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A recording by the Hollies was issued in Britain on the same day as Rubber Soul and peaked at number 20 on the national singles chart.
This success gave Harrison his first chart hit as a songwriter, although his criticism of the Hollies' performance led to a terse exchange in the press between the two groups.
Harrison wrote "If I Needed Someone" as a love song to Pattie Boyd, the English model whom he married in January 1966.
The lyrics convey an ambivalent tone, however, and have invited interpretation as a message to a casual love interest.
Following its inclusion in the set list for the Beatles' 1965 UK tour, it became the only Harrison composition performed live by the group during their years of international fame.
On release, "If I Needed Someone" was widely considered to be Harrison's best song to date.
Jackson writes that the sound on "If I Needed Someone" was "so transcendent", in its combination of elements from the two Byrds songs and the Beatles' "soaring harmonies" and treble-rich guitar parts, that Lennon chose to use it for his Rubber Soul track "Nowhere Man".
according to music critic Richie Unterberger, "If I Needed Someone" and "Think for Yourself", which also appeared on the UK version of Rubber Soul, were the first Harrison-written songs "to really make people sit up and notice".
Further to the message of the song title, Harrison offers his love only if he should happen to need "someone", and on the condition that time allows for such a relationship; he conveys his feelings in matter-of-fact terms.
The song reflects the reciprocal influences shared between the Beatles and the American band the Byrds.
It is arranged in the folk rock style, a genre that the Byrds had introduced by blending the respective styles of Bob Dylan and the Beatles, and features prominent three-part harmony vocals and Rickenbacker twelve-string electric guitar – the instrument that the Byrds had adopted to replicate Harrison's sound in the 1964 film A Hard Day's Night.
"If I Needed Someone" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles, written by George Harrison, the group's lead guitarist.
It was released in December 1965 on their album Rubber Soul, except for in North America, where it appeared on the 1966 release Yesterday and Today.