George Harrison Wrote ‘Something’ About Krishna, but Didn’t Want People to Think He Was a ‘Poof’

George Harrison wrote one of his most famous songs, “Something,” about the one thing he loved most, Krishna. Many people thought the Beatle was singing about his wife, Pattie. However, George liked when people couldn’t figure out if he singing about God or a woman. They were interchangeable to him.

Although, George really was singing about Krishna this time. He just didn’t want to sing, “Something in the way he moves me” because he didn’t want fans to think he was gay.

George Harrison wearing black with members of the Hare Krishna temple in 1969.
George Harrison with members of the Hare Krishna temple | Wolstenholme/Getty Images

George Harrison didn’t think ‘Something’ would sell

From the moment George started reading about Hinduism in the mid-1960s, he became spiritual. He meditated and chanted and soon met some of the Hare Krishna temple’s devotees.

In 1969, George and Pattie invited them over to their home, Kinfauns, in Esher. “This was company George could relish without reservation, good people on a sunshiny day. God was smiling,” Joshua M. Greene wrote in Here Comes The Sun: The Spiritual And Musical Journey Of George Harrison.

After listening to an afternoon raga by Ravi Shankar (George’s musical guru), a devotee named Mukunda started playing George’s harmonium. Then, George picked up a guitar, plugged it into an amp and said, “There’s a little song I’ve been working on. It’s very simple. I call it ‘Something.'”

When he was finished singing, George “looked up and saw his guests sitting motionless, enraptured by what they were hearing. The song ended, and one by one they emerged from the music’s magic hold,” Greene wrote.

“‘Do you think it’ll sell?’ George asked sheepishly. Pattie smiled, accustomed to his insecurities. As long as she had known him, he had been an enigma, sometimes exuding self-confidence, sometimes doubting whether he could do anything right.

“When they met, he had invoked in her, as he had in thousands of young women and men, the excitement of superstardom. It seemed unthinkable back then that beneath the glory there lived someone with such doubts about himself. The psychology of the human being was so much more complex than his image.”

RELATED: George Harrison Said It Was a Big Decision to Start ‘All Things Must Pass’ With ‘I’d Have You Anytime’

George wrote ‘Something’ about Krishna but changed the lyrics

George’s guests were moved by the song.

Then, he explained, “Actually, it’s about Krishna. But I couldn’t say he, could I? I had to say she or they’d think I’m a poof.”

“Apart from recollections by those who were there that evening, no notes exist verifying the spiritual meaning of ‘Something.’ George rarely elaborated on his work, preferring to let the music speak for itself. Still, in many songs he had begun equating love between a soul and God with love between a woman and a man—it was often hard to tell which he meant,” Green wrote.

In a 1976 interview with Crawdaddy, George said he liked that people couldn’t figure out whether he was singing about Krishna or a woman.

“That’s good– I like that,” George said. “I think individual love is just a little of universal love. The ultimate love, the universal love or love of God, is a basic goal. Each one of us must manifest our individual love, manifest the divinity which is in us.

“All individual love between one person loving another, or loving this that or the other, is all small parts or small examples of that one universal love. It’s all God, I mean, if you can handle the word ‘God.’

“Ultimately, the love can become so big that we can love the whole of creation instead of ‘I love this, but I don’t like that.’ Singing to the Lord or an individual is, in way, the same. I’ve done that consciously in some songs.”

Pattie maintains that the song is about her.

RELATED: George Harrison Said Hippies Treated Him Like the Messiah at Haight-Ashbury

The Beatles worked on the song during the ‘Let It Be’ sessions

In Peter Jackson’s documentary, The Beatles: Get Back, George started work on “Something.” However, he got stuck on the lyric, “Attracts me like no other lover.” His first attempt was, “Attracts me like a moth to candlelight.” George said he’d use the word pomegranate.

John Lennon gave advice. “Just say whatever comes into your head each time,” he said. “‘Attacks me like a cauliflower,’ until you get the word, you know?” Then, George said he’d been working on “Something” for about six months. He got the lyric “Something in the way she moves” from the James Taylor song of the same name.

George first gave “Something” to Joe Cocker. Then, he recorded it with The Beatles during the Abbey Road sessions. In his 1980 memoir, I Me Mine, George wrote, “This I suppose is my most successful song with over 150 cover versions.”

He said he loved James Brown and Smoley Robinson’s covers the best and heard Ray Charles singing it when he wrote it. Charles eventually covered the song too. Even though Frank Sinatra called “Something” one of the best love songs ever, George didn’t name his version as one of the best.

Whoever covered “Something,” Sinatra was right. It is one of the best love songs and it can be about anyone you want.

RELATED: George Harrison Wrote ‘Old Brown Shoe’ on an Instrument He Didn’t Usually Play, but Played Bass Like ‘a Lunatic’