Beatles Week – Something

Dave is closing out Beatles Week in style with a George Harrison masterpiece.

Dave grew up in Canada, now resides in Texas and has been passionate about music for as long as he can remember. Unfortunately, a brief foray into buying keyboards during his high school years didn’t equate to making music people were passionate about doing anything with but avoiding!  He writes a daily music blog, A Sound Day, looking at memorable music events from album releases to artist birthdays to important concerts and more. You can find Dave at

Thanks Max, for inviting me to take part in this! And a good topic too.

When asked to write about a Beatles song, I didn’t take long to make my pick. There’s just something about Something that moves me like no other…Beatles track. Yet getting to that point has been a long road. Maybe a long and winding one, even.

A little back history about myself. I was born in the ’60s but by the time I was cognizant of it really, let alone had my own little transistor radio to listen to it, The Beatles were done. Wings or solo Ringo, John or George were more relevant to me at the time. But my mom and older brother liked the Beatles and in fact, one of my early memories was hearing Sgt .Pepper Lonely Heart’s Club Band on our big old console in the living room, liking the music and loving the colorful cover. As a kid, I liked the simple pop hooks of Ringo and Paul, post-Beatles, songs like “You’re Sixteen”, “Helen Wheels” and “My Love.” I knew a lot of Beatles songs, either from AM radio or my family playing them on the stereo, and liked quite a lot of it but it was hard for me to grasp how influential or flat out great they had been.

As I hit my teens, was buying my own records and listening to FM radio, my appreciation of them grew. I had a used copy of Revolver, though I can’t remember why I specifically bought that one. A good album, absolutely, but never my favorite of theirs. I probably found it cheap in a used store or flea market. Around that time, I was growing to favor John. “Norwegian Wood “ and “Dear Prudence” were high on my list of Beatles songs and by the time I was getting to like his solo work as much as say, Paul’s 1980 rolled around and well, I think we all know what the end of that story was. As was the case with most people, my estimation of him rose rapidly and I listened to his work more, began to love songs like “Mind Games” and “#9 Dream” that I’d missed, or nearly so when they had first come out. I loved his work for peace and outspokenness and was oblivious to the shortcomings in his character. All the while though, George was just on the periphery of my musical awareness. Sure, “My Sweet Lord” was nice, and I was one of the minority who in ’79 bought and loved the “Blow Away” single, but he was really the “quiet Beatle” to me. Nearly invisible. Really, the thing I might have been most impressed with at that point was his work funding Monty Python films, since like most boys hitting puberty, I laughed my head off at things like the “Lumberjack Song” and killer rabbits.

That changed a little in ’88 when he had his comeback album, Cloud Nine. By that time too, the Beatles were finally putting out CDs of their old catalog and I’d decided, hey, they had a lot of good tunes, I should be getting some in my collection. I bought several of the ’60s works on CD and really that’s where my true appreciation for them began. That and noticing a good portion of the bands I thought were really good at the time – say Crowded House, Aztec Camera, Squeeze for instance – were almost universally described as “Beatle-esque.”

Anyhow, then and still to this day, Sgt. Pepper... has been my favorite Beatles work, but it is a close contest. Not surprisingly then, for years if anyone asked me for my favorite Beatles song, it was “A Day in the Life”. A song like no other, with its time changes, Paul and John changing off vocals, that almighty, seemingly endless piano chord to end it, the bizarre lyrics that actually made some sense when you read of their inspirations. It still is a great song and high on my list.

But just as the Beatles changed and matured during their career, so too have I. And as the band matured, George started to take his place at the front. He brought a new sense of spirituality, and experimentalism to them, opened them up to what we’d now call “World Music”, the sounds of the Far East. Being able to incorporate that into a pop-rock setting was revolutionary and quite a challenge I’m sure. But it worked! And as I matured, I grew more and more appreciative of George’s songwriting as well as his quiet sense of peacefulness. “Something” is the epitome of that to me. And to his ex-bandmates it would seem.

