Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

A creative explosion from ex-Beatle George Harrison

Hey, have you ever heard of The Beatles? Those kids from England were pretty good. I was on a discussion board where someone expressed the opinion that The Beatles aren’t that great and he doesn’t even like their songs. I don’t usually engage in such discussions, especially since he was probably a troll. However, in that case I was moved to respond that I guessed he was a twenty-something who has no idea how every band he likes is standing on their shoulders. He didn’t respond but I got a chorus of agreement from other readers.

...all things, that is, except the coolness of yard gnomes.

Of course, they were arguably the most influential pop act of the 20th century. They were great singers (except Ringo), gifted songwriters (except Ringo), talented players (INCLUDING Ringo), and strong personalities. John had a huge impact on popular culture, obviously, and Paul has been knighted. Today, I’m actually writing up an album by the quiet one, George Harrison.

George left behind a fantastic body of work both musical and charitable. I enjoyed the Traveling Wilburys and lots of his later work, but my favorite Harrison album remains 1970’s “All Things Must Pass.” This was the first album he released after the breakup of The Beatles and it is a treasure trove of wonderful songs. There might have only ever been 1 band where a songwriting genius like George Harrison couldn’t get songs onto a record. With the potent writing combination of Lennon/McCartney populating albums, George was often frustrated that there wasn’t room for some of his great work. When ‘Isn’t It a Pity’ didn’t make the cut, Harrison considered offering it to Frank Sinatra. Instead, it and other gems were released on this triple album.

“All Things Must Pass” was a breakout album by a recently frustrated musical genius in his prime. A lot of Harrison’s more famous Beatles songs were on the mellow side, but if you’re familiar with ‘I Me Mine,’ ‘I Want to Tell You,’ ‘Savoy Truffle,’ and ‘Taxman,’ you know Harrison rocked as well. He did plenty of both on this album. All the songs are good, but these are my favorites.

  • I’d Have You Anytime – The album kicks off with this gorgeous love song. It still makes me sigh every time he lays down that lick. He doesn’t let up either, and plays fantastic accompaniment throughout.
  • My Sweet Lord – This song is about the Hindu god Krishna and though he originally wrote it for Billy Preston, Harrison released it himself. Harrison was famously sued over similarities between this song and The Chiffon’s “He’s So Fine.”  He was found to have “subconsciously copied” the song and was forced to surrender some royalties for that song and his entire album.
  • Wah-Wah – Harrison said “Wah Wah” was Liverpool slang for a headache in his book I Me Mine. Probably. It was certainly written after he and Paul had a fight during the “Let It Be” sessions. In the song, he says “you made me such a big star,” and “I don’t need no wah-wah. And I know how sweet life can be if I keep myself free from the wah-wah.” Could be a headache from the business of music.
  • All Things Must Pass – A little melancholy, a little hopeful, but very wise. This has always been an uplifting song for me.
  • Let It Down – Do you know this song? If not, you’re welcome. This is one of the best songs you’ve never heard. The intro and chorus is as big as the guitar end of ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ but the verses are beautiful. The whole thing is brilliantly constructed and I have never heard it on the radio.
  • Apple Scruffs – This song is so much fun I put it on my daughter’s mix on my iPod. Sunny harmonica, a happy melody, and goofy lyrics make this a wonderful love song.
  • I Dig Love – Ringo played on this album and his percussion makes this weird little groove really roll. Love this song.

If you’ve never heard this album, definitely pick it up. If you haven’t listened to it in a while, dust it off. It really has staying power.

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January 6, 2011 - Posted by | Classic Rock, Popular, Rock

2 Comments »

  1. Way to tell him!

    I don’t want to think of George as an ex-Beatle. Isn’t it once a Beatle, always a Beatle? Like the President.

    Comment by Jenn | January 6, 2011 | Reply

  2. No, I think now he’s an ex-Beatle, like in “ex-parrot” from Monty Python’s Pet Shop Sketch.

    Comment by MissedMusic | January 7, 2011 | Reply


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