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"Something"

Categories: Beatles songs

"Something" was the only Harrisong to be afforded Beatle A-Side status — and more than demonstrated that Little Georgie was well-set for a Fab-free future.

He had, inevitably, stood for years in the songwriting shadow of the dynamic duo who had overshadowed Lieber & Stoller, Goffin & King, Rogers & Hammerstein and pretty much any other songwriting partnership you could come up with. And so when Ol' Blue Eyes himself introduced "Something" as 'my favourite number from the Lennon/McCartney songbook', he must've known he'd finally really made it. Michael Jackson was also under the same misconception when Harrison met him years later.

Batman and Robin themselves, along with Ringo, were immediate and unanimous in their praise. Paul's even taken to playing it in tribute on the ukelele lately. George Martin was blown away completely: 'I was surprised that George had it it in him. Super song!' George himself said he was thinking more Ray Charles than Sinatra when he wrote it. Ray was good enough to oblige with his rendition, as were Elvis and James Brown, amongst a host of others: the song comes second only to "Yesterday" in terms of Beatlecovers. That man Cocker actually recorded it before (but released after) The Beatles.

But what is it about this particular lovesong for Pattie which makes it maintain its magic, long after she left him for Eric Clapton? [Sideline — I still find it really weird to see them duetting it, before and after the fact]. Well, Pattie still says it was for her: though George intriguingly implied it might not have been... Whatever the case, they certainly look lovey-dovey enough in the promo clip, as do the other three Beatlecouples: all filmed separately, then edited together.

Along with the moves, the woos, her smile and her style, that attract me like no other lover, there is something of that uncertainty lying in the lyric also:

You're asking me, will my love grow?
I don't know, I don't know...


George was actually working on the song during the White Album sessions, though hadn't got it ready enough to be included. The Anthology demo was recorded on February 25th, 1969: his 26th birthday — The Quiet One celebrating the occasion by instructing The Bossy One on how the bass part should be played.

And, in the end, all the lads did him more than proud with it, as did Billy Preston, guesting once again on Hammond. As well as tumbling it in so deftly from it's Double-A partner "Come Together" on the album, Ringo is directly responsible for everything in the way it moves. John's little piano interlude keys in sublimely and Paul — 'only trying to help the song' — pulled it off on both bass and backing vox.

The definitive mix for Abbey Road was as elaborate a process as anything else on the album: fifty-odd takes and hours of overdubs, during two separate session blocks between April and August. Both Georges were responsible for the strings arrangement, and Junior was also close by at the control desk, that shiny new 8-tracker being exploited to the full, giving a depth and lushness of sound which had been simply impossible on any of the band's previous work. Senior later gave it all of his love for LOVE: Something Else!

It is, by far and away, George's most supremely confident vocal performance as part of the band — very possibly his greatest ever — capturing the mixed emotions of the lyric to perfection. The same goes for his solo, the sensual self-assuredness of the slide getting similarly interrupted by those niggling little doubt runs.

Frank may have fluffed over the credit, but he was sure as hell onto something when he called it 'the greatest love song ever written...'

You know I believe:
And how!
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