By Damian Fanelli
On November 29, 2002, the first anniversary of George Harrison's death, an impressive assemblage of the former Beatle's band mates, family members and buddies gathered at London's Royal Albert Hall to pay tribute to his life and music. That event—which was released in 2003 as The Concert for George—featured performances by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and many others.
One of the Harrison-penned tunes tackled that night was "Something," which originally appeared on the Beatles' Abbey Road album in 1969. The performance, which you can watch below, is something of a two-parter.
It starts off with McCartney singing and playing a ukulele.
“Sometimes if you’d go ‘round to George’s house, after you’d have dinner, the ukuleles would come out," McCartney said as he introducing "Something." "And one time not so long ago, we were playing and I said, 'There’s a song I do on the ukulele.’ I played it for him—[I'll] play it for you now. It’s a tribute to our beautiful friend.”
At the 1:50 mark, the arrangement shifts to the original Beatles version, with guitarist Marc Mann taking the guitar solo. At this point, McCartney grabs an acoustic guitar and Clapton takes over on lead vocals.
There are a few cool moments in this section of the song, including 3:13, when McCartney sings backing vocals—just as he did on the original Beatles' recording—as Ringo Starr plays drums behind him. It's a nice touch that Billy Preston, who played keyboards on Abbey Road and Let It Be, is part of the band. As I've written before, it was as close to a Beatles reunion as you could get in 2002.