What Songs Did George Harrison Write? – Unlocking the Brilliance

George Harrison, often overshadowed by the colossal songwriting partnership of Lennon and McCartney, carved his indelible mark on the music world. Known affectionately as the ‘Quiet Beatle,’ Harrison’s journey from a supportive role to a profound songwriting force is a testament to his immense talent and deep spiritual insight.

His contributions to The Beatles’ discography are significant, with a range of songs that not only enriched the band’s sound but also introduced global audiences to new musical and cultural dimensions. Beyond The Beatles, Harrison’s work continued to resonate, showcasing his versatility and generosity as a songwriter and musician.

Key Takeaways

  • Harrison’s Early Songwriting: George Harrison began his songwriting career with The Beatles with modest contributions, starting with “Don’t Bother Me.” His early works, such as those on “Help!” and “Rubber Soul,” marked his evolution from a supporting role to a significant creative force within the band.
  • Integration of Indian Music: Harrison introduced Indian music and spirituality into The Beatles’ music, significantly influencing the band’s sound and expanding their musical landscape.
  • Peak Creativity and Contributions: His songwriting reached a zenith with iconic tracks like “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Something,” and “Here Comes The Sun.” These songs not only highlight his exceptional talent and introspection but also solidify his indispensable role in The Beatles’ enduring legacy.
  • Beyond The Beatles: After The Beatles, Harrison’s versatility and generosity as a songwriter continued to shine through collaborations with other artists and his solo work. His post-Beatles journey underscored his adaptability, broad musical range, and profound impact on music beyond the confines of the band.

Early Contributions to The Beatles

George Harrison’s foray into songwriting with The Beatles marked a modest beginning that would eventually burgeon into a significant part of the band’s legendary discography. His first composition, “Don’t Bother Me,” found its place on the band’s second album, signaling Harrison’s debut as a songwriter.

This song, born out of Harrison’s illness and a desire to prove his songwriting capabilities, laid the groundwork for his future contributions. Following this initial effort, Harrison’s confidence and skill as a songwriter began to flourish, evident in his contributions to albums such as “Help!” and “Rubber Soul.”

In “Help!”, tracks like “I Need You” and “You Like Me Too Much” showcased not only Harrison’s growing prowess in songwriting but also his ability to infuse the band’s sound with fresh, distinctive elements. “Rubber Soul” featured “Think For Yourself” and “If I Needed Someone,” songs that further highlighted Harrison’s evolving musical style and lyrical depth.

These early contributions were pivotal, marking Harrison’s transition from a peripheral to a central figure in the band’s creative process.

The Evolution of Harrison’s Songwriting

As The Beatles’ musical landscape expanded, so did Harrison’s songwriting. The albums “Revolver” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band” became platforms for Harrison to showcase his burgeoning talent and diverse musical interests.

“Taxman,” “Love You To,” and “Within You Without You” were not just songs; they were manifestations of Harrison’s foray into Indian music and culture, reflecting a blend of Western rock with Eastern philosophy and instrumentation. This period of Harrison’s songwriting was characterized by a bold exploration of themes and sounds, contributing significantly to the band’s innovative edge.

Harrison’s integration of Indian music and spirituality into The Beatles’ work did more than just add a new sonic layer; it propelled the band into uncharted musical territories, enriching their sound and broadening their global influence.

Peak Creativity with The Beatles

Harrison's Songwriting with The Beatles

The apex of Harrison’s songwriting with The Beatles is vividly illustrated in the band’s later albums. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” from The White Album, featuring a haunting guitar solo by Eric Clapton, is a profound expression of Harrison’s introspection and musical genius.

Abbey Road’s “Something” and “Here Comes The Sun” are celebrated not only for their lyrical beauty and melodic richness but also for their enduring popularity, underscoring Harrison’s exceptional talent as a songwriter. These compositions, emblematic of Harrison’s peak creativity, significantly enriched The Beatles’ musical legacy and solidified his status as a masterful songwriter whose contributions were integral to the band’s success.

All the Songs He Wrote for The Beatles

Harrison’s Contributions Beyond The Beatles

Beyond The Beatles, George Harrison’s songwriting journey continued with remarkable versatility and generosity. His collaborations with other artists underscored his adaptability and broad musical range.

  • ”Sour Milk Sea,” Jackie Lomax (1968)
  • “Badge” Cream (1969)
  • Try Some, Buy Some” Ronnie Spector (1971)
  • “Sunshine Life for Me (Sail Away Raymond),” Ringo Starr (1973)
  • “Run So Far,” Eric Clapton (1989)
  • “That Kind of Woman,” Gary Moore (1990)

These collaborations not only highlight Harrison’s willingness to share his creative gifts but also affirm his legacy as a versatile and influential songwriter whose impact extended far beyond his work with The Beatles.

What Is His Legacy?

Paul McCartney famously said after Harrison’s passing away:

I’ll always love him, he’s my baby brother.

Harrison was instrumental in blending Indian music with Western pop, fostering global musical fusion. His humanitarian efforts, like the Concert for Bangladesh, and his venture, Dark Horse Records, supported diverse artists and causes.

Recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, his influence is acknowledged by artists such as Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan. Harrison’s legacy, celebrated for its innovation and breadth, continues to inspire across musical boundaries.


FAQs about George Harrison

What Are Some of The Hidden Gems in Harrison’s Songwriting Before “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”?

While “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is often his most celebrated song, Harrison penned many lesser-known gems before it.

Did Harrison Face Any Resistance to His Indian-Influenced Songs Within the Beatles?

There were mixed reactions. While McCartney initially disliked “Within You Without You,” Harrison persevered, showcasing his strong belief in its artistic merit. Ultimately, these songs contributed to the band’s innovative sound and global appeal.

How Did Harrison’s Songwriting Evolve After the Beatles?

Beyond The Beatles, Harrison explored diverse genres and themes. Collaborations like “Badge” with Cream and “Run So Far” with Eric Clapton showcase his adaptability, while solo hits like “My Sweet Lord” demonstrate his continued spiritual exploration.

What Are Some Interesting Facts About Harrison’s Songwriting Process?

What Are Some Interesting Facts About Harrison's Songwriting Process?

He often wrote spontaneously, sometimes drawing inspiration from dreams or personal experiences. He was also known for his collaborative approach, welcoming input from other musicians and embracing diverse influences.

What Impact Did Harrison Have on Other Musicians?

His influence is vast. From Eric Clapton and Tom Petty to Gary Moore and Jeff Lynne, countless artists credit him as an inspiration. His innovative use of Indian music and focus on spirituality continue to resonate in contemporary music.

What Are Some Interesting Covers of Harrison’s Songs by Other Artists?

Many artists have reinterpreted his work. Fiona Apple’s haunting rendition of “Something,” Nina Simone’s powerful version of “Here Comes The Sun,” and Jeff Lynne’s emotional take on “My Sweet Lord” offer unique perspectives on his timeless compositions.

Final Words

George Harrison’s evolution from an initial contributor to a central creative force within The Beatles, and his subsequent work with other artists, underscore his enduring legacy as a versatile and influential songwriter. His journey reflects a profound depth of musicality and spirituality, leaving a lasting impact on the world of music.

Harrison’s legacy, characterized by his unique contributions to The Beatles and his work beyond, continues to inspire and resonate with musicians and fans alike, ensuring his place in the pantheon of musical greats.