George Harrison: All Things Must Pass
Purchased: Originally Pops’ Vinyl, but purchased on CD at HMV
Key Tracks: I’d Have You Any Time, My Sweet Lord, Wah-Wah, What Is Life, If Not For You, Apple Scruffs, Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp, All Things Must Pass, Thanks for the Pepperoni, Awaiting on You All
Wisdom is something that is often thought of as something that comes with age. If this is the case, then someone please explain to me how a 27 year old man (likely younger when some of these songs were written) seems to have a depth of knowledge and wisdom that runs as deep as George Harrison did in 1971, when he released his first solo album “All Things Must Pass”?
John Lennon is often thought of as the smart Beatle. George’s intellect and instinct are, if not superior to his former bandmate’s, at least the equal. The degree of reflection and thought put into his words is nothing short of breathtaking. It is as tho George took in all of the sixties chaos and Beatlemania and filtered it through a lens of quiet, spiritual introspection. The production, courtesy of Phil Spector, lends a massive scope to the proceedings. This is not to say that the music has the feel of “Be My Baby”…tho at some points it does. The Wall of Sound here is wrapped into the thematic presentation of George’s often spiritually thoughtful lyrics. The power is purposefully understated, as tho George is inviting the listener to take a ride through his deep spiritual viewpoint.
God is present throughout this album. And while other artists could be accused of being preachy, George seems to be setting a table. Dine if you like; if not then be sent to heaven on sweetly melodic arrangements.
There is an enormous breadth of material on “All Things Must Pass”…To reflect on every fantastic track would take far too much time that you COULD be spending listening to this masterpiece. To choose a few: “Wah Wah”…Wah What a racket! Spector’s Wall of Sound is most present on this track that positively clangs, bangs, crashes in a glorious racket whose centerpiece is, of course, George’s Wah peddle. “Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp” is simply gorgeous…the beauty of this song is so personal to me, it got me through what I believe has been the most difficult time of my life…with a lot of tears. “All Things Must Pass”: easily the deepest most affecting track on the album, lyrically speaking. The way in which George summarizes his spiritual viewpoints on the world is so wonderfully succinct that it almost, almost makes you forget how utterly stunning this Beatles reject is (seriously, John and Paul must have been jealous). “Awaiting On You All” is simply a massively uplifting call to spiritual arms…it will make you want to sing to the heavens.
A final word on “What is Life”…I first heard this song in the film “Goodfellas”. Having a more than passing familiarity with the Beatles catalogue, even at the age of 14, I heard this song and couldn’t figure out what Beatles album it was on. Upon my Dad’s informing me that it was a George Harrison song, it dawned on me just how vital George’s contributions were to the fab four.
George is my favorite Beatle.