It happened on November 27, 1970. George Harrison's musical volcano erupted ....
The masterpiece "All Things Must Pass" has been released to the world.
Harrison was the first of "the Beatles" members to release a solo album after the band disbanded, and it was not one album, not even two but three !!! A triangular album that has no other way of defining it than an erupting musical volcano.
George was always the shy of the four members. He sheltered in the shadow of Paul McCartney and John Lennon The two dominated the musical material brought to the recordings, when George was privileged to one song, sometimes two, in each album the band released and many times the decisions to leave his songs out of the albums were unjustified.
One of the classic and well-known examples of such a case has to do with the recording of the song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" that Harrison wanted "The White Album". Lennon and McCartney did not want the song and refused to put it on the album, but George Harrison brought his friend Eric Clapton to the studio, he played the solo and suddenly Paul and John changed their minds. It's not clear if John and Paul's "U-turn" was due to a Clapton presence, or from an understanding that this was really a great song, but it does not really matter, because this example strikingly illustrates the tremendous talent of George who has not always been able to express it on the Beatles albums.
George's frustration with the dominance and attitude of his two friends, reached another climax during the recording of the song "Two of Us", during the band's sessions for what would later become "Let it Be". During an argument between Paul and George over his playing, George hissed the following words: "I'll play what you want me to play. Or I will not play at all if you do not want me to Whatever it is that I'll please you, I'll do it". This was documented in the Beatles' "Let it Be" film and they highlight the feelings of George, who felt that the "glass ceiling" that his two friends put over his head prevented his musical development And did not allow him to express himself.
It is no wonder then that George was the first of the band members to release a solo album and it is also no surprise that this album included a wealth of musical material, as some of the songs on this album were written during his time with the Beatles, songs that John and Paul rejected and did not get To the mother band albums, or ones that George did not even bother to present to his friends for fear of their reaction. Examples of this can be found in "the Beatles" anthology albums, released during the 90's and include some George Harrison songs played during the Beatles' sessions and will appear a few years later on our reviewed album, such as the theme song "All Things Must Pass" whose earlier version appears on the anthology's third album.
No matter how you look at it, we won big time, because in the end these amazing materials got to see the light of day and better later than never!
It should be noted that this is not George Harrison's first solo album. He put out two more albums while in his days with the Beatles. These are two experimental albums "Wonderwall Music", and "Electronic Sound" which used synthesizers in their earlier version.
After the release of "the White Album" in 1968, George Harrison flew to the United States and spent time at Bob Dylan's home in Woodstock, where "The Band" worked on their debut album. He wrote for himself, as well as for others, such as Billy Preston and "Cream" to whom he contributed the song "Badge", which was released on the band's fourth and final album - "Goodbye" from 1968. Later Harrison joined Clapton's tour with his band "Delaney & Bonnie and Friend" He already seems to be ready for independence and a solo career, but this did not materialize until the official dissolution of the Beatles.
As is well known, the material George Harrison collected was enough for a triple album, but what some do not know is that Harrison had about 20 more demos for songs that did not get to enter the triple album, some released later in his career, proving that it really was a musical volcano waiting to erupt. .
But this volcano was not only reflected in the musical materials, but also in the list of musicians who participated in this project. Some received credit and some did not. The list of musicians and talents is simply inconceivable and we will only list some of them: Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Ginger Baker, Billy Preston, Dave Mason, Peter Frampton, Gary Wright, Klaus Voormann, Alan White, all members of "Badfinger" and even Phil Collins that Harrison was not Aware of his participation in the sessions until the release of the extended edition to mark the 30th anniversary of the album, then he was thanked by Harrison (well you can understand Harrison because it was before Phil's days in "Genesis").
The producer was the esteemed producer Phil Spector, who shortly before that produced the Beatles' last album "Let it Be" and would later produce a significant portion of John Lennon's solo albums and other George Harrison albums. Phil Spector applied his "Wall Of Sound" technique that he developed during the sixties which includes the loading, of sound, layers, channels, and instruments that create a kind of "musical wall" and a rich and full sound.
The sessions for the album took place between the months of May and October 1970 and spawned material for a double album. The third album included jam sessions by George Harrison and his friends, which were recorded during the sessions and were titled "Apple Jam".
By the large, this album revolves around the Rock genre as a whole, with influences from Folk, Motown (there are quite a few brass instruments on the album), gospel (which probably was producer Phil Spector idea), and Indian music.
If you can put your finger on one sound that runs like a thread between almost all of the album's songs, it will probably be George Harrison's slide guitar.
Lyrically, it seems that the thread that connects most of the songs will be the spiritual and emotional themes that was always a part of Harrison's life, until the day he died.
The album opens up with "I'd Have You Anytime", a song co-written with Bob Dylan during George Harrison's stay at his home in Woodstock. A melodic, quiet, calm and moving opening and a very interesting choice for opening an album, which is probably meant to mark the common denominator of most of the songs on the album. The song features Clapton's solo even though he did not receive credit for his playing due to contractual matters, as was in the Beatles song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".
