If I Needed Someone

Album: Rubber Soul (1965)
Play Video


  • This was written by George Harrison, who got the idea from a few of The Byrds' songs including "The Bells of Rhymney" and "She Don't Care About Time." It was not Ravi Shankar that introduced George to the wonderment of sitar, but Byrd traveler David Crosby shortly after Shawn Phillips had shown him the basic steps. In 1965 The Beatles toured the US and visited Ravi at World Pacific Studios where The Byrds had permanent residency. It was also here that Roger McGuinn's Rickenbacker jingle jangle influenced Harrison's "If I Needed Someone." In turn, The Byrds were influenced by Harrison's 12-string guitar work. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Shiloh Noone, author of Seekers Guide To The Rhythm Of Yesteryear
  • Former Byrds guitarist Roger McGuinn recalled to Christianity Today magazine: "George Harrison wrote that song after hearing the Byrds' recording of "Bells of Rhymney." He gave a copy of his new recording to Derek Taylor, the Beatles' former press officer, who flew to Los Angeles and brought it to my house. He said George wanted me to know that he had written the song based on the rising and falling notes of my electric Rickenbacker 12-string guitar introduction. It was a great honor to have in some small way influenced our heroes the Beatles."

Comments: 26

  • Sandra Walters from Enterprise, FlFrom my reading it seems that George Harrison was a nice guy with a penchant for borrowing melodies from others' recordings.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaMy fav George tune. LOVED LOVED that 12 sting Rick. Would have loved to have heard his and Roges together.
  • Tom from Freiburg, GermanyThe opening riff is practically the same as in "I Feel Fine", just on the 12-string with a capo.
  • Carl from Apg, Md"Nowhere Man" and "If I Needed Someone" were done during the Beatles' 1966 touring (I have heard the Tokyo concerts). Both are from the UK "Rubber Soul" and the U.S. "Yesterday & Today".

    By the way, "Dr. Robert" was also on U.S. "Yesterday & Today" LP before the British "Revolver" LP. In 1965, "Bad Boy" (a cover song) appeared on Beatles VI album in the U.S. but was not on a British record until the Dec. 1966 oldies collection.
  • George from Belleville, NjHey Ron from Houston Texas,that's great that you have a copy of Yesterday And Today butcher cover with the new picture pasted over it.That's a collectors item.A classic from the mid 60's.
  • George from Belleville, NjI read that this song was the first time people stood up and took notice at how well George Harrison could write songs.The stucture and the melody and the beat,the sound of the song how it grooves and the sweeping bass pounding in the background are put together to produce a pop rock masterpiece.
  • Frank from Salt Lake City, Utthis is a great song. its kind of sad how someone as talented as george harrison was always overlooked, not saying that john or paul or even ringo werent talented, but goerge has always been underestimated. awesome, trippy song!
  • John from Grand Island, NyGeorge's first of his many masterpieces....just a great underappreciated song.
  • Modernrocker79 from Kearny, NjThe song influenced by the Byrds and Indian Music. So what you have is folk influences and Indian influences in a pop song. Maybe the first example of this in Rock Music?
  • Ron from Houston, TxOh, and I meant to add that the Hollies did a cover version of this one. I think I read somewhere that George Harrison hated their version and let it be known that he didn't care much for them releasing it.
  • Ron from Houston, TxOther than being a great song, this one is special to me because it was on Yesterday & Today, the first Beatle album I ever bought.
    This one, and "Drive My Car" had been released six months earlier on the British Rubber Soul, but not the American version. Of course, we Americans got even because we got to hear "And Your Bird Can Sing" and "I'm Only Sleeping" a few weeks before it was released in Britain on their version of Revolver. And, yes, my copy of Yesterday & Today was a pasted over Butcher Cover. Still have it to this day.
  • German from Costa Mesa, CaGreat jangly guitars on this tune. The line "carve your number on my wall" is genious! One of my all time favorite Harrison songs.
  • Adam from Los Angeles, CaTo have the Guitar Drone??? You people do understand that a Capo does nothing but change what Key you are playing in, Right? by "Drone" maybe you mean sustain. I dont know... but a Capo only changes key, nothing else.
  • Peter Boyko from Edmonton, CanadaThis song was written around the time of Patti
    But Eric Clapton had a pretty good versio of it in the 'concert for george' amazing george songs redone
    not quite as good as the originals
  • Sal from Bardonia , NyThe song has an Indian influence to it according to George Harrison uses a capo to have the guitar drone the same technique used late on Rain and this song was recorded before Eight Miles high which also uses guitar drone as a basis for a Indian style song.
    Sal, Bardonia, NY
  • Abraham from Long Beach, CaGOOD LOVE SONG BY GEORGE
  • Melissa from Fairborn, OhI love the song because it has a slightly psychedelic touch on this track. I also love the cool lead guitar on this track too.
  • John from Woburn, MaA very quintessential george harrison love song. While i think george is a great musician his bitter egotistical nature always seemed to prevent him from writing a well-rounded love song.He sings about all of his selfish emotions, feelings, etc, from a realtionship(see Dont Bother Me, I Need You, and his solo What Is Life). In this song he states how he would be perfectly happy to be go steady with and love the said girl but he quite bluntly doesn't need to
  • Sean from Psst, CaBeautiful guitar work and drums too. The harmonies are really trippy
  • Robb from Hamburg, NyThis is his first really good song in my opinion, and he kept getting better over time. I would have been pissed by the Beatles' end if I were him too because he was only getting 2 tracks an album and Paul McCartney was essentially telling him how to live his life.
  • Vickie from Sydney, AustraliaI've always loved this song. It seems to be when George really started to shine as a songwriter. He seems to have gone from strength to strength after this. I also always thought it was George's
    love song to his then girlfriend Patti Boyd as if to say "You are the one"!
  • Lee from Wales, WiI recall a group that released this song before the Beatles included it on one of their albums.
    I thought that their harmony sounded better than the Beatles. It's been ages, but I think the group went by the name Stained Glass.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScThat's funny that you mensiond "Feel a Whole Lot Better", but that song and this song sound very similar to me.
  • Justin from Austin, TxThis song is magical. Even better than the Byrds'
    best (which i think is "Feel a Whole Lot Better").
  • Charlie from Cape Girardeau, MoIronic if it is true that Harrison got the idea from the Byrds, since it was his Rickenbacker 12 string in "A Hard Days Night" that inspired the Byrds to introduce that guitar and the famous "jingle/jangle" Byrds sound. What goes around comes around, I guess.
  • David from New City, NyProof that George Harrison was a great lyricist as well as an excellent songwriter.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Emilio Castillo from Tower of Power

Emilio Castillo from Tower of PowerSongwriter Interviews

Emilio talks about what it's like to write and perform with the Tower of Power horns, and why every struggling band should have a friend like Huey Lewis.

Arrested For Your Art - The Story Of 2 Live Crew's "Obscene" Album

Arrested For Your Art - The Story Of 2 Live Crew's "Obscene" AlbumSong Writing

In the summer of 1990, you could get arrested for selling a 2 Live Crew album or performing their songs in Southern Florida. And that's exactly what happened.

Lori McKenna

Lori McKennaSongwriter Interviews

Lori's songs have been recorded by Faith Hill and Sara Evans. She's performed on the CMAs and on Oprah. She also has five kids.

Pam Tillis

Pam TillisSongwriter Interviews

The country sweetheart opines about the demands of touring and talks about writing songs with her famous father.

Janis Ian

Janis IanSongwriter Interviews

One of the first successful female singer-songwriters, Janis had her first hit in 1967 at age 15.

Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")

Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")Songwriter Interviews

Phil was a songwriter, producer and voice behind many Philadelphia soul classics. When disco hit, he got an interesting project: The Village People.