Songwriting

How Olivia, George Harrison’s Wife, Helped Him With The Songwriting Process

Many women have helped George Harrison throughout his career. His mother Louise supported him when he was a boy with a dream of becoming the next Carl Perkins. Then his first wife, Pattie Boyd, inspired him to write “Something” by The Beatles, one of the best love songs of all time. But only one woman helped him the most and continues to help him years after his death, his wife, Olivia. It’s only fitting that Olivia examines her husband’s legacy when she helped write some of his songs.

Olivia was not just an inspiration and a muse for George. She helped him in the song process whenever she could, and she always helps him by spending hours remastering George’s albums and finding lyrics lost in the seat cushions of their sofas for years. later.

George Harrison, his wife Olivia and their son Dhani | Vinnie Zuffante / Getty Images

George Harrison would jot down things and put them away in weird places

George had an interesting way of writing things. Olivia told Billboard that George “would walk around and take a piece of paper out of his pocket and end up somewhere.” Maybe he would stick it in a book or in a drawer or somewhere.

Sometimes they weren’t even words. George would often think of something, usually a weird and absurd phrase, and Olivia would find him confused later.

“George wrote down a lot of his thoughts himself,” explained Olivia. “Sometimes it was just a phrase you just thought, ‘What does that mean? ‘Goats on my roof’ what does that mean? ‘ Or ‘When you take it all away, there is only love.’ It’s a very nice line he just wrote on a hotel notepad.

It was Olivia’s job to keep control of those strange notes. These were the precious musings of her husband. Now she probably wishes she could find more things to do in this place.

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Olivia Harrison was George Harrison’s “Amanuensis”

During her interview with Billboard, Olivia confirmed that she would help George write the lyrics in the songwriting process. George would tell Olivia the lyrics as they came to him, and she would write them down while he tried to figure out the chords. Essentially, she was his “amanuensis”.

“Sometimes if he was working on playing the guitar he would say lyrics and if he didn’t have a tape I would try to play the part of the amanuensis. [laughs], you know, just copy what he said so he doesn’t forget. Most of the time, he said to go get the tape recorder, ”explained Olivia.

However, Oliva said that George didn’t really go into a “trance state” while writing songs. He would just get great ideas and get lost in them. “It wasn’t a trance,” she said. “He was just like, ‘Oh, I just had an idea’ and a light bulb would go out and then he would go. I’m not a songwriter so I can’t really explain it, but I’m sure anyone with an idea like you as a writer I’m sure you’re like, ‘Ahhhhhh, I have to write it down. ‘ It’s the same in every creative process.

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Olivia Harrison would help George Harrison with melodies

Olivia wasn’t just George’s amanuensis. She actually helped build the songs, at least at the melody level. He would play her music, ask her if it was good or not, and she would give him advice.

“Sometimes he would play a few chords and he would say, ‘Is this something? Is it something. ‘ I would say, ‘No, I don’t think so.’ I know a lot of songs that go back to the 50’s. Sometimes I would say it’s something and he would just glance at me. [laughs]. “

Obviously, Olivia was a big help to George in his overall songwriting process during their marriage. She made sure he did not forget the essential lyrics and gave him her opinion on the melodies. These are crucial things, after all. George trusted Olivia, and she continued to honor that trust by safeguarding her legacy.


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