Fans of George Harrison — who died 15 years ago, on Nov. 29, 2001 — know he was a superb guitarist in The Beatles and on his solo albums. But he also exhibited some great talent when he stepped away from the Fab Four and played on other people’s albums.
Here are 10 songs you might not know Harrison had a hand in:
1. “Badge” – Cream
Harrison (with a little help from Ringo Starr, according to Kristofer Englehart’s Beatles Deeper Undercover book) actually co-authored the lyrics for the song, which they then gave to Cream after Eric Clapton performed with The Beatles on the White Album track “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” According to Englehart, the song was actually misnamed because Clapton misread Harrison’s word “bridge” for “badge” on the lyric sheet. The song was released as a single, an FM staple, and peaked at No. 60 in 1969 on the Billboard Hot 100.
2. “King of Broken Hearts” – Ringo Starr
From Ringo’s Vertical Man album, Harrison plays slide guitar on this beautiful song. It wasn’t released as a single, but the album hit No. 61 on the Billboard 200 in 1998.
3. “Theme for Something Important” – Duane Eddy
The two guitarists duel it out on this wonderful track from Eddy’s self-titled Capitol Records album, which was released in 1986. The call-and-response between the two near the end of the song is just gorgeous.
4. “September Song” – Jeff Lynne
This track — taken from Lynne’s first solo album, Armchair Theatre — has Harrison adding in his slide guitar in several places. The album peaked at No. 83 on the Billboard 200 in 1990 and was reissued with bonus tracks in 2013.
5. “Try Some Buy Some” – Ronnie Spector
Harrison composed and played guitar on this song, co-produced with Phil Spector and released as a single. The backup group featured an all-star band with Gary Wright and Leon Russell on keyboards, Klaus Voormann on bass and Jim Gordon on drums. The song peaked at No. 77 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971.
5. “Roll Away the Stone” – Leon Russell
This song, taken from Russell’s first solo album, featured not only Harrison on guitar, but Ringo Starr on drums, Bill Wyman on bass, Steve Winwood and Chris Stainton on keyboards and Eric Clapton on guitar.
7. “Punchdrunk” – Rubyhorse
According to the story in Beatles Deeper Undercover, the management of this little-known band sent Harrison the song with a request to play on it. Not only did he agree to do so, but he did it for union scale. And the result is superb, with his slide guitar adding punctuation to a song that has shades of Harrison’s style.
8. “Sour Milk Sea” – Jackie Lomax
This Harrison song, from Lomax’s Apple Records album Is This What You Want (which he produced), features himself, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. The album is available on CD with bonus tracks. An acoustic demo version of the song by Harrison has circulated for years among collectors.
9. “Costafine Town” – Splinter
Splinter, composed of Bill Elliott and Bobby Purvis, was a group signed to Harrison’s Dark Horse label. This song — from their first album, The Place I Love, which Harrison produced — features him on bass, harmonium and percussion. The group’s three albums have not been released on CD in America.
10. “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” – Alvin Lee
Harrison, who was a neighbor of Lee’s, played on several songs on his albums over the years. Here, Harrison guest-stars on this cover from The Beatles’ Abbey Road, coming in on guitar early in the song. The tune is available on Lee’s I Hear You Rockin’ album and later compilations.