The “daft” Beatles song George Harrison found “deep meaning” in

The ending of The Beatles was anything but cordial. Although the band members were playing better than they had ever thought they could, the creative differences between them started to eat away at the brotherly foundation that set the Fab Four on the right track in the first place. Though George Harrison didn’t usually mince words when it came to his feelings on his bandmates’ tracks, he did see the merit in one of their most perceivably absent-minded songs.

While Harrison didn’t envision himself writing songs at the beginning of the group’s career, his blossoming as a composer made way for a handful of the group’s most essential tracks like ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ and ‘Here Comes the Sun’. Even though Harrison touched on different topics throughout his career, each song had to have some underlying meaning than the traditional love song.

Becoming immersed in Eastern spiritualism, Harrison’s fascination with Indian music drove him to write songs that had a cosmic slant to them. Outside of his songs about the wonders of taxes and jangly guitar pop, tracks like ‘Within You Without You’ and ‘The Inner Light’ were about looking inward instead of living in the material world, with Harrison advocating for what the spiritual self needs to survive.

At the same time, Harrison would never waste his time on a song he thought wasn’t up to his usual standards. Throughout The Beatles’ career, the guitarist was notorious for dragging a handful of songs through the mud, including ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’, a Paul McCartney-penned tune that everyone didn’t enjoy working on.

Elsewhere on the album, though, Ringo Starr had his second contribution to the group with ‘Octopus’s Garden’. While Starr never claimed to have the same knack for songwriting as his bandmates, this whimsical ode to living underneath the sea was given the melodic treatment by Harrison, including a scene in Get Back where he is seen teaching Starr how to resolve the verse.

Whereas most Beatles fans consider Starr’s contribution a borderline children’s song on the same level as ‘Yellow Submarine’, Harrison did recognise a deeper meaning behind the lyrics, recalling: “On the surface, it’s just — it’s like a daft kids’ song. But the lyrics are great. I find very deep meaning in the lyrics, which Ringo probably doesn’t see, but all the things like… ‘We’ll be warm beneath the storm.’… Which is really great, because it’s like this level is a storm, and it’s always — y’know, if you get sort of deep in your consciousness, it’s very peaceful. So Ringo’s writing his cosmic songs without noticing!”

Considering the amount of pressure the band were under from the various business meetings surrounding their label, Apple Records, Starr’s longing to be at peace underneath the sea probably struck a deep nerve with every band member. This would be far from the last time Harrison stood by one of Starr’s creations, helping him pen solo hits like ‘Photograph’ long after The Beatles’ dream had faded.

The amount of tension going on between The Beatles around the making of Abbey Road may have been at an all-time high, but their need to leave their fans on a high note resulted in a beautiful song about wanting to finally have a place to rest. Once they finally got a break from each other, every member probably found that rest in some way too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *