The second song on side one of the Apple LP/CD "Abbey Road" is an original George Harrison composition entitled "Something". This love song was written for George's wife Patti and the first line is lifted from an early James Taylor song ( Taylor was an Apple artist at the time and the name of the song was "Something In The Way She Moves").
A demo of "Something" was recorded at EMI (although the studio number is not available) on February 25, 1969 with only George Harrison present. The basic track consisted of George playing electric guitar and vocal. Take 1 of this version can be found on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthlology 3". The song was given to Joe Cocker to record at some point, and Joe did record it but it was released after the commercial release (Beatles' version).
The first proper recordings for "Something" first occurred on Wednesday April 16 1969 at EMI studio three. There were 13 takes completed with the instrumentation being George Martin on the piano, Paul on bass, George on guitar and Ringo on drums. No vocals were recorded at this point.
The Beatles must not have been happy with the previous basic tracks as the song was re-made and started over on May 02 1969 at EMI studio three. 36 takes were recorded at this session with the instrumental participation being George Harrison on guitar, Billy Preston on piano, Paul on bass and John on second guitar. No vocals were recorded once again with all the takes being pure instrumental and a long jam. Take 36 was the basic track that would be used for overdubs.
Three days later on May 05 1969, The Beatles entered Olympic Sound Studios in order to adjust and re-record George Harrison's guitar part and the bass part.
On Friday July 11 1969 back at EMI studio two, a George Harrison vocal was added and doubled in the middle eight section. The song was then given a rough stereo mix and a reduction mix was completed bringing the song to take 37. The song at this point can be heard on the Yellow Dog CD: "Unsurpassed Masters Volume 5". The instrumental jam can still be heard at this point although almost two minutes was trimmed off during the reduction mix. It ended up that the Beatles did not use take 37 after all, and the work continued using take 36 instead.
On Wednesday July 16, George Harrison vocals backed by Paul were completed onto take 36 at EMI studio three. Take 36 was then given a reduction mix into takes 38 and 39. Take 39 was now considered the commercial take.
On August 04 1969, "Something" was given a rough stereo mix and an acetate of the song was pressed and given to George Martin in order for him to secure an orchestra arrangement. The mixing was done in the control room of EMI studio three.
Finally on Friday August 15 1969, the orchestra was brought in to overdub their contribution to "Something". The orchestra was recorded in EMI studio one with the production team and the recording board being used in EMI studio two. Also on this day, the George Harrison guitar solo for "Something" was also recorded (not at the same time as some people have suggested).
On Tuesday August 19 1969 from the control room of EMI studio two, ten attempts at a stereo mix were completed with the tenth attempt chosen at the commercial version. The long piano jam at the end of the song was discarded during these mixes.
"Something" is available on the Apple LP/CD "Abbey Road" as well as the Apple 2-LP/2-CD "The Beatles 1967-1970", the Capitol/EMI LP/CD "The Best Of George Harrison" and the Capitol/EMI 2-LP "Love Songs". It is also on the EMI LP "The Beatles Ballads" (UK and Canada only) and finally on the Apple/EMI 2-LP/CD "1".
"Something" was also released as a single on Apple R 5814 in the UK and on Apple 2654 in North America. An interesting note is that the first day Canadian release had the song "Come Together" on the A-side and "Something" on the B-side until the error was noticed and the song line up was changed to "Something on the A-side and "Come Together" on the B-side.
"Something" was performed live several times by George Harrison including a performance at the Concert for Bangla Desh and is available on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "The Concert For Bangla Desh" as well as performing the song on his 1974 "Dark Horse" tour and finally with Eric Clapton's band backing in Japan in 1991 and being available on the Dark Horse 2-LP/2-CD "Live In Japan".