Category Archives: Current Events

My Brother Brandon AUG 26 2016 By MARTY BURLSWORTH

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Greater: Official Trailer – Old #2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harrison, Arkansas, is about as small town as it gets.

There are about 11,000 people in town and one unspoken rule: If it’s Friday night, you’re going to the Harrison High football game. And the only thing bigger than high school football in Harrison — or anywhere else in Arkansas — is Razorback football.

Arkansas doesn’t have a pro football team — I don’t even know if a pro team could survive here. But almost every boy growing up in the state wants to be a Razorback. That’s the dream.

It was my dream, too, and I sure worked hard at it. But I didn’t have that natural talent. Not like my younger brother Brandon. Boy, did he have the size and did he have the skills.

I was 16 years older than Brandon, so I was already out of the house, married and raising my own boys by the time he was of any age. But I’d do anything for that kid. Of course, he was my brother and you do anything for family, but things were a little tougher for him. Our parents divorced when Brandon was just two years old. On top of that, Dad had trouble with drinking and wasn’t really in our lives when Brandon was a little boy. So I did whatever I could to be there for Brandon.

If it meant bringing a basket of baseballs to the park so he could work on his hitting and pitching, I wanted to be there.

If it meant going over to Mom’s house to help him with homework, I wanted to be there.

There’s no explanation for it. He was my brother and I just wanted everything for him.  I’d do anything I could for him.

So when Brandon got it in his mind that he was going to be a Razorback, I was all in.

See, Brandon started out a little scrawny. He spent his first season of high school football as a sophomore on the sidelines. I don’t even think he played one game. But that summer Brandon had two things going for him: His work ethic and, luckily, a pretty big growth spurt.

“Dang, Marty, what have you been feedin’ that boy?”

His high school coaches couldn’t believe his size when he came back for his junior season. By that point he was about six-foot-two, over 200 pounds and still growing. And he just dominated on the field — didn’t matter if he was on defense or offense. He played on both sides of the ball and would just blow the field up. He’d be all over the line, right off the snap. Opposing teams made game plans just to handle Brandon. He was that good.

Almost every boy growing up in the state wants to be a Razorback. That’s the dream.

He spent as many days as he could in the weight room getting stronger. And it paid off. By his senior year, Brandon was an all-conference and all-state player and played in the state’s All-Star Game. But as good as he was, Brandon was also a late bloomer  — he was only 17 his senior year — and he was still a little undersized for college ball. He wasn’t as tall or as heavy as D-I colleges wanted him to be.

But Arkansas was the dream. And if Brandon was doing whatever he could on the field, then I sure as heck would do whatever I could to help get my brother there.

So I started calling coaches and seeing where he could play. And the first call I made was to the recruiting coordinator at Arkansas. He took my call, but I couldn’t tell just how interested he was.

“Sure, bring him on up for a game,” he said.

So Mom, Brandon and I piled into my minivan and we drove over to Fayetteville. We’d been to a couple of Razorbacks games before, and Brandon had seen the stadium and sat in the stands. But this was on a different level. We watched the game from this conference room at the top of the stadium. It had this outdoor patio that you could stand on and look down on the field. As Brandon and I were standing out there, the offensive linemen came out, running on the field with their helmets on. And boy, was he soaking it in. So was I.

“That looks good, doesn’t it?” I said.

“I like that,” he responded.

At that moment, we both felt so close to his dream coming true — something that wasn’t even a possibility for a boy who had been sitting on the sidelines just two years ago.

But I knew we still needed a scholarship.

I don’t how many times I’d call to check in. Coach, ya need anything? I’d sit every week with the newspaper. I go straight to the sports and see if any scholarships were offered. I kept track of how many might be left for Brandon. O.K., they gave one to that boy, that’s 12 so far. We may still get one.

In the end, Brandon got invited to be a walk-on. It was disappointing, but Brandon wanted to go to Arkansas more than anything and, well, he didn’t want any regrets. And I didn’t want him to always be wondering what could have been. It was the Razorbacks. This was the dream.

A couple of weeks before Brandon left for school, one of the Arkansas coaches called me.

“We want Brandon here, but if he can’t handle it I can see what I can do to get him to a smaller school,” he said. “I want him here, but he’ll know and we’ll know.”

“Coach, don’t worry about it. He won’t be going down.”

Brandon belonged on that field, and he knew it. He was a Razorback.

“Well, that’s good,” he said, sort of laughing. “I know he’s working hard, but he’ll know and we’ll know.”

“Coach, mark it down. He’s not going down.”

Brandon belonged on that field, and he knew it. He was a Razorback. Some of his teammates have since told me how red his face would be during practice, how hard he went, how he never gave up.

Brandon didn’t dress the first two games of his freshman season, but we found out that he’d be on the field for the third. We were going to Fayetteville for the game and I called him early in the week to tell him where our seats would be.

“So you just walk down this side of the stadium, O.K.? And I’ll get a photo of you in your uniform. It’ll be real cool.”

And then he walked out and there it was: BURLSWORTH.

I was so proud.

After the season, over the holidays, we got a call. The school was going to give Brandon a scholarship.

For the next three years, Brandon started for the Razorbacks. And for the next three years, every Friday at 5:30 p.m., I’d close up the photography studio I owned in Harrison, pick up my mom, and my wife and kids, and drive to Brandon’s football games. Whether it was in Fayetteville, or in Knoxville or Tuscaloosa, we had an unspoken rule: We were going to Brandon’s games. We probably put 30,000 miles on my minivan each season. We drove it to death. I had about 212,000 miles on it by the time I got rid of it.

One weekend when I was driving with Brandon to campus — I think maybe it was his junior year — a thought crossed my mind.

“Man, you might get to play at the next level.”

“Ah, I don’t know, I just gotta focus on this season.”

Brandon was so single-minded, so focused. He didn’t take one summer off the entire time he was at Arkansas. Other boys would go home after school got out in May and stay there until camp started in late July. But Brandon would stay on campus, working — painting the stadium, setting up dorms, things like that — and taking classes. So by his fourth year at Arkansas, he was already finishing his masters degree.

By the time he was a senior, we both knew that if we wanted to keep playing football he was going to have to enter the NFL draft. I tried bringing it up to him again.

“You know, Brandon, you could think about entering the draft. You’ll have all your coursework done and can graduate at the end of the year anyway.”

“Yeah,” he said with a smile. “I’ve kind of been planning it that way.”

And would you believe, all these NFL agents started flying into Harrison wanting to sign Brandon. He asked me to help him, but there’s all this certification that goes into being an agent. I wasn’t sure. But this was my brother. So before he started his senior year, I started working on getting my certification. And that spring, the Burls boys found themselves in Indianapolis at the combine.

As we walked by one of the pro shops, we joked to each other.

“Should we get some Colts gear?”

“Yeah, let’s go buy some Colts stuff.”

When we got back home to Harrison, the day of the draft was just filled with anxiety. We didn’t expect Brandon to go real high, and we had been told that he wouldn’t. Still, with each pick, even in the first round, you get more and more nervous. People were swinging by all day. And I remembered to do what other agents had advised me to do, I kept multiple lines open. I kept gaming out who was left.

“Has he been picked yet?”

“No!”

Finally, in the third round Brandon answered the phone and gave us the thumbs-up. Then we looked to the TV: Brandon’s picture came up on the screen and they were calling his name from the podium.

And would you believe it, it was the Indianapolis Colts who took him. We suddenly needed that gear, because we would be rooting for the Colts.

The next week, Brandon flew to Indianapolis for minicamp. He called to check in a couple of times. “Now, if you find yourself at that Colts shop,” I told him, “You make sure and get us some gear this time.”

Brandon Burlsworth, NFL player. The struggles that he had gone through to get where he was were over. He could finally reap the rewards of everything he put into the game — all the training, all the schooling, all the dedication, all the hard work. I was high as a kite.

Mom and I picked him up at the airport when he came home. I was just so proud of him. In a few weeks he’d be heading back. And I couldn’t wait to be right there with him. We planned to move out to Indianapolis with him.

But before all that, Brandon made one last trip to Fayetteville to visit with his Razorbacks teammates. He was determined to drive home the same day so he could attend evening church service with the family.

Faith. Family. Football.

That’s the order of things for us.

Every week, Brandon made the drive home. Faith and family — they meant everything to Brandon. And every week he was right on time with his little white Subaru parked in Mom’s driveway. So when he was two hours late that evening, Mom started to get worried.

She called me just before six o’clock, with panic and worry in her voice.

“He should’ve been home by now.”

“I’m sure he just got stuck in traffic, or maybe ran out of gas. He’ll show up and everything will be fine.”

I didn’t mean to dismiss Mom’s concerns, but I just figured there was some sort of reason or explanation. But as it got later in the evening and Mom got more and more worked up, I hopped into my own car to head over and see if we could find out what had happened.

 Mom called me just before six o’clock, with panic and worry in her voice. “He should’ve been home by now.”

When I turned on to the street behind Mom’s house, I could see her driveway through this little opening between houses. And I could see a little white car parked in her driveway.

I let out a little sigh of relief. Brandon was home.

But as I turned the next corner onto Mom’s street and pulled up to her house, I got a good look at the car.

It wasn’t Brandon’s white Subaru.

It was a police car.

One of my sons, who was in my car with me, started asking what was wrong, what had happened. I opened the door to Mom’s house and she was in a state.

Brandon, the officer told us, had collided head-on with a semi. He died instantly.

***

If it’s difficult to describe the love for a brother, it’s impossible to explain the loss of a brother.

I wanted everything for Brandon, and within a few moments, it had all been taken away. Less than two weeks before, I had watched as Brandon stood on the front lawn of Mom’s house and gave interviews to local TV crews about getting picked in the NFL draft. Now, I was taking calls from the same stations about Brandon’s death.

That’s what it’s all about: What you do while you were here.

We still don’t really know what happened that afternoon. I don’t think anyone was at fault. It was just one of those things — when it’s time, it’s time. And it was Brandon’s time.

To this day, people tell me where they were when they heard the news. It was a terrible day for Harrison, it was a terrible day for the state. We had to have the funeral at the high school gym. There just wasn’t enough space anywhere else. Two buses of Razorbacks players arrived. It seemed as if the whole town was there to support Brandon and who he was and what he meant to everybody.

That’s what it’s all about: What you do while you were here.

PHOTOGRAPH BY BETH HALL/AP IMAGES

 

And Brandon did a lot in his 22 years.

I can only hope I did as much as I could to help him.

Brandon wanted to do more, though. After the draft, he spoke to me a lot about helping other kids in Harrison. Brandon knew what it was like to be doubted, to be told you weren’t good enough. He said he wanted to hold football camps and bring kids to his NFL games. So a few months after his death, we started the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation, where we do all of that and more.

I think Brandon would be proud of the work we’re doing in his name. He may be gone, but I still want to do whatever I can to keep his dreams going, to keep his legacy going.

There’s never a day where I don’t think about Brandon. Whether I’m driving around town, past the baseball park where we used to play catch, past the Razorbacks signs on front lawns, I feel his presence.

I never used to worry before Brandon died. But now that my own boys are older, if they’re even ten minutes late, I get a little concerned and think that maybe they’re in trouble, maybe something went wrong.

And when it’s Friday night here in Harrison and the whole town is at the football game, I think about Brandon.

And I know…I feel him here with me.

***

Greater, a film depicting the life and tragic death of Brandon Burlsworth will be released in theaters on August 26th. Locations and showtimes are available on www.greaterthemovie.com.

Brandon Burlsworth

Uploaded on Aug 31, 2011

Brandon was a walk on turned All American at the University of Arkansas. He was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts and 11 days later was tragically killed in a car accident. The Brandon Burlsworth Foundation was founded in his name and has several programs: The Burls Kids program takes underprivileged children to all Arkansas Razorback and Indianapolis Colts home games. The BBF in partnership with Walmart provides eye care to 14,000 pre-K thru 12th grade students whose working families are trying, but still cannot afford extras like eye care and do not qualify for state funded programs. We hold football camps each year in Harrison and Little Rock and we have several football scholarship and awards including the Burlsworth Trophy, a national award given out to the most outstanding Division One college football player who began his career as a walk-on.

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Song IT IS ENOUGH by the band THE WAITING

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It is Enough – The Waiting

Published on Feb 26, 2014

John 3:16-17
King James Version (KJV)
16,For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17,For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Buy at itunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the…

04. It Is Enough

The Waiting
by The Waiting

Bookmark and Share
Lyrics:

There’s something about the sorrow showing on your face
Something so tender and contrite
I know you’re tired of being in this place
Your every daydream turns to night
And you’ve worked and strived and struggled
Until your fingers they’ve turned blue
From digging deep into the heart
Of what you can and cannot do
There’s something about the hesitation in your step
Something so beautiful and scared
There’s something hard about the truth that you accept
And still you find a Savior there
So don’t you despise the road
Should it drive straight to the Son
He’s got His reason to receive you
And doesn’t need another one
The Blood, it is enough
For every man, woman and child
To be reconciled
The Blood, it is enough
For those of every shade of skin
To begin again
There’s something about the way you cry yourself to sleep
Something so destitute and poor
Sweet is every tear that’s running down your cheek
How each one clears the way for more
So if it drives you to the Savior
Then don’t disconnect the pain
He’s got one excuse to hold you
And never let you go again
Everybody has tarried
In a barren land
Even in a devil’s den
But if the cross that you carry
Should slip from your hands
Get on your knees
And pick it up, pick it up, pick it up again

 

The Waiting (band)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Waiting
Origin Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Genres Pop rock
Years active 1991–2003, 2010–Present
Labels Inpop Records (previously Sparrow Records)
Website http://www.thewaiting.org
Members Brad Olsen
Todd Olsen
Clark Leake
Brandon Thompson

The Waiting is a Christian alternative pop rock band, consisting of Brad Olsen (vocals), Todd Olsen (guitar), Clark Leake (bass), and Brandon Thompson (drums, percussion, loops). Since the members focus time on other aspects of their lives and take their time recording the band does not produce and perform as frequently as some other bands.

