George Harrison characterized as the “introverted”, “quiet” or “silent” Beatle with the passage of time would show that he had a lot to say and contribute to the band. His compositional quality was in total in crescendo to the point where it reached the level of Lennon and McCartney who had always been in the lead, before the Fab Four finally parted ways. Clarification: the covers he sang, especially on the first albums, are not included, but his own compositions. Now let’s enjoy:
#22 – Don’t Bother Me (1963)
None of the songs on Please Please Me, the first Beatles album released in March 1963, was composed by George Harrison. In fact, as George Martin, the band’s producer, once revealed, neither John nor Paul nor he believed in George’s ability as a songwriter. Even so, his first work appeared on the second album entitled With The Beatles, released months later, in November of that same year. A flu picture during a tour of Bournemouth forced him to rest for a few days and there he decided to compose his first lyrics, after observing the ease with which his two companions created successful songs.
#21 – I Need You (1965)
It took two years for Harrison to reappear in the credits with two songs for the Help! Album. From now on he would stop singing covers to begin the laborious challenge of sneaking into the track list governed by John and Paul. I Need You is his first romantic and melancholic contribution inspired, at the time, by his new girlfriend Pattie Boyd, whom he met during the filming of A Hard Day’s Night, the first Beatles movie.
#20 – You Like Me Too Much (1965)
It is the second composition of his in Help! and possibly one of his weakest songs. They are his first steps as a composer and of course Lennon and McCartney were several levels higher. He exhibits a love song again, trying to feed off his new relationship, but without too many ideas.
#19 – Think For Yourself (1965)
After a discreet contribution in Help!, Harrison takes revenge with Rubber Soul and begins to show his enormous capacity as a songwriter. With this theme, George inaugurates his most virtuous cycle that he would surpass on each album. Think For Yourself, whose lyrics introduce us to a lyricist more like Don’t Bother Me than the sweet words of love he sings in Help!.
#18 – If I Needed Someone (1965)
Without a doubt, one of fans favorite songs from George and from that beautiful album Rubber Soul. A bright and harmonious melody accompanies a sincere lyrics “if I needed someone to love, you would be the only one I would be thinking about”.
#17 – Taxman (1966)
George’s influence is beginning to bear fruit: the incursion of an oriental instrument like the sitar, totally unknown and ignored by Rock, brings new nuances that redefine western popular music. In addition, in Revolver there are no longer two, but three of his songs and, above all, one of his best creations is responsible for opening this emblematic album, considered by many critics and fans as the best of the 20th century. Only three years had passed since his debut with Don’t Bother Me and he was already composing classics like Taxman.
#16 – Love You To (1966)
We all know of the paramount importance George had in incorporating elements of Hindu music into The Beatles’ rock as well as the nascent hippie movement. Disciple of the teacher Raví Shankar, he knew how to be an obsessive student of the sitar, a traditional instrument from India, with which he contributed a sound that was vaguely explored in the West.
#15 – I Want To Tell You (1966)
Third and last theme that Harrison brings to Revolver. With a more classical melody, it is the most “Beatle style” of the three compositions. Excellent start with a very cool arpeggio. The piano and bass line provided by Paul also stands out.
#14 – Within You Without You (1967)
Harrison’s only track on the iconic Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band is a contemporary music masterpiece. Harrison magically manages to crystallize a complex Hindu work into a pop song, a task that only a few are capable of accomplishing. Absolute delight.
#13 – Blue Jay Way (1967)
The song’s title refers to the name of a street in Los Angeles where George and his partner rented a house during their stay there in 1967. Exhausted from the long journey and waiting for a belated friend, Harrison began writing the song. Lyrics inspired by the mist that enveloped the city. It is one of his most exotic compositions.
#12 – While My Guitar Gently Weeps (1968)
For many, this was his masterpiece. In addition, the double eponymous popularly known as “White Album” is one of the favorites. Being a double disc, George was able to show more compositions of the two or three that allowed him to fit in the predecessor discs. It is no genius to say that Harrison was already at a creative peak that resulted in superlative compositions.
