Harrison began writing while co-producing Doris Troy’s eponymous debut album. Also appearing on the album was Stephen Stills, who recorded his own debut album in London in early 1970, and Harrison wrote the song on Stills’ guitar.
I started ‘Beautiful Girl’ in 1969 – I’d been working on a Doris Troy record and Stephen Stills had a very good twelve-string guitar which he loaned me for the evening. I wrote the tune then on that guitar but I couldn’t get past the first verse with the lyrics, and so the song sank back into the distance, but I remembered it during 1976 and finished the lyrics. I related it then to Olivia.
I Me Mine
Harrison first recorded an acoustic version of ‘Beautiful Girl’ on 20 May 1970 at Abbey Road, during a run-through of potential All Things Must Pass songs for producer Phil Spector. It was then untitled and lacked sections of lyrics, and was not returned to during the album sessions.
Harrison revived the song for Thirty Three & ⅓ and dedicated it to his future second wife Olivia, whom he had met in October 1974. They married in September 1978.