The Beatles: Paul McCartney took one solo from George Harrison

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No fan of The Beatles will ever forget the legendary Let It Be documentary that showed Paul McCartney and George Harrison falling out over a guitar solo on Two Of Us. Years prior, quite the opposite happened between the two members of the Fab Four on Taxman.

The Beatles’ track Taxman was included on their seventh studio album, Revolver.

The track was written and performed by Harrison – one of the few tracks he was granted control over during the band’s career.

However, he just could not find a way to finish the song off perfectly. He felt it needed a solo but couldn’t come up with anything.

According to Geoff Emerick in his book Here, There, and Everywhere, the band did not want to dwell on Harrison’s song for too long.

Eventually, the band’s producer George Martin suggested McCartney ought to take a shot at a solo for Taxman.

Emerick said: “This was, after all, a Harrison song and therefore not something anyone was prepared to spend a whole lot of time on. “I could see from the look on Harrison’s face that he didn’t like the idea one bit, but he reluctantly agreed and proceeded to disappear for a couple of hours.” Within those couple of hours, McCartney laid down the guitar solo that is in the final recording of Taxman. But You wouldn’t be criticised for thinking it was Harrison who played the piece.

The Beatles’ biographer Robert Rodriguez claimed Harrison and McCartney worked together on the solo.

The result was McCartney performing a piece of music that was heavily influenced by Harrison’s style of play.

Years later, The Quiet Beatle said: “I was pleased to have [McCartney] play that bit on Taxman. If you notice, he did like a little Indian bit on it for me.”

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Before McCartney took over the performance from Harrison, the star had already approached John Lennon for help on the matter.

Lennon told David Sheff in 1980 he was asked for assistance but was reluctant to help out.

He said: “I remember the day he [Harrison] called to ask for help on Taxman, one of his first songs. I threw in a few one-liners to help the song along because that’s what he asked for. He came to me because he couldn’t go to Paul. Paul wouldn’t have helped him at that period.

“I didn’t want to do it. I just sort of bit my tongue and said OK. It had been John and Paul for so long, he’d been left out because he hadn’t been a songwriter up until then.”

The Beatles never released Taxman as a single, so it didn’t chart.

However, it does mark the continuation of Harrison’s emergence as a prominent songwriter within the band.

Taxman’s lyrics criticise the government for their ruthless tax laws. The idea followed the band being forced to pay over 90 percent of their earnings to the UK’s treasury.


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