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Recording: Old Brown Shoe, All Things Must Pass, Something

EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Engineer: Ken Scott

On his 26th birthday, George Harrison went alone to EMI Studios on Abbey Road, where he recorded solo versions of three songs.

The purpose for the session is unclear, although it is likely that the recordings were meant as demos for the other Beatles to learn their parts from. They were simple recordings taped on eight-track, with no producer present.

The first to be recorded was ‘Old Brown Shoe’. Harrison recorded two takes with vocals and piano, onto which he overdubbed two electric guitar tracks. One of these guitar overdubs was played low on the fretboard, and was adapted by Paul McCartney for the bass part on The Beatles’ recording, while the other was higher and included a solo.

George Harrison's handwritten lyrics for Old Brown Shoe

Harrison then recorded two takes of ‘All Things Must Pass’, singing live to his tremolo guitar accompaniment. A second track also featuring guitar and vocals was then recorded.

‘Something’ was the final song of the day, and again featured vocals and electric guitar. A piano overdub was also recorded. The songs were all mixed and cut to acetate discs which were taken away by Harrison.

‘Old Brown Shoe’ was later recorded by The Beatles for the b-side to ‘The Ballad Of John And Yoko’, while ‘Something’ became an album track on Abbey Road and was later a single.

Despite trying on six different dates to interest The Beatles in ‘All Things Must Pass’ during the Get Back/Let It Be sessions, they never recorded the song properly. Instead it became the title track of Harrison’s 1970 triple album.

Versions of each of the day’s recordings were included on 1996’s Anthology 3, although the mix of ‘All Things Must Pass’ omitted Harrison’s second vocal part, and ‘Something’ lacked the piano overdub.

Last updated: 26 June 2023
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