This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #51: Something by The Beatles.
The evolution of The Beatles has been well documented; with their progression from writing/singing simple Pop gems, to the far more creative, inventive and involved music that marked their production toward the end of their career as a band. One of the key reasons for The Beatles transformation rests with the similar musical maturation of George Harrison. In the early days of the band, Harrison seemed content to be the silent accompanist, with Paul McCartney and John Lennon taking the lead in all aspects of how the band performed. But, over time, his skills grew and his self-confidence grew along with it. Eventually, he sought out a more prominent role for himself. At first, his efforts to raise his profile within the band were met by derision from Paul, especially. This caused George to temporarily leave the band during the production period for the albums “Let It Be” and “Abbey Road” *(Which was captured well in the recent Beatles documentary, “Get back”). In any case, George Harrison was ready for a larger role within the band and, with songs like “My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something”, it became obvious that he had reached a songwriting level on a par with Lennon and McCartney.
That The Beatles broke up soon after Harrison stepped up is disappointing because their future as a band seemed to hold the potential for even greater things. But, what it showed more was that each of the band members were growing upward and onward and away from each other. That George Harrison wrote such wonderful music right at the end positioned him well for his post-Beatles life. In the meantime, “Something” proved to be their last great song. John Lennon, himself, states that “Something” was the best song on their final album, “Abbey Road”.
The song, itself, is a love song. But, more than that, it is a song about the idea of Love and the totality of one’s emotional commitment that is required and the enormity of the Joy your heart feels in reply. It is a song that was originally written for Harrison’s then-wife, Patti Boyd. But, again, it was more than simply the words of a man in full swoon. At the time that “Something” was written, George Harrison was, also, fully investing himself in the spiritual journey he was undertaking in India. He viewed the teaching of Buddhism as meshing perfectly with his evolving worldview and, as such, his was very much at peace with his inner self. From his perspective, Harrison saw beauty all round him. Patti Boyd was very much a part of that peaceful, calming, contented vision. So, he wrote “Something” about her and how it was possible to feel a form of love that was so complete as to be perfect.
The opening lines of the song were inspired by the song, “Something In The Way She Moves” by James Taylor, who recorded that song as one of the first artists signed to Apple Music, when The Beatles set up their own company after touring the U.S. This song was the first Beatles single to be released as an A-side song that was written by someone other than Lennon and McCartney. It was, also, the first single released by The Beatles that was released after the album had come out. Because fans could buy “Abbey Road” before they could buy the “Something” single, sales numbers for the song were not as solid as, perhaps, the song’s quality warranted. Therefore, it did not chart as well as might have been expected. That does nothing to diminish the affection for the song that by fans. Many, including famous fans such as Elton John, say that “Something” is the greatest love song ever written. Many critics state that it turned out to be George Harrison’s greatest work.
Whatever the case, “Something” is a beautiful song about a beautiful subject…..Love. As I always say, if you are fortunate enough to have found someone to love, who loves you back with equal vigour then, you have won LIfe’s lottery. So, without further delay, let’s see what all the fuss was about. Here are The Beatles, with “Something”. Enjoy.
The link to the video for the song, “Something” by The Beatles, can be found here.
The link to the official website for The Beatles, can be found here.
The link to the official exist for George Harrison, can be found here.
Thanks, as always, to KEXP, for playing the most beautiful songs of all-time. The link to their wonderful website can be found here.