In the second track, we already get Harrison's biggest hit - "My Sweet Lord", which conquered the top of the British charts and stayed there for four weeks. It is a song of spiritual praise that combines the beliefs and religions of East and West, with the recurring mantra "Krishna" alongside "Hallelujah". This song was the basis for a copyright lawsuit related to "The Chiffons"' song "He's So Fine" from 1963. George Harrison claimed all along that he did not know "the chiffon" song, but the resemblance in the melody was great. He was eventually forced to pay a fantastic sum for those times in the amount of $ 1.5 million to settle the lawsuit. This made Harrison write a song called "This Song" which was released as part of his 1976 album "33 and 1/3".
"Wah-Wah" was written by Harrison during the sessions for the album "Let it Be" and immediately after the same argument between him and McCarthy that we mentioned earlier. George said that right after the famous scene in the film when he left the studio, he went home and wrote this song. He claimed that this argument with Paul caused him a big headache like "Wah-Wah" and that was the trigger for writing the song. It was the first song recorded for the album and played by all the members of "Badfinger".
"Isn't It a Pity" is among the oldest on the album, it was written during the sessions for the album "Rubber Soul" in 1966. The album includes two different versions of the melancholic ballad with the version that closes the first side of the album being the more popular of the two.
"What Is Life" Opens the other side of the vinyl. This is a rocky, rhythmic, and melodic song led by George Harrison's catchy guitar riff, wrapped in the Motown trumpets.
"If Not for You" was written by Bob Dylan and recorded for his "New Morning" album, which was released in August 1970. A folk-pop song that Olivia Newton-John also performed and became her first big hit.
"Behind That Locked Door" is a charming country-waltz song that Harrison wrote in 1969, as a tribute to Bob Dylan who had just returned to the stage with his backing band "The Band".
Harrison wrote the song "Let It Down" in 1968 and tried to offer it to "the Beatles" as part of the sessions for the album "Let it Be", but this time too it was rejected by Paul and John. Harrison defined it as an erotic love song. Those who accompany Harrison in this song are a large group of musicians including "Derek and Domino's" members, Gary Wright and members of "Badfinger".
The song that seals the other side of the first vinyl is "Run of the Mill" A song written by George Harrison in early 1969 as part of the "Get Back" sessions, the song includes the words "Another day for you to realize me or send me down again", which express in the best way, Harrison's feelings following his bandmates behavior.
The second vinyl opens with the amazing and moving song and without a doubt one of the most beautiful on the album "Beware of Darkness". This is another one of George Harrison's spiritual songs that began to explore this field back in the days of "the Beatles". The song illustrates Radha Krishna Temple's philosophy that one should "beware of darkness", negative and materialistic thoughts that can corrupt the mind.
"Apple Scruffs" is led by the harmonica playing and acoustic and rhythmic guitar playing. It's a song written as a tribute to the devout Beatles fans who were waiting in locations where the band was supposed to perform, just to meet the Four Fab.
"The Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)" is a melodic track written by George Harrison as a tribute to a 19th century lawyer who owned the Victorian Friar Park estate that Harrison purchased in January 1970.
"Awaiting on You All" is another spiritual prayer song by George Harrison, this time in a rock and gospel style. In this song you can easily hear the bombastic production of Phil Spector and the application of his "Wall Of Sound" method.
From here we move on to the icing on the cake, the theme song "All Things Must Pass" which was written and offered to the Beatles, and whose earlier version can be found on the mother band's third anthology album. This song was first released on Billy Preston's album "Encouraging Words" on September of that year. The title of the song shows that it was influenced by Harrison's relationship with his bandmates and actually predicted what would later be "the Beatles" breakup and the fact that life goes on, meaning the release of Harrison's first album during his post-Beatles era.
Half of the fourth side of the album is rhythmic and groovy as illustrated in the songs "I Dig Love" and "Art of Dying" which Harrison wrote immediately after the Beatles' breakup and features Clapton's stunning guitar work and Motown-style brass instruments. This side of the album also includes the second and less popular version of the song "Isn't It a Pity" and it is perfectly sealed with "Hear Me Lord", another Harrison prayer song and a request from God to help him be a better person. The song is led by Billy Preston's piano and features charming harmonies and vocals, especially in the chorus.
The third and final record is a collection of jam sessions recordings that took place during the recording of the album and is called "Apple Jam", with four of the five tracks being really instrumental improvisational tracks, the best of which are "Out of the Blue" and "I Remember Jeep". It is interesting to note that the track "It's Johnny's Birthday" was recorded as a joke in honor of John Lennon's 30th birthday.
"All Things Must Pass", is without a doubt a masterpiece. The album is part of the Rolling Stone magazine's500 best albums of all time and the list of "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die".
In conclusion. If we refer to John and Paul's almost complete control over the materials brought to the Beatles 'albums as a complete dominance by the two, then Harrison undoubtedly surpassed his two friends with the best solo album released by one of the Beatles' members after the band disbanded.