If you mention the song title “Old Brown Shoe” by The Beatles, I think many people would say, “Huh? What?” I mean it’s not exactly as well known as “She Loves You”, but it is a fantastic song from the pen of the often overshadowed songwriter George Harrison. (To put things into perspective it was the B side of “The Ballad of John and Yoko.”) I found this early demo version on YouTube featuring more prominent vocals and piano.
Lyrically, the song is pretty interesting. The Wikipedia entry compares it to McCartney’s “Hello, Goodbye” in the sense there are themes of opposites and conflicts in both. In “Old Brown Shoe” Harrison sings about wanting “a short haired girl who sometimes wears it twice as long.” To me, the middle eight section is great both lyrically and musically. “When I grown up I’ll be a singer, wearing rings on every finger.” Give Paul McCartney credit for some interesting bass lines here.
Harrison later recorded this song on his 1992 album “Live in Japan.” If you don’t think this song is bluesy enough for you, check out the version by Leslie West (Mountain) on “Song from the Material World – A Tribute to George Harrison.” It’s also been played by Conan O’Brien and Gary Brooker (Procul Harum) at tribute concerts.
The first time I heard this song was on the cassette version of “The Beatles Greatest Hits 1967-1970.” I thoroughly enjoyed the song’s different texture then and still do now.
Till next time, keep your Mojo on the Horizon!