Top 10 Beatles songs written by George Harrison

listen 11/10/2019

Although he was often referred to as the 'quiet Beatle', George Harrison made huge contributions to the Beatles catalogue. In fact most Beatles albums from 1965 onwards contained at least two Harrison compositions, though Lennon and McCartney get the majority of the writing credit. Here are ten of Harrison's best songs for the band through the sixties, compiled by Louder Sound:

10. If I Needed Someone (1966)

The jingle jangle ring of Rickenbacker guitar that lights up this 'Revolver' album track was said to be influenced by The Byrds’ 'The Bells Of Rhymney'. Fellow hitmakers The Hollies covered the song, but Harrison heavily criticised their version, which barely made it into the top twenty.

9. It’s All Too Much (1967)

This psychedlic jam recorded in June 1967 was cut from 'Sgt. Pepper' by the band, and was eventually used on 'Yellow Submarine' over a year later. By then, the Beatles had gone back to simpler sounds. This Harrison freak out is therefore a memorable ode to the summer of love. Steve Hillage covered the song in 1976 on his 'L' album.

8. Long, Long, Long (1968)

A dreamy lament which provided a moment of calm between the raucous 'Helter Skelter' and the politically-charged 'Revolution 1' on side four of the Beatles White Album. This is one of Harrison’s most affecting lyrical themes, about his joy at finding God. Note the added effect at the close of the song – the sound of a wine bottle reverberating on top of an amp.

7. Blue Jay Way (1967)

Harrison’s contribution to their 'Magical Mystery Tour' TV film was a suitably phased psychedelic journey. It tells the tale of ‘a fog upon LA’ as Harrison, on a visit to Los Angeles in August 1967, awaiting the arrival of Beatles publicist Derek Taylor. Blue Jay Way was the name of the street in Hollywood Hills where he was staying.

6. I Me Mine (1970)

One of the very last Beatles songs to be worked on, Harrison, McCarney and Starr gathered at Abbey Road early in January 1970 to complete it for the 'Let It Be' movie. Significantly, John was away peace campaigning at the time. Lyrically, it hinted at the egos at play within the group that would eventually signal their demise.

5. Within You Without You (1967)

This Indian-influenced, sitar-led tune demonstrated Harrison’s growing love for a different culture. While other fellow travellers such as Donavon flirted with the sitar, it was Harrison who placed it most successfully in the pop/rock idiom - this 'Sgt Pepper' track being the prime example.

4. Taxman (1966)

Surprisingly, it was Macca who supplied the strident guitar solo of this vibrant opener to the 'Revolver' album. Harrison meanwhile, offered a wry observation of the British tax system – "and you’re working for nobody but me". 

3. Here Comes The Sun (1969)

Harrison's increasing frustration of life as a member of the Fab Four flowered into this truly uplifting composition, written in Eric Clapton's garden while he avoided meetings at the band's Apple HQ. 

2. Something (1969)

Built around the phrase "something in the way she moves" (borrowed from a song by Apple Records artist James Taylor), Harrison’s own maturing songwriting talent created one of the Beatles’ most-covered songs. Frank Sinatra proclaimed it to be "the greatest love song of the last 50 years". In late 1969 it was extracted from the 'Abbey Road' album to become a worldwide hit.

1. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (1968)

Starting off as a gentle acoustic piece, Harrison called upon the services of the then Cream member Eric Clapton to rock it up. Their guitar duel is a truly thrilling conclusion to the track and has ensured that this song remains at the forefront of his considerable Beatle achievements.