George Harrison Stitched Up Phil Collins With A Prank Even More Genius Than His Guitar Playing

So Much Effort But Totally Worth It

Article heading image for George Harrison Stitched Up Phil Collins With A Prank Even More Genius Than His Guitar Playing

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Never mind who the best or most brilliant musician was in The Beatles, there has emerged a clear winner in the Funniest Beatle category: George Harrison.

The lead guitarist from the band once took an entire day, and spent a lot of money, to arrange a prank on Phil Collins that the former Genesis man never saw coming (in the air tonight or otherwise). The story is being shared on twitter, but here it is in full:

When Phil Collins was 19 and doing some session drumming he got a call from a contact saying the George Harrison was looking for someone to play congas on a track on his new solo album ‘All Things Must Pass’ and would Phil be interested?

Phil, of course, races to the studio session to play on a track by his hero. He plays congas on the track, with George there and Phil Spector producing. A few weeks later the album comes out and there is no sign of the congas on the track. Phil is gutted but can’t do anything about it.

20 years pass without Phil and George crossing paths again. Then randomly they meet at an event and enjoy a chat. After an hour or so Phil says to George “I don’t know whether you remember, but when I was a kid I came into the studio on the All Things Must Pass sessions and played congas on a track, but when it was released the congas weren’t on the final recording? I’ve always wondered why. Any ideas?”

George replies that he has no recollection at all of that day, but says it was most likely Phil Spector who didn’t like the sound and took it off. But he does mention that he still has the master tapes from the whole session, and if Phil would like he can send them to him, so he can hear the congas. Phil of course says he would love to.

About three weeks later Phil receives a large package and it is the master tapes from the session, sent by George. He plays it and the congas are on there, sounding absolutely terrible, unlistenable. Phil is devastated. To make it worse, at the end of the recording, quite clearly George can be heard saying to Phil Spector “Get rid of the lad on the congas, he’s crap.”

Phil calls up George to thank him. He asks George if he listened to them before sending. George says no, he didn’t have time. Phil tells George how bad it was and also tells him that it was indeed George who had the congas removed, and also said the lad playing them was crap…

George says “Oh shit, I’m sorry man, what can I say?” Phil takes it on the chin and they talk about something else. After a few minutes, George starts cracking up in fits of laughter. Phil asks what he’s laughing at. George says “Those tapes I sent you, they’re not the real sessions. I wanted to get you going, so I hired a band to come in last week to re-record the whole song with me, and I deliberately played the worst congas imaginable and said at the end the lad on the congas was useless, just so I could send them to you. I wish I could have seen your face.

"I’ll send you the real sessions now. You sounded great."


Hiring a full band for a day to record a song that he deliberately ruins, just to make Phil Collins feel stupid... 

You can only admire and applaud that from the great man.

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Matt Bellotti

10 February 2021

Article by:

Matt Bellotti

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