Early on, George was a guitarist and nothing much more to them. Maybe his first hint of potential greatness was on Rubber Soul when he wrote and sang “If I needed someone.” A pretty good song, and presumably John and Paul agreed since they let him put three onto the next record, Revolver, including “Taxman”, one of their many “hits” that never hit the charts because it wasn’t out as a single. A decent little snarky rock tune but probably not on anyone’s list of “best ever.” The first real taste of his brilliance was still a couple of years away, and their self-titled double album. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” was to me the standout on the album and really showed his talent as a songwriter…not to mention nearly got Eric Clapton in the band. Let It Be was recorded next (but released last) and though he did “For You Blue” on it, as we saw in Get Back, he was distant from the band by then and briefly quit. It was becoming clear he’d outgrown the limitations he felt were imposed on him by the two main men who clearly wanted most of the spotlight.

Which leads us to Abbey Road. Their swansong, even if it did arrive in stores months before Let it Be. I gather by then they knew it was time to call it a day but leave fans with one more worth remembering. And they did just that. In particular George. He contributed – i’ll say it – the two best songs on it, “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something.”

Here Comes the Sun” is a pretty incredible, happy-sounding song in which he introduced a synthesizer to the band and wrote a tune in seemingly impossible time signatures (changing rapidly from 4/4 to 11/8 to 7/8 and so on). It ranks high on my Beatles list too, but the crowning achievement was “Something.”

george and pattie

Pattie Boyd must have been “something” too. We know he wrote the song for her, his wife,  and a couple of years later, his buddy Eric Clapton wrote “Layla” for her. In time he won her away from Harrison, and somehow they all remained friends. George was more tolerant than I would have been, I can tell you that. Maybe all the time with the Indian gurus really made him a better person.

Anyway, to me, “Something” is just about a perfect pop song. It’s beautifully written and immaculately played, and the lyrics are outstanding. If you’ve never been so in love, in the beginning, that the lines don’t make sense, well, I hope you’ll experience that head over heels feeling, combined with just a touch of anxiety over fear of losing it (“you’re asking me will my love grow/I don’t know/ I DON’T KNOW”).  George demonstrates his love for Pattie and his slide guitar prowess all the while Ringo drums along exquisitely. The more I listen to Starr, the more I appreciate his talent. He plays for the song, not to take over the song. Then there are the under-stated strings, completing the song nicely. I think George Martin’s introducing strings to middle-era Beatles songs was one of the more under-rated things about them; how many rock & roll bands before 1965 would have thought to bring in violins and cellos? Now, it’s commonplace.  There’s not really a point wrong with “Something” and it does it all in barely three minutes. Each time I listen to it, I seem to pick up on some tiny new detail I’d missed before that makes me appreciate it more.

Of course, my opinion was backed by many others. Frank Sinatra began singing it in his shows right away and called it “the greatest love song of the past 50 years”… and he knew a thing of two about love songs! (Unfortunately, he mistakenly told his audiences Lennon & McCartney wrote it.)  Later Elton John would say it was “one of the best love songs ever –ever – written…it’s the song I’ve been chasing for the last 35 years!”  And Ringo piped in that it and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” were “two of the finest love songs ever written” and put Harrison on a par with John and Paul. Critics tended to agree. The NME  in Britain called it a “real quality hunk of pop” while Rolling Stone applauded its “excellent drum work, dead catchy guitar line, perfectly subdued stings and an unusually nice melody.”  Add in great vocals and there’s not much missing there.

Happily, it was eaten up by the fans. It came out with “Come Together” as a single, but in most lands was considered the A-side. It hit #1 in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and of course the U.S. where it became their 18th #1 song…which happened to surpass the number Elvis Presley had. However, it was the first #1 song credited to George…not surprising because somehow, it was the first Beatles single he wrote or sang! And that’s saying “something” – when a guy can create songs this good and somehow be seen by the band as a third-stringer… wow. No wonder we’re still talking about them a half century later.


Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

52 thoughts on “Beatles Week – Something”

  1. Thanks for doing this Dave…excellent post. What a single that was…Something as the A side and Come Together as the B side. I have to say…Something never gets old to me…I never turn it down when it comes on the radio like other hits I’ve heard so many times. Great way to close out the long long week!

    Liked by 5 people

      1. A little longer than I originally planned but…it went over well with some varied choices…like you I was surprised at the amount of early ones…which pleased me… or should I say please pleased me.

