Posts Tagged ‘George Harrison’

The iconic rock band expand their ‘White Album‘ with 50th anniversary sets featuring new mixes and outtakes.  The album, which was the first to be released on the Beatles’ Apple label, was issued in stereo and mono in the U.K., but only stereo in the U.S.

The Beatles announced that they are releasing new versions of The Beatles (White Album) on November. 9th adding new 2018 mixes and a wealth of unreleased demos from the vaults to celebrate the original two-disc album’s 50th anniversary of release in November, 1968.

The mixes for the new packages were done by producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell. Their announcement of their release follows the success of their 50th anniversary sets for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 2017 .

The White Albumhad long been seen as the first glimpses of the Beatles as solo artists. Looking back on that time, Paul McCartney writes in the new set, “We had left Sgt. Pepper’s band to play in his sunny Elysian Fields and were now striding out in new directions without a map.” Adds producer Giles Martin, “In remixing The White Album, we’ve tried to bring you as close as possible to The Beatles in the studio. We’ve peeled back the layers of the ‘Glass Onion’ with the hope of immersing old and new listeners into one of the most diverse and inspiring albums ever made.”

The Beatles photographed in 1968.

The largest of the new releases, the seven-disc Super Deluxe set, will have unreleased songs, including three discs of “Sessions” outtake tracks with alternates of album tracks like “Revolution,” “Blackbird,” “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except for Me and My Monkey,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Helter Skelter” (the longest, a spokesman said, is 12:49 and not the legendary 27-minute version) and some Beatles jams such as on the Elvis Presley hit “(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care.” The Super Deluxe set will be housed in 164-page hardbound book with detailed track information, rare photos and copies of handwritten lyrics, recording sheets and print ads. It will also be numbered, as was the original LP.

In advance of the album, the Beatles also recorded a group of 27 acoustic-based demos at George Harrison’s house in Esher, Surrey, during the last week of May in 1968. Some of the demos were included on Anthology 3, but a complete set of these Esher Demos, including alternate versions of “Back in the U.S.S.R,” “Piggies,” “Rocky Raccoon,” and “Revolution” along with some songs that didn’t make the album, such as Lennon’s “What’s the New Mary Jane” and “Child of Nature,” and George Harrison’s “Circles” and “Not Guilty,” will be released for the first time in some configurations, answering a longtime wish from Beatles fans. The demos had been bootlegged in lesser quality for years.

There will be several versions of the new releases: Two 180-gram LPs with the 2018 stereo mix; three CDs or four LPs and digital audio with the 2018 stereo mix and the Esher demos; and a Super Deluxe set of seven discs with 6 CDs with two CDs of the new stereo mixes, three CDs of “Sessions” outtakes, a CD of the Esher Demos, and an audio Blu-ray with four mixes — hi-res PCM stereo, DTS-HD Master audio 5.1, Dolby True HD 5.1 and a direct transfer of the album’s original mono mix. That mix included several differences from the stereo version, among them a faster “Don’t Pass Me By,” different animal and bird sounds on “Piggies” and “Blackbird” respectively and an altered ending for “Helter Skelter.”

       

Here are 15 of the most revelatory moments:

1. “Revolution 1”
The legendary Take 18, a nearly 11-minute jam from the first day of the White Album sessions. The other Beatles were surprised to see someone new at John’s side: Yoko Ono, who became a constant presence in the studio. It begins as the version you know from the record: John’s flubbed guitar intro, engineer Geoff Emerick’s “take two,” John’s “okaaay.” But where the original fades out, this one is just getting started. The groove builds as John keeps chanting “all right, all right,” from a low moan to a high scream. Yoko joins the band to add distorted synth feedback, while Paul clangs on piano. She recites prose poetry, fragments of which that ended up in “Revolution 9”: “It’s like being naked…if you become naked.”

