The Origins of the First George Harrison Song on a Beatles Album

Though he was frequently left out of the songwriting dyad of Paul McCartney and John Lennon, George Harrison wrote many Beatles songs on his own. Harrison created hundreds of songs during his time with The Beatles, but only a few made the cut on several of the band’s albums. Beatles Songs by George Harrison Harrison wrote the Help! tracks “I Need You” and “You Like Me Too Much” and was limited to performing covers in between before his Rubber Soul contributions “Think For Yourself” and “If I Needed Someone.” Later, Harrison’s sweeping “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” with his pal Eric Clapton, and the song “Piggies” were included on The White Album. Harrison’s most famous Abbey Road efforts, “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun,” were followed by “I’ll Be Me” and “For You Blue” on his third and last opus, Let It Be, in 1970. Though he was technically credited as a co-writer on the Beatles’ 1958 song “In Spite Of All The Danger,” written with McCartney, and “Cry For A Shadow,” written with Lennon in 1961, his first credited song to appear on one of the band’s albums was “Don’t Bother Me,” off their second release in 1963, With the Beatles (released in the United States as Meet the Beatles!).

“Ill” Conceived Harrison composed the mid-tempo rocker in August 1963 while sick in bed at the Palace Court Hotel in Bournemouth, England. The Beatles were performing at the Gaumont Cinema in the southern seaside town with Tommy Quickly and Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas between August 19 and 24. He’s lying in bed with a doctor’s tonic, writing a song about a lost love, how he may never see her again, and how he’s not in the mood for visitors.
Since she’s been gone I want no one to talk to me
It’s not the same, but I’m to blame, it’s plain to see
So go away and leave me alone
Don’t bother me
I can’t believe that she would leave me on my own
It’s just not right when every night I’m all alone
I’ve got no time for you right now
Don’t bother me
I know I’ll never be the same
If I don’t get her back again
Because I know she’ll always be
The only girl for me
“Fairly Crappy Song”
Though “Don’t Bother Me” debuted on With the Beatles and in the Beatles 1964 film A Hard Day’s Night, it was never Harrison’s favorite song and was more of a self-test in composing. “I was a bit run down and was supposed to be having some sort of tonic, taking it easy for a few days,” Harrison explained. “I decided to try writing a song just for fun.” I took out my guitar and just started playing about till a tune came to me. I forgot about it till the time came to record the next LP. It was a very bad song. “Once it was on the album, I completely forgot about it.” “Don’t Bother Me” was characterized by Harrison as “an exercise to see if I could write a song.” “I was sick in bed, so maybe that’s why it turned out to be ‘Don’t Bother Me,'” Harrison recalled. “I don’t think it’s a very good song.” It might not even be a song, but it showed me that all I needed to do was keep writing, and maybe one day I’d compose something wonderful.”

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