George Harrison Helped Revive Ronnie Spector’s Career By Giving Her ‘Try Some Buy Some’
In 1970, George Harrison had so many songs stockpiled; he didn’t know what to do with them all. Most of them had flowed out of him endlessly while he was still in The Beatles. He saved them for later because he knew getting one of his tunes on a Beatles album was like pulling teeth.
So, when George left The Beatles, he had more songs than he knew what to do with. Eventually, he just started giving them away to fellow rock stars who he knew would serve them well. That included Ronnie Spector, whose career was on a downturn at the time.
George Harrison gave Ronnie Spector ‘Try Some Buy Some’
After leaving The Beatles, what do you do? For George, there was only one option; make an album. He had a stockpile of songs, and he knew he wanted to do something as a reaction to leaving one of the biggest bands in the world. So, he made a triple album called All Things Must Pass.
However, even after making a triple album, George still had songs leftover, including “Try Some Buy Some.” When work on All Things Must Pass ended, George and Phil Spector, the album’s producer, decided to focus on reviving the career of Spector’s wife, Ronnie.
For Ronnie’s comeback album, which was to be produced by The Beatles record label, Apple, George gave her “Try Some Buy Some.” Ronnie recorded it in London, although it wasn’t exactly a song she would have sung with The Ronettes.
George wrote ‘Try Some Buy Some’ about God
In his 1980 memoir, I Me Mine, George said he wrote the tune on the organ. Since he didn’t understand the instrument that well, he got into “complications.”
“With keyboards you can do changes which you can’t really do well or at all on the guitar; you can move the bass line down and keep changing your right hand forward, changing the different notes, and this tune was based on these weird chords that I got,” George wrote.
“I couldn’t play both parts (left and right hand) at the same time and I had a friend write it down for me-as I don’t write notation.”
Like most songs on All Things Must Pass, “Try Some Buy Some” is about God. However, Ronnie was lost on George’s spirituality. The Ronettes sang about love and relationships with partners, not God.
“Even though the words are mundane if the attitude is directed back towards the source, then it becomes more spiritual for me and has more meaning, even though it can still be regarded as a simple tune,” George continued in I Me Mine.
The song’s lyrics include, “Way back in time/ Someone said try some/ I tried some/ Now buy some, I bought some/ Oh Oh Oh/ After a while/ When I had tried them/ Denied them/ I opened my eyes and/ I saw you.” So you can tell this was not “Be My Baby.”
How well did ‘Try Some Buy Some’ do on the charts?
Although it might have been weird for Ronnie to sing “Try Some Buy Some,” she sang it beautifully.
Rolling Stone wrote, “The tune is more pensive and plodding (and therefore more George Harrison–y) than the Ronettes’ music, but Ronnie’s voice fits in perfectly as she sings about opening her eyes and falling in love (with God this time, since Harrison wrote it).”
The tune didn’t do horribly on the charts either. It made it to No. 77 on the Billboard chart. Later, George recorded the song himself and placed it on Living in the Material World. After that, David Bowie recorded the tune for his 2003 Reality album. However, Bowie had some thoughts on George’s spiritual undertones on the tune.
“For him [George],” Bowie told The Word, “there is a belief in some kind of system. But I really find that hard. Not on a day to day basis, because there are habits of life that have convinced me there is something solid to believe in.
“But when I become philosophical, in those ‘long lonely hours,’ it’s the source of all my frustrations, hammering away at the same questions I’ve had since I was 19. Nothing has really changed for me. This daunting spiritual search.
“If you can make the spiritual connection with some kind of clarity then everything else would fall into place. A morality would seem to be offered, a plan would seem to be offered, some sense would be there. But it evades me.
“Yet I can’t help writing about it. My cache of subject matter gets smaller and smaller and is rapidly reduced to those two or three questions. But they’re continual questions and they seem to be the essence of what I’ve written over time. And I’m not going to stop.”
Whatever the song means to the people who’ve recorded it, “Try Some Buy Some” gave Ronnie the chance to reinvigorate her career. It didn’t exactly do the trick, but at least it allowed Ronnie to work with George.