Harrison later said that "I had a break while Paul was doing some overdubbing so I went into an empty studio and began to write. That's really all there is to it, except the middle took some time to sort out. It didn't go on the White Album because we'd already finished all the tracks." A demo recording of the song by Harrison from this period appears on the Anthology 3 collection, released in 1996.
Many believe that Harrison's inspiration for "Something" was his wife at the time, Pattie Boyd. Boyd also claimed that inspiration in her 2007 autobiography, Wonderful Tonight, where she wrote: "He told me, in a matter-of-fact way, that he had written it for me."
However, Harrison has cited other sources of inspiration to the contrary. In a 1996 interview he responded to the question of whether the song was about Pattie: "Well no, I didn't [write it about her]. I just wrote it, and then somebody put together a video. And what they did was they went out and got some footage of me and Pattie, Paul and Linda, Ringo and Maureen, it was at that time, and John and Yoko and they just made up a little video to go with it. So then, everybody presumed I wrote it about Pattie, but actually, when I wrote it, I was thinking of Ray Charles."
The original intention had been for Harrison to offer the song to Apple Records signing Jackie Lomax, as he had done with a previous composition, "Sour Milk Sea". When this fell through, "Something" was given to Joe Cocker (who had previously covered the Lennon−McCartney song "With a Little Help from My Friends" with great success); his version came out two months before the Beatles'. During the Get Back recording sessions for what eventually became Let It Be, Harrison considered using "Something", but eventually decided against it due to his fear that insufficient care would be taken in its recording; his earlier suggestion of "Old Brown Shoe" had not gone down well with the band.
Recording and production
Main article: Abbey Road (album)
"Something" was recorded during the Abbey Road sessions. It took 52 takes in two main periods, the first session involved a demo take on Harrison's 26th birthday (featured on Anthology 3), 25 February 1969, followed by 13 backing track takes on 16 April. The second main session took 39 takes and started on 2 May 1969 when the main parts of the song were laid down in 36 takes, finishing on 15 August 1969 after several days of recording overdubs.
The original draft that the Beatles used lasted eight minutes, with an extended coda with Lennon on the piano. The middle also contained a small counter-melody section in the draft. Both the counter-melody and Lennon's piano piece were cut from the final version. Still, Lennon's piano was not erased totally. Some bits can be heard in the middle eight, in particular the line played downwards on the C major scale, i.e. the connecting passage to Harrison's guitar solo. The erased parts of Lennon's piano section is similar to the style on Lennon's song "Remember".
The lead vocalist for "Something" was Harrison. The song runs at a speed of about sixty-six beats per minute and is in common time throughout. The melody begins in the key of C major. It continues in this key throughout the intro and the first two verses, until the eight-measure-long