Don't Bother Me

Written by George Harrison

Album This song officially appears on the With the Beatles (Mono) Official album.
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

Early George Harrison songs

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Don’t Bother Me” is the first song written by George Harrison to appear on an album by the Beatles. It originally appeared on the group’s With the Beatles album in the United Kingdom, released in 1963, and on their Meet the Beatles! album in the United States, released in 1964.

Composition

Harrison wrote the song while ill in bed at a hotel room in Bournemouth, England where the Beatles were playing some shows during the summer of 1963. He considered it an exercise in whether he could write a song, later saying, “at least it showed me that all I needed to do was keep on writing, and then maybe eventually I would write something good.” Harrison received a writing credit for two earlier songs, “In Spite of All the Danger” (McCartney/Harrison) and “Cry for a Shadow” (Harrison/Lennon). Both were recorded by The Beatles but neither was released officially by the band until 1995’s Anthology 1 compilation. Because the former was largely a McCartney composition (Harrison received a credit simply for playing the guitar solo) and the latter was an instrumental pastiche of the Shadows, “Don’t Bother Me” is considered Harrison’s first song by most (including the composer himself).

After “Don’t Bother Me“, it was not until 1965’s Help! album that another Harrison-penned song (“I Need You” and “You Like Me Too Much“) would appear on record. “You Know What to Do” was recorded in 1964, but was not released at the time.

Musical structure

The sullen mood and desolate lyrics—”So go away, leave me alone, don’t bother me” — were unusual for the Beatles at the time but would become characteristic for Harrison. The song mostly stays in a minor key (Em), with a in a i-IV-i Dorian alternation during the chorus: the Em of “since she’s gone” shifting to a v (Bm chord) on “gone” then an iv (A minor chord) on “no-one” makes the verse an Aeolian (or natural minor) mode, and an interior guitar part during the verse plays an F natural, briefly referencing an E Phrygian mode. The chords of the chorus (Em-A-Em) also create the Dorian progression i-IV-i. The song achieves a thick sound through its double-tracked vocal, reverbed guitars, and busy drumming. The elaborate percussion lends the song a Latin rhythm accentuated by its stop-time structure.

On some late-1970’s Canadian stereo pressings of Meet the Beatles!, an alternate version of the song with an extra ‘don’t’ sung at 2:08 is included in place of the standard stereo version.

Recording

They recorded the song on 11 and 12 September 1963. They were not satisfied with the version recorded on the eleventh and did a remake on the twelfth. Just a few days after the recording was completed, Harrison became the first member of the Beatles to travel to the US when he visited his sister in Benton, Illinois.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 30 Sep 1963.
    UK: Parlophone PMC 1206 With the Beatles 1963.
    CD: EMI CDP 7 46436 2 With the Beatles 1987.
  • [b] stereo 29 Oct 1963.
    UK: Parlophone PCS 3045 With the Beatles 1963.
  • [b1] stereo remixed from [b] 1963, by Capitol.
    US: Capitol ST 2047 Meet the Beatles 1964.
  • [b2] mono made from [b] 1963, by Capitol.
    US: Capitol T 2047 Meet the Beatles 1964.
  • [c] stereo 29 oct 1963 ?
    Canada: Capitol ST 2047 Meet the Beatles circa 1976.

Mix [c] is like [b] except for a vocal error by George at almost the end of the song, where he sings an extra “don’t” out of place in “when she’s come home, until that day, DON’T, don’t come around, leave me alone”. For [a] [b] this could have been removed during remix by cutting out the vocal track but since [c] exists at all, it suggests removal was done by editing the remix? This is on Capitol of Canada purple label side 2 matrix ST-2047 B and possibly other label variants issued after they stopped using the Apple label in 1976. Capitol of Canada had previously used only a mono mix of this song for their mono-only “Beatlemania! With the Beatles” LP. (The same reissue LP has “I want to hold your hand” and “This boy” in mock stereo, not using the stereo “This boy” that they had later in 1976.)

Lyrics

Since she's been gone
I want no one
To talk to me
It's not the same
But I'm to blame
It's plain to see

So go away and leave me alone
Don't bother me

I can't believe
That she would leave
Me on my own
It's just not right
Where every night
I'm all alone

I've got no time for you right now
Don't bother me

I know I'll never be the same
If I don't get her back again
Because I know she'll always be
The only girl for me

But till she's here
Please don't come near
just stay away
I'll let you know
When she's come home
Untill that the day

Don't come around leave me alone
Don't bother me

I've got no time for you right now
Don't bother me

I know I'll never be the same
If I don't get her back again
Because I know she'll always be
The only girl for me

But till she's here
Please don't come near
Just stay away
I'll let you know
When she's come home
Untill that the day

Don't come around leave me alone
Don't bother me
Don't bother me
Don't bother me

Officially appears on


With the Beatles (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1963

2:28 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Woodblock
Ringo Starr:
Bongo, Drums
John Lennon:
Rhythm guitar, Tambourine
George Harrison:
Lead guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Sep 11, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Sep 12, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Sep 30, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


With the Beatles (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1963

2:28 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Woodblock
Ringo Starr:
Bongo, Drums
John Lennon:
Rhythm guitar, Tambourine
George Harrison:
Lead guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Sep 11, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Sep 12, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 29, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road


Meet the Beatles! (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1964

2:30 • Studio versionB2 • Mono made from [B] by Capitol

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Woodblock
Ringo Starr:
Bongo, Drums
John Lennon:
Rhythm guitar, Tambourine
George Harrison:
Lead guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Sep 11, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Sep 12, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 29, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road


Meet the Beatles! (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1964

2:30 • Studio versionB1 • Stereo remixed from [B] by Capitol

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Woodblock
Ringo Starr:
Bongo, Drums
John Lennon:
Rhythm guitar, Tambourine
George Harrison:
Lead guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Sep 11, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Sep 12, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 29, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Bootlegs


Yellow Submarine Sessions

Unofficial album

1:02 • Outtake • RS From Take 15 Stereo


Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 1 (1962-1963)

Unofficial album • Released in 1989

3:50 • Outtake • Take 11, 12

Session Recording:
Sep 12, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 6 (1962-1969)

Unofficial album • Released in 1991

2:50 • Alternate take • Take 10

Session Recording:
Sep 12, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


With The Beatles - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2011

2:49 • Outtake • Stereo • Take 10 remake

Session Recording:
Sep 12, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


With The Beatles - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2011

0:25 • Outtake • Stereo • Take 11

Session Recording:
Sep 12, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Concerts where “Don't Bother Me” has been played

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.

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