A rendition of The Beatles’ “Something” by Nancy Sinatra is the epitome of a 1960s vibe. Yet, it wasn’t until 2013 that Sinatra graced us with her unique take on the song. Curiously, the renowned “Sugar Town” songstress didn’t express much about George Harrison, the genius behind “Something.”
In 2013, Sinatra’s album “Shifting Gears” unveiled covers of classics, including “Something” by The Beatles and Jimmy Webb’s “MacArthur Park”. Sinatra, in a 2013 conversation with Vice, opened up about the long hiatus in releasing these covers. She mused, “They didn’t align with my musical direction for most of my journey. Honestly, I didn’t want them gathering dust. They deserved an audience, especially among my followers.”
Diving deeper, she shared, “While the vocals were recent, the background tracks date back. They’ve been waiting for their spotlight, and it’s high time. Without a label, it’s a challenge. But The Orchards’ digital release proposition was a game-changer.”
Discussing her picks for “Shifting Gears”, Sinatra expressed her admiration for the legendary writers like Jimmy Webb, Neil Sedaka, Neil Diamond, and the Great American Songbook icons like Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hammerstein, emphasizing the gravity of their work. However, she intriguingly left out a direct mention of George.
Interestingly, the book, “George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviews and Encounters” cites a 1979 interview where George addressed the common misconception of “Something” being a Lennon-McCartney piece.
Over the decades since its 1969 debut, “Something” has received love from artists as varied as Diana Ross, Billie Eilish, Joe Cocker, Celine Dion, Elvis Presley, and of course, Sinatra. In the same interview, George recalled how he imagined the legendary Ray Charles while composing “Something.” He was, however, less thrilled by Charles’ rendition, finding it a tad “kitschy.”
Conversely, George lavished praise on James Brown’s cover, calling it a redemption for Charles’. Brown’s “Something” was a B-side to his single “Think,” and it earned a spot on George’s personal playlist.
George’s untimely departure in 2001 leaves us wondering about his opinion on Sinatra’s take on “Something.” Sinatra’s version gives the classic a fresh twist, infusing it with hints of bossa nova. Her deep and genuine vocal styling offers a stark contrast to her peppy numbers like “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” and “Sugar Town.”
Though tucked away for years, Sinatra’s “Something” was undeniably a revelation worth the anticipation.