John Lennon: George Harrison discusses star in 1990
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During the Let It Be sessions at Twickenham Film Studios in January 1969, The Beatles were strumming along coming up with new songs. Paul McCartney’s composing of Get Back was captured on film as was George Harrison showing off his new track All Things Must Pass, which ended up being the title song on his debut solo album. Yet, there was another of the Quiet Beatle’s iconic releases that John Lennon and Paul McCartney also turned down.
Harrison first heard the track during a visit to his sister in the US back in 1963. This was a full five months before The Beatles first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Entering a record shop in rural Illinois, he bought a number of albums including a 1962 one by James Ray. Included on the vinyl was the song Got My Mind Set On You, which was originally written and composed by Rudy Clark.
It wouldn’t be until 1987 that the Quiet Beatle recorded his own cover version of it at his Friar Park home studio as a single for his Cloud Nine solo album.
It was 35 years ago when Got My Mind Set On You became Harrison’s third solo No 1 hit, the last chart-topping single by any of The Beatles. The track was the only one of former Beatle’s three US No 1 singles that he did not write or compose and that featured no religious overtones.
After scoring his third chart-topper, he surpassed his three-way tie with John Lennon and Ringo Starr for two No 1 singles as solo artists. As for why The Beatles originally turned down the song when originally suggested by Harrison, there was really only one specific reason.
The story goes that he pitched Got My Mind Set On You but Lennon and McCartney weren’t keen on it, simply because it was a cover, despite putting their own stamp on songs like Twist and Shout in the early days. Seems like a missed opportunity, although it’s hardly surprising given that the duo are the most successful original songwriting partnership in the history of music.
Incidentally, the track was No 1 in the US the week that immediately preceded the induction of The Beatles into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This means the Quiet Beatle is one of the few inductees to have had an active single in the US charts at the time of being inducted. The 1988 ceremony was attended by Harrison, Ringo, Yoko Ono and Lennon’s sons Julian and Sean, as Mick Jagger inducted the band.
According to Rolling Stone, McCartney wasn’t there since his relationship with the others was strained over a royalty dispute. Nevertheless, the Quiet Beatle said in his speech: “We all know why John can’t be here, and I’m d*mn sure he would be. It’s hard to stand here supposedly representing the Beatles. It’s what’s left I’m afraid. But we all loved him so much and we all love Paul very much.”
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