Album no. 196/1001
George is free! This album is ‘generally rated’ as the best solo album by a Beatle, which is an interesting quote. Why does it have to be in inverted commas?
This is a triple album, and another double album worth of material was supposedly recorded but never released. Whoever has those tapes must hate money.
There are some familiar names on this album. Eric Clapton, Bobby Keys, Peter Frampton, Phil Collins, Ginger Baker, Dave Mason, Gary Brooker, and even Ringo Starr drop in. A proper who’s who and who’s going to be who in that lineup, I tell you what.
This had a couple of hit singles and sold really well! Good for George. When released this went to number one in every country (that was keeping charts) except for three. Those countries? Italy, Japan and West Germany. Sadly I have been unable to find out what albums were ahead of it.
Have you listened to this album before?
NK: I have not! I recognise, let me see, three songs. And one of those I don’t fancy much.
CL: George is not my favourite Beatle. He looks like a sasquatch on the cover. I’m unsure.
NK: ‘What Is Life’ was a successful single from this, and it’s not bad apart from the drum sound which I didn’t like at all. ‘My Sweet Lord’ is a bit too saccharine sweet, I’ve never been able to get into it. I didn’t fancy the Dylan cover ‘If Not For You’. ‘All Things Must Pass’ is my pick. That’s a good song to sum this album up I think. A little bit nostalgic, but still looking forward, sprawling, not in any rush, pretty good while not incredible.
CL: ‘Wah Wah’ goes alright actually – a big thumping wall of sound. I really like his vocals. He was definitely underused on all The Beatles discography. Having said that, most of the songs on this album aren’t for me. Too much trudging along with an acoustic guitar. ‘Isn’t It A Pity’ just sort of chugs along, it’s a bit like wearing a jumper – like, you feel warm but eventually stop noticing. ‘What Is Life’ is pretty good – ALSO APPEARS IN A GIRL TALK SONG – which has become a bit of a barometer for this project.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
NK: I think you could play this on a road trip, but ONLY if it’s raining. This was recorded at Abbey Road with overdubs at Apple Studios, but listening I can imagine Harrison recording it in a studio on a farm, dressed just as he is on the cover, wellingtons and droopy hat. It has a very rainy day farm vibe to it.
CL: I also have those rainy day farm day vibes – but I’m also very easily influenced so it could just be the cover.
Why has this album been included on the list?
NK: I actually quite liked this! It’s too long, but I think it sounds like George made exactly the album he wanted to. There might not be anything here to rival what he did with The Beatles, but I don’t think he gives a shit. He’s finally been able to make some music free from the meddling of Lennon and McCartney. That said, I suspect it’s presence on the list comes from the fact he was in arguably the biggest band of all time. Just a sneaking suspicion I have.
CL: Mmm. I sort of think it sounds like off cuts from The Beatles. I know people rave on about george but honestly, these rocks just sound like average beatles tunes that go on for far too long. Sorry guys. Sorry george.
Will you be listening again?
NK: In a real surprise to me, yeah, I reckon I will.
CL: Weirdly, I might. Not all the songs, probably about half? The ones that don’t have a twangy country guitar, obviously.
Listen to All Things Must Pass on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.