The 10 best Beatles songs written by George Harrison

George Harrison at Apple HQ in 1969
George Harrison at The Beatles' Apple HQ in 1969 (Image credit: Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

George Harrison may have been labelled the ‘quiet one’, but when he spoke he deserved to be listened to. He might not have been as prolific as the Lennon/McCartney partnership, but there's no doubt his songs played an increasingly important part of The Beatles’ legacy. 

Here are ten of his best songs.

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10. If I Needed Someone (1966)

The jingle jangle ring of Rickenbacker guitar that lights up this Rubber Soul album track was said to be influenced by The Byrds’ The Bells Of Rhymney. Some trademark Beatles harmonies made this song an easy target for fellow hitmakers The Hollies to cover – however at the time, their version was lambasted by Harrison and barely scraped into the top twenty.


9. It’s All Too Much (1967)

Tune in and turn on for a classic slice of LSD influenced psych. Recorded in June 1967, this chugging singalong was eventually used on Yellow Submarine over a year later. By then, the Beatles had gone back to simpler sounds. This Harrison freak out is therefore a memorable ode to the summer of love. In 1976, Steve Hillage covered the song on his L album.


8. Long, Long, Long (1968)

A dreamy lament which can be found languishing on side three of the Beatles White Album. Be sure to seek it out, as this is one of Harrison’s most affecting lyrical themes. Note the added effect at the close of the song – the sound of a wine bottle reverberating on top of an amp.


7. Blue Jay Way (1967)

Harrison’s contribution to their Magical Mystery Tour TV film was a suitably phased psychedelic journey. It tells the tale of ‘a fog upon LA’ as Harrison, on a visit to Los Angeles in August 1967, awaited the arrival of Beatles publicist Derek Taylor. Blue Jay Way was the name of the street in Hollywood Hills where he was staying.


6. I Me Mine (1970)

This pleasing waltz time rocker was one of the very last Beatles song to be worked on. Harrison, McCarney and Starr gathered at Abbey Road early in January 1970 to complete the song for the Let It Be movie. Significantly, John was away peace campaigning at the time. Lyrically, it hinted at the egos at play within the group that would eventually signal their demise.


5. Within You Without You (1967)

Once more, into the mystic. This Indian-influenced, sitar-led swirl demonstrated Harrison’s growing love for an alternative culture. While other fellow travellers such as Donavon flirted with the sitar, it was Harrison who placed it most successfully in the pop/rock idiom. This Sgt Pepper track is a prime example.


4. Taxman (1966)

Surprisingly, it was Paul McCartney who supplied the strident guitar solo of this vibrant opener to the Revolver album. Harrison meanwhile, offered a wry observation of the British tax system – ‘’and you’re working for nobody but me’’. Listen carefully for namechecks for those political buffoons of the day messrs’ Wilson and Heath.


3. Here Comes The Sun (1969)

Written in Eric Clapton’s garden when Harrison sagged off from attending meetings at their Apple HQ, his increasing frustration of life as a fab one flowered into a truly uplifting composition. He added some subtle Moog synth effects to a song that is always guaranteed to brighten up the bleakest of days.


2. Something (1969)

Built around the phrase ‘’Something in the way she moves’’ (borrowed from a song by Apple Records artist James Taylor), Harrison’s own maturing songwriting talent created one of the Beatles’ most-covered songs, with Frank Sinatra proclaiming it to be ‘’the greatest love song of the last 50 years’’. In late 1969 it was extracted from the Abbey Road album to become a worldwide hit.


1. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (1968)

This White Album epic started life as a gentle acoustic piece. In rocking it up, he called upon the services of the then Cream member Eric Clapton. His guitar is a truly thrilling coda and has ensured that this song remains at the forefront of his considerable Beatle achievements.


What Beatles song was famous?

The most popular song The Beatles ever recorded was Yesterday. It first appeared on the their 1965 album Help! and was written by Paul McCartney. According to the Guinness Book Of World Records, it's the most covered song of all time, with over 3000 artists tackling the classic over the last five decades or so. The song came to McCartney in a dream and had the working title 'Scrambled Eggs'. It's the fourth most-streamed Beatles song on Spotify with over 472 million plays. But it's George Harrison's Here Comes The Sun (from 1969's Abbey Road) which is their most popular song on the streaming platform. As of January 2023, the song has been played 938 million times.

How many Top 40 hits did The Beatles have? 

According to the UK's Official Charts, The Beatles had 38 Top 40 hits. Out of those releases 28 went Top 10. They had 17 Number 1 singles in total. In the US, the band enjoyed 34 Top 10 singles. In summary: very, very popular.

What is Paul McCartney's favorite song of all time? 

In a 2007 interview, Paul revealed that The Beach Boys' God Only Knows is his favourite song.

 “[It's] one of the few songs that reduces me to tears every time I hear it," he said of the song, which appeared on the band's 1966 album Pet Sounds. "It’s really just a love song, but it’s brilliantly done. It shows the genius of Brian [Wilson]. I’ve actually performed it with him and I’m afraid to say that during the sound check I broke down. It was just too much to stand there singing this song that does my head in and to stand there singing it with Brian."

What is The Beatles' biggest selling single? 

According to the band's official website, I Want To Hold Your Hand – written by Lennon and McCartney and released in November 1963 – is the band's biggest-selling single. The song was predicted to go straight to Number 1 in the UK singles chart, but it was held off from the top spot by their other single, She Loves You. It eventually topped the charts for five weeks and later became the band's first US Number 1 single, and was knocked off the top by She Loves You.

How many #1 Beatles songs are there?

In the US, the band score 20 Number 1 singles over eight years:

Love Me Do
She Loves You
I Want to Hold Your Hand
Can't Buy Me Love
A Hard Day's Night
I Feel Fine
Eight Days a Week
Ticket to Ride
Help!
Yesterday
We Can Work It Out
Paperback Writer
Penny Lane
All You Need Is Love
Hello Goodbye
Hey Jude
Get Back
Something
Let It Be
The Long and Winding Road

In the UK, the band had 17 Number 1 singles: 

From Me To You
She Loves You
I Want to Hold Your Hand
Can't Buy Me Love
A Hard Day's Night
I Feel Fine
Ticket to Ride
Help!
Day Tripper / We Can Work It Out
Paperback Writer
Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby
All You Need Is Love
Hello Goodbye
Lady Madonna
Hey Jude
Get Back (with Billy Preston)
The Ballad of John and Yoko

Dave Lewis

Dave Lewis is a freelance journalist and the editor and publisher of the Led Zeppelin magazine and website Tight But Loose (opens in new tab), and author of several books on the band. Through the magazine and books, the Tight But Loose website and his Facebook page (opens in new tab), Dave's objective remains to continue to inform, entertain and connect like minded Led Zeppelin fans new and old throughout the world – bringing them closer to the greatest rock music ever made.