would become of the two musicians. The pressures of constant touring, creative disagreements, and the pull of separate personal interests finally resulted in the end of a partnership.

In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1972, Simon shared insights into his mindset following the breakup and a fascinating exchange he had with George Harrison. As someone who had navigated his own journey after The Beatles’ breakup, Harrison was keen to see how Simon would adapt and evolve.

Harrison’s comment was a subtle nudge of encouragement for Simon, an invitation to embrace the transition and establish his own unique voice. Paul, in turn, felt confident about his musical prowess and was ready to meet the challenge head-on. Yet, when the time came, Simon experienced the harsh reality of the music industry. His first solo album didn’t meet the expected commercial success despite its artistic merit, something that Simon found unsettling.

Paul Simon’s words about George Harrison’s encouragement after the breakup read:

“George Harrison said to me, ‘I’m really curious to hear your album because now you hear a sort of what we are like individually since the group broke up, and I know what you were like together, and I’d like to hear what you’re like individually.’

And all the while, in my head, I thought, this breakup is not really comparable to that Beatles breakup because there was a tremendous interaction in that group that came from the sound, and I said to myself, ‘I write better songs now than I used to write years ago, so I’m going to make a better album, but nobody knows that. They won’t know it till it comes out.’ That was my fantasy.”

He added:

“In fact, many critics said that. But the public didn’t in terms of buying the record, and that’s unsettling. I’m getting used to it now; I’m getting used to the fact. At first, I said, ‘Look, when it breaks up, you’re going to have to start all over again. It may take you a couple of albums before people will even listen.’

But actually, emotionally, I was ready to be welcomed into the public’s arms, as I had been in the past. And not that I’m not now, because it’s a successful album; this just goes to show you my perspective.”

Harrison’s words were a simple and clear encouragement to Simon – a recognition that change, though difficult, can also be a chance for growth and exploration. In the end, Simon’s journey post-Simon and Garfunkel was not without its challenges, but it was one that he faced head-on, guided by his own self-belief and the encouraging words from a fellow musician.