The story of this jam has been told many times, usually presented as a grim scene where Yoko barges in, sowing the seeds of discord—the beginning of the end. So it’s a surprise to hear how much fun they’re all having. It ends in a fit of laughter—she nervously asks, “That’s too much?” John tells her it sounds great and Paul agrees: “Yeah, it’s wild!”

2. “Sexy Sadie”
As the band warms up, George playfully sings a hook from Sgt. Pepper: “It’s getting better all the tiiiime!” John snorts. “Is it, right?” Take 3 is an acerbic version of “Sexy Sadie,” with Paul doodling on the organ. Yet despite the nasty wit, the band sounds totally in sync. When George asks, “How fast, John?,” he responds, “However you feel it.”

3. “Long, Long, Long”
George’s hushed hymn has always been underrated—partly because it’s mastered way too quiet. In the fantastic Take 44, “Long, Long, Long” comes alive as a duet between George and Ringo, with the drums crashing in dialogue with the whispery vocals. Giles Martin explains, “I suppose, as is documented here, George was Ringo’s best friend, as he says. That song is kind of the two of them.” George starts freestyling at the end: “Gathering, gesturing, glimmering, glittering, happening, hovering, humoring, hammering, laquering, lecturing, laboring, lumbering, mirroring…” It closes with the spooky death-rattle chord, originally the sound of a wine bottle vibrating on Paul’s amp. “It still gives you the fear when it comes.”

4. “Good Night”
Of all the alternate takes, “Good Night” is the one that will leave most listeners baffled why this wasn’t the version that made the album. Instead of lush strings, it has John’s finger-picking guitar and the whole group harmonizing on the “good night, sleep tight” chorus. It’s rare to hear all four singing together at this stage, and it’s breathtaking in its warmth. “I do prefer this version to the record,” Martin admits. (He won’t be the last to say this.)

John plays the same guitar pattern as “Dear Prudence” and “Julia.” That’s one of the distinctive sonic features of the White Album—the Beatles had their acoustic chops in peak condition, since there had been nothing else to do for kicks in Rishikesh. In India, their fellow pilgrim Donovan taught them the finger-picking style of London folkies like Davey Graham. “Donovan taught him this guitar part. John was like ‘great!,’ and then in classic Beatle style, went and wrote three songs using the same guitar part.”

The other “Good Night” takes are closer to the original’s cornball lullaby spirit. In one, Ringo croons over George Martin’s spare piano; in another, he does a spoken-word introduction. “Come on now, put all those toys away—it’s time to jump into bed. Go off into dreamland. Yes, Daddy will sing a song for you.” By the end, he quips, “Ringo’s gone a bit crazy.”

5. “Helter Skelter”
This Paul song inspired endless studio jams, lurching into proto-headbang noise—they started it the day after the Yellow Submarine premiere, so maybe they just craved the opposite extreme. This take is 13 minutes of primal thud—remarkably close to Black Sabbath, around the time Sabbath were still in Birmingham inventing their sound.

6. “Blackbird”
Paul plays around with the song—“Dark black, dark black, dark black night”—trying to nail the vibe. It isn’t there yet. He tells George Martin, “See, if we’re ever to reach it, I’ll be able to tell you when I’ve just done it. It just needs forgetting about it. It’s a decision which voice to use.” He thinks his way through the song, his then-girlfriend Francie audible in the background. “It’s all in his timing,” Martin says. “There’s two separate things, a great guitarist and a great singer—he’s managed to disconnect and put them back together. He’s trying to work out where they meet.”

7. “Dear Prudence”
Of all the Esher demos, “Dear Prudence” might be the one that best shows off their rowdy humor. John ends his childlike reverie by cracking up his bandmates, narrating the tale of Prudence Farrow that inspired the song. “A meditation course in Rishikesh, India,” he declares. “She was to go completely berserk under the care of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Everybody around was very worried about the girl, because she was going insaaaane. So we sang to her.”

8. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
There’s an early acoustic demo, but Take 27, recorded over a month later, rocks harder than the album version—John on organ, Paul on piano, lead guitar from special guest Eric Clapton. (George invited his friend to come play, partly because he knew the others would behave themselves around Clapton.) The groove only falls part when George tries to hit a Smokey Robinson-style high note and totally flubs it. “It’s okay,” George says. “I tried to do a Smokey, and I just aren’t Smokey.”

9. “Hey Jude”
Recorded in the midst of the sessions, but planned for a one-off single, Paul’s ballad is still in raw shape, but even in this first take, it’s already designed as a 7-minute epic, with Paul singing the na-na-na outro himself. Another gem on this box: an early attempt at “Let It Be,” with Paul’s original lyric showing his explicit link to American R&B: “When I find myself in times of trouble / Brother Malcolm comes to me.”

10. “Child of Nature”
Another treasure from Esher. “Child of Nature” is a gentle ballad John wrote about the retreat to India: “On the road to Rishikesh / I was dreaming more or less.” He scrapped it for the album, but dug it back out a few years later, wrote new words, and turned it into one of his most famous solo tunes: “Jealous Guy.”

11. “JULIA”
One of John’s most intimate confessions—the only Beatle track where he’s performing all by himself. You can hear his nerves as he sits with his guitar and asks George Martin, in a jokey Scouse accent, “Is it better standing up, do you think? It’s very hard to sing this, you know.” The producer reassures him. “It’s a very hard song, John.” “‘Julia’ was one of my dad’s favorites,” Giles says. “When I began playing guitar in my teens, he told me to learn that one.”

12. “Can You Take Me Back?”
The snippet on Side Four that serves as an eerie transition into the abstract sound-collage chaos of “Revolution 9.” Paul toys with it for a couple of minutes, trying to flesh it out into a bit of country blues—“I ain’t happy here, my honey, are you happy here?”

13. “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”
Paul spent a week driving the band through this ditty, until John finally stormed out of the studio. He returned a few hours later, stoned out of his mind, then banged on the piano in a rage, coming up with the jingle-jangle intro that gets the riff going. This early version is pleasant but overly smooth—it shows why the song really did need that nasty edge. A perfect example of the Beatle collaborative spirit: John might loathe the song, Paul might resent John’s sabotage, but both care too deeply about the music not to get it right.

14. “Sour Milk Sea”
A great George highlight from the Esher tapes—“Sour Milk Sea” didn’t make the cut for the album, but he gave it to Liverpool pal Jackie Lomax who scored a one-shot hit with it. (It definitely deserved to rank ahead of “Piggies,” which remains the weakest track on any version of this album.) “Not Guilty” and “Circles” are other George demos that fell into limbo—“Not Guilty” sounds ready to go at Esher, yet in the studio, it was doomed to over a hundred fruitless takes.

15. “Happiness Is a Warm Gun”
A tricky experiment they learned together in the studio, with John toying with the structure and his mock doo-wop falsetto. “Is anybody finding it easier?” he asks. “It seems a little easier—it’s just no fun, but it’s easier.” George pipes in. “Easier and fun.” John replies, “Oh, all right, if you insist.” It’s a moment that sums up all the surprising discoveries on this White Album edition: a moment where the Beatles find themselves at the edge of the unknown, with no one to count on except each other. But that’s when they inspire each other to charge ahead and greet the brand new day.

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On February 25th, George Harrison would have turned 74 years old.  One day earlier, UMe and the estate of the late Beatle will release his entire solo album catalogue in one new vinyl box set.

George Harrison – The Vinyl Collection includes newly-remastered editions of 13 albums, from Wonderwall Music (1968) to the posthumously released Brainwashed (2002).  Each album has been remastered at Capitol Studios from the original tapes and pressed onto 180-gram vinyl.  The albums are all packaged in replica sleeves, and the entire set comes in one sturdy slipcase.

