‘Something’, a song written by George Harrison and included as part of The Beatles’ 1969 album Abbey Road, marked a historic moment for the band in becoming the first Harrison composition to be released as a Beatles A-side.
With Harrison taking lead vocals on the track, he would later admit that the song was written about the Hindu deity Krishna and, when speaking to Rolling Stone in 1976, explained: “All love is part of a universal love,” when discussing his writing style. Detailing further, it emerged that Harrison had written the song about his wife, Pattie Boyd, and he once said: When you love a woman, it’s the God in her that you see.”
Harrison’s love song is regarded by many as some of his finest work and, as the years have passed, countless major figures have attempted to put their own spin on it. The likes of Shirley Bassey, Joe Cocker, Peggy Lee, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John and Frank Sinatra have all added their versions of ‘Something’.
Ringo Starr says 1969's Abbey Road will be next in the Beatles' expanded box-set reissue series. Noting the album's looming 50th anniversary, Starr says he's particularly thrilled with sound improvements over the years.
"I've loved all the re-releases because of the remastering," Starr tells Billboard. "You can hear the drums, which got dialed down in the old days."
The Beatles have already remastered and expanded 1967's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and 1968's self-titled "White Album," adding acoustic versions and alternate takes to give fans a fuller picture of how these now-familiar songs evolved. Starr, who just kicked off his latest All-Starr Band dates, admits that he prefers to focus on the originally released material.
"I get a bit fed up, personally, with all those, like, Take 9 or Take 3, the odd takes that we didn't put out," he said, "but that's part of the box set and you have to do stuff like that. But I've always just listened to the record itself, what we put out in the '60s or 1970, and it's brighter."
On August 3, 1964, a month after A Hard Day's Night helped the world fall even more in love with the Beatles, the BBC offered their rabid fans a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Fab Four's debut movie with Follow the Beatles.
The Robert Robinson-narrated documentary, which you can see here, showed off even more of the Beatles' charming and witty personalities, and revealed some very interesting secrets and perspectives on the making of their debut film. Here's six things we learned while re-watching Follow the Beatles all these years later.
The Beatles were bullied and manhandled on their own film set
John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and Paul McCartney were constantly grabbed at and pushed around by fans, onlookers, and even the police who were involved in the film. A Hard Day’s Night writer Allen Owen discusses his astonishment with how the calm, relaxed Beatles “just went with it”, despite repeatedly being subject to actual physical pain.
When you hear about shouting matches during Beatles recording sessions, the usual suspects are John Lennon and Paul McCartney. It makes sense in a lot of ways. John and Paul wrote the bulk of the band’s material and often came into the studio juggling multiple ideas.
So when Paul dragged out the recording of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” across five days, you understand why John might snap at him. The same goes for Paul telling his bandmates to stuff it and walking out during the “She Said She Said” sessions. (George Harrison filled in on bass.)
However, you never hear much about John or Paul (or anyone else) clashing with the classical musicians producer George Martin hired to play on Beatles tracks. Though Paul made an odd request during the recording of the strings for “Yesterday,” those sessions went well enough.
Ringo Starr has kicked off plenty of tours with his All-Star Bands over the years. But Thursday night's (Aug. 1) start of the Beatles drummer's latest sojourn had some particularly special meaning.
It's been just over 30 years -- since July 23, 1989 -- that Starr launched his first All-Starr Band outing, a corps that included brother-in-law Joe Walsh, Dr. John, Billy Preston, Rick Danko and Levon Helm of The Band, and Clarence Clemons and Nils Lofgren of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. His similarly well-credentialed 15th lineup, meanwhile, showed the state of the All-Starrs is still solid, delivering a characteristically hit-filled, just over two-hour show before a packed and exuberant house at Caesars Windsor on the south shore of the Detroit River.
