Don't Bother Me

Album: With The Beatles (1963)

Songfacts®:

  • "Don't Bother Me" was the first song George Harrison wrote, and his first song to be recorded. His older bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney had been writing all the group's material, so it took him a while to pluck up the courage to write one himself. When he did, it was up to form and released as track 4 on With The Beatles, their second UK album (in America, it was the first song on side 2 of Meet The Beatles, their first album released in there).

    Harrison never regarded this song very highly, possibly because he was holding it to the standards of Lennon-McCartney material, but it's well regarded by fans and shows that Harrison had the goods as a songwriter. He explained: "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."
  • Harrison wrote this song in August 1963 when he was down with the flu, resting in a hotel room in Bournemouth, in the south of England. The Beatles were playing a week of shows at the Gaumont Cinema, so when Harrison fell ill, he stayed in bed all day to save his energy for the shows at night. A doctor gave him medicine with morphine in it, which was common at the time.

    "I was taking that stuff and in bed, all feeling weak and tired but trying to reserve my energy so I could get out of bed each night to do the concert," he told Timothy White in 1992. "So it was the first thing I thought of, really as a lyric. And I never really thought it was a great song. I was quite happy that I had written it, because that was the thing. I just thought, 'I'm going to see if I can write a song because they're writing them.'"
  • 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.
  • Like most Beatles songs at this time, this one is about a girl. In the song, Harrison sings from the perspective of a guy whose girl has left him and is in no mood for visitors.
  • This song in its very earliest stages is available on a bootleg recording where Harrison is heard working out the music and lyrics as he goes along. This recording came from the Beatles' chauffeur, Alf Bicknell, who kept various tapes the band was working on. Years later these were sold off at one of the London auction houses.
  • 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.'"
  • 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.

Comments: 29

  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaGeorge, have felt like this more than once myself. and if anyone wants to know, it wasn't on the US LP of Help or Hard Days Night, it was on the Meet The Beatles LP.
  • Julia from Milton, Pawhat now. you just got served stupid critics
  • Amanda from Gretna, VtHA! take that critics!
  • David from Los Angeles , CaOne of the best solos by Mr. Harrison.
  • Adrian from Gettysburg, PaI really wish John, Paul and George Martin would have given Harrison the amount of respect he deserved. The ability was definitely there for him to write songs as good if not better than John and Paul, but he was never encouraged. "Don't Bother Me" is one of my favorite songs of the Beatles' early career. At worst, it's on par with what John and Paul were putting out at the time.
  • Rick from Mount Ephraim, NjThis is NOT his first RECORDED song. It's the first song he wrote that they recorded as a band (Though "Cry For A Shadow" was a Lennon/Harrison compilation")

    This song is also in one of the better sequences of "A Hard Day's Night". Watch Ringo's poor attempt at dancing.
  • Lateeka from Kelowna, CanadaAh well for all you critics... George would obligly say "Don't bother me...arseholes"
  • George from Athens, GreeceI could not agree more about the "Concert for George" Lee. It is really fantastic !! Espescialy the part when Ringo and Paul go on stage, it is really emotive the credit the audience gives to those men that are actually music's living history !
  • Sam from Portsmouth, VaA pretty good start for George.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScIt's a good song. George was a very good songwriter, like John and Paul, but he was often pushed aside, so-to-speak.
  • Alan from Liverpool, EnglandI think Georg is just as prolific a songwriter as John and Paul. Was it not Frank Sinatra who called 'Something' the greatest love song ever.
  • Ian from Lethbridge, CanadaSorry. Underrated should've had two r's.
  • Ian from Lethbridge, CanadaSuch an underated song! For George's first song, it's fantastic!
  • Steve from Fenton, MoA pretty darn good first song for George...I agree with Lee that the DVD tribute to George is excellent. There probably hasn't been that much talent on a stage since the roof top concert at Apple.
  • Sylvia from London, EnglandI love this song so much! George rocks, and the song does too.
  • Lee from Clearwater, FlHey, Everyone, I just heard and watched the tribute to George on dvd. It was quite an experience, great! It is definately worth the $30.00. Eric Clapton, Paul Mccartney, and alot of other people contribute to a fantastic celebration of George's life. I never saw so much talent on one stage. George's son looks so much like him! He is right there with the others, playing his guitar, and joining in on all the songs. At first I wondered what I was in for, because the beginning was not what I had expected at all. There was a great deal of Eastern musical influence, at the beginning, and then all of George's songs after that. I am not a big fan of the sitar, and the sound, but even I was impressed with the music at the beginning of the dvd. Of course, I enjoyed George's songs alot more. The accumulated talent on that stage is breathtaking to say the least. My two favorites were Mc Cartney and Clapton. No one has ever seen either of those guys do a so so performance! The dvd is well worth the cost of admittion. If you were a fan of George's, and if you like Paul and Eric, you are in for one heck of a show. It runs about 2hrs and 20 minutes, and the time goes by too fast as far as I am concerned, and I am a pretty "pickey" customer when it comes to being entertained. (especially by a disc!) If you are staying home on NYE, this dvd would be a perfect way to spend an enjoyable evening. I guarantee you that you will watch it again and again. With a good sound system, it will rock you out. I am very sincere. enjoy!
  • Alex from Naples, FlThe Led Zeppelin thing was in reference to a comment Keith Moon made about the success of the band... in that it would "sink like a lead zeppelin". Harrison is definitely underrated and this song shows some of hit hidden talent.
  • Lee from Clearwater, FlProof that George could write. Then there was Here comes the sun, and Something, proof that George could write very well.
  • Charlie from Cape Girardeau, MoNathan is correct. The first Harrison composition the Beatles' recorded was the instrumental "Cry For a Shadow", which was the same time period where they performed with Tony Sheridan. They recorded "My Bonnie" with him also, which was the song that led to their coming to the attention of Brian Eptstein.
  • Gussy from New Delhi , IndiaI personally think that the guitar was very effective and ahead of it's time --with a C&W feel to it.
  • Ben from Cheverly, MdThis isn't a great song, but the Into's OK.
  • Nathan from Defiance, OhAs stated before this was the first recorded Harrison tune, though I've heard that in the early days in Hamburg, Harrison actually penned the first original Beatle song.
  • Nathan from Defiance, OhI agree harrison is greatly underated but what's this about "sunk like a Led Zeppelin" nonsense?
  • Paul from Flagstaff, Azthis is a very good song BEN. it doesnt matter that it is georges first studio recorded song. george is very underrated. how many songs that he did were loved by people all over the world.
    tons of people say "Here comes the sun" is thier favorite song by the beatles. without george they would of sunk like a led zeppelin. And if somebody doesnt agree with me tell me why.
  • Marina from Seattle, WaI think this is a great song. Does anyone notice the resemblance to "The Night Before" in parts of the melody?
  • Loretta from Liverpool, EnglandYea, Dave. I love the bass, too. The Hofner 500/1 is such a wonderful instrument. They have such a rich, warm tone and they look handsome. Too bad they cost 2000 dollars.

    Does anybody know where you can get an actual hofner bass (not an imitation or copy) cheaper? I play bass in a band that plays a lot of beatles covers and beatlesque original music (though we're not a tribute band) and I would like to get that Hofner sound though i'm in college and running a tight budget!
  • Alan from New Baltimore, MiThis was a great tune. I remember wanting to hear George do it when I saw him in concert but he didn't. It took him a few albums to get another song on an album.
  • Dave from Springfield, United StatesI like the bass part during the held out "me" (As in Don't Bother ME).
  • John from London, EnglandThere is a tape of George's earliest version of the song recorded in an hotel room whilst George had the 'flu.
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