I really enjoyed this book; in fact, I found it hard to put down. So, I would strongly recommend it to anyone who has a fascination with the life and music of George Harrison, even those who have already seen the excellent Scorsese documentary, Living in the Material World, and also The Beatles Anthology. Graeme Thomson has done an even more impress job that his previous biography of Kate Bush, and added a deeper understanding of George Harrison, the man.
What makes Behind the Locked Door such a fascinating read is the author’s honestly about his subject, revealing the warts-and-all nature of Harrison and the conflicts within his personality that seem to have brought him so much angst and mental anguish over the years. It is interesting to see this developing mid way through The Beatles decade, and growing to the point at which he was absolutely through with The Beatles quite some time before the final split. But Thomas goes on the describe the struggles that pervaded Harrison’s life after he had moved on from the Beatle George role; the drugs, the infidelities, the obsessive rejection of his Beatle past, the nervousness and sensitivity, to mention but a few. Thomson always treats his subject with the greatest sympathy and sensitivity, while offering his own candid and thought-provoking insight into the man and what he was going though at various stages of his life.
One of the most fascinating parts of the book for me was in describing the making of The Beatles Anthology, and the tensions that this reignited within the three surviving Beatles. It touches on one of the issues that has always fascinated me, namely whether Harrison and McCartney ever really reconciled. According to Pattie Boyd, interviewed for the book, Harrison never had much love for McCartney after The Beatles, and there was always a tension when they were together. Another interesting insight is Harrison’s complex relationship with Eric Clapton and how this seemed to continue into the final decade of his life: unbeknownst to Clapton, Harrison had a 3-day fling with Clapton’s ex and mother of his son Conor, Lory Del Santo, when she met up with them on tour in Japan in late 1991.