Thursday, November 20, 2014

Artifact: George Harrison original handwritten lyrics for "Isn't It A Pity"

Up for bid at Heritage Auctions.

In black ink on a plain white 8.25" x 10" sheet, oddly trimmed at the top truncating slightly the "P" in the title and just touching the "T" in "IT". Another word above "words + music" is apparently missing. The writing is bold and clear with three places where text was crossed out. These are the complete lyrics as the last verse essentially was a repeat of the first; George has written at the bottom "Repeat 1".

This song was released on George's landmark All Things Must Pass album and as a double "A" side with "My Sweet Lord", both in 1970. It was originally written by him in the mid-1960s. According to various historians and insiders, it was turned down for inclusion in Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Let It Be.

In his autobiography I, Me, Mine, George discusses the meaning of the song (page 170): "ISN'T IT A PITY is about whenever a relationship hits a down point- instead of whatever other people do (like breaking each other's jaws) I wrote a song. It was a chance to realise that if I felt somebody had let me down, then there's a good chance / was letting someone else down. We all tend to break each other's hearts, taking and not giving back-isn't it a pity." The lyrics offered here match almost perfectly, line by line, the set shown on page 171 of the above book.

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