Early albums by “The Waiting” were guitar driven alternative rock that drew fans with clever songwriting and introspective lyrics that stood out from most Christian rock of the day. The band’s later albums moved towards a more polished pop sound.

In August 2003, The Waiting hit the stage in Georgia where they played a sold out show after which they quit touring full-time to be at home more and pursue other endeavors. Even though they do not tour full-time, they never officially broke up. The Waiting still plays occasional spot dates.

In May 2009 Brad Olsen released his solo album titled The More I Think I Understand The Less I Can Explain, It was produced by “Oats”, aka Todd Olsen. Brad Olsen continues to write and record music. He resides in Atlanta, GA with his family. He is available for booking.

Todd Olsen also resides in Atlanta where he works as a music producer. In November 2011, he released a solo album under his nickname “Oats” entitled A Tear and a Sneer.

Clark Leake received a Masters in Theology from St. Vladimir Orthodox Seminary in May 2007. He lives in Louisville, KY with his wife.

Brandon Thompson resides in the Atlanta Georgia area with his wife and two sons and has produced a couple of bands in his home studio as well as taking a job at Mount Paran North Church of God in Marietta, GA, at which he remained until mid-2006. In 2006, Brandon moved to another local church, His Hands Church where he was the Technical Director. In 2011 Brandon became the main auditorium Production Director for Watermarke Church, which is a campus of Northpoint Ministries in Woodstock, GA. Brandon maintains and occasionally updates his personal website at BranThomps.com and can be found on Twitter at @BranThomps.

In 2010, The Waiting announced that they had been working on a new album and released a new single, “Name” and were playing limited spot dates. In 2011, the band released three more singles. In June 2012, the new album Mysteriet became fully funded by 119 backers on Kickstarter, when it was estimated to release in September 2012.[1] The band’s last Facebook entry (as of April 2016), written by Todd Olson on March 23rd, 2016 stated that Brad Olson is doing vocals for the album (Todd mailed him a mic). In 2013, Todd said, “our new album Mysteriet is written but we are still working on getting the music right- no surprise bc how does one make music that evokes the mystery and majesty of the Trinity? I can best describe what we are doing by saying what we are not doing. We are NOT making a follow up to wonderfully made or unfazed- tho unfazed was very successful. what we are attempting to do is make a follow up to the song Hands In The Air musically and spiritually. if we are making a follow up at all.”[2] “Mysteriet” is the Norwegian word for “The Mystery”. This is quite fitting, since the actual release date of the band’s first album in over twelve years has yet to be announced.[3]

Discography[edit]

  • Tillbury Town (1991)
  • Blue Belly Sky (1995) 11 tracks, color cover
  • The Waiting (1997)
  • Blue Belly Sky (1998 re-issue) 15 tracks, black and white cover
  • Unfazed (1998)
  • Wonderfully Made (2002)
  • Mysteriet (coming soon?)

Compilation Contributions[edit]

Year Compilation Album[4] Contributed Song(s) Original Album
1995 R.E.X. 95 (Sampler) “Israel” Blue Belly Sky
1995 The Simply Fabulous $1.99 New Music Sampler “Staring at a Bird” Blue Belly Sky
1997 The Simply Xcellent $1.99 New Music Sampler “Number 9”
“Hands in the Air”
The Waiting
1998 Cornerstone ’98 Sampler Disc “Number 9” The Waiting
1998 WWJD: What Would Jesus Do? “Put the Blame on Me” The Waiting
1999 Simply Spectacular $2.99 New Music Sampler “Unfazed” Unfazed
1999 No Lies “Unfazed” Unfazed
1999 Listen:Louder “At Your Feet”     —     (none)

References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ “Be a part of… Mysteriet”. Kickstarter. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  2. Jump up^ “The Waiting Official Facebook Page”. Facebook. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  3. Jump up^ “2014 releases”. Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  4. Jump up^ “The Waiting discography”. Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved 27 July 2014.

External links[edit]

  • [1] The official The Waiting FB page
  • [2] The official oats FB page
  • [3] The official Brad Olsen FB page
  • [4] Brad Olsen’s official website
  • [5] The official Twitter page for The Waiting
  • [6] ChristianityToday.com Artist Page
  • [7] Interview

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MUSIC MONDAY George Harrison – What Is Life

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George Harrison – What Is Life

Published on Nov 29, 2016

Music video by George Harrison performing What Is Life. (C) 2002 G.H. Estate Ltd, under exclusive licence to Calderstone Productions Limited, a division of Universal Music Group

http://vevo.ly/bcFeST

George Harrison-US Tour 1974 (rare!)

Uploaded on Oct 17, 2011

The North American Tour 1974
songs:
What Is Live,Dark Horse

What Is Life – George Harrison

What Is Life

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the George Harrison song. For other uses, see What is Life (disambiguation).
“What Is Life”
What Is Life (George Harrison single - cover art).jpg

US picture sleeve
Single by George Harrison
from the album All Things Must Pass
A-side My Sweet Lord(UK)
B-side Apple Scruffs(except UK)
Released 15 February 1971 (US)
Format 7-inch vinyl
Genre Rock, soul
Length 4:22
Label Apple
Writer(s) George Harrison
Producer(s) George Harrison, Phil Spector
George Harrison singles chronology
My Sweet Lord
(1970)
What Is Life
(1971)
Bangla Desh
(1971)
All Things Must Pass track listing

What Is Life” is a song by the English musician George Harrison, released on his 1970 triple album All Things Must Pass. In many countries, it was issued as the second single from the album, in February 1971, becoming a top-ten hit in the United States, Canada and elsewhere, and topping singles charts in Australia and Switzerland. In the United Kingdom, “What Is Life” appeared as the B-side to “My Sweet Lord“, which was the best-selling single there of 1971. Harrison’s backing musicians on the song include Eric Clapton and the entire Delaney & Bonnie Friends band, with whom he had toured during the final months of the Beatles. Harrison co-produced the recording with Phil Spector, whose Wall of Sound production also employed a prominent string arrangement by John Barham and multiple acoustic rhythm guitars, played by Harrison’s fellow Apple Records signings Badfinger.

An uptempo composition in the soul genre, “What Is Life” is one of several Harrison love songs that appear to be directed at both a woman and a deity. Harrison wrote the song in 1969 and originally intended it as a track for his friend and Apple protégé Billy Preston to record. Built around a descending guitar riff, it is one of Harrison’s most popular compositions and was a regular inclusion in his live performances. Rolling Stone magazine has variously described it as a “classic”[1] and an “exultant song of surrender”.[2]

“What Is Life” has appeared in the soundtrack for feature films such as Goodfellas (1990), Patch Adams (1998), Big Daddy (1999) and This Is 40 (2012). Harrison’s original recording was included on the compilations The Best of George Harrison and Let It Roll, and live versions appear on his album Live in Japan (1992) and in Martin Scorsese‘s 2011 documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World. In 1972, Olivia Newton-John had a UK hit with her version of the song. Ronnie Aldrich, the Ventures, the Four Freshmen and Shawn Mullins are among the other artists who have covered the track.

Background and composition[edit]

Even before his temporary departure from the Beatles in January 1969 (documented in the song “Wah-Wah“),[3] their Apple Records label was an “emancipating force” for Harrison from the creative restrictions imposed on him within the band, according to his musical biographer, Simon Leng.[4] In his “definitive” article on All Things Must Pass for Mojo magazine, John Harris has written of Harrison’s “journey” as a solo artist beginning in November 1968 – when he spent time in Woodstock with Bob Dylan and the Band – and incorporating a series of other collaborations through the following eighteen months, including various Apple projects and a support role on Delaney & Bonnie and Friends’ brief European tour.[5] One of these projects, carried out intermittently from April to July 1969,[6] was his production of That’s the Way God Planned It, an album by Billy Preston, whom Harrison had met during the Beatles’ Hamburg years and had recently recruited to guest on the band’s troubled Get Back sessions.[7][8] It was while driving up to a Preston session in London from his home in Esher, Surrey, that Harrison came up with the song “What Is Life”.[9]

In his autobiography, I, Me, Mine, Harrison describes it as having been written “very quickly” and recalls that he thought it would be a perfect, “catchy pop song” for Preston to record.[10] His lyrics, while simple, were similarly uplifting and universal:[11][12]

What I feel, I can’t say
But my love is there for you any time of day
But if it’s not love that you need
Then I’ll try my best to make everything succeed.

Tell me, what is my life without your love?
And tell me, who am I without you, by my side?

These lyrics have caused some debate among biographers and music critics, as to whether “What Is Life” should be viewed as a straightforward love song – perhaps a “lovingly crafted paen” to Harrison’s wife Pattie, as Alan Clayson puts it[13] – or a devotional song like many of Harrison’s compositions.[12][14] Ian Inglis writes that the song title suggests a “philosophical debate about the meaning of life”, yet its rendering as “what is my life” in the choruses “reshapes [the meaning] completely”.[11] Theologian Dale Allison finds no religious content in “What Is Life” but notes the “failure of words to express feelings” implied in the opening line (“What I feel, I can’t say“), a recurring theme of Harrison’s spiritual songs such as “That Is All“, “Mystical One” and “Pisces Fish“.[15] Joshua Greene, another religious academic, identifies the song as part of its parent album’s “intimately detailed account of a spiritual journey”: where “Awaiting on You All” shows Harrison “convinced of his union with God”, “What Is Life” reveals him to be “uncertain that he deserved such divine favor”.[16]

The song’s second verse repeats what Inglis refers to as the “somewhat confusing promise” from Harrison (in lines 3 and 4) should his love be “rejected”:[11]

What I know, I can’t do
If I give my love out to everyone like you
But if it’s not love that you need
Then I’ll try my best to make everything succeed.

Musically, Simon Leng describes “What Is Life” as “Motown-spiced” and a comparatively rare example of its composer’s willingness to embrace the role of “entertainer” in his songwriting.[17]

In I Me Mine, Harrison recalls that he changed his mind about offering “What Is Life” to Preston once he’d arrived at Olympic Studios and found the singer busy working on more typical material – or “playing his funky stuff” as Harrison puts it.[10][9] Rather than attempt it with the Beatles during the band’s concurrent Abbey Road sessions, he stockpiled the track with his many other unused songs from the period – “All Things Must Pass“, “Let It Down“, “I’d Have You Anytime” and “Run of the Mill” among them[18] – and revisited it a year later, after completing work on Preston’s second Apple album, Encouraging Words.[19]

Recording[edit]

By May 1970, having recently collaborated with “genuine R&B heavy-weights” such as Doris Troy and Preston, as well as participating in the “blue-eyed soul[20] Delaney & Bonnie European tour, along with Eric Clapton, the previous December, Harrison was well placed to record “What Is Life”, Leng observes.[21] With Phil Spector as co-producer and all the Friends team on hand, the song was among the first tracks taped for Harrison’s debut post-Beatles solo album;[22] recording took place at Abbey Road Studios in London, during late May or early June.[22][23] The same core of musicians – Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle, Jim Gordon, Bobby Keys and Jim Price – would similarly elevate other All Things Must Pass tracks such as “Awaiting on You All”, “Art of Dying” and “Hear Me Lord“.[24]

The recording is defined by Harrison’s descending, fuzztone guitar riff,[2] which also serves as the motif for the chorus.[12] The track opens with this riff,[25] which is then joined by Radle’s bass and “churning” rhythm guitar from Clapton, before Gordon’s drums bring the full band in.[9][26] During the verses, Gordon moves to a square, Motown-style beat – or “rock-steady Northern soul backbeat” in Leng’s words[21] – before returning to the “galloping rhythm” of the more open, “knockout” choruses,[2] and the song is driven equally by Badfinger drummer Mike Gibbins‘ powerful tambourine work.[27]

On “What Is Life”, Spector provided what music critic David Fricke terms “echo-drenched theater”, in the form of reverb-heavy brass, soaring strings (arranged by John Barham) and “a choir of multitracked Harrisons”.[2] The vocals and Barham’s contribution, along with a brief slide-guitar commentary from Harrison over the final verse,[12] were overdubbed at Trident Studios, most likely during late August through September.[28] Dated 19 August, Spector’s written comments on Harrison’s early mix of the song had suggested a “proper background voice” was still needed;[29] like sound engineer Ken Scott,[30] Spector would be impressed with the result, saying, “He was a great harmoniser … he could do all the [vocal] parts himself” and rating Harrison “one of the most commercial musicians and songwriters and quintessential players I’ve ever known in my entire career”.[31]

Release[edit]

“What Is Life” was released in late November 1970 as the first track on side two of All Things Must Pass, in its original, triple LP format.[32][33] Along with “My Sweet Lord” and “Isn’t It a Pity“, the song had already been identified as a potential hit single by Allan Steckler, manager of Apple’s US operation.[33] Backed by another album track, “Apple Scruffs“, “What Is Life” was issued as a single in America on 15 February 1971 (as Apple 1828), just as the “My Sweet Lord”/”Isn’t It a Pity” double A-side was finally slipping out of the top ten.[34][35]

French picture sleeve for the “What Is Life” single – a cropped and colorised version of Barry Feinstein‘s cover image for All Things Must Pass

The front of the single’s US picture sleeve consisted of a photo of Harrison playing guitar inside the central tower of his recently purchased home, Friar Park, in Henley-on-Thames.[36] The tower’s sole, octagonal-shaped room was an area that Harrison had adopted as his personal temple and meditation space.[37] This picture was taken by photographer Barry Feinstein, whose Camouflage Productions partner, Tom Wilkes, originally used it as part of an elaborate poster intended as an insert in the album package. The poster featured a painting of the Hindu deity Krishna watching a group of naked maidens beside a bathing pond.[38] Harrison apparently felt uncomfortable with the symbolism in Wilkes’s design – the Friar Park tower image filled the top half of the poster, floating among clouds above the Krishna scene – so Wilkes abandoned the concept and instead used a darkened photo of Harrison inside the house as the album poster.[39] The more common picture sleeve internationally was a close-up of Feinstein’s All Things Must Pass front-cover image, taken on the main lawn of Friar Park.[40] In Denmark, the sleeve featured four shots of Harrison, again with guitar,[41] taken on stage during the Delaney & Bonnie tour.[42]

