“I don’t think George was too pleased with what I did with the bassline; I mean, I had to sell it to him!” Did Paul McCartney overplay on this Beatles’ Abbey Road hit?

The Beatles, performing at a rehearsal for the 'Round The Beatles' TV show at the Rediffusion TV studios in Wembley, London, 27th April 1964.
(Image credit: Photo by Jim Gray/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images & Carl Court/Getty Images)

It’s hard to think of George, the ‘quiet Beatle’, ever being taken aback by one of Paul McCartney’s basslines. This is partly because Paul always approached the bass as a songwriter, and not as an instrumentalist. But when it came to record Something for 1969's Abbey Road, Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick reported that Paul was told to rein things in a bit.

"Paul started playing a bassline that was a little elaborate," Emerick said. "And George told him, 'No, I want it simple.’ There wasn't any disagreement about it, but I did think that such a thing would never have happened in years past. George telling Paul how to play the bass? Unthinkable! But Something was George's song, and everybody knew it was an instant classic."

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.