George Harrison – Isn’t It a Pity

This 1970 George Harrison song is off of the great album “All Things Must Pass.” It is often overlooked but its one of my favorite George Harrison songs. George wrote it in 1966 but it didn’t see daylight until 1970. He brought it up on the Let It Be sessions but he later said that John Lennon rejected it. That I don’t understand…I Me Mine was passed but not this one? I like “I Me Mine” but not like this one. Maybe George did more work on it afterward or it was the length of the song.

It resembles Hey Jude in its structure. It was the B side to My Sweet Lord which went to #1 on the charts. In Canada, this song was the preferred song and it went to #1 in Canada.

No one benefitted from the break up of the Beatles like George. He had so many songs that we had written and could not get enough of them on Beatles albums, understandably so with Lennon and McCartney. He released a 3 album set called “All Things Must Pass” in 1970.

George began recording this Isn’t It A Pity on June 2, 1970. Phil Spector produced it using his trademark Wall of Sound with heavy reverb. On the remastered version, the reverb is toned down a little.

This is from Timothy White’s interview with George Harrison that appeared in the Dec. 30, 2000, issue of Billboard:

Had you intended songs like “Isn’t It A Pity” to be things just for you?

No, I mean, this is the funny thing: imagine if the Beatles had gone on and on. Well, the songs on “All Things Must Pass,” maybe some of them I would probably only just got ’round to do now, you know, with my quota that I was allowed [laughs]. “Isn’t It A Pity” would just have been a Beatles song, wouldn’t it? And now that could be said for each one of us. “Imagine” would have been a Beatles song, but it was with John’s songs. It just happened that the Beatles finished. 

What was the inspiration for “Isn’t It A Pity”?

It’s just an observation of how society and myself were or are. We take each other for granted — and forget to give back. That was really all it was about.

It’s like “love lost and love gained between 16- and 20-year-olds.” But I must explain: Once, at the time I was at Warner Bros. and I wrote that song “Blood From A Clone” [on the 1981 “Somewhere In England” album], that was when they were having all these surveys out on the street to find out what was a hit record. And apparently, as I was told, a hit record is something that is about “love gained or lost between 14- and 19-year-olds,” or something really dumb like that.

So that’s why I wrote “Isn’t Is A Pity” [laughs]; I thought, ‘Oh, I’ll get in on that!”

 

“Isn’t It A Pity”

Isn’t it a pity
Now, isn’t it a shame
How we break each other’s hearts
And cause each other pain
How we take each other’s love
Without thinking anymore
Forgetting to give back
Isn’t it a pitySome things take so long
But how do I explain
When not too many people
Can see we’re all the same
And because of all their tears
Their eyes can’t hope to see
The beauty that surrounds them
Isn’t it a pity

Isn’t it a pity
Isn’t is a shame
How we break each other’s hearts
And cause each other pain
How we take each other’s love
Without thinking anymore
Forgetting to give back
Isn’t it a pity

Forgetting to give back
Isn’t it a pity
Forgetting to give back
Now, isn’t it a pity

[6 times, fade the 6th:]
What a pity
What a pity, pity, pity
What a pity
What a pity, pity, pity