        Liked by 5 people

  2. I can only describe his vocal and guitar work on this as “Sweet” – and I mean that in a good way, not a saccharine way. Okay, on the second listening, maybe I’ll add “exquisite”. No extraneous notes in that solo. Thanks for calling out “Here Comes the Sun” – that song meant everything to me on a morning in Nicaragua when the sun poked through the clouds after a night of rain. (I posted that story 8/28/19 so I’ll leave it at that.) Thanks for a great end to Beatles Week! And thanks, Max, for hosting!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. thank you! ‘Exquisite’ is a good way to describe the tune, I think. And it’s cool to hear another song that has a personal meaning or relevance to you, in ‘Here Comes the sun’.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Truly one of those rare songs that is truly timeless. One of my top five Beatles tunes. The accolades you place on this song are apparently shared with many. It’s a rising star in the cover song world , in the past five years is come from being outside the top 20 most covered pop songs to number 11 with over 550 versions.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Great backstory Dave as I enjoyed your entry point into the Beatles. 88 was a huge year for both Harrison and The Beatles. I bought Cloud 9 and dabbled into buying a few CDs of the Beatles as they were everywhere including commercials lol…
    Amazing though Eric swipes Georges woman and they remain friends! Crazy rockstars lol

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks Deke! Yeah, we’re about the same age so you can probably totally relate to what I mean – by the time we were old enough to begin to appreciate music, the Beatles were history, so we had to get into them down the road. Which to me, in a way is a mark of greatness – it makes sense if a band comes along and puts out a 5-star record when you’re in high school or 21 years old, you’ll love it and maybe dig deeper into the other stuff they do. But to find a band that quit when you were a toddler and feel interested in hearing all they did, well, that’s pretty great. I doubt we’d be taking part in say an ‘Osmonds week’

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Yes… my sister is 8 years older than me….so in 1973 I was 6 and she was 14…I couldn’t see her wall (paneling) because of the Osmonds and David Cassidy posters…but no…I’m NOT a fan!
        Cassidy though…is a little different…he was a talented guitarist but got stuck in that role…and it was over with.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Osmo Week???- No no no, not even as a joke- no, oh- just no. Agh, the smiles! Aaagh, those sweet as treacle lyrics! Those massive teeth porcelain white! Please- no.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. a little careless of Frank but at least he acknowledged what a fine song it was. I’m sure the cheques would go to the right guy…. I assume things like BMI or Ascap take care of that. Would have been funny though if Harrison had one time sung ‘New York, New York’ and told the crowd ‘this is a great song about a great city by the great crooner – Dean Martin!’

        Liked by 6 people

  5. ❤ ❤ ❤ Loved every bit of this post, Dave.

    I felt compelled to go to, "I Me Mine" (published 1980) and share George's comment on the song, "Something was written on the piano while we were making the White album. I had a break while Paul was doing some overdubbing so I went into an empty studio and began to write. That's really all there is to it, except the middle took some time to sort out! It didn't go on the White album because we'd already finished all the tracks. I gave it to Joe Cocker a year before I did it.

    It's probably got a range of five notes which fits most singers' needs best. This I suppose is my most successful song with over one hundred and fifty cover versions. My favourite version is the one by James Brown — that was excellent. When I wrote it, in my mind I heard Ray Charles singing it, and he did do it some years later. I like Smokey Robinson's version too."

    Max, it's hard to convey how much I've enjoyed The Beatles series. Thank you. And thank you to every contributor to it. We help keep the cake fresh. Beatles Forever!

    Liked by 4 people

      1. no one even touched ‘Hey Jude’…which as I have said several times, I find overly long and merely OK but is to many, their acme and one of the best of all-time. Could do a second round of all new picks and still not run out.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Great write-up! The video or “promotional film” is a fascinating document. It seems more intimate than we usually get to see of the Beatles, who are usually in performance mode when we see them in other films. But it’s also kind of silly, in a good way. I didn’t notice at first because of the editing, but all of the Beatles and their respective partners are filmed at different locations. It shows how they are “growing up” by settling down with their wives and also growing apart from one another, which makes it a little sad, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Liam! Yes, a good video & it is nice to see all 4 of them happy with their lady loves, but you’re right…the band was obviously going to diminish in importance to them.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Excellent choice and definitely a tune that could be my favorite Beatles song, depending on my mood. It’s definitely my favorite from “Abbey Road”, along with “Here Comes the Sun” and the magical eight-track suite. Among the many things I love about “Something” is Paul’s bass-playing. I would say it’s one of his best bass parts ever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know…he is getting more since he passed away. He has really been elavated since his death…not as much but kinda like Lennon when he was murdered.

      Liked by 1 person

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