It’s well documented the love Bob Dylan had for The Beatles. The enigmatic singer’s adoration for the pop maestros wasn’t just kept to the band as a group but as respect for each member. In 1970, Dylan got together with The Beatles’ man with the guitar George Harrison for a recording session, from which came this beautiful cover of ‘Yesterday’.
Dylan’s particular affection for George was a known fact, least of all because of his work with Harrison in the supergroup Travelling Wilburys which also included Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty. More importantly, because Dylan saw in Harrison one of the more important songwriters of a generation, though he admitted working with George to try and find his voice following the split of The Beatles.
“George got stuck with being the Beatle that had to fight to get songs on records because of Lennon and McCartney. Well, who wouldn’t get stuck?” he said in a 2007 interview. It’s hard to argue with, it must’ve been relatively stifling to sit between two such musical powerhouses. “If George had had his own group and was writing his own songs back then, he’d have been probably just as big as anybody.”
The clip comes from the recording sessions for ‘I’d Have You Anytime’, a song written by George Harrison and Bob Dylan and released in 1970 as the opening track of Harrison’s first post-Beatles solo album, All Things Must Pass. The song wouldn’t rank too highly in the annals of musical history, but it would allow for a beautiful moment as Harrison shares his past with Dylan while working on his future.
The song ‘Yesterday’ would be very highly placed in the aforementioned annals, it’s a power of poetry and melody as a sumptuous combination of which has not been regularly surpassed since its inception. The cover is an equally thrilling and captivating experience.
In the same 2007 interview, Dylan moved to quickly dismiss the rumours of rivalry between himself and the Mersey-beat band. “They were fantastic singers. Lennon, to this day, it’s hard to find a better singer than Lennon was, or than McCartney was and still is.” He concluded “I’m in awe of McCartney. He’s about the only one that I am in awe of. He can do it all. And he’s never let up… He’s just so damn effortless. I just wish he’d quit (laughs). Everything that comes out of his mouth is just framed in melody.”
Take a listen to the brilliant collaboration of George Harrison and Bob Dylan on their cover of The Beatles’ ‘Yesterday’ from a 1970 recording session below.