While all of the LPs will be available individually, the box set will also contain exclusive 12-inch singles of “When We Was Fab” and “Got My Mind Set on You.”  The standalone release of the 3-LP All Things Must Pass (including the Apple Jam disc) will be a limited edition.

The titles included are:

  • Wonderwall Music (1968)
  • Electronic Sound (1969)
  • All Things Must Pass (1970)
  • Living in the Material World (1973)
  • Dark Horse (1974)
  • Extra Texture (1975)
  • Thirty-Three & 1/3 (1976)
  • George Harrison (1979)
  • Somewhere in England (1981)
  • Gone Troppo (1982)
  • Cloud Nine (1987)
  • Live in Japan (1992)
  • Brainwashed (2002)

The box will be joined by a George Harrison Essential III turntable manufactured and designed by Pro-Ject Audio Systems, limited to 2,500 units worldwide; and a reissued, “extended” version of Harrison’s 1980 book I Me Mine. 

All Things Must Pass – An Appreciation

Classic album is a term that’s used way too much when describing records but of course, one person’s classic album is another’s long-forgotten record, but we think that without fear of contradiction George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass is definately a CLASSIC album… 45 Years ago, released on 19th December 1970.

There’s an old adage in the music business that talks of, ‘the difficult third album’, well this was George’s third solo album and there’s nothing difficult about it, every track is worthy of its place, it was originally released as a triple vinyl album when it came out on 27th November 1970. Truth is George considered this to be his first solo album proper, having originally released his movie soundtrack, Wonderwall Music and his synthesizer album, Electronic Sound.

The genesis of All Things Must Pass can be said to have begun with George’s visit to America in November 1968 when he established his long-lasting friendship with Bob Dylan while staying in Woodstock. George’s songwriting output was increasing and becoming increasingly more self-assured, for example he co-wrote ‘Badge’ with Eric Clapton for Creams Goodbye album that came out in early 1969.

George’s involvement with Apple Record’s signings, Billy Preston and Doris Troy in 1969, as well as his tour playing guitar with Delaney and Bonnie in a band that included Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, Dave Mason, Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle and Jim Gordon, began to influence his writing with elements of gospel and the kind of sounds that we have come to call ‘Americana’.

ATMP3

George’s spiritual journey saw him involved with the Hare Krishna movement that would also become another vital piece in the jigsaw of sound that makes up All Things Must Pass. In February 1969, on his 26th birthday, George recorded a demo of his song, ‘All Things Must Pass’, along with ‘Old Brown Shoe’ and ‘Something’. The latter two songs went on to be recorded by the Beatles and for whatever reason ‘All Things Must Pass’ was not recorded by the Beatles; the song is based on a translation of part of chapter 23 of the Tao Te Ching, “All things pass, A sunrise does not last all morning. A month earlier George also made a demo of ‘Isn’t It A Pity’, one of the standout tracks on All Things Must Pass, but this song too failed to make the cut for a Beatles album. It wasn’t until early 1970 that initial preparatory work began on George’s solo album; it was at this time that he played producer Phil Spector demos of songs that he had been writing while with the Beatles.

Some of these songs went back as far as 1966, specifically, ‘Isn’t It a Pity’ and ‘Art of Dying’ and he had written ‘’I’d Have You Anytime’ with Bob Dylan in late 1968 while in Woodstock. George had tried to get the Beatles interested in ‘All Things Must Pass’, ‘Hear Me Lord’ and the beautiful, ‘Let It Down’, during rehearsals for the Get Back album, but the other Beatles seemed not to be interested. ‘Wah-Wah’ and ‘Run of the Mill’ both dated from early 1969, while ‘What Is Life’ came to George while he was working with Billy Preston on his album, That’s the Way God Planned It. ‘Behind That Locked Door ‘ was written in the summer of ’69, just before Dylan’s performance at the Isle of Wight Festival and he started to write the epic, ‘My Sweet Lord’ in Copenhagen while on tour with Delaney and Bonnie in late 1969.

