George Harrison Forgot About a Song Meant for The Beatles' White Album
The Beatles put many of their best songs on the White Album, however, not all of the tracks meant for it made the cut. For example, George Harrison wrote a song he liked a lot that was never included on the White Album. In addition, he liked the song a lot before forgetting about it. Here’s a look at how the world reacted to the song once George finally released it.
George Harrison wrote this song for The Beatles’ White Album
In 1979, George did an interview with Rolling Stone’s Jann S. Wenner. Wenner asked George about his self-titled album, including the song “Not Guilty.” Wenner thought George intended “Not Guilty” as an attack on his critics.
“Actually, I wrote that in 1968,” George said. “It was after we got back from Rishikesh in the Himalayas on the Maharishi trip, and it was for the White Album. We recorded it but we didn’t get it down right or something. Then I forgot all about it until a year ago, when I found this old demo I’d made in the ‘60s.”
The song was over a decade old at that point — and George saw it as dated. “The lyrics are a bit passé – all about upsetting ‘Apple carts’ and stuff – but it’s a bit about what was happening at the time,” he said “‘Not guilty for getting in your way/While you’re trying to steal the day’ – which was me trying to get a space. ‘Not guilty/ For looking like a freak/Making friends with every Sikh/For leading you astray/On the road to Mandalay’ – which is the Maharishi and going to the Himalayas and all that was said about that.”
George liked “Not Guilty” a lot, adding it would have been a good hit for Peggy Lee or another artist. Perhaps this was because Lee was a jazz singer and “Not Guilty” is a jazz song. However, the song never became a hit for Lee or anyone else because it wasn’t released as a single.
How George Harrison’s self titled album performed compared to his previous work and The Beatles’ White Album
Wenner commented that critics in England regarded the song’s parent album as George’s best album since All Things Must Pass. George responded that he found the album “pleasant” and hoped it would perform as well as All Thing Must Pass. At the same time, George revealed he didn’t pay attention to the charts.
George’s self-titled album reached No. 14 on the Billboard 200. On the other hand, All Things Must Pass reached the top of the same chart. The White Album reached No. 1 on the same chart as well. Even with a scrapped track from The Beatles’ seminal White Album, George Harrison couldn’t reach the commercial heights of George’s previous work — or the album for which “Not Guilty” was intended.
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