Songs by George Harrison that Should Stand the Test of Time
The Beatles started out with songs written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon. George was sick in a hotel room in 1963 when he wrote his first song. He wanted to see if he could do it. The song entitled “Don’t Bother Me” was on the Beatles second album With the Beatles. Time and practice made a difference and near the end of his time the Beatles George was just a good a songwriter as his band mates.
Here are some of the best songs by George Harrison that will prove what a wonderful singer and songwriter he was.
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is on the double album or the white album in 1969. It is considered by Rolling Stone Magazine to be number 136 on the 500 Great Songs of All Time list. Eric Clapton plays on the lead guitar but he isn’t credited for it. This song is perfect rock and roll and a little bit of blues. George said he wrote the song at his mother’s house. He had based it on the book I Ching which is a book that says everything that happens is meant to be and not a coincidence. He opened a book and a verse that came out to him was gently weeps so he created a song from that. Paul and John didn’t think much of the song till George brought Eric Clapton to the studio. Eric had agreed to do the lead guitar playing on the song.
“Something” this is the first song by George that proved he could write just as well as Paul and John. It was released in 1969 for the Abbey Road album. The song was written after the White Album and he had given a song to Joe Cocker, but George’s version came out before Joe’s did. This beautiful love song according to George was written with no one particular in mind. Pattie Boyd insists that George said he wrote it for her. The song has been covered by over 150 performers, but George’s favorite version was by James Brown and he kept the record in his personal jukebox. This song is pure perfection. The guitar playing the drums, the bass everyone played and sang this song with great emotion. It is one beautiful song.
“Here Comes the Sun” is another great George Harrison song that came from the Abbey Road album. This song was written at the spur of the moment when George was visiting Eric Clapton and they were in his garden. It was spring time and as they sat in Eric’s garden George was inspired and begin creating the song. It is a song that starts simply and builds in layers. “Here Comes the Sun” is a song of anticipation and of things getter better. George wrote it inspired by England’s weather where it seemed that winter would never end. It is a great song lyrically and musically.
“What is Life” came from the album All Things Must Pass in 1970. This was a top ten hit for George and it has been called a classic. Phil Spector produced the song and it has that wall of sound to it. You have the electric guitar, tambourine, bass, horns, strings all blended to perfection. The song was originally written for Billy Preston, but George changed his mind when he got to the studio and found Billy Preston playing his funky music. The song could be about a woman or about a spiritual experience, but either way it is perfection. This song can bring instead joy each and every time it is played.
“Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)” came off the album Living in the Material World in 1973. It reached number one in the US and it one of George’s most popular songs. George said in his autobiography that this song was between him and God and who ever liked it. It is a very emotional song. The song has a great acoustic guitar beginning and there is minimal instruments that help make the song personal and sincere. A great song of peace and love of God.
“Crackerbox Palace” was a song that reached number 19 on the US charts and it came from the album 33 and 1/3 released in 1976. It is a fun song inspired by the neo-gothic mansion George purchased in 1970 and lived in till his death in 2001. He called the place Crackerbox Palace. He got that phrase from a man who was a manager of Lord Buckley (a comedian), the manager showed George Lord Buckley’s house and said he called it Crackerbox Palace. George was intrigued by the words and wrote it down on a cigarette pack it then inspired the song. This song just glides and sounds like a summer day.
“All Those Years Ago” is from the album Somewhere in England and it was released in 1981. This song reached number 2 on the US charts. The song is a tribute to John Lennon. George was very upset when he heard the news of Johns’ murder and he wrote this song the very day he received the news. George had written the song for Ringo but with different lyrics. Ringo didn’t really like the words and he felt the range was too high, so George took the track back. After John’s death he was inspired to change the lyrics to honor him. Paul and Ringo joined George in the studio to record this song. There were times George and John didn’t get along just like real brothers don’t , but as the song states George always looked up to John and this song captures his love and respect for him. It is perfection.
“When We Was Fab” is a song from the album Cloud Nine released in 1988. It is a great tribute song on his time with the Beatles. The song has the sound of the Beatles and the listener gets to hear George reminisce about that crazy, wonderful time in his life that made him a star. Ringo played the drums for this song and George said when he wrote the song with Jeff Lynne he had Ringo’s drumming in mind for it. A memory set to music, and the listener gets to travel back to those days with the singer. A wonderful song.
“Any Road” came from George’s last album Brainwashed in 2002. This song sounds like a traveling song. The song was inspired when George and his son Dhanni saw a sign in Hawaii that said “If the wind blows, you can always adjust your sails, but, if you don’t know where you’re going, then any road will take you there.” It is neat to hear of the many ways George was inspired by a book or a phrase and then created the perfect song from it. I love the banjolele (part banjo and par ukulele that George played on the track it really gives the song uniqueness.
George Harrison started his song writing career in the shadow of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, but as time went by he became a master song writer and singer in his own right. George brought his views and feelings into every song. He crafted gems that will be enjoyed for years to come.