All Things Must Pass (1970)


 
Disc One 1. I'd Have You Anytime 2. My Sweet Lord 3. Wah-Wah 4. Isn't it a Pity (version one) 5. What is Life 6. If Not For You 7. Behind That Locked Door 8. Let it Down 9. Run of the Mill 10.Beware of Darkness 11.Apple Scruffs 12.Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let it Roll) 13.Awaiting on You All 14.All Things Must Pass Disc Two 1. I Dig Love 2. Art of Dying 3. Isn't It a Pity (version two) 4. Hear Me Lord 5. Out of the Blue 6. It's Johnny' Birthday 7. Plug Me In 8. I Remember Jeep 9. Thanks for the Pepperoni

 

Widely regarded as George Harrison's best solo album. It certainly is his longest. Serious fans of The Beatles know that George Harrison was never considered one of the "frontmen" of that band. John Lennon and Paul McCartney dominated every album, and George and Ringo Starr were limited to maybe one or two tracks per album. It was interesting to note that George Harrison seemed to be writing his best material just as the band was starting to splinter. Witness the songs "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something" from the very last Beatles studio album. So maybe George was ready to finally "break out".

Break out, he did. "Explode" is more like it. His first album after the dissolving of the fab four is a triple album featuring over one hundred minutes of music. He teams up with famed early sixties "wall of sound" producer Phil Spector for this mammoth undertaking, and at first, the pairing seems an odd marriage. Harrison was in his hippie, acid-laden, indian mysticism, eastern religious phase (which would sort of last throughout the rest of his career) and a man of Spector's talents almost seemed a bit of a mismatch. What this record shows us, though, is that when you combine great songs, great songwriting, great performances, and a great producer, they can ultimately make something special happen regardless.

When you listen beneath the famous layers of production, George is simply being George - the above mentioned "themes" are all throughout the music. Future releases would prove that that the name "George Harrison" was not necessarily a guarantee of good music, so it's safe to say that he packed all of his best ideas, for the time being, on this one album. The majority of the songs are great. Some of it does get old after awhile, and he does tend to "front load" the album (the best songs are My Sweet Lord, What is Life and Wah-Wah, all in the first 30 minutes of this monster). There are, however, enough highlights scattered through the rest of the record to keep the listener engaged. One of the highlights, for me at least, was the last "side" of the triple album which is basically a 30 minute jam by the musicians. It's a bit pointless, and, yes, it probably should have been left off so the album could have been whittled down to a double album. Many are frustrated by it, but I kind of dig it. It doesn't really fit, and many years later, this would have been a good "candidate" for bonus material.

Speaking of bonus material, things got a bit confused when this was re-released on compact disc. The "deluxe" thirty year anniversary edition actually features more songs, but they're essentially copies of what's already here (example: the tracks My Sweet Lord and What is Life are added again, only without vocals. Kind of pointless). All of this is a bit much, but when one thinks about, "too much" is better than "not enough" and this was, arguably one of the highest highs of George Harrison's solo career.

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