The Story Behind the First George Harrison Song to Appear on a Beatles Album

Though George Harrison was often left out of the songwriting dyad of Paul McCartney and John Lennon, he would write plenty of Beatles songs on his own. Throughout his time with The Beatles, Harrison wrote hundreds of songs, yet only a handful made the cut on several of the band’s albums.

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Harrison’s Beatles Songs

Harrison penned Help! tracks “I Need You” and “You Like Me Too Much” and was relegated to singing some covers in between before his Rubber Soul contributions “Think For Yourself” and “If I Needed Someone.”

Later on, Harrison’s sweeping “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” which featured his friend Eric Clapton, and the song “Piggies” made The White Album. Harrison wrote more with his most famous Abbey Road offerings “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun,” before “I’ll Be Me” and “For You Blue” on the third and final opus, Let It Be, in 1970.

[RELATED: 6 Songs You Didn’t Know George Harrison Wrote for Other Artists]

Though Harrison was technically credited as a co-writer earlier on with the Beatles’ 1958 song “In Spite Of All The Danger,” written with McCartney, and “Cry For A Shadow,” which he penned with Lennon in 1961, his first credited song to appear on one of the band’s albums was “Don’t Bother Me,” off their second release in 1963, With the Beatles (released in the U.S. as Meet the Beatles!).

“Ill” Conceived

Harrison wrote the mid-tempo rocker while he was sick in bed at the Palace Court Hotel in Bournemouth, England in August of 1963. At the time, The Beatles were playing a residency of shows in the southern coastal town between August 19 and 24 with Tommy Quickly and Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas at the Gaumont Cinema.

Laid up in bed with a doctor’s tonic, he began writing a song about a lost love, how he might never get her back again, and he’s not in the mood for visitors.

Since she’s been gone I want no one to talk to me
It’s not the same, but I’m to blame, it’s plain to see
So go away and leave me alone
Don’t bother me

I can’t believe that she would leave me on my own
It’s just not right when every night I’m all alone
I’ve got no time for you right now
Don’t bother me

I know I’ll never be the same
If I don’t get her back again
Because I know she’ll always be
The only girl for me

A “Fairly Crappy Song”

Though “Don’t Bother Me” made the cut on With the Beatles, and even appeared in the Beatles 1964 film A Hard Day’s Night, it was never Harrison’s favorite song but more of a self-test in songwriting.

“I was a bit run down and was supposed to be having some sort of tonic, taking it easy for a few days,” said Harrison. “I decided to try to write a song, just for a laugh. I got out my guitar and just played around til a song came. I forgot all about it til we came to record the next LP. It was a fairly crappy song. I forgot about it completely once it was on the album.”

[RELATED: The Meaning Behind “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by George Harrison]

Harrison described “Don’t Bother Me” as “an exercise to see if I could write a song.”

“I was sick in bed, maybe that’s why it turned out to be ‘Don’t Bother Me,'” remembered Harrison. “I don’t think it’s a particularly good song. It mightn’t even be a song at all, but at least it showed me that all I needed to do was keep on writing, and then maybe eventually I would write something good.”

Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images

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