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Originally, Harrison wrote this for Billy Preston with sort of a gospel feel. After it ended up being a fast rocker, he decided it wouldn't be right for Preston and released it himself. Preston was one the early artists on the Beatles' Apple label (he released two albums), and he was present at the sessions that yielded "Get Back." (thanks, larry - Ft. Worth, TX)
Harrison was writing many religious songs at the time, but this wasn't one of them. The lyrics are directed to a person, not God.
The original song had piccolo, trumpet, and oboe parts that weren't used because Harrison didn't like the feel. They can be heard on the 2000 reissue of the album, where the original backing track is included as an extra song.
Phil Spector produced the album. Bobby Whitlock, who played keyboards at the sessions, had this to say about him:
"The real show in that whole place was Phil Spector - what a funny guy. He's not too funny now, but then, what he was doing in there and the way he was carrying on, I thought, they've got all these mics out here catching us jamming, where they need a mic is on the inside. He was a pretty colorful character to say the least. That was one of the highlights of it - listening to him and watching him and watching how he operated. I learned a lot just from being around him. He's just eccentric, he's real creative. I agree with his work ethic. I concur with him 100% when it comes to being creative in the studio - put 6 guitars on it if you need it. If it wasn't for Phil Spector, forget about The Righteous Brothers. There probably wouldn't be a lot of us here from 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
' - you know how many babies were made to that?"
On the album, the "O'Hara-Smith" singers are credited as background vocalists. Whitlock explains: "That's Eric Clapton and me. If you listen, you can hear Eric and me wailing away." (For more on these sessions, check out our Bobby Whitlock interview
This has been covered by Olivia Newton-John and the surf band The Ventures. A version by Shawn Mullins appeared on the Big Daddy soundtrack.
In the UK, this was released as the B-side to "My Sweet Lord." In the US, it was released as its own single, with "Apple Scruffs" as the B-side.
Little Big Town
"When seeds that you sow grow by the wicked moon/Be sure your sins will find you out/Your past will hunt you down and turn to tell on you."
Billy Steinberg - "Like A Virgin"
The first of Billy's five #1 hits was the song that propelled Madonna to stardom. You'd think that would get you a backstage pass, wouldn't you?