#675: 1970, George Harrison, Wah-Wah

by Jackie_South on April 22, 2013

An entry from George Harrison’s 1969 dairy:
“January 10. Got up. Went to Twickenham. Rehearsed until lunchtime. Left the Beatles. Went home … had chips later.”

I learnt from a BBC4 documentary at the weekend that in between going home and eating chips, George Harrison wrote Wah-Wah, his reflection on his frustrations with The Beatles on their disintegration and his resentment of Lennon and McCartney’s dismissive attitude towards his talent.

Harrison rejoined The Beatles a few days later, thankfully – a couple of months later work started on Abbey Road, the album where Harrison’s songwriting arguably eclipsed Lennon-McCartney.

Wah-Wah stayed in gestation until the band finally fell apart a year later. It manages to express Harrison’s frustration and anger at his band mates far more articulately than Lennon’s song about the break up, How Do You Sleep? Lennon’s burning bitterness contrasts with Harrison’s hurt sarcasm here aimed at Lennon and McCartney:

You’ve made me such a big star
Being there at the right time
Cheaper than a dime …

The refrain of Wah-Wah itself stresses Harrison’s pain at the pointless arguing, feeling almost like a mini-migraine.  But Wah-Wah, despite its theme that Harrison was pigeon-holed and  just treated as The Beatles’ effects pedal,  is ultimately optimistic about leaving the band:

Now I don’t need no wah-wah
And I know how sweet life can be
If I keep myself free
Wah-wah, I don’t need no wah-wah.

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