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In 1958, John Lennon’s mother, Julia, died, and George Harrison’s mom wanted to ensure her son’s friend was OK. Though he put on a brave face in public, she overheard a conversation between Lennon and his friends in the months before his mother’s death. He said something that gave her cause for concern. Because of this, she forced Harrison to check up on Lennon. 

A black and white picture of George Harrison dancing with his mom, Louise.
George Harrison and his mom, Louise Harrison | Express/Express/Getty Images

The musician’s mother died in 1958

Lennon’s parents separated when he was young, and his Aunt Mimi called Social Services on his mother twice. As a result, Mimi took custody of Lennon, and he had lessened contact with her as a child. When Lennon grew older, though, he began reconnecting with his mother over music. Mimi wouldn’t let him play music in the house, but Julia encouraged him.

“Music had been an important part of John’s relationship with his mother and when she died he used it to blot out the pain and anger he felt,” Lennon’s first wife Cynthia wrote in her book John. “Julia had bought him his first guitar, and she loved music. She played the piano and banjo, and sat with him patiently for hours, showing him over and over again how to play the chords. She had also introduced John to rock and roll. She would play Elvis Presley records at top volume, grabbing John’s hand to jive around the kitchen to them. She always encouraged John’s musical dreams.”

Lennon began staying with his mother more often as a teenager. In 1958, though, Julia was killed after being hit by a car.

George Harrison’s mom ‘forced’ him to spend time with John Lennon

Lennon hid any grief he felt after his mother’s death from his friends. 

“He never showed it,” his friend Pete Shotton said, per the book The Beatles: The Authorized Biography by Hunter Davies. “It was like when masters beat him up. He never gave anything away. His exterior never showed his feelings.”

Despite this, Harrison’s mother, Louise, knew Lennon needed support. She’d overheard a conversation several months before Julia’s death.

“It was several months before John’s mother died and he was just getting really close to her,” Louise said. “I overheard him say to Paul, ‘I don’t know how you can sit there and act normal with your mother dead. If anything like that happened to me, I’d go off me head.'”

Having overheard, Louise made Harrison spend time with Lennon to make sure he wasn’t alone.

“When John’s mother did die, he didn’t seem to go off his head, but he wouldn’t come out,” she explained. “I forced George to go round and see him, to make sure he still went off playing in their group and just didn’t sit and brood. They all went through a lot together, even in those early days, and they always helped each other.”

George Harrison was afraid his own mom would die after John Lennon’s mother’s death

Julia’s death sparked fear in Harrison about his own mother’s safety.


John Lennon’s Aunt Was so Appalled by George Harrison That She ‘Threw Him out’ the Moment She Saw Him

“George was terrified that I was going to die next,” Louise said. “He’d watch me carefully all the time. I told him not to be so silly. I wasn’t going to die.”

Louise lived until 1970, watching The Beatles’ tremendous rise to fame and becoming a well of endless support for the group.