With such a huge discography, including both their group work and solo efforts, picking a favourite song by The Beatles boys feels almost impossible. Where do you even begin trying to rank their evolving sound from the 1960s into their solo projects for the ‘80s and beyond? Especially when it comes to George Harrison, his contributions to the band were vast, long before the folk-rock impact of his solo work. But for Dhani Harrison, his son, one song in particular stands out.
Dhani is the only son of the Beatles guitarist and his second wife, Olivia Harrison. Born in 1978, the Beatles heir would go on to play an instrumental role in his father’s solo career, becoming a musician himself and helping his father record his final record, Brainwashed.
On the first anniversary of George Harrison’s death, his son joined Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Prince, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty and more for a tribute concert. Playing acoustic guitar, the similarities between Harrison and his father, in both look and sound, were astonishing. Before the finale, McCartney recounted a message from Harrison’s mother, saying, “Olivia said that with Dhani up on stage, it looks like George stayed young and we all got old.”
Deeply connected to his father’s music, Dhani has spoken in depth about his father and his impact. He’s even shared his favourite George Harrison song, coming in the form of an unlikely choice.
‘Run Of The Mill’ off the 1970 record All Things Must Pass sits at Dhani’s favourite song. Picked off his father’s debut solo record that contains the hits ‘My Sweet Lord’ and ‘If Not For You’, ‘Run Of The Mill’ stands out for its clever wordplay.
During a 2017 interview with The Stranger, Dhani said that he connected to the lyric, “everyone has choice when to or not to raise their voices”. As a song that details the infighting and bickering in the Beatles’ last years, ‘Run Of The Mill’ was Harrison’s take on the split.
“The message of that song is so important … especially now,” Dhani said. “It’s a spiritual song about getting enlightened.”
In his 1998 book I, Me, Mine, the Beatles guitarist talked about the track, saying: “I like the words to ‘Run of the Mill’, it was the first song I ever wrote that looked like a poem on paper, whereas most of them don’t seem much until you put the lyric with the tune.”
“It’s like the North of England thing — you know, ‘Trouble at t’mill,’” he continued. “It was when [The Beatles’ Apple Records] was getting crazy — Ringo wanted it blue, John wanted it white, Paul wanted it green, and I wanted orange. Paul was falling out with us all and going around Apple offices saying ‘You’re no good.’”
‘Run Of The Mill’ was Harrison getting all that conflict out in the open and choosing to put it to bed. To Dhani Harrison, hearing his father’s take on the break up of the band is enough to make this album track his favourite.