Though he was often overshadowed by his more famous bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney, George Harrison was a immensely talented songwriter in his own right. Over the course of their career, the Beatles released 28 Harrison-penned songs, many of which have gone on to become classics. Here are 10 of the best.
20+ Beatles George Harrison Songs
“Something” (Abbey Road, 1969)
Harrison wrote “Something” for his wife, Pattie Boyd, and it quickly became one of the most popular Beatles songs ever recorded. Though it was originally left off Abbey Road (Lennon and McCartney thought it wasn’t good enough), it ultimately made its way onto the album after Ringo Starr insisted that it be included. The song went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group in 1970.
“Here Comes the Sun” (Abbey Road, 1969)
Another Abbey Road standout, “Here Comes the Sun” was written by Harrison during a particularly difficult period in his life. He had been fined for marijuana possession and was facing extensive tax problems, leading him to take a temporary hiatus from the band. This happy little ditty—one of the few uplifting songs in the Beatles’ catalog—was penned during that time.
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (The White Album, 1968)
One of Harrison’s most famous songs, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is widely considered to be one of the best tracks on The White Album. Though Lennon and McCartney were initially unimpressed with it (McCartney even voted against including it on the album), Harrison fought for its inclusion and ultimately won out. The song features an incredible guitar solo from Eric Clapton, who was brought in at Harrison’s request.
“I Me Mine” (Let It Be, 1970)
This is a deep and introspective song that reflects on the ways that material possessions can take over our lives and make us forget what is truly important. The lyrics are philosophical without being preachy, and they offer an interesting perspective on life and consumerism.
“Don’t Bother Me”
The first song Harrison wrote for the Beatles, “Don’t Bother Me” was actually intended as a bit of a joke. Harrison wrote the song while he was ill in bed at his parents’ house and, as he later recalled, “The words just came out sort of automatically.” Despite its humble beginnings, “Don’t Bother Me” ended up becoming a fan favorite and remains one of the best-known songs written by Harrison.
Though “Taxman” is perhaps best remembered for its catchy guitar riff, the song is also notable for its searing indictment of Britain’s tax system. Unsurprisingly, the British government was not thrilled with Harrison’s criticism and reportedly considered prosecuting him for inciting people to avoid paying taxes. In the end, though, cooler heads prevailed and no action was taken against Harrison.
“Within You Without You”
As the only member of the Beatles with any interest in Indian culture, it falls to Harrison to write “Within You Without You,” one of the band’s most experimental tracks. The song features sitar playing from Ravi Shankar and takes an introspective look at life, love, and spirituality. It’s one of the only Beatles songs that doesn’t feature any input from either Lennon or McCartney—a testament to Harrison’s vision as a songwriter.
“If I Needed Someone”
This is one of Harrison’s earliest hits and appeared on the 1965 album Rubber Soul. The song features a 12-string guitar riff that has been described as “jangly” and “infectious.” The lyrics are about unrequited love and were rumored to be about Pattie Boyd, who would later become Harrison’s wife.
“Love You To”
This is a unique song in the Beatles’ catalog, as it is one of the few songs written by Harrison that includes Indian instrumentation. The song appeared on Revolver and was inspired by Harrison’s sitar teacher, Ravi Shankar. Lyrically, the song is about love and its many forms.
“I Need You”
Harrison wrote this country-tinged track for the Help! album while the band was filming in the Bahamas. It features some of his most playful guitar work with the Beatles.
“You Like Me Too Much”
Another song from Help!, “You Like Me Too Much” is a sunny and romantic tune with a infectious chord progression.
“Think For Yourself”
With its funky bassline and slashing guitar work, “Think For Yourself” is one of the rawest, most rock & roll songs in the Beatles’ catalog.
It was also one of the first tracks on which Harrison used a Moog synthesizer.
“If I Needed Someone”
Harrison based this jangly pop song off a twelve-string riff he heard Ravi Shankar playing during one of their sitar lessons. It’s often cited as one of his best early tunes.
Lennon later said it was his favorite Harrison composition.
“I Want To Tell You”
The first track on Revolver, “I Want To Tell You” finds Harrison at his most experimental. Lyrically, the song is about the difficulties of communication, with Harrison struggling to find the right words to express himself. Musically, the song is built around a simple riff played on a fuzzed-out guitar. This riff would later be reused by Harrison on his solo track “My Sweet Lord”.
“Blue Jay Way”
Written during The Beatles’ infamous trip to India, “Blue Jay Way” is one of Harrison’s most atmospheric songs. The song features an ethereal Mellotron melody, which gives the impression of a swarm of birds taking flight. The lyrics, which were written in a state of jet-lag-induced confusion, add to the song’s dreamlike quality.
A pointed political satire, “Piggies” finds Harrison taking aim at the ruling class. Over a bed of chiming guitars, Harrison delivers some of his most biting lyrics, painting a picture of a society that’s oblivious to the suffering of those less fortunate. The song would later be banned by the BBC for its supposed references to cannibalism.
“Long, Long, Long”
The closing track on The Beatles (aka The White Album), “”Long, Long, Long”” is a gorgeous ballad written by Harrison about finding solace in God. Featuring some of his finest guitar work with The Beatles, the song is a beautiful reminder of Harrison’s immense talent as both a singer and a player.
A tribute to Eric Clapton’s sweet tooth, “Savoy Truffle” is one of Harrison’s funkiest songs. Lyrically, the song runs through a litany of sweet treats before veering into more surreal territory in the second verse. Musically, the song features some great organ playing from Billy Preston and some excellent guitar work from both Harrison and Clapton.
“It’s All Too Much”
Harrison wrote “It’s All Too Much” after taking acid with friends near Windsor Castle in 1967. The resulting song is an sprawling six-minute psychedelic epic that reflects Harrison’s newfound love for Indian music and culture. The song features some inventive use of sound effects and includes contributions from members of Pink Floyd and Yes.
“Only A Northern Song”
A prime example of Harrison’s wry sense of humor, “Only A Northern Song” is a playful jab at publisher Northern Songs Ltd., who owned the copyright to all Lennon-McCartney compositions. Musically, the song is built around a simple chord progression and includes some distorted vocals courtesy of John Lennon.
A throwaway track included on 1970’s “Let It Be”, “Dig It” was co-written by all four members of the Beatles and features some nonsensical Dylan-esque lyrics. The song consists primarily of ad-libbed vocals over a slow groove and clocking in at just over two minutes.
“For You Blue”
The final track on 1970’s “Let It Be”, “For You Blue” is a bluesy number written by Harrison as a valentine for his wife Pattie Boyd. The song features some excellent slide guitar work from Harrison and has been covered by numerous artists over the years.
George Harrison was a gifted songwriter, and he wrote some of the best songs recorded by The Beatles. These are just a few of the great songs written by George Harrison during his time with the Beatles. Though he may not have been as prolific as Lennon or McCartney, he still managed to write some of the band’s most memorable and beloved tunes.