The song Paul McCartney considers George Harrison’s “greatest track”

For most of the 1960s, nothing would break the John Lennon and Paul McCartney stronghold in The Beatles. Although the Fab Four made a name for themselves for their masterful approach to melody, the lion’s share of the hits the group made always bore the Lennon/McCartney name in the credits. However, George Harrison would wait patiently in the background, contemplating the right time to showcase his material.

First writing the song ‘Don’t Bother Me’ on With The Beatles as an exercise for his own creative output, Harrison found himself at a sharp disadvantage to his songwriting contemporaries. Not only was he starting to woodshed his first ideas, but he also didn’t have the same partnership as his bandmates, with Lennon and McCartney often working off each other until they had a finished song.

Writing various material on the group’s second film, Help!, Harrison didn’t start to fully come into his own until working on the album Rubber Soul. As the band took control of the studio for the first time, Harrison started to delve deeper into himself as a songwriter, penning the acerbic track ‘Think For Yourself’ and the ode to LA-based rock band The Byrds, ‘If I Needed Someone’.

Although the band would continue to be dominated by Lennon and McCartney throughout their tenure, it wasn’t until Abbey Road that McCartney realised how far a leap Harrison had made as a songwriter. Shelving a handful of songs for what would eventually be his upcoming solo debut, All Things Must Pass, Harrison offered up ‘Something’ and ‘Here Comes the Sun’, both of which would become staples in the band’s catalogue.

When discussing the impact of ‘Something’, McCartney recalled, “I thought it was George’s greatest track. Until then, he had only done one or two songs per album. I don’t think he thought of himself very much as a songwriter, and John and I obviously would dominate. But he finally came up with ‘Something’ and a couple of other songs that were great, and I think everyone was very pleased for him”.

After combing through their material, Yoko Ono recalled that it was Lennon’s suggestion for the song to be released by itself, telling Martin Scorsese in Living in the Material World, “‘Something’ was a great song…is a great song. And John just said, ‘That should be the single’. For the last few albums, Paul would normally have the single and John was on the B-side”.

Marking the first time a Harrison song was featured on an A-side single, ‘Something’ would become one of the most covered songs of all time, standing just a notch below ‘Yesterday’ as one of the group’s most popular tunes. Then again, that didn’t stop Harrison from not getting his due credit, with Frank Sinatra attributing the tune to Lennon and McCartney for the longest time.

As much as fans flocked to Harrison’s massive hit, he didn’t have time to write the next one. After the release of Abbey Road, the band quickly disbanded, leading to Harrison working out of Friar Park to deliver his triple album juggernaut, All Things Must Pass. While both Lennon and McCartney had to deal with their hangups at the end of The Beatles, ‘The Quiet Beatle’ was about to hit his songwriting apex.

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