Over the past few years, I have marked George Harrison’s birthday by pointing out how he was much more than just a Beatle … and playing a medley of his solo material to prove it.

This year, on what would have been his 79th birthday, I decided to go back to his Beatle days to illustrate the contributions Harrison made to the Beatles’ success. He may have been a late bloomer when it came to songwriting, but once he took on the challenge of trying to join John Lennon and Paul McCartney as a composer, he slowly but surely began building up his resume.

“If I hadn’t been with John and Paul, I probably wouldn’t have thought about writing a song, at least not until much later,” Harrison said in 1992. “They were writing all these songs, many of which I thought were great. Some were just average, but, obviously, a high percentage were quality material. I thought to myself, ‘If they can do it, I’m going to have a go.'”

The most challenging part wasn’t writing a song as good as a Lennon/McCartney original. George had the additional task of approaching the band with his tunes and getting them to use them.

“It wasn’t easy in those days getting up enthusiasm for my songs,” George explained. “We’d be in a recording situation, churning through all this Lennon/McCartney, Lennon/McCartney, Lennon/McCartney. Then I’d say [meekly] ‘can we do one of these?’ Usually the answer was no.”

Beatles’ producer George Martin was another roadblock. Martin didn’t appreciate George coming forward with songs because he wanted “to concentrate on the guys who were giving me the hits. George was never treated on the same level as having the same quality of songwriting, by anyone – by John, by Paul or by me. I’m as guilty as anyone in that respect.”

This collection of Harrison compositions illustrates how much Harrison persevered despite the stone walls he continued to face during the Beatle years. Was he as good as Lennon and McCartney? Not initially but as The Beatles came to their end, his songs certainly were the equal of anything his partners were bringing to the table.

This medley is played in chronological order; from Harrison’s first Beatles songwriting credit to his last. Several additional songs were left out due to time considerations.

Memories … That’s What We’re All About

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George Harrison Beatles Medley