The historical anecdote was shared on Twitter by user Calvin Betton, who explained that a 19-year-old Collins had once received a phone call asking him to play the congas on Harrison’s 1970 solo album All Things Must Pass.
When the album was released, however, the former Genesis drummer was “gutted” to find that his congas had not made it onto the final track.
Betton claims that at an event 20 years later, Collins had asked Harrison why the congas did not feature on the final recording.
Harrison told Collins that it was most likely a decision made by producer Phil Spector. He did, however, offer to send Collins the master tapes from the recording session.
When the “In the Air Tonight” musician listened to the tapes, he discovered that the congas on the track sounded “absolutely terrible, unlistenable” and could clearly hear Harrison say: “Get rid of the lad on the congas, he’s crap.”
Collins later called Harrison to thank him for sending the tapes and informed him that he agreed the congas sounded terrible. He also added that the tape proved it was Harrison who had them removed from the song.
“George says, ‘Oh s***, I’m sorry man, what can I say?’ Phil takes it on the chin and they talk about something else,” wrote Betton.
After a few minutes, Harrison “starts cracking up in fits of laughter” and reveals that the tapes he had sent Collins were not from 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,” said Harrison, per Betton’s tweet.
Enjoy unlimited access to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music Sign up now for a 30-day free trialSign up
Harrison reportedly told Collins that he “sounded great” on the real sessions.
Betton’s post has since received nearly 43,000 likes with many users commenting praise for Harrison and his prank.
Versions of the same story have circulated in previous years. Last month, Collins recalled the prank in an interview with Classic Rock.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies