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“Don’t Bother Me”

What the Beatles said about “Don’t Bother Me”

GEORGE 1980: “The first song that I wrote… as an exercise to see if I could write a song. I wrote it in a hotel in Bounemouth, England, where we were playing a summer season in 1963. I was sick in bed… maybe that’s why it turned out to be ‘Don’t Bother Me.’ 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.”

PAUL 1988: “I think John and I were really concentrating on– ‘We’ll do the ‘real’ records,’ but because the other guys had a lot of fans we wrote for them too. George eventually came out with his own, ‘Don’t Bother Me,’ but until then he hadn’t written one.”

Info about “Don’t Bother Me”

It was the first song written by George Harrison, the group’s lead guitarist, to appear on one of their albums. An uptempo rock and roll song, it was originally released in the United States on the 1964 album Meet the Beatles! In 2018, the music staff of Time Out London ranked “Don’t Bother Me” at number 47 on their list of the best Beatles songs.

Between 19 and 24 August 1963 the Beatles held a residency in Bournemouth, England with Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas and Tommy Quickly. Feeling sick one day, George Harrison was prescribed tonic and bed rest by a doctor. With nothing to do in his room at the Palace Court Hotel, he began writing a song, recording himself on a portable tape recorder. The surviving recording includes him working on the bridge and whistling through the song’s melody, likely because the song did not yet have lyrics.

Besides the 1958 song “In Spite of All The Danger” – co-written with McCartney, and the 1961 instrumental “Cry for a Shadow” – co-written as Lennon–Harrison, “Don’t Bother Me” was Harrison’s first composition. Liverpool journalist Bill Harry claims that he encouraged Harrison to write a new song, and that Harrison’s response of “Don’t bother me” served as inspiration for the song’s title.

Personnel

The Beatles

  • George Harrison – double-tracked vocal, lead guitar
  • John Lennon – rhythm guitar, tambourine
  • Paul McCartney – bass, claves
  • Ringo Starr – drums, bongos

Production

  • George Martin – producer
  • Norman Smith – engineer
  • Richard Langham – engineer

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