George Harrison Praises ‘Octopus’s Garden’ and Ringo Starr In Recently Unearthed 1969 Interview

Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Press

Ringo gets very bored playing the drums, so at home he plays the piano,” Beatle George Harrison shares with Ritchie Yorke of the Detroit Free Press in a 1969 interview recently unearthed by music journalism archive Rock’s Backpages.

But [he only] knows about three chords,” Harrison continues. “And he knows about the same on guitar. He mainly likes country music, so this has a country and western feel. [Octopus’s Garden’ is] really a great song. On the surface, it’s a daft kids’ song, but I find the lyrics very meaningful. I find very deep meaning in the lyrics which Ringo probably doesn’t even know about.”

Lines like ‘Resting our head on the seabed’ and ‘We’ll be warm beneath the storm’,” George beams, “it makes me realize that when you get deep into your consciousness it’s very peaceful. So Ringo writes his cosmic songs without knowing it.”

At this point Ringo Starr, who is sitting across the room from him at Abbey Road Studios, grins.

Conversation then turns to one of Geroge Harrison’s own compositions from 11th Beatles album Abbey Road, ‘Here Comes the Sun’.

’Here Comes the Sun’, the first cut on side two,” George shares, “is the other song I wrote for the album. It was written on a very nice sunny day in Eric Clapton‘s garden. We’d been through real hell with business, and it was all very heavy. Being in Eric’s garden felt like playing hooky from school. I found some sort of release and the song just came.”

Despite the Quiet Beatle’s high opinion for Starr’s work and his own, it’s John Lennon’s ‘Because’ which Harrison reveals to be his favorite Abbey Road song: “I think this is my favorite track on the album, it’s so simple, especially the lyrics. The harmony was very difficult to do, we had to really learn it. I think this is the tune that will impress most people. Hip people will dig it and the straight people and serious music critics will too.”

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