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George Harrison Phil Collins

Phil Collins and George Harrison

Beatle George Harrison was pigeon-holed as the "Quiet Beatle," but the youngest member of the Fab Four had an acerbic, dry sense of humor that was as sharp as the rest of his bandmates.

He gave great performances in the musical comedy classics, "A Hard Days Night" and "Help!" while holding his own during The Beatles' notoriously anarchic press conferences. After he left the band in 1970, in addition to his musical career, he would produce the 1979 Monty Python classic, "The Life of Brian."

Harrison clearly didn't lose his sense of humor for the rest of his life. Shortly before his death in 2001, he played an elaborate prank on Phil Collins that shows how the "Here Comes the Sun" singer would go the extra mile for a laugh.



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In 1970, Harrison was recording his first solo record and arguably the best by a Beatle, "All things Must Pass." The session for the song, "The Art of Dying" featured former Beatle Ringo Starr on drums, keyboard legend Billy Preston on keys, virtuoso Eric Clapton on guitar, and was produced by the notorious Phil Spector.

Harrison wanted a conga player for the session, so Ringo's chauffeur reached out to Phil Collins' manager. At the time, Collins was a relative unknown who was about to join Genesis, a band that would bring him worldwide stardom.

The 18-year-old Collins was starstruck playing on a session with two former Beatles, so he played extra hard in rehearsals, resulting in blood blisters on both hands.

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"Anyway, after about two hours of this, Phil Spector says, 'Okay congas, you play this time.' And I'd had my mic off, so everybody laughed, but my hands were shot," Collins told Express.

"And just after that they all disappeared – someone said they were watching TV or something – and I was told I could go," after that, Collins was relieved of his duties and told to go home. A few months later, Collins bought the massive triple album in the record shop and was devastated to learn he'd been edited out of the song.

"There must be some mistake! Collins thought. "But it's a different version of the song, and I'm not on it."

Some thirty years later, Collins bought the home of Formula One driver Jackie Stewart, a close friend of Harrison. Stewart mentioned to Collins that Harrison was remixing "All Things Must Pass" for a rerelease.

"And he said, 'You were on it, weren't you?' And I said, 'Well I was there,"' Collins recalled.

george harrison animated album cover GIF by uDiscoverMusicGiphy

Two days later, a tape was delivered from Harrison to Collins with a note that read: "Could this be you?" Collins continued: "I rush off and listen to it, and straight away I recognize it." It was a recording of "The Art of Dying."

"Suddenly the congas come in – too loud and just awful," Collins was devastated, then as the end of the take, Harrison can be heard saying, "Hey, Phil, can we try another without the conga player?"

Collins was devastated, to say the least.

A while later, Stewart calls Collins and puts Harrison on the line. "'Did you get the tape?' Harrison asked. "I now realize I was fired by a Beatle," Collins sighed. The two changed the subject, but a few minutes later, Harrison couldn't stop laughing.

"Don't worry, it was a piss-take. I got Ray Cooper to play really badly and we dubbed it on," Harrison admitted. "Thought you'd like it!" So, Harrison had an entire recording session with a conga player who he asked to play poorly, just to pull one over on Collins.

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If you're in the mood for another of rock's greatest pranks. The story of "The Ring" told by Beastie Boys' Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz shared in "Beastie Boys Story" is another great example of someone going to incredible lengths just for a laugh.

The story revolves around the late Beasties' rapper Adam "MCA" Yach, his bandmate Horovitz, and a very creepy ring given to him by a fan backstage at a concert.

“The Ring” from Beastie Boys Story (Original Original Cut)www.youtube.com

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This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.