Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: With The BeatlesReleased: 1963
This was George Harrison's first recorded song. It was his response to critics who claimed he was not an important member of the group because he did not write songs.
Harrison never regarded this song very highly, stating, "I don't think it's a particularly good song... It mightn't even be a song at all, but at least it showed me that all I needed to do was keep on writing, and then maybe eventually I would write something good."
A Harrison-penned song would not appear again until the 1965 album Help!
. That would be "You Know What To Do
This song has a darker, more pessimistic mood that was uncommon of The Beatles main sound, but would come to be Harrison's trademark stamp. This is actually part of what made the Beatles' formula work: McCartney was the chirpy, positive one, and Harrison was the melancholic counterpart.
George wrote this when he was down with the flu in a hotel room in the Northeast of England. The Beatles chauffeur kept various tapes which the band were working on. Years later these were sold off at one of the London auction houses. This song in it's very earliest stages is available on bootleg and features George working the music and lyrics out as he goes along. George stated, "I wrote the song as an exercise to see if I could write a song. I was sick in bed. Maybe that's why it turned out to be 'Don't Bother Me.'"
For your information, the photography technique for the cover of With The Beatles, in which the Fab Four's headshots hover in a half-moon, light-and-shadow effect, is called "chiaroscuro." It's an Italian word to describe the Renaissance technique of dramatically contrasted lighting effects in oil paintings.
This was the first song on Side 2 of Meet The Beatles, their first album released in the US. With The Beatles was their second UK release.
George Harrison may have thought very little of this song, but his friend Tom Petty didn't share this sentiment. "I thought it was just the coolest song, like nothing I'd heard in rock," Petty told Rolling Stone in 2014. "I'd say, 'Well, I like it. A lot. If you did that today, I'd say it was really good.' And he'd go, 'Well, you'd be wrong.'"