May 8, 2009 / 11:38 AM / in 10 years

Unseen George Harrison lyric goes on display

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A previously unseen George Harrison lyric, found on the floor of the Abbey Road studios and dating back to 1967, has gone on display at the British Library.

A previously unseen George Harrison lyric, found on the floor of the Abbey Road studios and dating back to 1967, in an image courtesy of the British Library. REUTERS/Handout

Written when Harrison was aged 23 or 24, the untitled song came from an era when the Beatles had stopped touring to spend more time in the studio to work on the “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album.

Beatles biographer Hunter Davies found it during research for a new edition of The Beatles official biography, which has just been re-released more than 40 years after its original publication.

In its introduction, Davies recalls how he collected Beatles lyrics discarded as scrap paper from the floor of the studios and kept them as souvenirs.

“It’s almost certain that they would have been thrown out by the cleaners if he hadn’t picked them up,” the library said in a news release.

Harrison never recorded the song, nor perhaps even put music to the words, it added.

It runs:

“Im happy to say that its only a dream

when I come across people like you,

its only a dream and you make it obscene

with the things that you think and you do.

Your so unaware of the pain that I bear

and jealous for what you cant do.

There’s times when I feel that you haven’t a hope

but I also know that isn’t true.

On the reverse side are instructions on how to reach the Beatles manager, Brian Epstein’s country house in Sussex, written in Epstein’s hand.

This means Harrison must have written the lyric before August 1967 when Epstein was found dead at his London home following an accidental sleeping pill overdose.

Harrison himself died of cancer in 2001.

“George’s words are all that is left of the song — we can only guess what it would have sounded like so it is an invaluable and hugely interesting piece of Beatles memorabilia,” said Jamie Andrews, Head of Modern Literary Manuscripts at the British Library.

A red rose is placed next to a portrait of former Beatle George Harrison on the gates of the Abbey Road Studios in London in this November 30, 2001 file photo. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty

Although Beatles compositions were credited to Lennon/McCartney, in reality most of the songs were 90 percent John Lennon or 90 percent Paul McCartney, rather than being simple 50/50 splits, the library said.

“The handwriting of each lyric on display ... illustrates this. For example, ‘Help’ is one of Lennon’s so it’s in his handwriting. ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Michelle’ are by McCartney so it’s in his handwriting. This makes George’s lyric all the more rare.”

Also in the collection is memorabilia ranging from a fan club membership card to the lyrics of “A Hard Day’s Night” written by Lennon on the back of a birthday card to his son Julian.

Reporting by Steve Addison; Editing by Paul Casciato

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