Tom Petty said meeting George Harrison and Ringo Starr for the first time was 'scary'

music news 08/07/2022

The late, great Tom Petty admitted to being quite anxious when first meeting George Harrison and Ringo Starr

The legendary vocalist/guitarist was at Leon Russell's record company Shelter Records on standby to possibly help write songs when the two Beatles stars walked in. 

“The first session, in comes George Harrison and Ringo and [famed session drummer] Jim Keltner and they didn’t need any words," he said during his acceptance speech for the 2016 MusiCares person of the year. "But those were cool cats, you know?"

He later told ‘Rolling Stone’ that he was nervous, even fearful, to meet the pair of Beatles, but luckily Harrison took him under his wing. 

It’s a scary thing meeting Beatles, but George was so nice to me and included me in everything.

The two transcendent talents wouldn’t talk again for almost ten years but would go on to have a life-long friendship. 

Eventually, they did meet again, in the mid-1980s, through mutual friend Bob Dylan and when they got to talking, Petty said:

“There was some kind of weird click. It felt like we had known each other all our lives. We wound up just hanging a lot.”

Petty, Harrison, and Dylan, along with Electric Light Orchestra’s Jeff Lynne and singer-songwriter Roy Osbourne formed the music super-group the ‘Traveling Wilburys’.

Petty said that Harrison called the group “the perfect little band”, and that the criteria for entry was dictated by “who you could hang out with”. 

Harrison passed away in 2001, while Petty passed in 2017. Petty said after George’s passing that they were like family. 

“It was like having an older brother that had a lot of experience in the music business, someone who I could go to with my troubles.”