As a member of the Beatles, George Harrison was lucky to get a couple of songs on each album. Yet, despite being overshadowed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Harrison wrote some of the band's most endearing tunes. Once the Beatles split, Harrison's explosion of solo hits -- many written while with the Beatles -- suggested that the two-song limit might have held him back. Through the years, a slew of artists have recorded Harrison's songs, so for the ninth anniversary of his passing on Nov. 29, we present 10 of our favorite Harrison covers.
'While My Guitar Gently Weeps,' Santana
This Beatles song, performed with the aid of Eric Clapton on lead guitar, has been covered by scores of artists, from Phish and the Jeff Healey Band to ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro. But Santana's 2010 version combines his Latin influences with the folk and soul touch of India.Arie and the classical imprint of cellist Yo Yo Ma. Harrison's widow, Olivia, told guitarist Carlos Santana that George would be proud of this version.
In the days immediately following Harrison's death, My Morning Jacket's front man Jim James recorded several Harrison classics, including this sleepy 'White Album' waltz. Performed in the dreamy, echo-y manner that characterized earlier MMJ songs, this cover was one of six Harrison songs included in 'Tribute To,' a 2009 EP James put out under the transparently pseudonymous Yim Yames.
Simone Joyner, Getty Images
'Something,' Frank Sinatra
Through the 1950s, Sinatra often criticized rock music, once telling Western World magazine it was "sung, played and written for the most part by cretinous goons. It manages to be the martial music of every sideburned delinquent on the face of the earth." Apparently, he got over it, later calling this Beatles tune "one of the best love songs, I believe, to be written in 50 or 100 years." Elvis Presley -- the man Sinatra often referred to in his rock criticisms -- would also perform 'Something,' as would James Brown, Joe Cocker, Julio Iglesias, Tony Bennett and dozens of others.
Havens earned his fame for creating the song 'Freedom' on the spot before tens of thousands of fans at Woodstock. Despite that incredible boost -- his intense performance was captured in the 'Woodstock' movie -- Havens would score only one hit single, a 1970 cover of this optimistic Harrison Beatles tune. Using his long thumb to barre chords on an open-tuned acoustic guitar, his unique interpretation is both somber and hopeful with a spiritual flavoring.
Having met the Beatles while on tour with Little Richard in the mid-'60s, this Houston-born keyboardist would contribute to several of their songs, becoming the only non-Beatle to receive credit on a Beatles record ('Get Back': "The Beatles with Billy Preston"). Even before Harrison released his jam-packed 'All Things Must Pass' solo album, Preston put out this soulful, light rock cover -- originally written while Harrison was still with the Beatles -- for his 1970 album 'Encouraging Words.'
While Bowie had a direct line to the Beatles -- he performed 'Fame' with John Lennon -- he actually recorded this Harrison solo song as a Ronnie Spector cover. Spector released her version of 'Try Some, Buy Some' in 1971, two years before it would appear on Harrison's 'Living in the Material World' album. Bowie, a big Spector fan, said he was channeling Spector when he recorded this lush, Wall of Sound cover for his 2003 album 'Reality.'
After working as a nightclub piano player at age 14, Russell became an elite session pianist who has worked for Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, the Rolling Stones, the Byrds and several others. So by the time he was a solo act, he had no problem getting contributions from people like Harrison, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood. He performed this song as a duet with Harrison at the 1971 'Concert for Bangladesh' and released his faithful cover that same year.
Parker had serious blues cred, having performed with Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin' Wolf, Bobby Bland and B.B. King. But he was also versatile, as he proved in this soulful Beatles cover, from 1971. Featuring funky guitar riffs, laid-back -- at times talking -- vocals and a mellow groove, this cover takes the edge off of tax day.
When the Kinks opened for the Beatles, John Lennon let it be known that as the support band they were merely there to keep the crowd occupied until the headliners hit the stage. But Davies, the Kinks lead guitarist, apparently didn't hold a grudge against the Fab Four, recording this Harrison cover for 'Songs From the Material World: A Tribute to George Harrison' in 2003. Though not particularly a fan of covers, Davies provides a faithful one here -- he made an exception due to Harrison's "shining spirituality" -- duplicating Harrison's trademark guitar fills.
Known more for her jazzy cover of 'Here Comes the Sun,' Simone's 1972 single, recorded live, presents Harrison's solo effort as a soul revival, complete with a robust gospel choir. The High Priestess of Soul, known for her unique interpretation of other artists' works, also recorded an impressive version of Harrison's 'Isn't It a Pity,' slowing down the tempo to bring focus to her calming vocals.