George Harrison’s 10 Best Songs

Argue all you want, but there’s absolutely no denying that George Harrison is the coolest of The Beatles. John and Paul fought it out for best songwriter while George slid into effortless cool, taking it easy and releasing records as and when he pleased.

How cool was George? He faced everything with a shrug. The Quiet Beatle wrote in his diary in ’69: “Got up went to Twickenham rehearsed until lunchtime — left the Beatles — went home, and in the evening did King of Fuh at Trident studio, had chips later.

And so, with Martin Scorsese’s documentary ‘George Harrison: Living in the Material World’ getting everyone talking about George, let us look at his best music… okay?

Of all the Beatles, George was almost certainly the most identifiable as a proper individual. At times, he almost seemed to be separate from the rest of the Fabs, with John and Paul vying for leadership and Ringo looking like he’d be lost without them (although his leaving the group at one point suggests otherwise).

Thanks to this icy cool, George went from being nerdy, guitar-geek to someone who was a bona-fide counter-culture pin-up who didn’t even need to try to be the Beatle with the best swagger.

It is because of this laid-back approach that his music in the Fab Four (and beyond) is so often overlooked. So while he’s briefly in the spotlight again, let us peer at his backcat and check out his best work.

Feel free to disagree and get outraged at omissions in the comments.

WAH WAH

HERE COMES THE SUN

WHILE MY GUITAR GENTLY WEEPS (Acoustic version)

TAXMAN

MY SWEET LORD

ISN’T IT A PITY

IF I NEEDED SOMEONE

SOMETHING

NOT GUILTY

FAR EAST MAN

BEWARE OF DARKNESS

BONUS TRACK: THE PIRATE SONG

the beatles, george harrison, living in the material world, martin scorsese, top 10, music, rock, video, listen, the beatles, fab four, the quiet one, best music, coolest beatle,

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Comments

  1. grumpy old ratbag says

    Oh dear, when were you born? So funny how fashions change. Back in the 1960s, John was always the coolest, Paul the prettiest, George the staid one, and Ringo was – er- Ringo. Now Paul is just a sad old git, George and John are worshipped with undue enthusiasm, and Ringo is – er – still Ringo.
    It’s all about being trendy and cool. But he who thinks he is cool, or tries to be cool, is immediately rendered uncool. So you are probably right about George as he was the only one not striving for attention and coolness.

  2. Drew says

    Paul is not a “sad old git.” He is still “worshipped with undue enthusiasm” by the thousands and thousands of people who sold out his concerts this year. So fuck that noise. Here’s what Paul is: A goofy old git — the biggest dork in the music business. And it’s too damn bad that fanboys uptight about superficial meaningless definitions of “cool” can’t appreciate Paul for the awkward freak/genius he is.

    As to George’s songs, I agree: Leaving off All Things Must Pass is dumb. I’d have left off Not Guilty — as whiny and self-absorbed of a song as any John Lennon ever wrote. And the lyric especially sucks:

    I won’t upset the apple cart
    I only want what I can get
    I’m really sorry that you’ve been misled . . .
    But like you heard me said . . .
    Not guilty.

    “But like you heard me said”??? Seriously. Plus, I don’t like that George was obsessed with money and complained constantly about having to pay taxes — something the “cool” kids rant at Bono about relentlessly these days.

  3. Karen says

    “My Sweet Lord?” Really? A song he “unconsciously” stole from the earlier “He’s So Fine?”

  4. grumpy old ratbag says

    hahaha I agree with pretty much every thing you say – I meant ‘sad’ meaning rather pathetic in the way the yoof refer to it – but I’m probably out of date there. Forgive me, I’m just an old bat. But it tends to be insecure people who try too hard to please. He’s probably still grieving for Linda anyway. So maybe he is a bit sad in the correct sense of the word as well.

    Whatever, yes, Paul was and is nothing if not a brilliant musician and multi instrumentalist. He’s written some of the best ever songs and his bass playing is imaginative, clever and understated (and also unfortunately underrated by many) and he is still deservedly popular. I did say it was John & George who, like many dead people, got the ‘undue enthusiasm’. As Douglas Adams said, death is a great career move.

    I just cringe and feel embarrassed for him when he (Paul) lumbers about (he moves like the old man he is) trying to get down with the kids and pretend he’s still young. Or when he tries to write classical or ballet music, oh dear god, it’s as bad as Sting trying to sing Dowland.

    What I’d love to say to him is: Stick to what you do brilliantly, Paul, stop dyeing your hair that weird shade and grow old gracefully (or disgracefully, doesn’t matter), just don’t try and be what you aren’t. You don’t need to. There is no shame in being your age, esp. with your talent.

    Oh wait – this is supposed to be about George. Oh well wtf..

    Never knew that about him and taxes. Hmmmmm…. Not good.

    Anyway Drew, thank you for bearing with me. The nice young men in clean white coats are waiting to take me back to my padded cell so I must go now.

    As Ringo (and Spike Milligan) would say “Love, light and peace”

    … and best wishes to you.

  5. Drew says

    I like weird dorky Paul. His hair bugs me, too, but part of me also likes the fact that he refuses to buckle to the almost constant public pressure he gets to stop dyeing it. He does exactly what the hell he pleases. And he must not give a shit what we all think or else he’d go gray, wouldn’t he?

    In a weird way, his attitude is more rock and roll than any of the old legends because they’re all caught up in behaving a certain way and not doing anything that would affect their “credibility.” Dylan, Neil Young, Springsteen, etc., rarely surprise.

    Paul keeps you guessing. You never know whether what he’s going to do is going to be great (like his 2008 Electric Arguments album and his Meat-Free Monday campaign) or phenomenally stupid (like X Factor and the ballet). Paul does whatever the hell Paul wants to do. He doesn’t let what anyone else thinks stop him, which means he’s often his own worst enemy. But so what? I find his mix of total nerdy awkwardness and arrogance as amusing as hell.