Harrison wrote the song in March 1976 while holidaying in the Virgin Islands with his then-girlfriend Olivia Arias. Although the holiday was partly to enable Harrison to write songs for his Thirty Three & ⅓ album, he kept the song aside until its follow-up.
‘Soft Touch’ I wrote in the Virgin Islands. The tune came because I was playing ‘Run Of The Mill’ and at the very end there is a horn line – I was playing this melody on the guitar and it became ‘Soft Touch’.
It is all very simple, and the lyrics reflect everything that was going on in the Islands… the wind, the cool breeze blowing, the palm trees, the new moon rising…
I Me Mine
In an interview to support the album, Harrison mentioned ‘Soft Touch’ as one of his two least favourite songs.
I like them all really, but the two I least like are ‘If You Believe’ – I like the sentiment of that, but it’s a bit obvious as a tune – and ‘Soft Touch’, which is just pleasant but there’s nothing special about it, I feel.
Rolling Stone, 19 April 1979
According to Harrison’s widow Olivia, drummer Jim Keltner, who performed on several of Harrison’s albums in the early 1970s, helped inspire the song.
Leon Russell once told me I should write down all amusing things George said, and often I did. Some of them ended up in songs and some were just plain endearing, such as, “I like being master of nothing. It makes a change from all the smart arses”. On other occasions it might be something someone else had said that would catch George’s attention, like drummer Jim Keltner who often told George he was a “soft touch”, which inspired the song…
We were in the British Virgin Islands in 1976 when George wrote ‘Soft Touch’. His short paragraph about the writing of that song describes the mood and what was going on around us, but for me there is so much more on that page, both in sentiment and notation-just tiny notes that speak to me. At the bottom of the second page of the ‘Soft Touch’ lyrics he printed “Bridge (noch ein mal)” – German for ‘one more time’. George used this phrase occasionally from the time that they (The Beatles) used to shout it from the stage when they played in Hamburg.
I Me Mine, 2002 edition
‘Love Comes to Everyone’ was the second single released from the George Harrison album. In the USA it was issued on 11 May 1979 with ‘Soft Touch’ on the b-side.