At the end of March, “What Is Life” peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100[43] and number 7 on Cash Boxs Top 100 chart,[44] making Harrison the first ex-Beatle to have two top-ten hits in the United States.[45][46] The single was a success internationally, climbing to number 1 in Switzerland[47] and on Australia’s Go-Set National Top 60,[48] and reaching the top three elsewhere in Europe and in Canada.[49] In Britain, where Harrison had resisted issuing a single from All Things Must Pass until midway through January,[50] “What Is Life” appeared on the B-side to “My Sweet Lord”[51] – a combination that became the top-selling single of 1971 in that country.[52]

Reception[edit]

“What Is Life” is one of Harrison’s most commercial and popular songs[53] – a “spiritual guitar quest” that “became [a] classic”, according to Rolling Stone magazine.[1] On release, Billboard magazine’s reviewer wrote of “What Is Life” and “Apple Scruffs” as “intriguing rhythm follows-ups” to Harrison’s previous single, which were “sure to repeat that success” and “should prove big juke box items”.[54] In their Solo Beatles Compendium, authors Chip Madinger and Mark Easter refer to it as an “intensely catchy track” and view its pairing with “My Sweet Lord” in the UK as perhaps the strongest of all of Harrison’s singles.[22] Writing in 1981, NME critic Bob Woffinden grouped “What Is LIfe” with “My Sweet Lord”, “Isn’t It a Pity” and “Awaiting on You All” as “all excellent songs”.[55]

Reviewing the 2001 reissue of All Things Must Pass, for Rolling Stone, James Hunter wrote of how the album’s music “exults in breezy rhythms”, among which “the colorful revolutions of ‘What Is Life’ … [move] like a Ferris wheel“.[56] The following year, in Rolling Stone Press’s Harrison tribute book, David Fricke included “What Is Life” among his selection of “essential Harrison performances” (just three of which date from the ex-Beatle’s solo years) and described the track as an “exultant song of surrender”, abetted by Harrison’s “pumping fuzz guitar” and the song’s “singalong magnetism”.[57] AllMusic‘s Richie Unterberger similarly praises “What Is Life” for its “anthemic” qualities, “particularly snazzy horn lines”, and a guitar riff that is “one more entry in the catalog of George Harrison’s book of arresting, low, descending guitar lines”.[12]

Writing in the book 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die, author Tom Moon refers to “the upbeat single ‘What Is Life'” as an example of how Harrison “grabs what he needs from his old band – that insinuating hook sense – and uses it to frame an utterly comfortable metaphysical discourse”.[58] Alan Clayson describes “What Is Life” as a seemingly “lovey-dovey pop song” that “craftily renewed the simplistic tonic-to-dominant riff cliché”,[27] while Simon Leng credits Harrison’s “innate ability to write very fine pop-rock songs” and deems the result “as innovative an exercise in rock-soul as The Temptations’ ‘Cloud Nine‘”.[21] Among Harrison biographers, only Ian Inglis is less than enthusiastic, acknowledging that Barham’s orchestration and the other musicians give the track “undoubted excitement and energy”, but lamenting that the song offers “little overall coherence between words and music”.[11]

In a 2010 poll to find the “10 Best George Harrison Songs”, AOL Radio listeners voted “What Is Life” third behind “My Sweet Lord” and “Blow Away“.[59] A similar list by Michael Galluci of Ultimate Classic Rock placed it second (behind “My Sweet Lord”), as Galluci wrote of the track having “a giant pop hook as its guide” as well as “the catchiest chorus Harrison ever penned”.[25] In 2009, Matt Melis of Consequence of Sound listed it sixth among his “Top Ten Songs by Ex-Beatles”, writing: “it’s arguable that Harrison’s All Things Must Pass is the best solo album put out by a Beatle. ‘What is Life’ … with its riff-driven bounce, soaring harmonies on the choruses, and perfectly placed sax and trumpet, [is] probably Harrison’s catchiest pop song.”[60] In the 2005 publication NME Originals: Beatles – The Solo Years 1970–1980, Adrian Thrills rated it first among Harrison’s “ten solo gems”, adding: “One of Harrison’s greatest guitar riffs – brilliant pop.”[61] The song is said to be a favourite of Foo Fighters singer Dave Grohl.[2] In a Rolling Stone readers’ poll, titled “10 Greatest Solo Beatle Songs”, the song placed fourth, with the editor commenting: “The track is deceptively simple, and more layers become apparent the more often you play it.”[62] “What Is Life” has featured in Bruce Pollock’s book The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944–2000, Treble website’s “The Top 200 Songs of the 1970s” (ranked at number 101) and Dave Thompson‘s 1000 Songs That Rock Your World (at number 247).[63]

Subsequent releases and appearances in films[edit]

“What Is Life” was included on the 1976 compilation The Best of George Harrison as well as 2009’s Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison.[64] The song has also been featured in a number of popular movies: Martin Scorsese‘s Goodfellas (1990), during the “May 11, 1980” sequence; Tom Shadyac‘s Patch Adams (1998); and, more recently, Sam MendesAway We Go (2009).[65] In late 2012, “What Is Life” was used in advance promotion for the film This Is 40, directed by Judd Apatow,[66] although it was omitted from the accompanying soundtrack album.[67] According to Rolling Stone: “Today, many people know it merely as a song from all those soundtracks: it’s in This Is 40, Patch Adams, Goodfellas and many more. It’s almost as ubiquitous as ‘Let My Love Open the Door‘ or ‘Solsbury Hill.'”[62] In Scorsese’s 2011 documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World, “What Is Life” plays over a sequence of 1969 photos of Harrison – with, variously, Preston, Jackie Lomax, the Plastic Ono Band, Clapton and Ravi Shankar – immediately before which, archive footage shows him discussing the restrictions he felt within the Beatles and how the band “had to implode”.[68]

An alternative studio version of “What Is Life” – in fact, a rough mix of the original backing track with different orchestration (in this case, piccolo trumpet and oboe)[69] – was issued as one of five bonus tracks on the 2001 remaster of All Things Must Pass.[70] In the accompanying booklet, Harrison writes that this orchestral arrangement was discarded because he “didn’t like the feel”.[71] Speaking to Billboard editor-in-chief Timothy White in December 2000, Harrison explained the reason for the lack of a guide vocal on this version: “I’m playing the fuzz guitar part that goes all through the song. So all I could do on the [initial] take was to give the band the cue line – the first line of each verse – and then go back to playing that riff. So that rough mix without the vocal – I’d forgot all about it …”[72] The track also appears on the 2014 Apple Years 1968–75 reissue of All Things Must Pass.[73]

Live performance[edit]

A live version of the song, recorded with Eric Clapton and his band in December 1991, is available on Harrison’s 1992 album Live in Japan album.[74] The performance was recorded at Tokyo Dome on 17 December,[75] during the final show of the tour.[76]

Part of a concert performance of “What Is Life” from Harrison’s 1974 North American tour with Shankar is included in Scorsese’s George Harrison: Living in the Material World.[77] While challenging the commonly held view that this controversial 1974 tour was a “disaster”,[78][79] Simon Leng writes of a Fort Worth performance of “What Is Life” that was “greeted with a reception that matched anything the New York audience at the Bangla Desh concerts expressed”.[80]

Cover versions[edit]

“What Is Life”
Picture sleeve for Olivia Newton-John single What Is Life.jpg

German picture sleeve
Single by Olivia Newton-John
from the album Olivia
B-side “I’m a Small and Lonely Light”
Released 1972
Genre Country, pop
Length 3:21
Label Pye International
Writer(s) George Harrison
Producer(s) Bruce Welch, John Farrar

Olivia Newton-John[edit]

Australian pop singer Olivia Newton-John recorded “What Is Life”, along with a version of Harrison’s All Things Must Pass track “Behind That Locked Door“,[81] for her 1972 album Olivia.[82] The song was arranged and produced by Bruce Welch of the Shadows and John Farrar,[83] who was Newton-John’s regular producer and collaborator during the 1970s.[84]

Released as a single in some countries, this version reached the UK top 20 in March 1972,[27][85] peaking at number 16.[86][nb 1] It has since appeared on Newton-John compilation albums such as Back to Basics: The Essential Collection 1971–1992 (1992)[89] and The Definitive Collection (2002).[90]

Other artists[edit]

In 1971, British easy listening pianist Ronnie Aldrich covered “What Is Life” (as well as “My Sweet Lord”) on his album Love Story.[91] That same year, a version by the Ventures appeared on their New Testament album.[92]Also in 1971, a Finnish-language version of the song, titled “Mikä Saa Ihmisen Elämään”, was released as a single by local singer Oliver – better known as Veikko Laiho, of the Laiho Trio.[93]

The Four Freshmen recorded “What Is Life” for their album Fresh! in 1986,[94] six years after which Nicola Sirkis covered the song on the album Dans La Lune …[95] A version by Shawn Mullins was released as a single in 1999[96] and plays over the closing credits of the Adam Sandler movie Big Daddy (1999).[65][97]

Following Harrison’s death, Japanese band the Collectors contributed a recording of “What Is Life” to the Gentle Guitar Dreams tribute album, released in May 2002.[98] Classical guitarist Joseph Breznikar recorded a version of the song for his 2003 tribute album George Harrison Remembered: A Touch of Class.[99] In November 2004, Neal Morse released his recording of “What Is Life” on the special-edition version of his album One.[94] Les Fradkin included a cover of “What Is Life” on his 2005 tribute CD Something for George.[100]

Personnel[edit]

The following musicians are believed to have played on “What Is Life”:[9][26]

Chart performance[edit]

George Harrison version[edit]

Weekly charts
Chart (1971) Peak
position
Australian Go-Set National Top 60[48] 1
Austrian Singles Chart[102] 5
Belgian Ultratop Singles[103] 5
Canadian RPM 100 Singles[104] 3
Dutch MegaChart Singles[105] 2
French SNEP Singles Chart[106] 6
Japanese Oricon Singles Chart[107] 19
New Zealand NZ Listener Chart[108] 2
Norwegian VG-lista Singles[109] 7
South African Springbok Singles Chart[110] 4
Swiss Singles Chart[47] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[111] 10
US Cash Box Top 100[112] 7
West German Media Control Singles[113] 3
Year-end charts
Chart (1971) Position
Canadian RPM Singles Chart[114] 41
Dutch Singles Chart[115] 45
US Cash Box[116] 48

Olivia Newton-John version[edit]

Chart (1972) Peak
position
Irish Singles Chart[117] 18
UK Singles Chart[86] 16

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The Beatles – All Things Must Pass (Full Band Demo – 1969)

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The Beatles performing “All Things Must Pass”, the George Harrison classic in 1968 during the Get Back / Let It Be sessions, 1969.

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George Harrison’s legendary impromptu performance of “All Things Must Pass” on VH1 in 1997, George’s last live performance before his death. The audio has been cleaned up and is high quality.

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George Harrison – All Things Must Pass

All Things Must Pass (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“All Things Must Pass”
ATMP juke.jpg

2001 jukebox single, “My Sweet Lord (2000)“/”All Things Must Pass”
Song by George Harrison from the album All Things Must Pass
Published Harrisongs
Released 27 November 1970
Genre Folk rock
Length 3:47
Label Apple
Writer(s) George Harrison
Producer(s) George Harrison, Phil Spector
All Things Must Pass track listing

All Things Must Pass” is a song by English musician George Harrison, issued in November 1970 as the title track to his triple album of the same name. Billy Preston released the song originally – as “All Things (Must) Pass” – on his Apple Records album Encouraging Words (1970), after the Beatles had rejected it for inclusion on their Let It Be album in January 1969. The composition reflects the influence of the Band‘s sound and communal music-making on Harrison, after he had spent time with the group in Woodstock, New York, in late 1968, while Timothy Leary‘s poem “All Things Pass”, a psychedelic adaptation of the Tao Te Ching, provided inspiration for his song lyrics.

The subject matter deals with the transient nature of human existence, and in Harrison’s All Things Must Pass reading, words and music combine to reflect impressions of optimism against fatalism. On release, together with Barry Feinstein‘s album cover image, commentators viewed the song as a statement on the Beatles’ break-up. Widely regarded as one of Harrison’s finest compositions, its rejection by his former band has provoked comment from biographers and reviewers. Music critic Ian MacDonald described “All Things Must Pass” as “the wisest song never recorded by The Beatles”,[1] while author Simon Leng considers it “perhaps the greatest solo Beatle composition”.[2] The recording was co-produced by Phil Spector in London; it features an orchestral arrangement by John Barham and contributions from musicians such as Ringo Starr, Pete Drake, Bobby Whitlock, Eric Clapton and Klaus Voormann.

Although the Beatles failed to formally record the song, a 1969 solo demo by Harrison appears on their compilation Anthology 3 (1996). An early version from the All Things Must Pass sessions was released on Harrison’s posthumous compilation Early Takes: Volume 1 in 2012. Paul McCartney performed “All Things Must Pass” at the Concert for George tribute in November 2002, a year after Harrison’s death. Jim James, the Waterboys, Klaus Voormann and Yusuf Islam, and Sloan Wainwright are among the other artists who have covered the song.

