George Harrison – When We Was Fab

I loved this song when I heard it. To hear George sing about his time with The Beatles surprised me. Of all the Beatles George seemed to have the most resentment and some of it was understandable. A few years after this he would join the remaining Beatles and start on The Beatles Anthology.

George co-wrote the song with Jeff Lynne, who also co-produced the album that shortly pre-dates the two of them forming The Traveling Wilburys. ‘When We Was Fab’ is a musical nod to the psychedelic sound that the Beatles had made their own. George used a sitar, string quartet, and backward tape effects.

This one peaked at #23 in the Billboard 100, #20 in Canada, and #25 in the UK.

He also got some help from Ringo. Starr played drums on this track and a few others on the album. Harrison says that when he started writing the song, he had Ringo’s drumming in mind for the intro and the overall tempo.

The album was Cloud Nine…it peaked at #8 in the Billboard Album Charts, #5 in Canada, #10 in the UK, and #27 in New Zealand.


From Songfacts

Harrison wrote this after the Beatles had split up. It’s about the days of Beatlemania, when the group was known as “The Fab 4.” It sounds very much like a Beatles song. 

Jeff Lynne, George’s bandmate from the superstar band The Traveling Wilburys and leader of The Electric Light Orchestra, produced this song and as well as the rest of this album. A huge Beatles fan, Jeff also appears briefly in the video for this song (look for the big afro). 

Harrison states in this song: “income tax was all we had.” Excessive taxation was a scourge for him – he wrote the Beatles song “Taxman” on the subject.

Gary Wright, who had a big hit with “Dream Weaver,” played piano on this track.


When We Was Fab

One! Two!
Back then long time ago when grass was green
Woke up in a daze
Arrived like strangers in the night
(Fab! Doot, doot, doot doo)
Long time ago when we was fab (Fab!)
Back when income tax was all we had
Caressers fleeced you in the morning light
Casualties at dawn
And we did it all
(Fab! Doot, doot, doot doo)
Long time ago when we was fab (Fab)
In my world you are my only love

And while you’re in this world
The fuzz gonna come and claim you
But you mo better wise
When the buzz gonna come and take you away
Take you away. Take you away

The microscopes that magnified the tears
Studied warts and all
Still the life flowed on and on
(Fab! Doot, doot, doot, Gear!)
Long time ago when we was fab (Fab)

But it’s all over now, baby blue
(Oo! doot, doot doot. Fab!)
Long time ago when we was fab
(Fab!) Like this pullover you sent me
(Fab! Doot, doot, doot. Gear!)
And you really got a hold on me
(Fab! Doot, doot, doot, Gear!)

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

22 thoughts on “George Harrison – When We Was Fab”

  1. Love that song and the video that goes along with it. Ringo and George seem to have been very close post-Beatles, appearing on each other’s albums and writing songs together. Personality-wise, I think they were very similar…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They did seem to be buddies. All of them were at one time but it was usually two cliques.

      Here is George and Ringo on a talk show….during Ringo’s drinking period… you can tell.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. A good song and a nice little tribute to his own past . Like John said, he and Ringo seem a bit alike from what we fans could see in that both seemed fairly approachable and obviously were of decent natures when you look at the range of other musical stars they hung out or worked with through the years, George with his records and Ringo with his All Starr Band.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. They can do that…We are good at that…I just worry about their nature…
        The frog and scorpion story is what I think of.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. On another subject, a major dam in the middle of the state (Midland, good name for the city) gave out today or yesterday, causing big flooding and evacuation of at least 2 towns. My daughter in-law has family there. Their yard is flooded but their house is ok.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I was going to ask you about that. I just saw it on the news. It’s amazing I saw it…Lisa I hardly look at the news now.
        I’m glad they are ok…though. Did it just crumble or did somewhat mess up?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I just read that…I hope no one was hurt there. It looks like they had a warning but…there is only so much you can do.
        It causes so much damage.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I live around 3 miles from a dam…but we are elevated. I hope it dies out quite a bit. People here get nightmares thinking of last time.

        Liked by 1 person

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