Imperfect Perfection: the George Harrison solo he was never happy with

Every musician tends to be a little bit of a perfectionist when they go into the studio. Although trying to create the perfect song out of nothing seems like chasing one’s tail after a while, it sometimes takes those long hours for someone to get results that can be even halfway satisfied with. While George Harrison usually had plenty of time to sculpt his solos on Beatles records, he still didn’t think he delivered his best performance on the John Lennon song ‘Gimme Some Truth’.

Given how the Fab Four fell out, it’s amazing to see that any of them were still open to working together. Then again, since most of the group fell out over business decisions, with everyone siding against Paul McCartney, Harrison was more than happy to play on one of Lennon’s songs if the time called for it.

If anything, ‘Gimme Some Truth’ has the makings of a Beatles song that never really saw the light of day. When watching the production of the series Get Back, fans saw footage of the group working through an early version of the song, with McCartney actually helping Lennon flesh out the tune in a few spots.

Whereas the ‘Cute Beatle’ could have added his charm to the track, the end result is Lennon through and through. From rallying against corrupt politicians to wanting to find some kind of meaning to his life, a lot of the greatest moments of the song feel like they pick up right where a song like ‘Revolution’ left off a few years prior.

Though Harrison does offer a great guitar solo, Lennon remembered the guitarist feeling insecure about it, recalling in the accompanying box set of the album, “I like the track because it sounds good, but it didn’t get much attention, so it’s a personal track that I like the sound of. The guitars are good and the voice sounds nice and, you know, and it says whatever it says. George does a sharp solo with his steel finger (he’s not too proud of it, but I like it).”

Granted, Harrison was still getting used to playing slide guitar when he started working on the track. He had first been introduced to the new way of playing when working with Delaney and Bonnie in between Beatles sessions, and the demos for All Things Must Pass also reveal first takes when he’s still trying to master the instrument.

Sure, the final result might be a bit more scattershot than what we would hear from him later, but you can’t fault Harrison for trying. If anything, the solo almost feels like what Harrison did on ‘Norwegian Wood’ from Rubber Soul, more or less just finding the notes on the sitar rather than trying to play anything too intricate.

Once he did find his voice on the instrument, no one would mistake Harrison for any other guitar player. Rather than let his lyrics do the talking most of the time, the ‘Quiet Beatle’ usually spoke through his instrument, almost as if he was carrying on the idea of turning his music into a spiritual experience like his musical colleagues like Ravi Shankar had done. ‘Gimme Some Truth’ was a good first step, but it was just a bridge to hearing one of the most beautiful guitar voices ever heard.

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