In January of 1969, The Beatles entered Twickenham Film Studios to begin work on the music that would culminate in the Let It Be film and album. George Harrison, just back from his visit with Dylan and The Band in Woodstock, NY, was anxious to share his many new compositions with the group and, he hoped, to recreate the collaborative atmosphere he had experienced with The Band. Unfortunately, it was not to be.
John and Paul had always been the dominant songwriters in The Beatles. In their eyes, George was still the “kid” who didn’t have the same experience as a songwriter as Lennon and McCartney. Even as Harrison was writing better and better songs, such as “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “It’s All Too Much,” he was still fighting to get his songs the same attention as those of Lennon and McCartney.
Some of the songs that Harrison introduced during the Let It Be sessions would end up on his magnum opus, All Things Must Pass. These included “Let It Down,” “Hear Me Lord,” and “All Things Must Pass.” All four Beatles enjoyed Harrison’s blues-based “For You Blue,” so that was rehearsed and recorded for Let It Be. But it was another song that Harrison introduced that would get the full Phil Spector treatment on the final album – “I Me Mine.”
George got the phrase “I Me Mine” from the Hindu holy book Bhagavad Gita. The text of that scripture is the verse, “They are forever free who renounce all selfish desires and break away from the ego-cage of I-me-mine, to be united with the Lord.” To George, “I Me Mine” was about ego.
Harrison debuted the song for the other Beatles on January 8 at Twickenham, but the Beatles never properly recorded the song. The problem was that Michael Lindsay-Hogg, the Director of the Let It Be film, had included a scene where John and Yoko waltzed during a rehearsal of the song. The decision was made that it needed to be on the soundtrack album. So about a year later on January 3, 1970, George, Paul, and Ringo laid down a new backing track. (Lennon was not present for the sessions.)
Here’s a video that outlines the song’s multiple inspirations, and how it eventually got produced.
And, in the end, it all turned out to be worth the wait…
BTW, you might also like our post on 7 Overlooked Harrison Gems, which folks seem to like quite a lot.
Photo: 13th December 1969: George Harrison at a concert in Copenhagen with Eric Clapton and Delaney and Bonnie. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)