Background[edit]

The Band in Woodstock in 1969, with Levon Helm (centre) and Robbie Robertson (second from right)

Like his friend Eric Clapton, George Harrison was inspired by Music from Big Pink, the seminal debut album[3] from the Band, the former backing group for Bob Dylan.[4][5] Released in July 1968, Music from Big Pink was partly responsible for Harrison’s return to the guitar, his first instrument,[6] after he had spent two years attempting to master the more complex Indian sitar.[7][8] Harrison duly shared his enthusiasm with the British music press, declaring Big Pinkthe new sound to come from America”, drummer Levon Helm later recalled, thus helping to establish the Band internationally.[9] In appreciation, Robbie Robertson, the Band’s guitarist, extended an invitation to Harrison to stop by in Woodstock, New York, when the opportunity arose.[10]

I respected the Band enormously. All the different guys in the group sang, and Robbie Robertson used to say he was lucky, because he could write songs for a voice like Levon [Helm]’s. What a wise and generous attitude.[11]

– George Harrison to Musician magazine, 1987

Late in 1968, after producing sessions in Los Angeles for a solo album by Apple Records signing Jackie Lomax,[12] Harrison spent Thanksgiving and much of December in upstate New York,[13] where he renewed his friendship with a now semi-retired Dylan and took part in informal jam sessions with the Band.[1][14]According to Helm, they discussed making a possible “fireside jam” album with Clapton and an Apple Films “rock western” called Zachariah, but neither project progressed beyond the planning stage.[9] The bucolic surroundings proved fruitful for Harrison as a songwriter, producing his first collaboration with Dylan, “I’d Have You Anytime“,[15] and leading him to write “All Things Must Pass”.[16][17] He later described the latter song as a “Robbie Robertson–Band type of tune”,[18]and said that he always imagined it being sung by Helm.[19]

Composition[edit]

While discussing “All Things Must Pass” with music journalist Timothy White in 1987, Harrison recalled that his “starting point” for the composition was Robertson’s “The Weight” – a song that had “a religious and a country feeling to it”.[11] Musically, the verses of “All Things Must Pass” are set to a logical climb within the key of E;[20] the brief choruses form a departure from this, with their inclusion of a B minor chord rather than the more expected major voicing. Author Ian Inglis notes that the composition incorporates the same “modes, cadences and suspensions” found in Band songs such as “The Weight” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down“.[21]

For his lyrics, Harrison drew inspiration from “All Things Pass”, a poem published in Timothy Leary‘s 1966 book Psychedelic Prayers after the Tao Te Ching.[16][22][nb 1] In his 1980 autobiography, I Me Mine, Harrison refers to the idea for the song originating from “all kinds of mystics and ex-mystics”, including Leary.[18] Like later Harrison compositions such as “Here Comes the Sun“, “So Sad” and “Blow Away“, the lyrical and emotional content is based around metaphors involving the weather and the cycle of nature.[25] Harrison states in the opening lines of verse one: “Sunrise doesn’t last all morning / A cloudburst doesn’t last all day“.[26]

The Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, surroundings that inspired the music of the Band, and Harrison’s song “All Things Must Pass”

According to Harrison biographer Simon Leng, the lyrics reflect “life’s ephemeral character” and the “transitory” nature of love.[27] Inglis suggests that the song is “[o]stensibly” about “the end of a love affair”.[21] He and theologian Dale Allison note the optimism offered in Harrison’s words,[21][28] since, as Leng puts it, “a new day always dawns.”[27] Although “All Things Must Pass” avoids religiosity, Allison writes that its statement on the “all-inclusive” transience of things in the material world explains why so much of its 1970 parent album, All Things Must Pass, “finds hope and meaning only in God, who does not pass away”.[29] The song’s main message is offered in its middle eight:[30][31]

All things must pass
None of life’s strings can last
So I must be on my way
And face another day.

Ultimately, the cycle of nature offers “consolation”, Leng writes,[30] as further evidenced in the verse-three lines “Now the darkness only stays at night time” and “Daylight is good at arriving at the right time“.[21]

The lyrics underwent some minor changes after Harrison presented the song to the Beatles in January 1969, when they began working at London’s Twickenham Film Studios for the so-called Get Back project (released as the Let It Be album and film).[32] He had initially written the second line of verse two as the more literal “A wind can blow those clouds away“,[33] but bootlegs from the sessions reveal John Lennon suggesting the word “mind” to introduce a bit of “psychedelia” into the song.[34] Similarly, the repeated line “it’s not always gonna be this grey” was originally “It’s not always been this grey” in verses one and two.[35]

Pre-All Things Must Pass recording history[edit]

The Beatles’ Get Back rehearsals[edit]

“All Things Must Pass”
Song by the Beatles from the album Anthology 3
Published Harrisongs
Released 28 October 1996
Recorded 25 February 1969
Abbey Road Studios, London
Genre Folk rock
Length 3:05
Label Apple
Writer(s) George Harrison
Producer(s) George Harrison

In contrast with the creative equality he enjoyed with Dylan and the Band in Woodstock,[36][37] Harrison returned to the Beatles fold and found the same discordant atmosphere that had blighted the White Album sessions in 1968.[5][38] Early on during the Get Back rehearsals – and tellingly, music journalist John Harris notes, before the arrival that day of Lennon and his partner Yoko Ono – Harrison enthused with fellow Beatles Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney about the Band’s camaraderie and group ethos, saying: “They’re just living, and they happen to be a band as well.”[39]

I got back to England for Christmas and then … we were to start on the thing which turned into Let It Be. And straight away, again, it was just weird vibes. You know, I found I was starting to be able to enjoy being a musician, but the moment I got back with the Beatles it was just too difficult.[13]

– Harrison to Crawdaddy, 1977

On 2 January, day one of the Twickenham film shoot,[40] Harrison introduced “All Things Must Pass”, and the band worked on the song intermittently over the next four days of filming.[41][42] In the search for a suitable musical arrangement, Harrison stressed his preference for a “feel” akin to the Band, a suggestion that resulted in Lennon switching from guitar to Lowrey organ, a keyboard favoured by the Band’s Garth Hudson.[43] During the Twickenham rehearsals, the Beatles also discussed the idea of Harrison performing “All Things Must Pass” solo for inclusion in the proposed film.[44]

They returned to the song briefly towards the end of January, by which time the project had moved location to their own Apple Studio, in central London[32] – one of Harrison’s conditions for rejoining the Beatles after his temporary walkout on 10 January.[3][45] Although the band gave a fair amount of time to “All Things Must Pass”, it was ultimately pushed aside,[46] just as other Harrison compositions including “Old Brown Shoe“, “Isn’t It a Pity“, “Let It Down” and “I Me Mine” received a lukewarm reception,[47][48] particularly from Lennon.[49][50] David Fricke of Rolling Stone has referred to this period as a “struggle” for Harrison “against the patronizing restrictions of writing within and for the Beatles”.[51] Doug Sulpy and Ray Schweighardt, authors of Get Back: The Unauthorized Chronicle of The Beatles’ Let It Be Disaster, observe that Lennon and McCartney routinely rejected Harrison’s songs, “even though some were far better than their own”.[52]

The Beatles never formally recorded “All Things Must Pass”,[32] and only rehearsal takes circulate on bootleg compilations from the sessions.[53] The Fly on the Wall bonus disc accompanying the McCartney-instigated Let It Be… Naked album (2003) includes a snippet of the Beatles indulging in some Band-like chorusing on the song.[54]

Harrison’s solo demo[edit]

During the Beatles’ Apple Studio session on 28 January,[55] Harrison talked with Lennon and Ono about possibly doing a solo album of his unused songs, in order to “preserve this, the Beatle bit, more”.[56] Lennon offered his support for the idea.[56] While author Bruce Spizer has suggested that Lennon was keen to “spare” the band from having to work on Harrison’s songs,[57] Sulpy and Schweighardt consider that Lennon’s enthusiasm was because such a solo project would allow him and Ono to continue their own recording activities “without causing friction within The Beatles”.[55][nb 2]

On 25 February 1969, his 26th birthday, Harrison entered Abbey Road Studios alone and recorded a demo of the song, along with other recent compositions “Old Brown Shoe” and “Something“.[59][60] With Ken Scott serving as engineer,[1] he recorded two takes of “All Things Must Pass”, adding extra electric guitar onto the second.[32][61] This version was eventually released in 1996 on the Beatles’ outtake collection Anthology 3.[32]

Billy Preston’s version[edit]

“All Things (Must) Pass”
Song by Billy Preston from the album Encouraging Words
Published Harrisongs
Released 11 September 1970 (UK)
9 November 1970 (US)
Genre Soul
Length 3:38
Label Apple
Writer(s) George Harrison
Producer(s) George Harrison, Billy Preston

Soon after Harrison had begun talking publicly about making a solo album, during the final months of 1969,[62][63] he offered “All Things Must Pass”, along with the more recent “My Sweet Lord“, to Billy Preston for the latter’s album Encouraging Words.[64][65] Through Harrison’s invitation,[66] Preston had played keyboards for the Beatles once the Get Back/Let It Be sessions resumed at Apple Studio,[32][67] where the 22-year-old Texan had impressed with his superior musicianship and convivial presence.[68][69] Preston was soon offered a recording deal with Apple Records,[70] Encouraging Words being the second album under the contract.[71][72]

Co-produced by Harrison, Preston’s reading of “All Things Must Pass” betrays an obvious debt to his former mentor, Ray Charles.[73] While Harrison’s later recording is generally viewed as the definitive version,[74] Bruce Eder of AllMusic considers this treatment of the song the superior of the two.[75] Preston’s version appeared in September 1970,[76] five months after the Beatles’ break-up.[77]

All Things Must Pass recording[edit]

While completing his production on Preston’s release,[78] Harrison chose to record the song himself for what became the title track of his post-Beatles solo debut, the triple album All Things Must Pass.[79] In describing “All Things Must Pass” as a “haunting hymn about the mortality of everything”, author Elliot Huntley notes the added poignance in Harrison’s version, due to the death of his mother in July 1970 after a long period of illness.[80]

With Phil Spector as his co-producer, Harrison taped the basic track at Abbey Road Studios between 26 May and early in June.[81] Other participants included Clapton, German bassist Klaus Voormann and Starr, the latter another avowed Band fan.[82] Leng credits the song’s piano part to Bobby Whitlock, who also sang backing vocals with Clapton,[27] his future bandmate in Derek and the Dominos.[83] In his 2010 autobiography, Whitlock states that it was Preston who played the piano on “All Things Must Pass”, while his own contribution was pump organ, or harmonium.[84][nb 3] Although Leng lists both Harrison and Clapton as having played acoustic guitar and Starr and Jim Gordon on drums,[27]according to the personnel that Whitlock offers, neither Clapton nor Gordon played on the song.[87] Among the overdubs on the track, Nashville session musician Pete Drake recorded a pedal-steel guitar part during a brief visit to London,[88] to participate in sessions for Harrison songs such as “Behind That Locked Door” and “I Live for You“.[89][nb 4]

I’d play it to them and they’d say, “Wow, yeah! Great song!” And I’d say, “Really? Do you really like it?” I realised that it was okay …[91]

– Harrison discussing the reception his compositions received during the album sessions

Spector’s erratic behaviour[92] during the All Things Must Pass sessions left Harrison to handle most of the project alone,[93][94] but in August 1970, after receiving a tape of Harrison’s early mixes of the songs, Spector provided him with written feedback and guidance.[27] Spector wrote of “All Things Must Pass”, “This particular song is so good that any honest [vocal] performance by you is acceptable as far as I’m concerned”,[27] but he expressed his disapproval of the horns at the start of the track.[74] In the words of authors Chip Madinger and Mark Easter, “clearer heads prevailed” and Jim Price and Bobby Keys‘ horn parts were retained.[74]

The recording opens with “unvaryingly steady” piano chords, Inglis writes,[21] and what Leng terms “sensitive” string orchestration from John Barham,[27] soon joined by the horns and Drake’s pedal steel.[32] Leng highlights this combination as providing the song with its rising and falling musical moods, implying variously light and darkness;[27] Inglis writes of the musical arrangement mirroring the “competing impressions” of hope and melancholy found in Harrison’s lyrics.[21] True to its Catskill roots, the recording evokes the Band’s “The Weight”[74][95] and their eponymous second album,[96] the tracks on which were similarly inspired by “the beauty of that autumn in Woodstock”, according to Helm.[97][nb 5]

Release and album artwork[edit]

The song’s title and message provided inspiration for Barry Feinstein‘s cover photo for All Things Must Pass

Almost two years after Harrison wrote the song, “All Things Must Pass” was released in November 1970,[48] closing side three of the triple album in its original LP format.[99] Despite its high retail price, All Things Must Pass was a major commercial success,[100][101] comfortably outselling concurrent solo releases by Lennon and McCartney.[94][102][nb 6]

The song’s title was invariably seen as a statement on the demise of the Beatles,[21][104] as commentators viewed the album as Harrison’s liberation from the artistic constraints imposed on him within the band.[105][106] The album’s cover image, showing Harrison seated on his Friar Park lawn surrounded by four reclining garden gnomes – thought to represent the Beatles – was also viewed as reflecting this theme.[107] While commenting that “All Things Must Pass” had “accrue[d] new layers of relevance” during the album’s creation, particularly with the death of Harrison’s mother, former Mojo editor Paul Du Noyer writes: “Nobody in November 1970 could have mistaken the title’s significance … As if to cement the association of ideas, the wry cover picture has George in solitary splendour, surrounded by a quartet of gnomes.”[108] In a 2001 interview, photographer Barry Feinstein admitted that the words “All Things Must Pass” had helped inspire his set-up for the photo, saying: “What else could it be? … [It] was over with The Beatles, right? And that title … Very symbolic.”[104]

Reception and legacy[edit]

On release, Ben Gerson of Rolling Stone described “All Things Must Pass” as “eloquently hopeful and resigned” while labelling the album “the music of mountain tops and vast horizons”.[109] Beatles Forever author Nicholas Schaffner noted in 1977, with reference to Harrison’s commercial and critical dominance over his former bandmates following the break-up: “The very fact that the Beatles had kept George’s flowering talents so under wraps proved to be his secret weapon.”[110] Schaffner named “All Things Must Pass” and “Beware of Darkness” as the two “most eloquent” songs on All Things Must Pass, “musically as well as lyrically”, with “mysterious, seductive melodies, over which faded strings and horns hover like Blue Jay Way fog”.[111]

