George Harrison Wrote ‘See Yourself’ About Paul McCartney’s Experience With the Press After He Took LSD

George Harrison wrote “See Yourself” with some interesting inspiration in mind. He wrote it around the time Paul McCartney first told the press that he took LSD. The song was George’s way of telling his bandmate to be careful of his actions.

The Beatles posing for a photo call for the launch of 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' in 1967.
The Beatles | John Downing/Express/Getty Images

George Harrison said he and John Lennon were the first Beatles to take LSD

In his 1980 memoir, I Me Mine, George explained the origins of his 1976 song “See Yourself.” He wrote it while he was in The Beatles during the period when the band experimented with the drug LSD.

“‘See Yourself’ is directly related to taking the drug LSD and Paul’s experience with the press,” George wrote. “John and I had taken it for about two years before it was publicised. After having had that experience we (John and I) wanted the others to know about it because suddenly there seemed to be a big space between us and the other two.

“Ringo then had some but Paul would not take it. After about two years he finally did, and somehow then it all came out in the papers.”

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George said ‘See Yourself’ is about Paul McCartney’s experiences with the press after he told them he took LSD

When the papers made Paul’s use of LSD public knowledge, his good-guy image fractured. A media storm ensued that rivaled the one that happened after John Lennon said The Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ.

“They went to Paul and said, ‘Have you taken the dangerous drug LSD?’ and he said, ‘Look I’m going to tell the truth: it’s going to be your responsibility, as the newspapers, passing it on.’ So they said, ‘Look just tell us, have you taken it or not?’ and he said, ‘Yes.’

“And of course they passed it on to the waiting world. There was a big outcry with people saying, ‘You should have said ‘No!” I wrote most of that song back in 1967 but didn’t finish it until much later.”

Looking at the lyrics to “See Yourself,” one wouldn’t be able to see that that was what George was talking about. However, it’s a classic George song, and given some context, they do make sense.

“It’s easier to tell a lie / Than it is to tell the truth / It’s easier to kill a fly / Than it is to turn it loose / It’s easier to see the books upon the shelf / Than to see yourself.”

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George remembered he had the song in 1976

It’s not clear why George never finished “See Yourself” in 1967. However, it’s understandable why he forgot about it. By then, George was writing up a storm. Once he’d started writing songs in 1963, they flowed out of him like water. Maybe he had so many tunes he was working on that a few just slipped through the cracks. George stockpiled away most of his songs anyway because The Beatles only gave him a couple of songs on each album.

“It was one of the tunes that I forgot about but in 1976 I remembered it, completed the lyrics to the bridge and the second and third verses, and recorded it that year,” George concluded.

“See Yourself” landed on George’s seventh studio album, Thirty Three & 1/3. It’s not one of George’s most well-known songs, but it does have an interesting back story.

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