Two weeks ago, I did a playlist of songs that George Harrison wrote when he was with the Beatles that were included on The Fab Four’s albums. This is the second part of that list. It’s a little longer than the first, because I went back and forth about whether to include the three songs featuring Indian instrumentation and whether or not to include two songs that weren’t actually issued as part of an official Beatles release. In the end, I decided to include all of them.
- “Love You To” George was introduced to Indian classical music by David Crosby, then a member of The Byrds, in 1965. He first tried his hand at the sitar on Rubber Soul, playing it on “Norwegian Wood.” later, he took lessons from Ravi Shankar on the instrument, and began to write songs that were accompanied by himself and Indian musicians. The first included on a Beatles album was “Love You To,” from the Revolver album. George wrote three songs in total for that album.
- “Within You Without You” George’s lone contribution to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. There’s an analysis of this song on Wikipedia.
- “The Inner Light” George’s third Indian piece was done as the flip side of “Lady Madonna.”
- “Blue Jay Way” From the Magical Mystery Tour album (in the US, an EP in the UK), George was staying in Los Angeles near a street called Blue Jay Way. He wrote this one while he was waiting for publicist Derek Taylor one evening. It has a definite Indian feel to it, although played with guitars, drums, and a harmonium. It sounds a bit draggy, but that was the mood he was going for.
- “Only A Northern Song” George wrote this for Sgt. Pepper, but the band decided not to include it there (much to George’s chagrin). It incorporates a few elements of the later “Revolution No. 9.” It was included on the soundtrack for Yellow Submarine to help fulfill a “four new songs” requirement that United Artists had for the film.
- “Think For Yourself” Also included on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack, only parts of it were actually played in the film. As Wikipedia puts it, “The song’s lyrics advocate independent thinking and reflect the Beatles’ move towards more sophisticated concepts in their writing at this stage of their career.”
- “Something” This song, from Abbey Road, was the first song written by George to appear as the A side of a Beatles single. It was held in high regard by the other three Beatles, especially John Lennon, who insisted that it be the first single from the album. It’s been covered many times, including by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Andy Williams. Apparently, there’s no truth to the rumor that Allen Klein, the band’s manager, issued the song because they needed the money. It reached #1 on the Hot 100 and #2 on Cash Box, as well as #17 on the Easy Listening chart.
- “Here Comes The Sun” One of George’s better-known songs; he describes it as playing around with the D chord. George recorded a reply for it on his eponymous 1979 album called “Here Comes The Moon.” From Abbey Road.
- “I Me Mine” from Let It Be. It was the last new track recorded by the band before their breakup in April 1970.
- “For You Blue” Also from Let It Be, a better-than-average 12-bar blues song. Slide guitar is played by John Lennon.
- “Old Brown Shoe” The band chose this as the B side to the non-album single “The Ballad Of John And Yoko.” George plays both lead and bass guitar and provides the vocal. John is missing from this track, recovering from a car accident.
- “Cry For A Shadow” This is an early instrumental piece written by George and John that was never released on any album until the first Beatles Anthology album.
- “All Things Must Pass” George had presented this song to the band for inclusion on the Abbey Road album, but it was bypassed in favor of Paul’s “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” It became the title track for George’s debut solo album.
And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for May 20, 2019.