Writing for Rolling Stone in 2000, Anthony DeCurtis praised the song for its musical demonstration of “the sweet satisfactions of faith”.[106] On a triple album where “nearly every song is excellent”, AllMusic picks “All Things Must Pass” as one of five standout tracks (or AMG track picks),[112] with Richie Unterberger writing of its autumnal theme: “It’s the kind of song that fits the mood in November, when the trees are getting stripped bare of their leaves, the days are getting shorter and colder, and you have to resign yourself to knowing it’s going to be tougher and tougher in those regards for months, also knowing that those hardships will pass away come springtime.”[113] In his book on Harrison, subtitled A Spiritual Biography, Gary Tillery refers to the song as “magisterial” and a “majestic title track” that “leaves even the shallowest listener contemplative”.[114] Michael Gallucci of Ultimate Classic Rock places “All Things Must Pass” third on his list of Harrison’s best solo songs (behind the two hit singles from All Things Must Pass, “My Sweet Lord” and “What Is Life“), and comments: “The album’s title track takes on more poignancy after Harrison’s death [in 2001], but it’s always been great.”[115] Writing for Rough Guides, Chris Ingham similarly describes the song as “a heart-rending piece of significant prescience which seems to take on more poignancy with every passing year”.[116]

Among Harrison’s biographers, Simon Leng considers “All Things Must Pass” a “classic of Harrison’s lyrical ambiguity, in essence a hopeful song, without sounding so”, with a lyric that “approaches Bob Dylan standard”.[117] Ian Inglis also praises the lyrics, writing: “The song contains some of Harrison’s most insightful and pensive words. ‘Daylight is good at arriving at the right time’ is a fine example of his … ability to position the profound within the commonplace.”[21] Elliot Huntley rates it as one of Harrison’s “most beautiful” songs, “if not the very best”, and suggests that the sentiments behind “All Things Must Pass” would have made it a “fitting conclusion” to the final album recorded by the Beatles, Abbey Road (1969).[80]

Bruce Spizer similarly rates “All Things Must Pass” a highlight of Harrison’s career,[32] while Leng considers it “perhaps the greatest solo Beatle composition” of all.[2] In his book Revolution in the Head, Ian MacDonald describes “All Things Must Pass” as “the wisest song never recorded by The Beatles”.[1] In 2009, The Guardian included the track in its list of “1000 Songs Everyone Must Hear”.[118]

Performance and later releases[edit]

“All Things Must Pass” was not a track that Harrison ever played in concert,[119] although it appeared on his preliminary setlist for the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh shows.[120] He twice performed the song live in front of TV cameras during the final years of his life,[121] beginning with his appearance with Ravi Shankar on VH1‘s Hard Rock Live, filmed in New York on 14 May 1997.[122][123] The pair were on the show to promote their recent collaboration, Chants of India,[123] but at host John Fugelsang‘s urging, Harrison accepted an acoustic guitar and performed a brief rendition of “All Things Must Pass”.[124][125][nb 7] In late 2000, Harrison sang “All Things Must Pass” while again seated on a stool on Friar Park’s main lawn, a performance that was included in the press kit for All Things Must Passs 30th anniversary reissue early the following year.[127][128][nb 8]

Coinciding with this 2001 reissue, the song appeared on a promotional single as the B-side to “My Sweet Lord (2000)“.[130][131] After being omitted from the “cursory” selection of 1970–75 tracks on The Best of George Harrison (1976), Inglis writes, the song appeared on Harrison’s 2009 career-spanning compilation Let It Roll.[132]

In Martin Scorsese‘s 2011 documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World, “All Things Must Pass” is the first song featured in the movie, played over footage of German air raids over Britain during World War II.[133][134] In November that year, a 1970-recorded demo of the song (featuring just Harrison, Starr and Voormann) appeared on the deluxe edition CD accompanying the British DVD release of the film;[135][136] this CD was subsequently issued worldwide in May 2012 as Early Takes: Volume 1.[137]

Cover versions[edit]

Steve Wood and Daniel May composed music to the 1998 documentary film Everest incorporating melodies from some of George Harrison’s songs, one of which was “All Things Must Pass”.[138] At the Concert for George tribute to Harrison, held at London’s Royal Albert Hall on 29 November 2002, Paul McCartney sang “All Things Must Pass”,[2] backed by a large band that included Preston, Clapton, Voormann and Starr.[139] Leng notes the irony in McCartney performing the song,[2] while Beatles biographer Peter Doggett comments: “it wasn’t hard to imagine Harrison’s cynicism as McCartney led the band into a soulful rendition of ‘All Things Must Pass’ – one of the songs that the other Beatles had refused to take seriously in January 1969.”[140] According to Clapton, author Robert Rodriguez writes, McCartney “was humbled at having to relearn it”.[141]

Several other artists have recorded “All Things Must Pass” in the years since Harrison’s death. In 2003, Bobby Whitlock and his wife, CoCo Carmel, included the song on their acoustic live album Other Assorted Love Songs, Live from Whitney Chapel.[142] Jazz guitarist Joel Harrison covered “All Things Must Pass” on his album Harrison on Harrison: Jazz Explanations of George Harrison, released in October 2005.[143] In 2007, a live version by the Waterboys appeared on their CD single “Everybody Takes a Tumble”,[144]and the following year Sloan Wainwright included a cover of the song on her album Rediscovery.[145]

“All Things Must Pass” was among the Harrison compositions covered by Jim James on his Tribute To EP, recorded in December 2001 but not released until August 2009.[146] Also in 2009, Klaus Voormann released a version of the song on his solo album A Sideman’s Journey,[147] with Yusuf Islam on vocals and acoustic guitar.[148][149]

Personnel[edit]

The musicians who performed on Harrison’s All Things Must Pass version of the song are believed to be as follows:[27]

Notes[edit]

  1. Jump up^ Harrison had already adapted a passage from the Tao Te Ching, a Chinese classic text, in his 1968 B-side for the Beatles, “The Inner Light“.[23] This had come at the suggestion of Cambridge academic Juan Mascaró, who had been moved by Harrison’s lyrics to another of his Indian-inspired compositions, “Within You, Without You“.[24]
  2. Jump up^ By this point, Harrison had already released the largely instrumental soundtrack album Wonderwall Music, which was soon followed by Lennon and Ono’s experimental work Two Virgins.[58]
  3. Jump up^ Alternatively, Harrison said in 1971 that American musician Gary Wright had “played piano on the whole [All Things Must Pass] album”.[85]Leng concedes the difficulty in ascertaining precise musicians’ credits for each track and names Wright and Whitlock as the two “core” keyboard players on the sessions.[86]
  4. Jump up^ Whitlock recalls that originally he had whistled a melody, which Spector recorded onto the basic track, and that this served as a guide for Drake’s contribution.[90]
  5. Jump up^ Leng identifies the Band’s minimalist tradition as a significant influence on other All Things Must Pass songs, particularly “Run of the Mill” and “Behind That Locked Door”.[98]
  6. Jump up^ As of 2011, it remained the most successful album by any of the former Beatles.[103]
  7. Jump up^ Although 150 minutes of Harrison and Shankar’s appearance was filmed, VH1 originally aired only 22 minutes of footage, on 24 July, as George & Ravi – Yin & Yang.[124] Omitted from the broadcast but also performed by Harrison was the Traveling Wilburys tune “If You Belonged to Me” and “Any Road“, a track subsequently released on his posthumous album Brainwashed (2002).[124][126]
  8. Jump up^ On the day after Harrison’s death was publicly announced, the quirky, Terry Gilliam-inspired graphics on Harrison’s website, allthingsmustpass.com, were changed to show just a single gnome and the lyrics to “All Things Must Pass”.[129]

Sources[edit]

  • Dale C. Allison Jr., The Love There That’s Sleeping: The Art and Spirituality of George Harrison, Continuum (New York, NY, 2006; ISBN 978-0-8264-1917-0).
  • Keith Badman, The Beatles Diary Volume 2: After the Break-Up 1970–2001, Omnibus Press (London, 2001; ISBN 0-7119-8307-0).
  • Harry Castleman & Walter J. Podrazik, All Together Now: The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975, Ballantine Books (New York, NY, 1976; ISBN 0-345-25680-8).
  • Alan Clayson, George Harrison, Sanctuary (London, 2003; ISBN 1-86074-489-3).
  • Peter Doggett, You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Breakup, It Books (New York, NY, 2011; ISBN 978-0-06-177418-8).
  • The Editors of Rolling Stone, Harrison, Rolling Stone Press/Simon & Schuster (New York, NY, 2002; ISBN 0-7432-3581-9).
  • Joshua M. Greene, Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison, John Wiley & Sons (Hoboken, NJ, 2006; ISBN 978-0-470-12780-3).
  • John Harris, “A Quiet Storm”, Mojo, July 2001, pp. 66–74.
  • George Harrison, I Me Mine, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA, 2002; ISBN 0-8118-3793-9).
  • Olivia Harrison, George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Abrams (New York, NY, 2011; ISBN 978-1-4197-0220-4).
  • Levon Helm (with Stephen Davis), This Wheel’s on Fire: Levon Helm and the Story of The Band, A Cappella Books (Chicago, IL, 2000; ISBN 978-1-55652-405-9).
  • Mark Hertsgaard, A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of the Beatles, Pan Books (London, 1996; ISBN 0-330-33891-9).
  • Elliot J. Huntley, Mystical One: George Harrison – After the Break-up of the Beatles, Guernica Editions (Toronto, ON, 2006; ISBN 1-55071-197-0).
  • Chris Ingham, The Rough Guide to the Beatles, Rough Guides/Penguin (London, 2006; 2nd edn; ISBN 978-1-84836-525-4).
  • Ian Inglis, The Words and Music of George Harrison, Praeger (Santa Barbara, CA, 2010; ISBN 978-0-313-37532-3).
  • Peter Lavezzoli, The Dawn of Indian Music in the West, Continuum (New York, NY, 2006; ISBN 0-8264-2819-3).
  • Simon Leng, While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison, Hal Leonard (Milwaukee, WI, 2006; ISBN 1-4234-0609-5).
  • Ian MacDonald, Revolution in the Head: The Beatles’ Records and the Sixties, Pimlico (London, 1998; ISBN 0-7126-6697-4).
  • Chip Madinger & Mark Easter, Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium, 44.1 Productions (Chesterfield, MO, 2000; ISBN 0-615-11724-4).
  • Barry Miles, The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years, Omnibus Press (London, 2001; ISBN 0-7119-8308-9).
  • Mojo: The Beatles’ Final Years Special Edition, Emap (London, 2003).
  • Robert Rodriguez, Fab Four FAQ 2.0: The Beatles’ Solo Years, 1970–1980, Backbeat Books (Milwaukee, WI, 2010; ISBN 978-1-4165-9093-4).
  • Nicholas Schaffner, The Beatles Forever, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY, 1978; ISBN 0-07-055087-5).
  • Bruce Spizer, The Beatles Solo on Apple Records, 498 Productions (New Orleans, LA, 2005; ISBN 0-9662649-5-9).
  • Doug Sulpy & Ray Schweighardt, Get Back: The Unauthorized Chronicle of The Beatles’ Let It Be Disaster, St. Martin’s Griffin (New York, 1997; ISBN 0-312-19981-3).
  • Gary Tillery, Working Class Mystic: A Spiritual Biography of George Harrison, Quest Books (Wheaton, IL, 2011; ISBN 978-0-8356-0900-5).
  • Bobby Whitlock (with Marc Roberty), Bobby Whitlock: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Autobiography, McFarland (Jefferson, NC, 2010; ISBN 978-0-7864-6190-5).
  • Bob Woffinden, The Beatles Apart, Proteus (London, 1981; ISBN 0-906071-89-5).
  • Kenneth Womack, The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four, ABC-CLIO (Santa Barbara, CA, 2014; ISBN 978-0-313-39171-2).

External links[edit]

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Behind That Locked Door – Olivia Newton-John (1973)

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George Harrison – Behind That Locked Door – Lyrics

Behind That Locked Door

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Behind That Locked Door”
Song by George Harrison from the album All Things Must Pass
Published Harrisongs
Released 27 November 1970
Genre Folk rock, country
Length 3:05
Label Apple
Writer(s) George Harrison
Producer(s) George Harrison, Phil Spector
All Things Must Pass track listing

Behind That Locked Door” is a song by English musician George Harrison, released on his 1970 triple album All Things Must Pass. Harrison wrote the song in August 1969 as a message of encouragement to Bob Dylan, who was making a highly publicised comeback to the concert stage, accompanied by the Band, with a headlining performance at the Isle of Wight Festival. “Behind That Locked Door” is a rare Harrison composition in the country music genre and the second song dealing with the friendship between himself and Dylan, after their 1968 collaboration “I’d Have You Anytime“. Its lyrics address Dylan’s elusive nature, and reflect the high regard in which Harrison held the American singer’s work. The same reluctance on Dylan’s part to re-engage with a concert audience led to him retreating again from live performance until August 1971, when he responded to Harrison’s request to play at the Concert for Bangladesh.

Harrison recorded “Behind That Locked Door” in London early in the summer of 1970, shortly after taking part in a session for Dylan’s New Morning album in New York. Co-produced by Phil Spector, the recording features a prominent contribution from Nashville pedal steel virtuoso Pete Drake, and twin keyboard parts from Gary Wright and Billy Preston in the tradition of the Band, whose sound influenced Harrison’s arrangement. With its understated performance, the track is a comparatively rare departure from the big production commonly associated with All Things Must Pass. On release, Alan Smith of the NME described the song as “a tremendous piece of country-meets-Hawaii” and recommended that it be sent to country singer Slim Whitman “without further delay”.[1]

An alternate take of “Behind That Locked Door” appears on the 2012 Harrison compilation Early Takes: Volume 1. Olivia Newton-John, Jim James, the Felice Brothers and Norah Jones are among the artists who have covered the song.

