Song facts: Not Guilty

Not Guilty is a song written by George Harrison in 1968, after The Beatles' trip to India to study mediation. The track was intended for inclusion on The White Album.

Recording

On August 7th 1968, The Beatles began recording the song for inclusion on the band's forthcoming White Album. But after 99 takes they abandoned the track, due to its difficult time signature changes. Over 100 hours was spent on George's ill-fated song. 

Unfortunately for George, Not Guilty was never included on The White Album. George shelved or forgot about the piece until 1979, when he re-recorded it for his self-titled 1979 album. A version of the recording was later released on The Beatles' Anthology 3 in 1996

"I wrote that in 1968. It was after we got back from Rishikesh in the Himalayas on the Maharishi trip, and it was for the White Album. We recorded it but we didn't get it down right or something. Then I forgot all about it until a year ago, when I found this old demo I'd made in the Sixties. The lyrics are a bit passé - all about upsetting 'Apple carts' and stuff - but it's a bit about what was happening at the time. 'Not guilty for getting in your way/While you're trying to steal the day' - which was me trying to get a space. 'Not guilty/For looking like a freak/Making friends with every Sikh/For leading your astray/On the road to Mandalay' - which is the Maharishi and going to the Himalayas and all that was said about that. I like the tune a lot; it would make a great tune for Peggy Lee or someone." - George Harrison

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Anthology 3, 1996. 

Anthology 3, 1996. 

Personnel

Beatles version

  • George Harrison – vocals, electric guitars, harpsichord
  • Paul McCartney – bass, percussion
  • John Lennon – harpsichord
  • Ringo Starr – drums

George Harrison version

  • George Harrison – vocals, acoustic guitars
  • Neil Larsen – electric piano
  • Steve Winwood – keyboards
  • Willie Weeks – bass
  • Andy Newmark – drums
  • Ray Cooper – conga

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