#11 – Piggies (1968)
The other song from the White Album is this satire that Harrison very eloquently directs towards the aristocratic class of England, marked by a baroque structure, using the harpsichord and a string quartet. For a while, the reflective and mystical Harrison leaves room for his acid and confrontational expression: In Taxman it was the British government, now it is the establishment’s turn.
#10 – Long, Long, Long (1968)
A deep and thoughtful song. A slow, soothing melody seeps through George’s voice. Possibly little valued among the large number of songs that the double disc has, however it is a great work that deserves to be heard.
#9 – Savoy Truffle (1968)
In Piggies, George takes a while to screw Eric Clapton with his addiction to chocolates. The song is a succession of names of chocolates that he found in a box. It is nothing like the other songs of his style. In addition, the use of six saxophonists gives it a distinctive touch of everything the Beatles had done at the time.
#8 – The Inner Light (1968)
It was the first single of his authorship. It came out as side B alongside Lady Madonna. The song is inspired by chapter 47 of the Tao Te King of Lao Tzu, a fundamental work of Taoism. The music was recorded with Hindu instruments in Bombay and would be the last musical composition of Hindu instruments featuring The Beatles.
#7 – Only a Northern Song (1969)
Included in that strange album that is Yellow Submarine, Harrison messes with his creative colleagues by referring to the company Northern Songs Ltd., a music publishing company exploiting the compositions of the Lennon/McCartney duo. Harrison owned only 0.8% and was hired by the company as a songwriter, but Paul and John received more earnings from their compositions than Harrison could.
#6 – It’s All Too Much (1969)
A rock with lysergic brushstrokes. It is his longest song in the Beatle discography, lasting more than six minutes and it is an acid whirlwind of distorted guitars that emanate to discharge a kind of noisy catharsis, stopping well away from McCartney’s more harmonic proposal and closer to Hendrix style.
#5 – I Me Mine (1969)
One of the best sequences in history can be seen in the failed film Let It Be: Harrison, McCartney and Ringo are rehearsing this great song while Lennon dances with Yoko in the key of a waltz. Regarding the lyrics, George stands up and simply says “I’m mine.”
#4 – For You Blue (1969)
One of the last love songs dedicated to Pattie Boyd, his inspiring muse in those years, later the relationship would end and Eric Clapton – yes his best friend – would start a relationship with her. For You Blue was released as a single along with The Long And Winding Road, both belonging to Let It Be, the last Beatles studio album to be released, although it was strictly recorded before Abbey Road, which they said goodbye to.
#3 – Old Brown Shoe (1969)
To say that George saved the best for last would be an understatement of the great legacy he built in his career as a Beatle. Nor can it be denied that his two great anthems came with the last studio album released by the Liverpool quartet: we are talking about Something and Here Comes The Sun. However, there is a third song that Harrison managed to release as a single before the end of the band. This is Old Brown Shoe, a single that was released with The Ballad Of John & Yoko.
#2 – Something (1969)
As we said above, his greatest work came on the last Beatles album. After many years of effort and dedication, George Harrison achieved the prestige as a composer that, until that moment, was exclusive to the Lennon-McCartney duo. Both Paul and John praised this song as one of the best they had ever written, but beyond the praise of their peers, Something had massive approval and well-deserved recognition from the public.
#1 – Here Comes The Sun (1969)
The most favorite composition of George Harrison. George says goodbye with a soft and tender guitar that gives off sweet comforting melodies. In the chaotic days at the end, George went to Eric Clapton’s house to relax a bit, and in the courtyard of his house he could see the sun – something rare in the English capital – and felt more relieved: “It’s alright”. The great recognition of this classic can currently be reflected in the streaming platform Spotify since it is, so far, the most played song of the entire Fab Four discography.