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The forgotten chord in "I Need You"


It took George Harrison a little while to hone his songwriting craft, partly because he didn't have a John Lennon or a Paul McCartney to work with in partnership (they were too busy working with each other), and partly because he got a later start as a writer than John and Paul did. As he famously said in The Beatles Anthology, "They'd written most of their bad songs before we'd even got into the recording studio."

"I Need You" was George's second song to be included on a Beatles album ("Don't Bother Me" was his first), and for a second offering, it's really not bad at all. A mostly acoustic-driven piece, it also features some pedal-tone electric 12-string guitar for added color. (George has been quoted as saying that in some instances, "I played the part, and John would kneel down in front of me and turn my guitar's volume control.")


It is on this guitar, in fact, that George throws in a transition chord which is usually missing from the "official" music books and tablature sites. Even the usually thorough Complete Scores songbook simply has an A major chord for two measures after the line "you don't want my loving anymore" and before the line "that's when it hurt me."

But there's definitely another chord in there, if you listen:


Simple, but beautiful, George has thrown in an augmented chord to move from A to the D chord:


This creates a nice chromatic ascent leading up to the D chord:


Another chordal move that often gets overlooked comes at the end of that same bridge, during the line "I just can't go on anymore." Once again, it's heard mostly in the electric guitar, but it's there: a quick move from B major to B minor.



If you look closely during the performance of this song in the movie Help! you can see George's fingers move to make the B7 to Bm switch:


These are the sorts of tonal changes that would become almost signature sounds for George Harrison, especially in his solo career.

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