If I Needed Someone - The Beatles

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"If I Needed Someone" - The Beatles (1965)

"If I Needed Someone" was heavily influenced by the psychedelic folk groups such as the Byrd’s- specifically the jangly guitars.

Byrd’s guitarist Roger McGuinn remembers:

“George Harrison composed that song after hearing the Byrds’ recording of ‘Bells of Rhymney.’ He had written the song based on the rising and falling notes of my electric Rickenbacker 12-string guitar introduction.”

Harrison himself commented:

“That guitar line, or variations on it, written around a D chord, is found in many a song and it amazes me that people still find new permutations of the same notes.”

The track is not particularly ambitious or original- yet, just beneath the surface production values allow it to fit in so compatibly among the Lennon and McCartney originals which surround it.

It has all the markings of a George Harrison song including the modal harmony and the cramped stepwise tune.

Musicologistg Tim Riley commented that once the song gets going, the hypnotic guitar texture of it carries in through.

“Paul’s upwardly arching bass line doesn’t push or prod; it settles back into the ebb and flow of everything else. George’s musical personality is still awkwardly earnest, but at the same time his best song yet sounds relaxed and confident. He knows he’s set up a fine riff, and all he has to do is ride it out.”

The lyrics are typical George Harrison- cynical and very snappy. The idea of carving a woman’s number on the wall and then telling her maybe he’ll call is so rich in irony and full of attitude that when you hear it you can’t help but feel you’re listening to a drowning man trying to play hardball with the person holding the rope.

The speaker is ensconced in a fulfilling relationship and rejects an overture from another love interest. However he does so in a way that ironically diminishes his love.

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