George Harrison, often referred to as the “Quiet Beatle,” made immense contributions to the legendary band, The Beatles, as a singer, songwriter, and lead guitarist. As part of the group, Harrison sang and composed various memorable songs that showcased his immense talent and unique perspectives.
Although John Lennon and Paul McCartney dominated the songwriting scene within the band, Harrison’s distinct voice and contributions cannot be understated.
Throughout the Beatles’ career, Harrison’s musical influences evolved, further enriching the band’s overall musical tapestry. From the early days of simpler rock ‘n’ roll tunes to the later period of exploration and introspection, George Harrison managed to carve out a niche for himself within the band’s iconic sound.
His work with the Beatles laid the foundation for an illustrious solo career that followed the band’s dissolution, as he continued writing and performing music that would touch the hearts of millions.
Key Takeaways on What Beatles Songs Did George Harrison Sing?
- George Harrison sang lead vocals on several Beatles classics and contributed to the band’s diverse musical influence.
- Eastern influences played a pivotal role in shaping Harrison’s songwriting and his work with the Beatles.
- Post-Beatles, Harrison’s solo career and collaborations continued to leave an indelible mark on the music industry.
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Early Beatles Songs Sung By George Harrison
George Harrison, the lead guitarist of the Beatles, contributed his vocal talents to several songs during the early years of the band. Although his contributions were often overshadowed by the prolific songwriting duo of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Harrison’s contributions played a vital role in shaping the Beatles’ sound.
One notable early song sung by Harrison is “Taxman”, which appeared on the 1966 album “Revolver”. This song showcased Harrison’s growing talents as a songwriter and featured a strong political message, criticizing the high taxes faced by the band during that time.
Another song that highlighted Harrison’s vocals was “If I Needed Someone”, which was also included on the “Rubber Soul” album in 1965. This track, inspired by the Byrds, demonstrated Harrison’s increasing confidence in his ability to craft unique and memorable songs.
Harrison wrote and sang “Don’t Bother Me”, his first composition on a Beatles album, which was included on their 1963 release, “With The Beatles”. This song signaled the beginning of George’s songwriting contributions to the band’s discography.
In 1965, Harrison contributed two more songs to the “Help!” album – “I Need You” and “You Like Me Too Much”. Both tracks highlight George’s evolving songwriting skills and signature guitar style, making them standout tracks on the album.
Overall, these early Beatles songs sung by George Harrison showcased his growth as a songwriter and musician, as well as his ability to contribute memorable tracks to the legendary band’s catalogue.
While his early contributions were limited in number compared to Lennon and McCartney’s outputs, they were nonetheless significant in shaping the Beatles’ sound and legacy.
George Harrison and Eastern Influence
Sitars and Songs
George Harrison, the lead guitarist of the Beatles, became fascinated with Indian music and culture during the band’s career, significantly influencing their music. One of the most prominent Indian instruments that Harrison introduced to the band’s sound was the sitar.
Harrison first played the sitar on John Lennon’s song ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)’, which appeared on the album Rubber Soul. This marked the beginning of the incorporation of Indian instruments in their music.
Other songs influenced by Indian music and instruments include ‘Love You To’, ‘Within You Without You’, and ‘The Inner Light’. ‘Within You Without You’, which can be found on the critically acclaimed album Sgt.
Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, showcases Harrison’s increasing proficiency in sitar and his deepening interest in Indian classical music. Additionally, ‘The Inner Light’ features a strong sitar presence and is heavily influenced by Indian culture.
India and Spiritual Influence
George Harrison’s interest in Indian music did not just end with incorporating sitars into the Beatles’ songs; he also embraced the spiritual aspect of Indian culture. Harrison’s fascination with India led him to study under the renowned sitar player Ravi Shankar, who greatly influenced his musical style and spiritual beliefs3.
Harrison’s exploration of Indian classical music also included the use of tabla, a traditional Indian percussion instrument. This can be heard in songs such as ‘Within You Without You’ and ‘The Inner Light’, where the tabla provides a distinct rhythmic foundation.
As a result of his experiences in India and his study of Indian classical music, Harrison’s songwriting was deeply impacted, reflecting his growing interest in spirituality and Eastern philosophy. This unique blend of cultural influences shaped not only George Harrison’s contributions to the Beatles but also left a lasting impact on Western music.
