In The Beatles' early career, George Harrison didn't think about writing songs. His bandmates Paul McCartney and John Lennon had that covered. However, eventually, George felt he could write hits that were just as good. He didn't get much encouragement from his bandmates, but once he started writing tunes, he couldn't stop. Whether George could get his songs on The Beatles' albums was a different story.
22. 'Don't Bother Me' – With The Beatles
After realizing he could write songs like John and Paul, George wrote "Don't Bother Me" as an experiment to see if he actually could. It was his first song, so it wasn't the best. George even said it wasn't, but at least he proved he could be just as good as his bandmates.
21. 'You Like Me Too Much' – Help!
"You Like Me Too Much" is one of George's most forgotten Beatles songs. The verses seem like one long run-on sentence and sound as if it's a mouthful to sing. It's melodyless until the brief chorus, which sounds much like the first verse of "I Don't Want To Spoil The Party."
20. 'I Need You' – Help!
"I Need You" is an unimaginative love song. In the mountain of Beatles love songs, it's indistinguishable and unoriginal. George wrote it for his then-girlfriend, Pattie Boyd. It has a catchy melody, but in terms of lyrics and subject, it's pretty simple.
19. 'Think For Yourself' – Rubber Soul
"Think For Yourself" was one of George's first songs with an interesting melody and lyrics. By the time The Beatles recorded Rubber Soul, the band had begun writing new kinds of tunes and experimenting. There are certainly new sounds on "Think For Yourself," but George hadn't fully come into his own as a songwriter yet.
18. 'Savoy Truffle' – The White Album
"Savoy Truffle" is a throwaway tune. George wrote it for his friend, Eric Clapton, who had a serious sweet tooth and had recently been told by his dentist to lay off the candy. "Savoy Truffle" uses a lot of interesting instruments, but its lyrics aren't groundbreaking. It's just a warning of what will happen to people who eat too many sweets.
17. 'It's All Too Much' – Yellow Submarine
The opening guitar sound at the beginning of "It's All Too Much" was certainly innovative and probably inspired the punks a decade later. The lyrics reflect George's experimentation with LSD and are some of his first where he gets a bit philosophical. LSD brought it out in him.
16. 'Love You To' – Revolver
By the time The Beatles started work on Revolver, George was heavily into Indian music and the sitar. This is one of his most powerful Indian-inspired songs, but it also has some of George's most spiritual lyrics. It was groundbreaking but not as popular as some of his other tunes.
15. 'Only A Northern Song' – Yellow Submarine
"Only A Northern Song" also tends to get lost in the mix. It appears on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack but isn't too memorable. The song was copyrighted by Northern Songs Ltd., which George nor any of The Beatles owned, hence the lyrics, "It doesn't really matter what chords I play...as it's only a Northern Song."
14. 'For You Blue' – Let It Be
"For You Blue" is George at his best. It's a grooving acoustic tune the reflects his own guitar style and some of his guitar idols like Carl Perkins. It's simple, just like George.
13. 'If I Needed Someone' – Rubber Soul
"If I Needed Someone" is one of George's best love songs. It's got a great melody and showcases his distinct guitar sound of that time (it was ever-evolving). One of the best things about the tune is when George and his fellow bandmates harmonize. They sound perfect together.
12. 'Blue Jay Way' – Magical Mystery Tour
"Blue Jay Way" is moody, gloomy, and eerie. The Hammond organ and subtle Indian influences make it one of George's most interesting-sounding tunes and one that perfectly combines Eastern and Western sounds. He wrote it in a house he rented in L.A. while he waited for friends, who got lost, to arrive. It was a foggy night, hence the lyrics, "There's a fog upon L.A./ And my friends have lost their way."
11. 'Old Brown Shoe' – Non-Album Single (B-side to 'The Ballad of John and Yoko')
"Old Brown Shoe" is unlike George's other Beatles songs. It was the first time he'd ever written a tune on the piano instead of the guitar. Just as strange, George played the hopping bass on the track. It's an obscure Beatles song, but some have called it one of George's best.
10. 'Long, Long, Long' – The White Album
"Long, Long, Long" might not seem that great, but it is one of George's best songs. It's a love song, really. George is talking to God. He's telling God he's sorry for losing touch with him and is glad they've found one another again. George had become deeply spiritual by 1968. God was a reoccurring character in his songs.
9. 'I Want To Tell You' – Revolver
"I Want To Tell You" marked a turning point in George's guitar playing and songwriting. There's a jarring chord, an E7th with an F on the top, played on the piano, that matches the song's disturbed lyrics. George was very proud of inventing it.
8. 'The Inner Light' – Non-album single (B-side to 'Lady Madonna')
"The Inner Light" is also a quintessential George song. It was a non-album single, the B-side to "Lady Madonna," so it often gets lost. However, the track is another great example of what happens when you combine Indian music with rock 'n' roll.
7. 'Piggies' – The White Album
"Piggies" is one of George's best Beatles songs and one of his most memorable simply because he wrote it as a social commentary. It's a satire of consumerism and classic distinction. However, that harpsichord is kinda freaky.
6. 'I Me Mine' – Let It Be
"I Me Mine" is another song George wrote as a social commentary. He wrote it after watching a high society European ball and couldn't stand how egotistical it looked. George had been reading many Hindu texts that spoke of denouncing ones ego for universal consciousness.
5. 'Within You Without You' – Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club
George's only Sgt. Pepper track didn't wow The Beatles' producer, George Martin, but it did amaze George's fans and fellow spiritualists. The lyrics aren't too deep spiritually, allowing everyone to understand their message. The song is a perfect blend of Eastern and Western music.
4. 'Taxman' – Revolver
George liked to comment on the things he didn't like in his songs, including paying taxes to a taxman who took too much. The melody is punching and brutal, just as the taxman can be.
3. 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' – The White Album
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is definitely one of George's most famous Beatles songs. George used Chinese philosophy to write The White Album track. He opened a book randomly and found the first words he saw on the page, "gently weeps." Another impressive thing about the song is that George put his ego aside to let Eric Clapton play the guitar solo.
2. 'Here Comes The Sun' – Abbey Road
George once played hooky from one of The Beatles' boring business meetings to go and see Clapton. Overjoyed with spring's arrival and getting the chance to enjoy the sun instead of being cooped up in the meeting, George wrote "Here Comes The Sun" in Clapton's garden. It's not just a famous George song; it's one of the most famous Beatles songs. It's one of his most covered too.
1. 'Something' – Abbey Road
"Something" is George's best Beatles song. Frank Sinatra once called it "the greatest love song of the past 50 years," and it received the Ivor Novello Award for the "Best Song Musically and Lyrically" of 1969. "Something" is also the second most covered Beatles song, after "Yesterday." The lyrics are perfect, and the melody is dreamy. It's unclear whether George is singing to God or his former wife, Pattie Boyd, though.
Stairway to 11 is dedicated to providing news, reviews, and original content covering classic rock, oldies, and old-school music of all genres. This site also serves as a community for like-minded fans to catch up on the latest news and discuss their passion. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.