Background[edit]

In mid August 1969, Bob Dylan had confounded the media’s expectations by shunning the Woodstock Festival, an event he had helped to inspire.[2][3] Instead, after three years in virtual seclusion with his family, Dylan decided to make his comeback a fortnight after Woodstock, by headlining the Isle of Wight Festival at Wootton, just off the south coast of England.[4][5] Now a popular act in their own right, the Band agreed to back Dylan for the performance,[6] just as they had (as the Hawks) on his controversial 1966 world tour.[7]In a repeat of his UK concerts from 1966, leading figures in the English music scene began to gather on the island to show their support for Dylan,[8][9] the singer widely considered “the minstrel to a generation”.[10]

Alone among the many celebrity guests,[nb 1] George Harrison had spent time with Dylan during his period away from the limelight, in Bearsville, near Woodstock.[11][12] In between promoting Radha Krishna Temple (London)‘s debut single on Apple Records, his own production of “Hare Krishna Mantra“,[13] Harrison and wife Pattie Boyd stayed with Dylan’s family at Forelands Farm, near Bembridge, during the week preceding the festival.[14] The two musicians strengthened the bond they had established in upstate New York[15]and were heard performing near-perfect impersonations of the Everly Brothers in the farmhouse.[16][nb 2]

Festival poster, showing an image of Dylan circa 1966

In addition to a crowd estimated at 200,000,[18] a group of 300 American journalists descended on the Isle of Wight, adding unwelcome pressure on Dylan.[14] In the days leading up to his performance on Sunday, 31 August, the British press dubbed the event “D Day”, in reference to the Allies’ invasion of German-occupied France in June 1944;[19] in the words of music journalist John Harris, “Dylan’s show had by now been inflated into the gig of the decade.”[20] As a further impediment to Dylan’s planned comeback, audiences in 1969 expected to hear the rock music associated with his and the Hawks’ 1965–66 tours,[21] a style that he had abandoned with his recent country album, Nashville Skyline.[22]This contrast was encouraged by the organisers’ promotional campaign for the event,[23] particularly in the design for the official festival posters.[24] Referring to Dylan’s more conservative 1969 image, author Clinton Heylin writes: “There was little doubt that this was a different Dylan, even if the graphic on the fluttering posters advertising the festival was a stark black-and-white shot of a beshaded Dylan in classic ’66 pose.”[24] The arrival of Harrison’s fellow Beatles John Lennon and Ringo Starr, on Saturday, 30 August, added to the heightened speculation that one or more members of the band might make a guest appearance with Dylan the following evening.[25][26][nb 3]

Harrison gifted Dylan his vintage Gibson J-200 acoustic guitar before the show[28] and was then taken aback that Dylan arranged for “Hare Krishna Mantra” to be played over the PA minutes before he and the Band went on stage.[29]Mukunda Goswami, one of the six pioneer devotees who founded the Hare Krishna movement‘s London temple and played on the recording,[30][31] has identified this exposure as reflective of how the ancient Maha Mantra “penetrated British society” as a result of the Harrison-produced single.[32] Harrison watched Dylan’s performance from the VIP enclosure,[33] an experience that informed the lyrics to a new composition, “Behind That Locked Door”.[34]

Composition[edit]

I don’t mean to embarrass Bob or anything like that, but he’s said and done more, I think, than the lot of show business put together. You can take just one tune [of his] from back in the Sixties and it’s more meaningful than twenty or thirty years of what everybody else said …[35]

– George Harrison, commenting on the songs of Bob Dylan

John Harris describes “Behind That Locked Door” as a “sweet acknowledgement of Dylan’s shyness”.[20] According to Harrison’s recollection in a December 2000 interview for Billboard magazine, he began writing the song the night before Dylan played.[36] Further to the statement of friendship in their 1968 collaboration “I’d Have You Anytime[37] – which Harrison began as a way of getting Dylan to let down his guard and “Let me in here[38] – in “Behind That Locked Door”, he urges Dylan to confide in a friend and “let out your heart“.[39]

Author Ian Inglis notes the Isle of Wight performance as having been a “hugely important and anxious occasion” for Dylan and views Harrison’s opening verse as a “personal plea” for him to “pull out of his depression, to face the world again, and to look to the future”. After asking “Why are you still crying?“, Harrison assures Dylan that “The love you are blessed with / This world’s waiting for …[40]

In the second verse,[41] Harrison sings of how he values Dylan’s friendship, together with “the tales you have told me / From the things that you saw“.[5] For much of his career, Harrison repeatedly identified Dylan as one of his biggest musical influences,[42] along with Ravi Shankar.[35] To Inglis, these verse-two lines reflect the level of Harrison’s respect for his work, since “while millions of others may look to the Beatles for guidance, he looks to Dylan”.[42][nb 4]

Bob Dylan and the Band on stage in 1974, the year Harrison faced criticism for his own change of musical direction

Harrison musical biographer Simon Leng observes that, in the “counseling” Harrison gives Dylan in “Behind That Locked Door”, he anticipates his own “slough of despond” during 1973–75.[46] This self-styled “naughty period” of Harrison’s coincided with the failure of his marriage to Boyd and a fall from grace with music critics following his 1974 “Dark Horse Tour[47] – a tour on which, similar to Dylan in 1969, Harrison defied public expectation and attempted to break from his Beatle past.[48] In the final verse to “Behind That Locked Door”,[41] he asks for Dylan’s support in such a scenario:[42]

And if ever my love goes
If I’m rich or I’m poor
Come and let out my heart, please, please
From behind that locked door.

Musically, the song is set in a slow, country-waltz time signature[49] with, as Leng observes, melody and lyrics working “in tandem”.[46] Within each couplet, a rising musical figure presents the “problem” (“Why are you still crying?“), while the second line consists of a “falling melodic consolation” (“Your pain is now through“).[46] In his 1980 autobiography, Harrison offers little comment about “Behind That Locked Door”, aside from identifying the inspiration behind the song and admitting: “It was a good excuse to do a country tune with pedal steel guitar.”[34]

Aftermath to the Isle of Wight Festival[edit]

Dylan’s set at the festival was roundly viewed as anticlimactic,[50][51] if not a “Midnight Flop!”, in the opinion of one British tabloid.[52] Having recently told Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner that he would return to touring that autumn, Dylan abandoned the idea and also cancelled the proposed live album from his Isle of Wight performance.[53][nb 5] Showing support for Dylan in the fallout from his comeback, in a late 1969 interview Harrison included the American singer in his personal list of essential contemporary rock artists, saying: “The Beatles, [the] Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Delaney & Bonnie, and that’s it. Who needs anything else?”[55]

Inglis highlights “Behind That Locked Door” as an example of how Harrison’s songwriting reflects his “fondness” for family and close friends.[56] Dylan’s reluctance to perform live again was only broken by his friendship with Harrison,[57][58] when the latter persuaded him to play at the Concert for Bangladesh shows in New York in August 1971.[59] Although Dylan had been noncommittal about playing at that event until the last minute,[60][61] a mutual friend of his and Harrison’s, journalist Al Aronowitz, had assured Boyd, “Bob wouldn’t let George down”;[62] another performer at the shows, drummer Jim Keltner, has said that Dylan felt a special closeness towards Harrison as a result of the Concert for Bangladesh.[63] Four years later, while Harrison was dejected following what author Elliot Huntley terms the “tsunami of bile that the Dark Horse album had unleashed”,[64] he spent considerable time with Dylan in Los Angeles.[65][66][nb 6] According to Mukunda Goswami, speaking in a 1982 interview with Harrison, Dylan became a regular visitor to the Los Angeles Radha Krishna temple and embraced the practice of chanting.[70]

Recording[edit]

Following the Beatles’ break-up in April 1970, and shortly before beginning work on All Things Must Pass, Harrison participated in a recording session in New York for Dylan’s New Morning album.[15][71] Among the many tracks they played were “Working on the Guru”,[72] Dylan’s “gentle prod” at Harrison’s association with the Hare Krishna movement, Harris writes,[20] and “If Not for You“, a new Dylan song that Harrison decided to cover on his own album.[73] Dylan also supplied him with a phone number for Pete Drake,[74]the Nashville-based pedal-steel guitarist and record producer whose work had graced “Lay Lady Lay” and other songs on Nashville Skyline.[75][76] Harrison later praised Drake’s pedal steel playing as “the bagpipes of country & western music“.[36]

Working at Abbey Road Studios in London with co-producer Phil Spector,[77] Harrison recorded “Behind That Locked Door” during the first batch of sessions for All Things Must Pass, between late May and early June 1970.[78] Drake’s pedal steel features strongly on the recording,[79] providing a commentary to Harrison’s vocal in the verses, as well as a mid-song solo,[80] supported by Hammond organ from Billy Preston, and Gary Wright on piano.[76] The arrangement for “Behind That Locked Door” reflects the enduring influence of the Band’s sound on Harrison[46] – through the use of two keyboard players, acoustic guitars, and a restrained backing from the rhythm section, comprising Klaus Voormann on bass and, in Huntley’s description, Alan White‘s “shuffle beat” drums.[80] For some years after the song’s release, rumours claimed that it was the Band themselves backing Harrison on the track.[78]

Leng credits all three acoustic guitar parts to Harrison,[46] although other sources suggest that Peter Frampton may have participated at the session.[76] Harrison also overdubbed all the backing vocals (credited on the album to “the George O’Hara-Smith Singers”),[81] a feat much admired by Spector, who has noted Harrison’s willingness to “experiment upon experiment” with his harmony singing on All Things Must Pass.[82]

Release and reception[edit]

“Behind That Locked Door” was released as the third track on side two of Harrison’s All Things Must Pass triple album,[83] in November 1970.[84] Ian Inglis writes of its position in the track order: “In the middle of an album whose songs sweep across the grand themes of history, religion, love, sex, and death, [‘Behind That Locked Door’] is a surprising and touching gesture of simple friendship from one man to another.”[42] The release followed speculation in the music press regarding the Dylan–Harrison joint session in May,[85] and conversely, the critics’ lambasting of Dylan’s Self Portrait double album, released in June 1970.[86] In his review of All Things Must Pass, the NMEs Alan Smith declared “Behind That Locked Door” a “standout” and “a tremendous piece of country-meets-Hawaii, which should be sent to Slim Whitman without further delay”.[1] Less impressed, Ben Gerson of Rolling Stone dismissed the song as “an inexplicable bit of C&W schlock”, although he conceded that it had a “lovely, lilting background vocal”.[87] Later in the 1970s, Beatles Forever author Nicholas Schaffner highlighted “Behind That Locked Door” and the other Dylan-influenced songs on All Things Must Pass as being “far more intimate, both musically and lyrically, than the rest of the album”.[88]

He was a giant, a great soul, with all the humanity, all the wit and humor, all the wisdom, the spirituality, the common sense of a man and compassion for people. He inspired love and had the strength of a hundred men … The world is a profoundly emptier place without him.[89]

– Dylan’s tribute to Harrison, following the latter’s death in November 2001

Reviewers and biographers in the 21st century invariably recognise its place among Bob Dylan’s work on his John Wesley Harding (1967) and Nashville Skyline albums.[46][49][76] Writing in Goldmine magazine in 2002, Dave Thompson remarked: “indeed, this tribute to Dylan’s famous reticence sounds so close to a lost Zim original that His Bobness’ own ‘Baby, Stop Crying‘ (from 1978’s Street Legal) is all but reduced to tributary status itself in comparison.”[90]

Alan Clayson approves of the more “understated production aesthetic” next to what he views as an at-times “bloated” sound found elsewhere on All Things Must Pass.[49] Simon Leng also acknowledges Harrison’s success in “temper[ing] Phil Spector’s taste for the extreme” and describes “Behind That Locked Door” as one of its composer’s “more attractive” songs, with a fine lead vocal.[46] “[It] is refreshing to hear Harrison singing about another’s pain,” Leng adds, “suggesting that, unlike some of his contemporaries, he was able to displace himself as the center of his universe for a moment or two at least.”[91] In his book Phil Spector: Out of His Head, Richard Williams identifies “Behind That Locked Door” as an example of “how sympathetic to the performer” Spector could be as a producer, in this case, by giving the recording a “mellow, autumnal mix” that “beautifully display[s]” Drake’s pedal steel.[92]

Elliot Huntley writes that the track provides a showcase for Harrison’s “melodic flair”, as well as a reason to wonder why the ex-Beatle did not record more songs in the country-music genre, since “certainly he seems perfectly at home in these comfortable surroundings”.[80] Huntley speculates on the “interesting” possibility of a whole LP side of similar “ersatz country and western” tracks, as the Rolling Stones would do on their Exile on Main St. double album in 1972.[93] Harrison biographer Joshua Greene describes the song as a celebration of “love’s victory over pain”.[94]

Alternative version[edit]

In November 2011, an early take of “Behind That Locked Door”, featuring Harrison’s vocal backed by just two acoustic guitars and Drake’s pedal steel, was included in the British deluxe-edition CD/DVD release of Martin Scorsese‘s Living in the Material World documentary.[95][96] This version appeared worldwide on the Early Takes: Volume 1 compilation in May 2012.[97] Giles Martin, who went through Harrison’s musical archive at Friar Park while compiling the album, notes the “folk-tinged spoken word quality” of Harrison’s singing on this take, an example of “a kind of conversational intimacy” that he brought to his recordings.[98]

Rolling Stone critic David Fricke describes this version of the song as a “sweet Nashville reading”.[99] Andy Gill of The Independent finds it a “[p]articularly engaging” inclusion on a compilation that allows “the sweeter side of George Harrison’s character to shine unencumbered by studio blandishments”.[100]

Cover versions[edit]

Among the country artists who have covered the song, Olivia Newton-John released a version on her Olivia album in 1972.[101][102] Drake himself recorded “Behind That Locked Door”, as well as Harrison’s “Isn’t It a Pity” and “Something“, although the recordings remained unissued until the release of the Pete Drake album, nine years after his death in July 1988.[103] Christian alt rock band the Choir covered the song on their 1989 album Wide-Eyed Wonder.[104]