It was while on tour with Delaney Bramlett that the Americans asked George to play slide guitar and his ‘I Dig Love’ is an early experiment with a sound that George came to make his own. Other songs on All Things Must Pass were all written in the first half of 1970, these include ‘Awaiting on You All’, ‘Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)’, a tribute to the original owner of George’s home, Friar Park and ‘Beware of Darkness’. Shortly before the sessions for his album began, George was at a Dylan session in New York, which is where he heard, ‘If Not for You’ and in turn George was inspired to write the Dylanesque, ‘Apple Scruffs’ as the All Things Must Pass sessions were winding up, it was in tribute to the girls who hung around outside Apple Corps offices where he was working, or Abbey Road Studios in the hope of meeting a Beatle.

Recording the album began in late May 1970 and such was the frustration within George at being unable to get his songs on Beatles’ albums that it is of little surprise that there were so many on All Things Must Pass. The third record included in the original triple album is entitled Apple Jam and four of the five tracks – ‘Out of the Blue’, ‘Plug Me In’, ‘I Remember Jeep’ and ‘Thanks for the Pepperoni’ – are i instrumentals put together in the studio. According to George “For the jams, I didn’t want to just throw [them] in the cupboard, and yet at the same time it wasn’t part of the record; that’s why I put it on a separate label to go in the package as a kind of bonus.” The fifth track, It’s Johnny’s Birthday was a present for Lennon’s 30th and it is sung to the tune of Cliff Richard’s ‘Congratulations’.

Such is the big sound of All Things Must Pass that it is hard to be precise as to who appears on what track. Aside from those already mentioned there is Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, and German bassist Klaus Voormann who also did the artwork for the cover of the Beatles’ Revolver album. Members of Apple band, Badfinger were included, helping to create the wall of sound effect on acoustic guitars, and besides future Derek and the Dominos’ keyboard player Bobby Whitlock the other principal keyboardist was Gary Wright who had been a member of Spooky Tooth and later in the 1970s had some big hits in America. Other keyboard players included, Tony Ashton, and John Barham who both played on Wonderwall Music

The drummers were future Yes man, and member of the Plastic Ono Band, Alan White, Phil Collins in his pre-Genesis days and Ginger Baker on the jam, ‘I Remember Jeep’. Other musicians included Nashville pedal steel player Pete Drake and Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker.

700614 D & t D first gig

Originally George had thought it would take just two months to record All Things Must Pass but in the end recording lasted for five months, not finishing until late October. George’s mother was ill with cancer during the recording and this meant that he needed to head back to Liverpool on a regular basis to see her; she died in July 1970. Phil Spector also proved somewhat unreliable and all this led to George himself doing much of the production work himself.

Final mixing of the record started at the very end of October in New York City with Phil Spector. George was not entirely happy with what Spector did, but nothing can take away from the brilliance of this record that still stands up to the test of time. Tom Wilkes designed the box to hold the three LPs and Barry Feinstein took the iconic photos of George and the four garden gnomes on the grass in front of Friar Park.

Scheduled for release in October, the delays meant it came out in America on 27th November 1970 and three days later in the UK. The first triple album by a single artist, it captivated audiences everywhere, entering the Billboard album chart in December it spent 7 weeks at No.1 in America starting with the first chart of 1971. In the UK it only made No.4 on the ‘official’ album chart, although it topped the NME’s chart for 7 weeks. George’s lead single from All Things Must Pass was, ‘My Sweet Lord’ and it topped the singles chart on both sides of the Atlantic.

1970ATMP_inlay1

As time passes we have come to love this amazing record even more. It is the kind of record that says so much about what made music so vital as the 1960s became the 1970s. It is full of great songs, and lyrics that not only meant something then but still resonate today. As future decades come and go, and new generations of music lovers look back, this is the kind of record that will take on almost mythical status. It’s one thing being able to read about its making, it’s quite another thing to allow it to envelop you, to caress you and to make you feel the world is a better place in which to live having listened to it.

