The song was heavily influenced by the music of The Byrds. In a 2004 radio interview with the BBC in London, Roger McGuinn confirmed that Harrison had sent a tape recording of the song to him in Los Angeles before it was released on record. Harrison did this to show McGuinn that the guitar riff he had used in "If I Needed Someone" was based on McGuinn's own riff in "The Bells of Rhymney." The song's introduction and coda are also very similar to those of The Byrds' song. Appropriately, The Byrds' own use of electric 12-string guitar was influenced by George Harrison's use of the instrument in the film A Hard Day's Night.
The song as recorded by the Beatles is in the key of A mixolydian, switching to B minor during the breaks. The verses are heavily harmonised, with George Harrison taking the lead line on the first two lines, and John Lennon and Paul McCartney singing above him throughout on each subsequent verse. Harrison sings the break solo, but double tracked in the studio with himself as was customary during the period the Beatles recorded "Rubber Soul".
"If I Needed Someone" was the only Harrison composition played during any of the Beatles' tours; The Quiet Beatle otherwise only sang covers onstage. "If I Needed Someone" is included in the Beatles' Tokyo concerts in July 1966; the documentary The Compleat Beatles used a clip from the Beatles' haggard performance of the song on stage in Tokyo as illustration of how the band was growing tired of touring. The song was also performed on the Beatles' very last concert in Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966. It is suspected, but not confirmed, that "If I Needed Someone" was performed at every Beatles concert in 1966. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.