Following Harrison’s death in November 2001, Jim James recorded “Behind That Locked Door” for what became a six-song Harrison covers EP, released as Tribute To in August 2009.[105] Tying in with the release of Scorsese’s George Harrison: Living in the Material World, a version by the Felice Brothers appeared on the multi-artist tribute Harrison Covered,[106][107] a CD accompanying the November 2011 issue of Mojo magazine.[108]

Singer Norah Jones performed “Behind That Locked Door” on the TBS television show Conan on 25 September 2014.[109] Her appearance was part of the show’s “George Harrison Week”,[110] celebrating the release of the Harrison box set The Apple Years 1968–75.[111]

Personnel[edit]

The musicians who performed on “Behind That Locked Door” are believed to be as follows:[46]

Notes[edit]

  1. Jump up^ Bill Wyman lists Rolling Stone bandmates Keith Richards and Charlie Watts among the rock musicians attending the festival, along with Liz Taylor, Richard Burton, Jane Fonda, Roger Vadim and Donald Cammell from the world of film, and leading figures in the Chelsea arts community such as John Dunbar, Michael Cooper and Robert Fraser.[8]
  2. Jump up^ To the surprise of the two Apple employees who brought them, Harrison had to organise to have a set of harmonicas delivered to the farm by helicopter, since Dylan had forgotten to bring any of his own.[17]
  3. Jump up^ According to festival co-promoter Ricki Farr, an “amazing” all-star jam did take place that weekend – featuring Dylan, Harrison, Lennon, Starr, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jackie Lomax – but only at the farmhouse, on Sunday afternoon.[25] Some members, if not all five, of the Band also took part in this session.[27]
  4. Jump up^ Even during what biographer Howard Sounes terms Dylan’s “creative nadir” of the late 1980s,[43] Harrison told Rolling Stone that “Five hundred years from now, looking back in history, I think he will still be the man.”[44] In 1988, Harrison voiced the opinion that their first album together as the Traveling Wilburys had to be a positive thing if it did nothing else but get Dylan interested in songwriting again.[45]
  5. Jump up^ Among other projects that Dylan had considered earlier that summer, according to engineer and producer Glyn Johns‘ recollection in his book Sound Man (2014), Dylan had hoped to record an album with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. While Harrison and Keith Richards thought the idea was “fantastic”, Johns writes, Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger “said absolutely not”.[54]
  6. Jump up^ In a radio interview for WNEW-FM in April 1975,[67] Harrison likened the critical backlash he had just received to occasions when Rolling Stone and other music publications had “tried to murder” Dylan’s reputation.[68][69]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b Alan Smith, “George Harrison: All Things Must Pass (Apple)”, NME, 5 December 1970, p. 2; available at Rock’s Backpages (subscription required; retrieved 24 May 2013).
  2. Jump up^ Sounes, pp. 248–51.
  3. Jump up^ Heylin, pp. 306–07.
  4. Jump up^ Sounes, pp. 250–51.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b Clayson, p. 273.
  6. Jump up^ Helm, p. 198.
  7. Jump up^ Tillery, p. 114.
  8. ^ Jump up to:a b Wyman, p. 342.
  9. Jump up^ Helm, p. 201.
  10. Jump up^ Clayson, p. 274.
  11. Jump up^ Clayson, pp. 242−43.
  12. Jump up^ Leng, pp. 51–52.
  13. Jump up^ Miles, p. 351.
  14. ^ Jump up to:a b Sounes, p. 251.
  15. ^ Jump up to:a b The Editors of Rolling Stone, p. 179.
  16. Jump up^ Harris, p. 68.
  17. Jump up^ O’Dell, pp. 83–85.
  18. Jump up^ Helm, p. 200.
  19. Jump up^ “The Isle of Wight festivals 1968–1970; Bob Dylan 1969”, ukrockfestivals.com (retrieved 19 February 2013).
  20. ^ Jump up to:a b c Harris, p. 72.
  21. Jump up^ Helm, p. 199.
  22. Jump up^ Heylin, pp. 301–02.
  23. Jump up^ Sounes, pp. 251–52.
  24. ^ Jump up to:a b Heylin, p. 307.
  25. ^ Jump up to:a b Harris, p. 69.
  26. Jump up^ Stephen Stafford, “Why the Beatles never played the Isle of Wight”, BBC Hampshire & Isle of Wight, 15 June 2010 (retrieved 24 May 2013).
  27. Jump up^ Sounes, p. 252.
  28. Jump up^ Olivia Harrison, pp. 202–03.
  29. Jump up^ Clayson, pp. 273–74.
  30. Jump up^ Dwyer & Cole, pp. 30–31.
  31. Jump up^ Greene, pp. 103, 106, 143–44.
  32. Jump up^ Olivia Harrison, p. 236.
  33. Jump up^ O’Dell, p. 87.
  34. ^ Jump up to:a b George Harrison, p. 206.
  35. ^ Jump up to:a b Olivia Harrison, p. 202.
  36. ^ Jump up to:a b Timothy White, “George Harrison: ‘All Things’ In Good Time”, billboard.com, 8 January 2001 (retrieved 3 June 2014).
  37. Jump up^ Huntley, pp. 53, 56.
  38. Jump up^ Timothy White, “George Harrison – Reconsidered”, Musician, November 1987, pp. 62, 65.
  39. Jump up^ Leng, pp. 89, 284.
  40. Jump up^ Inglis, pp. 26–27.
  41. ^ Jump up to:a b George Harrison, p. 205.
  42. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Inglis, p. 27.
  43. Jump up^ Sounes, p. 384.
  44. Jump up^ The Editors of Rolling Stone, p. 146.
  45. Jump up^ Clayson, p. 423.
  46. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h Leng, p. 89.
  47. Jump up^ Tillery, p. 116.
  48. Jump up^ The Editors of Rolling Stone, pp. 128–29.
  49. ^ Jump up to:a b c Clayson, pp. 296–97.
  50. Jump up^ Sounes, pp. 252–53.
  51. Jump up^ Heylin, pp. 308, 310.
  52. Jump up^ Clayson, p. 309.
  53. Jump up^ Heylin, pp. 302, 309.
  54. Jump up^ David Greene, “Bob Dylan Wanted to Make an Album With the Beatles and Rolling Stones”, rollingstone.com, 7 November 2014 (retrieved 9 November 2014).
  55. Jump up^ Clayson, p. 277.
  56. Jump up^ Inglis, p. 141.
  57. Jump up^ Leng, p. 120.
  58. Jump up^ O’Dell, p. 199.
  59. Jump up^ Lavezzoli, pp. 189, 192–93.
  60. Jump up^ Heylin, p. 329.
  61. Jump up^ Greene, pp. 191–92.
  62. Jump up^ O’Dell, pp. 198–99.
  63. Jump up^ Lavezzoli, pp. 192, 203.
  64. Jump up^ Huntley, p. 114.
  65. Jump up^ Badman, p. 164.
  66. Jump up^ Ray Coleman, “Dark Horse”, Melody Maker, 6 September 1975, p. 28.
  67. Jump up^ Badman, p. 158.
  68. Jump up^ “No Clear Blue Skies”, Contra Band Music, 2 November 2012 (retrieved 22 May 2013).
  69. Jump up^ “George Harrison – Interview (1975)”, Paste (retrieved 12 November 2016); event occurs between 46:40 and 47:24.
  70. Jump up^ Chant and Be Happy, p. 35.
  71. Jump up^ Badman, p. 7.
  72. Jump up^ Heylin, p. 318.
  73. Jump up^ Madinger & Easter, pp. 424–25.
  74. Jump up^ Schaffner, p. 140.
  75. Jump up^ Clayson, p. 297.
  76. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Spizer, p. 223.
  77. Jump up^ Badman, p. 10.
  78. ^ Jump up to:a b Madinger & Easter, p. 429.
  79. Jump up^ Williams, p. 154.
  80. ^ Jump up to:a b c Huntley, p. 56.
  81. Jump up^ Spizer, p. 212.
  82. Jump up^ Olivia Harrison, p. 282.
  83. Jump up^ Spizer, p. 220.
  84. Jump up^ Castleman & Podrazik, p. 94.
  85. Jump up^ The Editors of Rolling Stone, pp. 179–80.
  86. Jump up^ Sounes, p. 260.
  87. Jump up^ Ben Gerson, “George Harrison All Things Must Pass, Rolling Stone, 21 January 1971, p. 46 (retrieved 24 May 2013).
  88. Jump up^ Schaffner, p. 142.
  89. Jump up^ The Editors of Rolling Stone, p. 221.
  90. Jump up^ Dave Thompson, “The Music of George Harrison: An album-by-album guide”, Goldmine, 25 January 2002, p. 15.
  91. Jump up^ Leng, pp. 89–90.
  92. Jump up^ Williams, pp. 153, 154.
  93. Jump up^ Huntley, p. 57.
  94. Jump up^ Greene, p. 181.
  95. Jump up^ Steve Leggett, “George Harrison George Harrison: Living in the Material World (Video), AllMusic (retrieved 26 September 2014).
  96. Jump up^ Joe Marchese, “Behind That Locked Door: George Harrison Demos Surface on ‘Early Takes Volume 1′”, The Second Disc, 23 March 2012 (retrieved 26 September 2014).
  97. Jump up^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, “George Harrison: Early Takes, Vol. 1, AllMusic (retrieved 15 September 2012).
  98. Jump up^ Terry Staunton, “Giles Martin on George Harrison’s Early Takes, track-by-track”, MusicRadar, 18 May 2012 (retrieved 9 November 2014).
  99. Jump up^ David Fricke, “George Harrison, Early Takes Volume 1”, Rolling Stone, 23 May 2012 (retrieved 21 February 2013).
  100. Jump up^ Andy Gill, “Album: George Harrison, Early Takes Volume 1 (Universal)”, independent.co.uk, 5 May 2012 (retrieved 12 November 2016).
  101. Jump up^ “Albums: Olivia, onlyolivia.com (retrieved 9 October 2012).
  102. Jump up^ “Behind That Locked Door”, wer-singt.de (retrieved 9 October 2012).
  103. Jump up^ Talevski, pp. 107–08.
  104. Jump up^ Mark W.B. Allender, “The Choir Wide-Eyed Wonder, AllMusic (retrieved 21 February 2013).
  105. Jump up^ Andrew Leahey, “Yim Yames Tribute To, AllMusic (retrieved 20 August 2012).
  106. Jump up^ Michael Simmons, “Cry for a Shadow”, Mojo, November 2011, p. 86.
  107. Jump up^ Harrison Covered, Second Hand Songs (retrieved 16 September 2012).
  108. Jump up^ “MOJO Issue 216 / November 2011”, mojo4music.com (retrieved 30 October 2013).
  109. Jump up^ “Norah Jones ‘Behind That Locked Door’ 09/25/14 – CONAN on TBS”, Conan/Team Coco on YouTube, 25 September 2014 (retrieved 26 September 2014).
  110. Jump up^ Erin Strecker, “Paul Simon Performs ‘Here Comes The Sun’ for George Harrison Week on ‘Conan'”, billboard.com, 24 September 2014 (retrieved 25 September 2014).
  111. Jump up^ Ben Kaye, “Beck kicks off Conan’s week-long George Harrison tribute with ‘Wah-Wah’ – Watch”, Consequence of Sound, 23 September 2014 (retrieved 25 September 2014).

Sources[edit]

  • Keith Badman, The Beatles Diary Volume 2: After the Break-Up 1970–2001, Omnibus Press (London, 2001; ISBN 0-7119-8307-0).
  • Harry Castleman & Walter J. Podrazik, All Together Now: The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975, Ballantine Books (New York, NY, 1976; ISBN 0-345-25680-8).
  • Chant and Be Happy: The Power of Mantra Meditation, Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (Los Angeles, CA, 1997; ISBN 978-0-89213-118-1).
  • Alan Clayson, George Harrison, Sanctuary (London, 2003; ISBN 1-86074-489-3).
  • Graham Dwyer & Richard J. Cole (eds), The Hare Krishna Movement: Forty Years of Chant and Change, I.B. Tauris (London, 2007; ISBN 1-84511-407-8).
  • The Editors of Rolling Stone, Harrison, Rolling Stone Press/Simon & Schuster (New York, NY, 2002; ISBN 0-7432-3581-9).
  • Joshua M. Greene, Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison, John Wiley & Sons (Hoboken, NJ, 2006; ISBN 978-0-470-12780-3).
  • John Harris, “A Quiet Storm”, Mojo, July 2001, pp. 66–74.
  • George Harrison, I Me Mine, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA, 2002; ISBN 0-8118-3793-9).
  • Olivia Harrison, George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Abrams (New York, NY, 2011; ISBN 978-1-4197-0220-4).
  • Levon Helm with Stephen Davis, This Wheel’s on Fire: Levon Helm and the Story of The Band, A Cappella Books (Chicago, IL, 2000; ISBN 978-1-55652-405-9).
  • Clinton Heylin, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades (20th Anniversary Edition), Faber and Faber (London, 2011; ISBN 978-0-571-27240-2).
  • Elliot J. Huntley, Mystical One: George Harrison – After the Break-up of the Beatles, Guernica Editions (Toronto, ON, 2006; ISBN 1-55071-197-0).
  • Ian Inglis, The Words and Music of George Harrison, Praeger (Santa Barbara, CA, 2010; ISBN 978-0-313-37532-3).
  • Peter Lavezzoli, The Dawn of Indian Music in the West, Continuum (New York, NY, 2006; ISBN 0-8264-2819-3).
  • Simon Leng, While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison, Hal Leonard (Milwaukee, WI, 2006; ISBN 1-4234-0609-5).
  • Chip Madinger & Mark Easter, Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium, 44.1 Productions (Chesterfield, MO, 2000; ISBN 0-615-11724-4).
  • Barry Miles, The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years, Omnibus Press (London, 2001; ISBN 0-7119-8308-9).
  • Chris O’Dell with Katherine Ketcham, Miss O’Dell: My Hard Days and Long Nights with The Beatles, The Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and the Women They Loved, Touchstone (New York, NY, 2009; ISBN 978-1-4165-9093-4).
  • Nicholas Schaffner, The Beatles Forever, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY, 1978; ISBN 0-07-055087-5).
  • Howard Sounes, Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan, Doubleday (London, 2001; ISBN 0-385-60125-5).
  • Bruce Spizer, The Beatles Solo on Apple Records, 498 Productions (New Orleans, LA, 2005; ISBN 0-9662649-5-9).
  • Nick Talevski, The Encyclopedia of Rock Obituaries, Omnibus Press (London, 1999; ISBN 0-7119-7548-5).
  • Gary Tillery, Working Class Mystic: A Spiritual Biography of George Harrison, Quest Books (Wheaton, IL, 2011; ISBN 978-0-8356-0900-5).
  • Richard Williams, Phil Spector: Out of His Head, Omnibus Press (London, 2003; ISBN 978-0-7119-9864-3).
  • Bill Wyman, Rolling with the Stones, Dorling Kindersley (London, 2002; ISBN 0-7513-4646-2).