Prolific Period and Signature Songs
George Harrison’s contributions to The Beatles significantly increased during their later years. His development as a songwriter became evident with the release of the iconic albums, the White Album and Abbey Road. Several of Harrison’s songs are now considered classics and signature tunes of the band.
One of Harrison’s most revered songs is “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, which appeared on the White Album in 1968. Showcasing both his songwriting and guitar-playing abilities, it remains a symbol of his growth as a musician within the band.
In 1969, Harrison wrote “Something” for the Abbey Road album. This heartfelt ballad demonstrated his maturity as a songwriter and became one of The Beatles’ most enduring love songs. As a testament to its impact, “Something” was covered by numerous artists, including Frank Sinatra, who praised it as one of the best songs ever written.
Another notable song from the Abbey Road album is “Here Comes the Sun“, which has become an anthem of optimism for generations of listeners. Reflecting Harrison’s fascination with Indian mysticism, the song’s uplifting lyrics and melodic arrangement captivated audiences worldwide.
After The Beatles disbanded, Harrison continued to produce memorable music. His 1970 solo album, “All Things Must Pass,” featured hit songs like “My Sweet Lord” and “What is Life”, both of which showcased his spiritual side and strong songwriting skills.
One of Harrison’s later notable songs is “All Those Years Ago”, released in 1981 as a tribute to his late bandmate, John Lennon. With its introspective lyrics and heartfelt message, the song stands as a touching homage to their time together in The Beatles.
Throughout his tenure in The Beatles and during his solo career, George Harrison developed a rich repertoire of songs, solidifying his status as a talented and influential musician in his own right. His signature tunes continue to resonate with fans across generations, showcasing his enduring impact on the music world.
Collaborations and Contributions
George Harrison’s role in The Beatles encompassed not only his songwriting talents but also his collaborations with other members and musicians. One of Harrison’s key partnerships was with fellow bandmate Eric Clapton.
In what has become a rock legend, Clapton played the lead guitar on Harrison’s Beatles track, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. This collaboration highlighted the mutual respect and admiration between the two musicians.
Another significant aspect of Harrison’s contributions to The Beatles were his collaborations with Paul McCartney and John Lennon.
Even though Harrison’s musical style was distinctly different from theirs, the trio managed to combine their individual strengths to create an unforgettable sound. The three worked together on classic Beatles tracks such as “Taxman” and “Here Comes the Sun”.
Ringo Starr, the famous Beatles drummer, also contributed to Harrison’s works. The two regularly collaborated throughout Harrison’s solo career, as seen in the list of songs recorded by George Harrison, which features Ringo Starr’s musical contributions. This close relationship between band members enabled the creation of numerous iconic songs.
In addition to the collaborations within The Beatles, George Harrison was also influenced by external musicians, such as The Byrds. Harrison’s fascination with their work can be observed in songs like “If I Needed Someone”, which demonstrates a clear inspiration from Roger McGuinn’s guitar riffs and style.
In conclusion, George Harrison’s collaborations and contributions to The Beatles highlight his ability to both complement and enhance the works of his fellow band members, as well as being receptive to the influence of external artists.
From working closely with Eric Clapton to incorporating inspirations from The Byrds, Harrison’s collaborations played a significant role in shaping the iconic Beatles sound.
George Harrison’s Solo Career
George Harrison’s solo career began with the release of his first album, All Things Must Pass, in 1970. This triple album showcased Harrison’s songwriting and marked a departure from his work with The Beatles.
His next album, Living in the Material World, followed in 1973 and continued to feature thought-provoking songs alongside memorable melodies. Other notable solo albums include Dark Horse and Brainwashed.
In addition to his work as a solo artist, Harrison was also a member of the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, which included Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne. They released two albums, bringing together their unique sounds and talents.
Hits and Classics
Over the course of his solo career, George Harrison released several hits and classic songs that showcased his growth as an artist. One such song is Bangla Desh, a charity single written in response to the humanitarian crisis in East Pakistan.
This song led to the organization of the historic Concert for Bangladesh in 1971, which raised much-needed funds and awareness for the crisis.
