Guitar hero #2 (listed chronologically) would have turned 77 today. Instead we lost George Harrison in 2001, just 6 days after my mother passed. He was only 58 when he died from cancer.
But let’s not dwell on the loss. George has always been my favorite Beatle. It was my just older sister that fostered this view. She was a big George fan, and since she was the closest in age to me (but still 8 years older), I adopted her choice, and George has always remained my favorite.
I do appreciate George’s sitar playing, but it can be very overpowering at times. I currently have SiriusXM’s Beatles channel playing. Naturally they have specials featuring George’s music all day long. Within You Without You is playing as I type this. As I told my brother just earlier today, the sitar works so beautifully in this piece. My brother doesn’t care for any sitar. He’d rather George stay with his guitar. I can’t really blame him.
My brother and I also talked about how George’s playing changed over the years. George may not have started as the most innovated guitarist but is definitely one of the most copied guitarists.
The song I picked for today comes from George’s first solo album released after the breakup of The Beatles. And what an album it is, a triple album. George had so much material that never made it on to a Beatles release it took three discs to contain it all. This track was recorded, but not used, for The Beatles Let It Be album. It was also recorded by keyboardist Billy Preston.
All Things Must Pass is a triple album by English rock musician George Harrison. Recorded and released in 1970, it was Harrison’s first solo work after the break-up of the Beatles in April that year, and his third solo album overall. It includes the hit singles “My Sweet Lord” and “What Is Life“, as well as songs such as “Isn’t It a Pity” and the title track that had been turned down for inclusion on releases by the Beatles. The album reflects the influence of Harrison’s musical activities with artists such as Bob Dylan, the Band, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends and Billy Preston during 1968–70, and his growth as an artist beyond his supporting role to former bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney. All Things Must Pass introduced Harrison’s signature slide guitar sound and the spiritual themes present throughout his subsequent solo work. The original vinyl release consisted of two LPs of songs and a third disc of informal jams titled Apple Jam. Several commentators interpret Barry Feinstein‘s album cover photo, showing Harrison surrounded by four garden gnomes, as a statement on his independence from the Beatles.
Production began at London’s Abbey Road Studios in May 1970, with extensive overdubbing and mixing continuing through October. Among the large cast of backing musicians were Eric Clapton and members of Delaney & Bonnie’s Friends band – three of whom formed Derek and the Dominos with Clapton during the recording – as well as Ringo Starr, Gary Wright, Preston, Klaus Voormann, John Barham, Badfinger and Pete Drake. The sessions produced a double album’s worth of extra material, most of which remains unissued.
All Things Must Pass was critically and commercially successful on release, with long stays at number one on charts worldwide. Co-producer Phil Spector employed his Wall of Sound production technique to notable effect; Ben Gerson of Rolling Stone described the sound as “Wagnerian, Brucknerian, the music of mountain tops and vast horizons”. Reflecting the widespread surprise at the assuredness of Harrison’s post-Beatles debut, Melody Maker‘s Richard Williams likened the album to Greta Garbo‘s first role in a talking picture and declared: “Garbo talks! – Harrison is free!” According to Colin Larkin, writing in the 2011 edition of his Encyclopedia of Popular Music, All Things Must Pass is “generally rated” as the best of all the former Beatles’ solo albums.
During the final year of his life, Harrison oversaw a successful reissue campaign to mark the 30th anniversary of the album’s release. After this reissue, the Recording Industry Association of America certified the album six-times platinum. Among its appearances on critics’ best-album lists, All Things Must Pass was ranked 79th on The Times‘ “The 100 Best Albums of All Time” in 1993, while Rolling Stone placed it 433rd on the magazine’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time“. In 2014, All Things Must Pass was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Things_Must_Pass_(song)
The musicians who performed on Harrison’s All Things Must Pass version of the song are believed to be as follows:
- George Harrison – vocals, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
- Eric Clapton – acoustic guitar, backing vocals
- Pete Drake – pedal steel
- Billy Preston – piano
- Bobby Whitlock – harmonium, backing vocals
- Klaus Voormann – bass
- Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine
- Jim Gordon – drums
- Bobby Keys – saxophone
- Jim Price – trumpet, trombone, horn arrangement
- John Barham – string arrangement
Here is the title track from the All Things Must Pass triple album.