Back in 1971, George Harrison was behind one of the best gestures of goodwill that a rock star is ever likely to give, and with it, he set the tone for benefit gigs across the musical world. It was a huge moment for Harrison personally and globally the gig was in aid of Bangladesh’s victims of famine and war. The concert would feature an all-star line up of Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell, Billy Preston, Eric Clapton, Klaus Voorman, Badfinger, and, of course, Ravi Shankar.
Harrison enlisted the help of his friends to pave the way for large sacel charity concerts i the future but it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Harrison had originally intended to reunite with his former bandmates for the night and provide concert-goers with the first live performance from The Beatles in America since 1966, but it wasn’t to be.
Source: Jack Whatley/faroutmagazine.co.ukdetails
While The Beatles were together and releasing albums, there were occasions when band members wouldn’t play on a certain track. One famous example came on Paul McCartney’s masterpiece “Yesterday.” For that song, the arrangement didn’t need any other Beatles.
In later years, you would usually find band members missing on tracks due to some issue or other. On “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” Paul played drums because Ringo had walked out on the group during the White Album sessions.
The following year, while recording of Abbey Road, John Lennon didn’t participate on “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” because he hated Paul’s song. (John had also declined to play on George Harrison’s “I Me Mine.”)
But there was one common denominator on every example: Paul was fully invested in the recordings. Looking back, Paul remembered skipping a session only once. It happened late in the recording of Revolver.
Petula Clark, one of the top British singers of all time, remembers being heckled at a Montreal performance, and then consoled by a pyjama-clad John Lennon.
Clark, now 86, began her performing career as a young child, singing for radio broadcasts and appearing in films and television programs — occasionally performing in French. In 1964, her hit single “Downtown” propelled her to superstardom.
In an interview with The Guardian, Clark remembered the night she played in Montreal in 1969. The city was experiencing a tumultuous year — the Quebec Liberation Front was responsible for multiple bombings as separatist tensions between anglophones and francophones reached their peak.
Clark told the Montreal Gazette in 2017 that she had been going to Montreal for years to sing in French. So when her English hits began to rise on the charts, she thought it would be a great chance to do a bilingual show.
She was booked for multiple nights from May to June 1969 at Place des Arts. According to the Gazette, when she would begin to sing a song in French, the anglophones in the audience would begin to heckle her. When she switched to a song in English, the francophones would follow suit.details
On the double record commonly known as The White Album (1968), The Beatles left it all on the table. Paul McCartney had “Ob-La-Di,Ob-La-Da” and several other examples of what John Lennon called “granny music.” Both Paul (“Blackbird”) and John (“Julia) had quiet, pretty ballads.
Meanwhile, fans also got their share of rocking tracks. Between “Yer Blues,” “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” and George Harrison’s “Savoy Truffle,” The Beatles didn’t forget to turn the amps up to 11 on the record — even without the heavy version of John’s “Revolution.”
But no song matched the sheer volume and chaos of Paul’s “Helter Skelter.” From the searing opening guitar riff to the grinding bass and shouted vocals, the song is 4:30 of hard-rock madness.
Though the song got twisted in the mind of Charles Manson following the release of The White Album, the reason Paul wrote the song was quite simple and innocent. And its subject matter couldn’t have been further from Manson’s ugly interpretation.
When you look back at the career of George Harrison, you might call 1966’s Revolver his breakout moment. The revolutionary Beatles album featured three songs by George, who tried his hand at experimental guitar solos and otherwise fully committed to the recording sessions.
Though he reached something of a low point with Sgt. Pepper’s the following year, George’s leap forward in songwriting on Revolver paved the way for “Something” and other classics that were to come.
Yet it didn’t come easy on Revolver. As George worked to increase his standing in The Beatles, he met resistance from John Lennon and borderline dismissal from Paul McCartney. George Martin, the band’s esteemed producer, harbored his own doubts about George at the time.
Things came to a head during the sessions for “Taxman,” the hard-rocking track that opens the album. Though George wrote the song and was the band’s lead guitarist, Paul played the famous guitar solo on it.