George Harrison Once Told Tom Petty's Daughter He Wished He Could 'Turn Into a Light Beam and Go Away'

George Harrison had an interesting perspective on life. He was almost killed during a home invasion in 1999. Yet, as he lay on the brink of death with 40 stab wounds, the only thing he could think of that made him want to stick around was his son Dhani. “Other than that, I can’t think of much reason to be here [laughs],” he said.

Most of the time, George wanted to be as close to God as possible, and he did that by being around nature, making music, and building strong, loving relationships with his friends and family. George spent the other time wishing he was a beam of light that would fly far away.

George Harrison told Tom Petty’s daughter, Adria, he wished he could ‘turn into a light beam and go away’

George and Tom Petty were so close that their families blended into one. Petty told Rolling Stone that George would turn up at his home for unexpected late-night jam sessions and would clear the room with his ukulele playing.

“He played the hell out of the thing,” Petty said. “When my kids were little, we could clear rooms with those things, because they knew George was going to carry on till daylight with the ukulele.”

But Adria and Annakim Petty didn’t take their Uncle George’s incessant ukulele playing personally. Adria actually grew quite close with George. “My daughter Adria used to visit him a lot in England when she was over there,” Petty said. “She would go and stay at Friar Park.”

During one late-night stroll through the garden, George told Adria something interesting. “She was telling me the other night that one night they were out walking in the garden and he goes, ‘Oh, Adria, sometimes I just wish I could turn into a light beam and go away.’”

“Perhaps that’s how it works,” Rolling Stone added to Petty. “Yeah, maybe that is how it works,” he replied. Petty was right. George did eventually turn into a beam of light. When George died in 2001, his wife, Olivia, said it was one of the most profound experiences she’d ever seen.

In Martin Scorsese’s documentary, George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Olivia explained, “There was a profound experience that happened when he left his body. It was visible. Let’s just say you wouldn’t need to light the room if you were trying to film it. You know, he just lit the room.”

George and Adria had similar views on living in a material world

In an interview, Adria explained that someone burnt their house down when she was 11 years old. “I lost everything… From that point on, I don’t really care about stuff, I don’t have things that matter to me. People matter to me.”

George would have agreed with her. He valued his relationships with his friends more than possessions. In Scorsese’s documentary, Olivia explained that George had an almost romantic relationship with his friends. He had to be close to them because it meant being closer to God.

“They say in this life you have to perfect one human relationship in order to really love God,” Olivia said. “You practice loving God by loving another human and by giving unconditional love. George’s most important relationships really were conducted through their music and their lyrics… And he was very unabashed and romantic about it in a sense. I found that he was very- he had these love relationships with his friends. He loved them.”

He also thought that if he instantly clicked with someone, that meant he could have been friends with them in a past life. Adria was there the day George realized this about his friendship with her father.

Adria and Petty had a strange first run-in with George that started a beautiful friendship

George and Petty initially met in 1976, but they didn’t meet properly until 1985. “I reminded him that we’d met, and there was some kind of weird click,” Petty continued to tell Rolling Stone. “It felt like we had known each other all our lives, and in a very personal way. We wound up just hanging a lot.”

However, when Petty got back to LA, something weird happened. Fate brought them together again. “I went back to L.A., and almost by fate I went into a restaurant, spur of the moment. I hadn’t planned to go, and the waiter came over and said, ‘Oh, your friend is in the next room, he wants to see you.’” Petty walked in and saw George. “He said, ‘God, it’s so weird, I was just asking Jeff Lynne for your number.’

‘He said, ‘Where are you going?’ I said, ‘I’m just going home.’ He said, ‘Do you mind if I go with you?’ He came to my house and stayed for days.” According to, though, Adria was with Petty that night George and Petty established their connection.  

In Paul Zollo’s book, Conversations with Tom Petty, Petty said, “The Hindus think that when you meet someone and you feel really close to them immediately, that maybe you knew them in a past life. And that was how it was with George. We instantly became very close. And I remember him saying to me, ‘You know I’m not going to let you out of my life now.’ We really got along well, and shared a sense of humor. And we became very close friends.”

“George was the kind of guy who wasn’t going to leave until he hugged you for five minutes and told you how much he loved you. We knew where we stood with each other,” Petty said told Rolling Stone. George might have wanted to become a beam of light and ascend to the next life, but his friends made life bearable.

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