Top 5 George Harrison Songs
George Harrison, MBE, was a British singer, songwriter, and musician. Known both for his membership in The Beatles and as a solo artist, Harrison changed music forever. He was born February 25, 1943, and would have been 72 today. On his birthday, we remember him.
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The Beatles were such a famous, iconic group that you’d have to live in the most isolated places on Earth not to have heard of them. After they broke up, two of The Beatles, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, made bigger names for themselves and garnered a lot of attention. However, George Harrison, an extremely quiet but gifted man, as well as a talented songwriter and musician, never quite got the credit he deserved. He was the one to teach Lennon how to play the guitar, after all. The songs written by George Harrison included “Here Comes the Sun,” which was one of the most celebrated songs of The Beatles.
After leaving The Beatles, George Harrison was actually the first “solo” Beatle to top the charts with a single. He was the one who introduced the sitar into The Beatles’ music and had a kind of introspective vibe to his songwriting. Although he earned millions, he lost a lawsuit on a copyright issue that tainted his career. It should have never overshadowed the amazing talent of the musician. In 2001, Harrison lost his battle to cancer at the age of fifty-eight. Many of the songs written by George Harrison had a “meaning of life” theme.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
George Harrison wrote this song while studying I Ching, the eastern book of philosophy that provides “divination” methods to provide guidance and to comprehend the logic behind random numbers. The Beatles musician says he decided to open a random book, look at a few words, and write a song based on them. He saw the words “gently weeps,” thus the song was born. Even the melody provides a kind of haunting melancholy that makes the listener search for deeper meaning into lyrics like “I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping, while my guitar gently weeps.”
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Set On You
This song pops with an upbeat tempo that you just can’t help tapping your feet or moving your body to. This wasn’t a song written by George Harrison; it was written in 1962 by musician Rudy Clark, and recorded by James Ray. A rather whimsical song, the premise is about a guy who wants a girl, however, he knows its “gonna take a whole lot of spending money” to get her to be his one and only. George Harrison’s version became a number one hit the week before The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
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My Sweet Lord
The greatest selling single in Great Britain in 1971, this song written by George Harrison used influences of religion, including Hinduism, Christianity, and Judaism, to create a song about the search for God. Although the lyrics are relatively simple – Harrison’s yearning to know his Lord – he mixes in background lyrics of “Hallelujah” with “Hare Rama,” “Hare Krishna,” and “Krishna, Krishna.” Harrison said that the melody was influenced by “Oh Happy Day,” a Christian hymn, but he was taken to court by the musician of the song “He’s So Fine” with a copyright infringement case. Surprisingly, George Harrison lost the suit and was found guilty of “subconscious plagiarism.” The former Beatles guitarist then bought the publishing company that owned “He’s So Fine,” in order to compensate for the situation.
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Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)
Further demonstrating his introspective side in this song, Harrison speaks to a greater power, shown through love and peace. Performed at all of his solo concerts, this song written by George Harrison was described as “a personal statement between himself, the Lord and whoever liked it.” The line “keep me free from birth” talks of the concept of being reborn again. The song also showcased what is known as a “slide guitar” and is generally believed to be one of the most popular songs for the musician’s entire audience.
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Originally recorded by The Beatles, this song written by George Harrison was recorded by many musicians including Joe Cocker, James Brown, and Frank Sinatra. The original version was supposedly about Harrison’s love of Hinduism, as well as the love he felt for “her,” although George Harrison’s ex-wife stated she believed it was written for her. In the lyrics, Harrison talks about someone he is so strongly attracted to that he wants to be with no one else. Yet, he also expresses his worries of not knowing if his love will ever grow. His range of feelings is something we’ve all felt when falling in love, something we can easily relate to. Various musicians have recorded over 150 versions, which is second only to The Beatles’ song “Yesterday.”
George Harrison was clearly seeking a deeper meaning to life. As lead guitarist for The Beatles, and in his solo career, the songs written by George Harrison were poignant, thoughtful, and aware. He showed himself to be a man of depth and dignity. However, he sadly didn’t get to stay around long enough to truly be given his due as an incredible songwriter and musician.
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What’s your favorite song by George Harrison? What do you remember most about him as a musician and a songwriter? Leave a comment below or tell us @EFootprint.
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