Skip to main content

Song Facts: The Beatles — "Something"

"'Something' was written on the piano while we were making the White Album," George Harrison explained in 1980.

"I had a break while Paul [McCartney] was doing some overdubbing, so I went into an empty studio and began to write. It didn't go on the White Album because we'd already finished all the tracks."

On April 16, 1969, Harrison, McCartney and Ringo Starr attempted 13 takes of the basic track with George Martin on piano (John Lennon was present but did not contribute). This effort was abandoned on May 2, when the band recorded 36 takes of the backing track in Studio Three. All four Beatles participated, joined by "Get Back" session keyboardist Billy Preston on piano.

Apart from a May 5 session at Olympic Studios, nothing more was done until July 11, when Harrison recorded a lead vocal in Studio Two. Following drum overdubs and additional backing vocal tracks, the eight-track tape was full, requiring a reduction mix in order to free up two tracks for George Martin's orchestra arrangement, which was recorded August 15 in Studio One.

Because Studio Two was the only studio in Abbey Road with the new TG console, the mics in Studio One were patched into the Studio Two console for this session. Geoff Emerick and co-engineer Phil McDonald had visual contact via a closed-circuit TV.

Harrison also rerecorded his guitar solo in Studio Two at this session. According to details on the tape box, the solo was recorded after the orchestra session was completed, but Emerick maintains that the solo was cut simultaneously with the orchestra and on one or both of the same tracks.

"George certainly rose to the occasion and pulled it off brilliantly," Emerick says.

RECORDED: May 2, July 11 and August 15, 1969; Abbey Road Studios Two and Three; Olympic Sound, Studio One