The Beatles' music: quotes and info

“Old Brown Shoe”

George Harrison’s quote about “Old Brown Shoe”

GEORGE 1980: “I started the chord sequences on the piano, which I don’t really play, and then began writing ideas for the words from various opposites… Again, it’s the duality of things– yes no, up down, left right, right wrong, etcetera.”

About “Old Brown Shoe”

"The Ballad of John and Yoko" / "Old Brown Shoe" single cover
“The Ballad of John and Yoko” / “Old Brown Shoe” single cover

“Old Brown Shoe” was written by George Harrison and released on a non-album single in May 1969, as the B-side to “The Ballad of John and Yoko“. As a result, the song was included on the band’s compilation albums Hey Jude, 1967–1970 and Past Masters, Volume Two. Some music critics consider “Old Brown Shoe” to be one of Harrison’s best compositions from the Beatles era and especially admire his guitar solo. In “Old Brown Shoe”, the lyrics address duality, while the rhythm is ska-influenced.

In January 1969, the Beatles rehearsed the song for their Let It Be album. In addition to recording the song, Harrison also recorded two other compositions the band had overlooked: “Something” and “All Things Must Pass”. During the early sessions for Abbey Road, “Old Brown Shoe” was formally recorded in April.

In 1996, the Beatles’ Anthology 3 compilation included the 1969 demo. Harrison recorded a concert version for his 1992 album Live in Japan. In November 2002, a year after Harrison’s death, Gary Brooker performed the song at London’s Royal Albert Hall’s Concert for George tribute.


  • George Harrison – vocals, electric guitars, Hammond organ, bass guitar
  • John Lennon – backing vocals
  • Paul McCartney – backing vocals, tack piano
  • Ringo Starr – drums

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