Other classics from Harrison’s solo work include “Dark Horse,” “Blow Away,” and the touching instrumental “Marwa Blues”. These songs, among others, demonstrated Harrison’s versatility and the depth of his songwriting beyond his Beatles contributions.
Legacy and Impact
George Harrison’s contributions to the Beatles encompassed not only his exceptional guitar skills but also his unique songwriting ability. As the “Quiet Beatle,” Harrison often took a back seat to the spotlight of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, yet his impact on the band’s classic rock sound cannot be understated.
Harrison’s guitar work and songwriting played a pivotal role in shaping the band’s identity throughout their career. Many of his compositions, such as [“Something,” “Here Comes the Sun,” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”]remains some of the most beloved in the Beatles’ catalog.
Despite being overshadowed at times by Lennon and McCartney, Harrison still managed to write over twenty songs for the Beatles, leaving an influential imprint on their sound and further solidifying their iconic status in the annals of music history.
As a prominent figure in classic rock, Harrison’s guitar playing influenced countless musicians, showcasing a unique style often characterized by intricate fingerpicking patterns and innovative slide guitar techniques. His creative use of the 12-string guitar, sitar, and other instruments further broadened the Beatles’ sonic palette, as heard on classic albums such as Rubber Soul and Revolver.
Following the Beatles’ breakup, Harrison went on to have a successful solo career, producing critically acclaimed albums such as All Things Must Pass and Cloud Nine.
His continued pursuit of spiritual and philosophical themes in his songwriting, along with his commitment to humanitarian causes, highlights his lasting impact on the music world beyond his time with the Beatles.
George Harrison’s legacy as a guitarist, songwriter, and member of the Beatles has had a profound and lasting impact on classic rock and the larger music landscape.
His contributions to the band’s sound, the development of innovative guitar techniques, and his introspective songwriting set the standard for what many consider the golden age of rock and roll.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Beatles songs feature George Harrison as the lead vocalist?
George Harrison sang lead vocals on several Beatles songs, starting with “Chains” from their debut album, Please Please Me (1963). Some of the other notable songs featuring Harrison as the lead vocalist include “Don’t Bother Me,” “I Want To Tell You,” “Taxman,” and “Here Comes the Sun.”
What are the top George Harrison compositions in Beatles albums?
Harrison contributed many memorable songs to The Beatles’ discography. Some of his most well-known compositions for the band are “Something”, “Here Comes the Sun,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and “Taxman.”
His songwriting skills evolved over time and began to rival those of his bandmates, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
How many of George Harrison’s Beatles songs were chart-toppers?
At least one of George Harrison’s compositions, “Something”, reached the top of the US charts while he was a member of The Beatles. It was the first Beatles song written by Harrison to be classified as an A-side, allowing him to occupy the top spot on the charts.
Can you list George Harrison’s Beatles songs with unusual or exotic instruments?
Harrison was known for his interest in Eastern music and instruments, which were used in some Beatles songs. For example, he played the sitar on “Norwegian Wood” and “Within You Without You.” He also used the Moog synthesizer in “Abbey Road” and the Indian tabla drums in “Love You To.”
What were the last Beatles songs George Harrison sang on?
One of the last Beatles songs featuring George Harrison on vocals and guitar was “I Me Mine,” which was recorded during the Let It Be sessions in 1970. Another late-period Beatles song with Harrison is “Here Comes the Sun” from the Abbey Road album, released in 1969.
Which of George Harrison’s solo songs began as Beatles collaborations?
Some of George Harrison’s solo material had its roots in his work with The Beatles.
For example, the song “All Things Must Pass” was initially presented during the recording sessions for the White Album but was later released as the title track of his solo album in 1970. Similarly, “Isn’t It a Pity” was first proposed during the Let It Be sessions but found its place on Harrison’s solo album, All Things Must Pass.
My name is Howard Matthews and I have been playing the guitar since I was knee-high. My parents like to joke that I was pulling the strings even before I was born. In fact, one of my earliest memories is sitting on the couch with my dad’s guitar, wreaking havoc on the chords.
Now, 40 years later, I can attest that I play them much better than I did back then. I have followed in the footsteps of both my parents – much to their delight – and have been the main guitarist in my band for the best part of three decades.
Music has always been my passion, and until recently my life has been so consumed with it that I haven’t had a moment to have a breath (and I wouldn’t have it any other way)!