George Harrison Beatle Songs

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

Comments (10)

  1. Don Doyle

    George, “The Quiet Beatle” or “The Gagged Beatle?” Obviously the latter. No need to be polite here. The crime here appears to be greed. We don’t like to think of people who we like and admire as being so crass but…. George was artisticly and economicly shut out of the money making apparatus by John, Paul and the other George. A true crime of the first order. Thankfully George was both persistent and insistent. Good for you George and obviously good for us, the listeners. My admiration for this man continues to grow the closer you examine his contributions. I do think he was always considered the most instrumentally technically talented, the best guitar player in the group. Ray I thank you for consistently championing George so that everyone will know and appreciate the the real, often overlooked, treasure that we had, “The Quiet Beatle “. Rest In Peace George and thank you.

    1. Ray (Post author)

      Don, I don’t believe the “case for George” could have been better explained. Thank you!

  2. fred

    Ray as you know George was my favorite!! I can’t beat Don’s Blog!! I will say this I don’t think they could have got along without George!! The words were correct You need Me!! His lyrics had great stories to tell!! I can’t go on without you!! The tax man was a great showcase of how good his guitar playing really was!! Ray do you think his cancer had anything to do with my Guitar Weeps?? Or here comes the sun?? Or was he ok then? Anyway Ray you knew this would bring joy to my heart!! love ya And remember there is something to his smile (Listen to that guitar he was so good!!!)

    1. Ray (Post author)

      Thank you, Fred. George’s health was fine during his days with the band. When he wrote While My Guitar Gently Weeps, he said, The Eastern concept is that whatever happens is all meant to be. Every little item that’s going down has a purpose. The song was a simple study based on that theory. I picked up the ‘I Ching’ at random, opened it, saw “gently weeps”, then laid the book down again and started the song. In the end, you’re trying to find God. That’s the result of not being satisfied. And it doesn’t matter how much money, or property, or whatever you’ve got, unless you’re happy in your heart, then that’s it.
      Love Ya!

  3. Penny

    It’s sad how some members of a group are in the shadows when they were/are such a huge part of the success of the group. George is a classic example of that and I don’t think a lot of people realize the impact he had on the success of the Beatles!
    Is turning out to be another long day .. on the plus side, it is Friday 🙂
    Have a safe and warm day my friend.

    1. Ray (Post author)

      Thanks, Penny 🥰
      I don’t think John and Paul realized the impact he had on The Beatles. He was treated like a session musician most of the time. He was a man with realistic feelings about his time with the band. “The Beatles exist apart from myself. I am not really Beatle George. Beatle George is like a suit or shirt that I once wore on occasion, and until the end of my life, people may see that shirt and mistake it for me.

  4. Hawthorne Mary Helen

    Always thought Tax Man was Lennon
    Two of my favorite songs, Here Comes the Sun and Something
    As I’ve said before totally underrated

    1. Ray (Post author)

      Mary Helen, I couldn’t agree more. Underrated and under appreciated.

  5. Sandy Gaither

    Wow talk about a trip back! I haven’t heard some of these songs since probably the years they were introduced. Of course, here comes the sun , who could miss that. I will certainly agree with previous blogs that he was the unforgotten beetle, the one who was not allowed to introduce some of his songs on albums. He had so much talent, and he could make that guitar talk! I think he may have gone even farther had the cancer not gotten to him. Certainly a great trip back, loved every second of it. Some great choices on your part Ray loved the medley! You are the best!

    1. Ray (Post author)

      Thank you, Sandy 🥰
      All I try to do every year is remind people of the talent George had, even though it was very much under unappreciated in his time with The Beatles. He once famously said, “The biggest break in my career was getting into the Beatles in 1962. The second biggest break since then was getting out.
      George was quite content to tend to his garden at his Friar Park estate in Henley-on-Thames after he left The Beatles. He made a few albums but his primary interest was gardening. “I’m really quite simple. I plant flowers and watch them grow. I stay at home and watch the river flow.”

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