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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

10 October 2007

Proof That There Is A God


iTunes just released George Harrison’s post-Beatle catalog for sale.

I know, you’re probably grimacing at my disrespect and flippancy, and you’re asking yourself why you even click on this stupid blog anymore. But I flip not! I diss not. George Harrison was a huge talent, underrated and overshadowed, easily as talented in many respects as those two other huge talents in the Beatles. That would be John Lennon and Paul McCartney of course. Due to their stronger personalities, their music crowded Georges’s right off their albums.

George was always my “favorite Beatle.” Kids of my generation always had a favorite Beatle. And George was mine. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because the guy rocked! His guitar playing within the Beatles became legendary. His solo work consisted of big and bombastic songs as well as little intimate and gentle ones. But they were always tuneful – he certainly had an ear for melody.

After the Beatles officially broke up in 1970, George wasted little time getting back into the studio. In November of that year, he released his first solo album, a monumental (and surprising) triple-record effort aptly titled All Things Must Pass. Many people consider it George’s finest work. Seeing it, and the rest of George’s music become available for download was breathtaking. I mean, I actually gasped in shock and joy (and awe). This music means so much to me. And not just me! Let’s read some of the (admittedly biased) reviews of the album from the iTunes website.

Dougster: “One for the ages, folks. I’ve been listening to rock and roll for over 40 years and I bet I have listened to this record more than any other. Majestic."

JWinsto: “In my mind, this is one of the greatest records ever made. The depth of emotion and conviction in the lyrics, along with the performances, illustrate that George Harrison was one of the greatest singer/songwriters of all time.”

Barry Oldschool: “…This album is highly listenable. To the max! It could be worth at least 40 dollars in my opinion. It’s a freakin' steal, people. Buy this now! Do it! Go!”

Snakespeare: “…There are so many awesome songs on this album that it stands head and shoulders above every solo-Beatle effort that came before it…This is without a doubt one of the greatest albums ever released. Most of the songs are classics that will be enjoyed for your entire life.”

Macy Jo: “You won’t believe the weird choking fit I had when I saw that George was on iTunes. This is awesome. Just awesome.”

BullsonParadeNYC: “It simply doesn’t get any better than this.”

Zizerzazz: “A bonafide, five-star, must have creation.”

Rockitcat: “I have loved All Things Must Pass since my older brother bought it when it was originally released in 1971 when I was 8 years old. It’s such a musical testament - - I defy anyone not to be moved by it. Bless you, George Harrison - - I miss you every day!"

(Bob sez: I could have written that last one myself, except that I was 15 in 1971.)

Okay, so there are a lot of Beatle fans out there. But you get the idea.

"ATMP" is George's landmark album. It defined him as a great artist in his own right, separate from those "other guys." It was and is also the best-selling of any of the solo-Beatle albums: 6X Platinum, whatever that means in total numbers.

I don't often go nutsy-cuckoo for whole albums. As you know, I'm a "singles" kind of guy. But I just love All Things Must Pass. It is surprisingly well-conceived. The songs are fully-developed. Many of them could have been on Beatles albums. For example, "Apple Scruffs" could easily have appeared on "the white album." And "Isn't It A Pity" could have replaced "Let It Be" on that eponymous album.

And come to think of it, "Isn't It a Pity" has a long, fade-out chorus that reprises the same fade-out ending of "Let It Be" almost note-for-note. It seems that George is making a statement to his bandmates, lamenting that they could not resolve their differences. On the other hand, we know that George had actually quit the band in early 1969, although he did return and stay until the bitter end. (Ringo had also walked out during the recording of "the white album" in 1968; Paul subbed for him on drums in certain cuts. It must have been a terribly conflicting, stressful time for all of them.) Then again, maybe I'm hearing too much in these things, but I never listened to it quite that way before.

Aside from the musicality of it (the aforementioned rocking), George imbues the album with his gentle spirituality. Never preachy, he humbly keeps everything in the first-person (e.g. "Hear Me Lord" and of course his infamous "My Sweet Lord").

I could go on, but I won't. I've always loved George Harrison's music, from his time in the Bealtes, then his solo work and right on up through his Traveling Wilbury's period (especially that!). And even though he died in 2001, I miss him for all of the great music he still could have given us. As compensation, I'll settle for getting the old stuff from iTunes, starting with All Things Must Pass which, as the one commenter above said, is an incredible bargain at $9.99!

Thank you, iTunes! I'm in heaven, man.

8 comments:

Redlefty said...

The only post-Beatles song I know is the 1987 hit, "Set on You". It's stuck in my head now.

Thanks for the write-up -- I may have to check into more of his catalog.

Bob Barbanes said...

Michael, that's not one of George's best offerings, I'm afraid. And it does get wormed inextricably into one's brain. Ouch. Great video though!

Radio d.j.s used to parody it: "This song has just seven words, this song has just seven..."

Okay, so they weren't ALL great songs. I'm sure you'll think of "Something" else ;)

Okay, I've got to get out of here and go flying. The rain has stopped, the clouds are breaking up and - oh- here comes the sun!

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Have you seen "The Concert for George"? thru PBS.

Great show! Seeing his son on stage playing his music with Clapton, "Uncle Ringo", Preston, McCartney, Petty, etc. was just awesome.

kman

Hal Johnson said...

Wow, thanks for the heads up here, Bob. Getting that album for ten bucks is a bargain indeed. Also, I agree with kman--"The Concert for George" was carried off very well.

Bob Barbanes said...

AAAARRRGGGHHHHH! Yes, I've seen the Concert For George! And do I have it? No. But boy, did I ever want that for my birthday...or last Christmas...or the birthday before that...or the Christmas! before that...

But you know my family. Oh wait, you don't. Well they're wonderful people but they're not very good mind-readers, is all I can say.

(Big sigh) I guess I'll have to go out and buy it myself.

But yes, it was wonderful and I loved it, and Dhani looks so freakin' much like George it's spooky. There were times when Paul McCartney would look at Dhani with an almost paternal expression. Their rompin', stompin' version of "Wah-Wah" rivals George's own as one of my all-time favorite songs.

So sad that George was taken from us so prematurely. The guitar is a magical instrument. In my next life, I want to come back as a guitar player.

Anonymous said...

"Wah-Wah" was hot and a lot of fun. How 'bout "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" with Clapton on lead? Maaaaaaaaaaaan, that was sweet!
I turned to my wife when the tape was over and said,"George has to be smiling down on these guys after that jam!"


kman

David said...

Sincere thanks for this one Bob.
"Dark Horse". A long stowed favorite.
David

Daniel said...

Harrison rules bro...