Cover Versions

Something

Something

Song: Something
Artists: Sir Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton
Original artists: The Beatles


On 29 November 2002 one of the finest collections of British rock musicians joined at
London’s Royal Albert Hall for a concert in tribute to Beatle George Harrison who had
passed exactly a year earlier at the age of 58. It was worth the wait.
The whole concert can be found on YouTube, but here I have decided to concentrate on
just one song from it – Something, a love song written by George.
If you look closely at the video below it may strike you as a “spot the celebrity” contest.
Lead vocals were taken by fellow Beatle Sir Paul McCartney and Harrison’s long-time
friend Eric Clapton. Tucked away elsewhere on the stage are other surviving Beatle
Ringo Starr (drums, naturally), Billy Preston (keyboard) and fellow Traveling Wilbury Jeff
Lynne (ELO) on backing vocals.

Were you to ask me to name my three most favourite Beatles’ songs two of them would
be by Harrison – Something and Here Comes the Sun. The third choice would be Sir
Paul’s The Long and Winding Road. Note that these are just personal preferences. No
disrespect to the memory of John Lennon is implied nor should any be inferred.
Something is taken off the 1969 album Abbey Road. It was later released as a single,
but only reached No 4 in the UK, probably because the album it was on sold incredibly
well in the first few weeks after its release. It would go on to sell close to 20 million
copies worldwide. However, the single did top the US Billboard Hot 100.
In the eyes of many Something is regarded as a love song dedicated to his first wife
Pattie Boyd (the first person to appear on the video below). At various times throughout
his life Harrison gave other reasons for the song’s inspiration. Perhaps he wanted to
play down the Boyd story because they went on to divorce and Boyd then married Eric
Clapton. The marriage seemed not to damage the friendship between Harrison and
Clapton given Eric played a lead role in organising the tribute concert.

Something was the first Harrison composition to feature as an A-side on a Beatles
single. Within a year of its release it had been covered by 150 artists, making it the
second-most covered song of The Beatles, after Yesterday. Lennon would say it was
the best song on Abbey Road. Shirley Bassey would have a top five UK hit with her
cover version of it and Frank Sinatra often performed it in concerts.
In 1999, Broadcast Music Incorporated reported that Something had been the 17th-
most performed song of the 20th century, with five million performances. A year later,

Mojo ranked Something at number 14 in its “The 100 Greatest Songs of All Time”.
Three years ago, Rolling Stone magazine put it at 110 th in the “500 Greatest Songs of All
Time”.

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