All Things Must Pass is George’s spiritual high, truly a classic and unquestionably one of the greatest albums ever made…triple, double or single.

All Things Must Pass was remastered for 2014 and is included in George Harrison’s The Apple Years 1968-1975 box set.

47 Years Ago: The Beatles End An Era With Final Rooftop Concert | Society Of Rock Videos

January 30th 1969 Marks The Event’s 47th Anniversary

The Beatles Rooftop Concert took place on January 30th, 1969, at infamous Abbey Road Studios, George Harrison was several weeks shy of his 26th birthday on February 25th. The rooftop concert was performed at the end of January 1969 at Apple Studios, Saville Row, London. Abbey Road Studios, located in the fashionable London district of St. John’s Wood is where the Beatles recorded most of their albums, as well as the final one, “Abbey Road”. It is here where the iconic album cover pictures the Beatles crossing the street outside o the studio.

It’s hard to believe that it’s 47 years since The Beatles said goodbye with their final – albeit explosive – public appearance, perched on top of the Apple headquarters in London.

On this day in 30th January 1969 The Beatles delivered what was to be their final public performance; they’d planned on doing a live show during their Get Back sessions but it wasn’t until days before the actual event took place that the idea of performing on the roof of Apple headquarters really came together.

Written by John Lennon as an expression of his love for Yoko Ono, the song is heartfelt and passionate. As John told Rolling Stone magazine in 1970, “When it gets down to it, when you’re drowning, you don’t say, ‘I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,’ you just scream.”

During filming on the roof of Apple, two days after the recording of the track, the band played ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ right after doing two versions of ‘Get Back’ and it led straight into ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’. Michael Lindsay-Hogg was once again directing a Beatles’ shoot. He and Paul met regularly at the tail end of 1968, while Hogg was directing The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, to discuss the filming of The Beatles’ session in January. By the time that fateful Thursday came around, the penultimate day of January would be the last time The Beatles ever played together in front of any kind of audience.

This is not the version of ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ heard on the single but the version from the Let It Be… Naked album – a composite of both versions that were performed on the roof of Apple in Savile Row

Late Beatle George Harrison explained in the liner notes for The Beatles’ Anthology,

“We went on the roof in order to resolve the live concert idea, because it was much simpler than going anywhere else; also nobody had ever done that, so it would be interesting to see what happened when we started playing up there. It was a nice little social study.

With a 5-song set list that included “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down,” The Beatles did a total of 9 takes live from the rooftop before London’s Metropolitan Police Service was dispatched to break up the concert, citing “noise complaints” from tenants on the same block.

The concert effectively signaled the end of an era for both the band and their fans; despite Abbey Road’s release in September of that year the band had unofficially disbanded, never to reunite as a 4-piece again. While there’s a slight note of sadness to The Beatles’ final public appearance, there’s a note of something electric, too. In a way, they left us the same way they found us; in absolute chaos and unable to make heads or tails of our emotions and somehow, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Conan held a week-long tribute back in September to honor one of the world’s most famous and inspirational musicians,George Harrison to mark the arrival of The Apple Years 1968-75, an eight-disc release of George Harrison’s work. The first artist to give a nod to the legend was “Beck”, and his cover was so on point that the rest who stepped onstage that week never quite managed to top it. The genre-spanning giant is easy to recognize for both his gritty lo-fi production and lush acoustic numbers, but his rendition of “Wah Wah” fell snuggly between the two. The “All Things Must Pass” cut was a direct rock take that saw Beck cutting two minutes off the original version in favor of some extra tambourine action while still keeping things clean. Perhaps the best part was the subtle shift between key changes in the chorus. As per usual, Beck’s band backs him up with a blissful accuracy, nailing every layered part so well that it’s easy to think there’s a backing track playing behind them. Instead, it’s just a heartfelt tribute by one of today’s icons paying his respects to one of the past.