There are few videos of The Beatles that we here at Far Out have missed. Yet somehow this rarely seen footage of George Harrison and Eric Clapton sharing a performance of The Beatles’ ‘Something’ live in Japan back in 1991 passed us by.
Luckily, it won’t pass you by as below you can watch the footage of the legendary tour and performance as Harrison shares the stage with his close friend for a very special show.
Following 1987s commercial and critical success Cloud Nine, mostly buoyed by his mega-watt pop hit ‘I’ve Got My Mind Set On You’, Harrison was a household name again for the first time since the 1970s All Things Must Pass. Finally, Harrison was stepping out of the shadow of the Fab Four.
His first record had ascertained the guitarist his legendary status on his solo work alone but, despite all his experience, Harrison was never a big fan of touring after his 1974 dates. The pain of that tour with Ravi Shankar had clearly landed quite heavily on Harrison and for many years, despite commercial success, the ‘Quiet Beatle’ was, for the main part, remaining quiet.
After sharing the stage in Los Angeles in 1990, Harrison was seemingly dipping his toe into the touring water when he joined the legendary Eric Clapton for a joint tour of Japan the following year. It seemed to many at the time that the Beatle was gearing up for a tour of his own. Yet after Harrison and Clapton performed at 12 shows across the land of the rising sun the guitarist would again retreat to his life off the road.
Luckily though, someone has captured one of those tours on some home camcorder footage that not only reeks of ’90s fun but also offers a brief insight into the stage presence of George Harrison. The audio presented is that of Harrison’s live album Live in Japan and allows the perfection of The Beatles’ hit ‘Something’ to ring out.
You can watch that moment below. Clapton’s connection with the song is something to also explore further below.
Written by Harrison, the song was described by Frank Sinatra as the “greatest love song of the last 50 years” and has always remained dear to the hearts of Beatles fans. “I wrote it at the time when we were making the last double album,” he told David Wigg. “And it’s just the first line ‘something in the was she moves’ which has been in millions of songs. It’s not a special thing but it just seemed quite apt.” But musically, Harrison was clear with his direction.
“When I wrote it, I imagined somebody like Ray Charles doing it. That’s the feel I imagined, but because I’m not Ray Charles, you know, I’m sort of much more limited in what I can do, then it came out like this.”
In 1996, Harrison would clarify his comments and quickly take back the idea that he had written the song for his wife Pattie Boyd who shortly after the track’s release had entered into a relationship with Harrison’s best friend, Eric Clapton. Instead, Harrison pointed towards more spiritual inspiration for the song.
“Everybody assumed I wrote it about Pattie,” said Harrison to author Joshua Greene. In Greene’s book he confirms that Harrison had revealed that he had in fact written the song as an ode to Hare Krishna and spirituality. But even that feels a bit tenuous.
“The words are nothing, really,” Harrison said in 1969. “There are lots of songs like that in my head. I must get them down. Some people tell me that ‘Something’ is one of the best things I’ve ever written. I don’t know. Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re wrong. It’s very flattering though….It’s nice. It’s probably the nicest melody tune that I’ve written.”