External links[edit]

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MUSIC MONDAY The song IF NOT FOR YOU written by Bob Dylan

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Bob Dylan – If Not For You

Uploaded on Oct 8, 2008

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George Harrison – If Not For You – Lyrics

If Not for You

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see If Not for You (disambiguation).
“If Not For You”
If Not For You single cover.jpg

Artwork for some continental European countries (Dutch vinyl single pictured)
Single by Bob Dylan
from the album New Morning
B-side “New Morning”
Released October 19, 1970
Recorded August 12, 1970
Genre Country rock
Length 2:39
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Bob Dylan
Producer(s) Bob Johnston
Bob Dylan singles chronology
Wigwam
(1970)
If Not For You
(1971)
Watching the River Flow
(1971)

If Not for You” is a song by Bob Dylan, recorded for his 1970 album New Morning. Dylan recorded the album version in August 1970, having first recorded the song in a session with George Harrison on May 1 of that year. In addition to appearing on the album in October 1970, the August recording was released as a single in Europe; the May recording remained unreleased until its inclusion on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) in 1991.

In November 1970, a month after Dylan’s original had appeared, George Harrison released a version of the song on his triple album All Things Must Pass. Another well-known cover of the song was recorded by Olivia Newton-John, who had the only U.S. charting version of the song in 1971.

Bob Dylan’s version[edit]

Release[edit]

Bob Dylan recorded “If Not for You” for his album New Morning, on August 12, 1970. The song was released as a single in Europe. It was later included on the Dylan compilations Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Vol. II (1971),[1]Masterpieces (1978),[2] Biograph (1985),[3] The Essential Bob Dylan (2000),[4] The Very Best of Bob Dylan (2000),[5] Best of Bob Dylan Vols 1 & 2 (2001),[6] Greatest Hits Vol 1–3 (2003),[7] The Best of Bob Dylan (2005),[8] Dylan (2007),[9] Playlist: The Very Best of Bob Dylan ’70s (2009),[10] and The Real… (2012),[11] as well as on the various artist compilation The Best Year of My Life: 1970 (2011).[12]

A June 2, 1970 outtake of “If Not for You,” featuring only vocal, piano, and violin, is included on The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 – Another Self Portrait (1969–1971).

A previously unreleased version was included on the 2015 album Dylan, Cash, and The Nashville Cats: A New Music City.

Live performances[edit]

Dylan performed “If Not for You” with George Harrison during rehearsals for the Concert for Bangladesh in New York in 1971, but did not perform the song at the concert itself. Since then, however, Dylan has performed the song over 80 times.[13]

Charts[edit]

Chart Peak
position
Dutch Single Top 100 30[14]

George Harrison’s version[edit]

“If Not for You”
Song by George Harrison from the album All Things Must Pass
Released 27 November 1970
Genre Folk rock
Length 3:29
Label Apple
Writer(s) Bob Dylan
Producer(s) George Harrison, Phil Spector
All Things Must Pass track listing

George Harrison had sat in on a session for Dylan’s New Morning album, on May 1, 1970, at Columbia’s Studio B in New York, where he had played on an early take of “If Not for You” (later included on the Bob Dylan box set The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased)).[15] News of the collaboration between Dylan and the recently ex-Beatle caused great excitement in the music press, even though Columbia Records had made a point of announcing that neither artist deemed the results worthy of release.[16]

Over the following months, and despite having a wealth of extra material of his own, Harrison thought enough of the song to record it in London for his All Things Must Pass set. His was a characteristically melody-centric version of the track, which more clearly defined the song’s verse and bridge sections and eschewed the Dylan preference for spontaneity.[17] Harrison’s “If Not for You” immediately met with favour from critics and album reviewers: Mikal Gilmore describes it as “surprisingly beautiful”,[18] while to musical biographer Simon Leng, it’s a “gleaming pop creation”.[17]

Live performances[edit]

The following year, Dylan and Harrison duetted on “If Not for You” during a soundcheck for the historic Concert for Bangladesh in New York.[19] Judging by this, and from Harrison’s early notes for a possible setlist,[20] the pair had considered performing it at the UNICEF benefit later that day. (This soundcheck performance was later released on the 2005 remastered DVD of The Concert for Bangladesh.)

Harrison finally got a chance to perform “If Not for You” live, again at Madison Square Garden, on 16 October 1992 during the all-star concert celebrating Dylan’s first three decades in the music industry.[21] Backed by the house band for the night, Harrison performed “startling versions” of “If Not for You” and “Absolutely Sweet Marie“,[22] but only the latter found its way onto the officially released album the following August.

Personnel[edit]

The musicians who performed on Harrison’s studio version of the song are believed to be as follows:[17]

Olivia Newton-John version[edit]

“If Not For You”
Single by Olivia Newton-John
from the album If Not For You
B-side “The Biggest Clown”
Released May 1971
Format 7″
Genre Country, pop
Length 2:50
Label Uni 55281
Writer(s) Bob Dylan
Producer(s) Bruce Welch, John Farrar
Olivia Newton-John singles chronology
“Till You Say You’ll Be Mine”
(1966)
If Not For You
(1971)
“Banks of the Ohio”
(1971)

Basing her version on the Harrison arrangement rather than Dylan’s,[23] Australian singer Olivia Newton-John enjoyed considerable international success with “If Not for You”. It was the title track of her debut album, and became her first hit single, reaching the Top 10 in several countries. In addition, the single spent three weeks at No. 1 on the United States Easy Listening charts.[24][25]

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1971) Peak
position
Australia[26] 7
Belgium[27] 29
Canadian RPM Top Singles[28] 18
Netherlands[29] 11
New Zealand Listener[30] 8
Norway[31] 6
UK[32] 7
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[33] 25
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening[25] 1
U.S. Cash Box Top 100[34] 23

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1971) Rank
Australia[35] 71
UK 84
U.S.[36] 76

Other cover versions[edit]

Numerous other artists have covered “If Not For You”. These include Rod Stewart,[37] Bryan Ferry,[38] Richie Havens,[39] Sarah Vaughan,[40] Glen Campbell,[41] Barb Jungr,[42] Katie Buckhaven,[43] Susan McKeown and Lindsey Horner,[44] Phil Keaggy,[45] Lee Everton, Karl Blau, Ed Kuepper,[46] and the Flatmates.[47]Melinda Schneider and Beccy Cole covered the song on their album Great Women of Country (2014).

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Jump up^ Erlewine (Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 Review)
  2. Jump up^ Ruhlmann
  3. Jump up^ Erlewine (Biograph Review)
  4. Jump up^ Erlewine (The Essential Bob Dylan Review)
  5. Jump up^ Leggett (The Very Best of Bob Dylan Review)
  6. Jump up^ Best of Bob Dylan Vols. 1 & 2 Overview
  7. Jump up^ Jurek
  8. Jump up^ Erlewine (Best of Bob Dylan Review)
  9. Jump up^ Erlewine (Dylan (2007) Review)
  10. Jump up^ Leggett (Playlist: The Very Best of Bob Dylan ’70s Review)
  11. Jump up^ The Real… Overview
  12. Jump up^ The Best Year of My Life: 1970 Overview
  13. Jump up^ If Not For You: Discover
  14. Jump up^ Bob Dylan – If Not for You
  15. Jump up^ Badman 2001, p. 7
  16. Jump up^ Harrison (Rolling Stone Press/Simon & Schuster), pp. 179–180
  17. ^ Jump up to:a b c Leng 2006, p. 88
  18. Jump up^ Harrison (Rolling Stone Press/Simon & Schuster), p. 40
  19. Jump up^ Leng 2006, p. 120
  20. Jump up^ Harrison 2011, p. 288
  21. Jump up^ Leng 2006, p. 273
  22. Jump up^ Harrison (Rolling Stone Press/Simon & Schuster), p. 48
  23. Jump up^ Clayson 2003, p. 296
  24. Jump up^ Whitburn 2002, p. 181
  25. ^ Jump up to:a b Top 40 Easy Listening
  26. Jump up^ Steffen Hung. “Forum – 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)”. Australian-charts.com. Archived from the originalon 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  27. Jump up^ Olivia Newton-John – If Not For You (Ultratop)
  28. Jump up^ Top Singles – Volume 16, No. 4, September 11, 1971
  29. Jump up^ Top 40 (1971-04-03)
  30. Jump up^ “flavour of new zealand – search listener”. Flavourofnz.co.nz. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  31. Jump up^ Olivia Newton-John – If Not For You (Norwegiancharts.com)
  32. Jump up^ Olivia Newton-John: Singles
  33. Jump up^ Olivia Newton-John Billboard Singles
  34. Jump up^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-06-03.
  35. Jump up^ David Kent’s “Australian Chart Book 1970-1992” ArchivedMarch 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  36. Jump up^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.
  37. Jump up^ Erlewine (Still the Same: Great Rock Classics of Our Time Overview)
  38. Jump up^ Erlewine (Dylanesque Review)
  39. Jump up^ Eder (Sings Beatles & Dylan Review)
  40. Jump up^ Eder (Time in My Life Review)
  41. Jump up^ Worbois
  42. Jump up^ Swihart
  43. Jump up^ Katie Buckhaven Overview
  44. Jump up^ Mighty Rain Overview
  45. Jump up^ Acoustic Cafe Overview
  46. Jump up^ Out-Takes, Castaways, Pirate Women and Takeaways Overview
  47. Jump up^ Sendra

References[edit]

External links[edit]

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WOODY WEDNESDAY Woody Allen On ‘Irrational Man’, His Movies & Hollywood’s Perilous Path – Cannes Q&A by Mike Fleming Jr May 14, 2015 2:46pm

_____________

New Year’s Eve 1963

Published on Dec 30, 2013

Audio recording from live broadcast of “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson made 50 years ago. Guests include Rudy Vallee and Woody Allen. Also included is the count down from Times Square with Ben Grauer.

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AT THE 27 MIN MARK Woody Allen says:

I have never gotten to the point where I can give an optimistic view of anything. I have these ideas for stories that I hope are entertaining and I am always criticized for being pessimistic or nihilistic. To me this is just a realistic appraisal of life. There are these little Oasis’s these little distractions you get. Last night I was caught up in the Bulls and Heat basketball game on television and for the time being I was thinking about who was going to win. I wasn’t thinking about my mortality or the fact that I am finite and aging. That was not on my mind. Labron James was on my mind and the game. That is the best you can do is get a little  detraction. What I have learned over the years is that there is no other solution to it. There is no satisfying answer. There is no optimistic answer I can give anybody.

The outcome of that basketball game is no less meaningful or no more meaningful than human life if you take the long view of it. You could look at the earth and say who cares about those creatures running around there and just brush it. Ernest Hemingway in one of his stories ( A FAREWELL TO ARMS) is looking at a burning log with ants running on it. This is the kind of thinking that has over powered me over the years and slips into my stories.

I have always been an odd mixture, completely accidentally, I was a nightclub comic joke writer whose two biggest influences were Groucho Marx, who I have always adored and he still makes me laugh  and Igmar Bergman. I have always had a morbid streak in my work and I when I do something that works , it works to my advantage because it gives some substance and depth to the story, but I when I fail the thing could be too grim or too moralizing or not interesting enough. Then someone will say we only like you when you are funny.

 

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Woody Allen On ‘Irrational Man’, His Movies & Hollywood’s Perilous Path – Cannes Q&A

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 15: Director Woody Allen attends the "You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger" press conference at the Palais des Festivals during the 63rd Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2010 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

EXCLUSIVE: The 79-year-old director Woody Allen comes to the Cannes Film Festival’s Palais tomorrow to premiere Irrational Man, a comedy about an existentially challenged professor that stars Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone and Parker Posey. It’s Allen’s 46th film as a director, a total he reached by making one a year like clockwork, for as long as anyone can remember.

For Deadline’s Cannes Q&A, Allen invited us to his Manhattan screening room. There, he explained how he has managed a storied career without ever showing a script or cast list to a financier, or getting a script note. And how, despite a groundbreaking TV series deal with Amazon, he doesn’t own a computer or understand what a streaming service is; all he knows is, he regrets a deal that has taken him out of his comfort zone. And despite his four Oscars, and the seven won by actors in his films, Allen believes he has never done anything of real consequence in all the years of generating stand-up comedy, books, plays and movies. The room is a warm, cozy dimly lit place with dated drapes and upholstered chairs and couches. It has the vibe of a place where people might play bridge, which is exactly what they did until he got hold of it.

DEADLINE: What is this place?
ALLEN: A bridge club years ago that we took over and made into a screening room with a projector, to screen films recreationally. I found it a great place to work. So we edit in the other room, and come in here and look at it. Then we become depressed, go back in that room and try to fix it.

DEADLINE: How long is it from depression to finished film?
ALLEN: It used to take a long time, when we worked with celluloid. Now with the Avid I can edit a film in seven to eight days and it is no big deal.

DEADLINE: Purists like Scorsese and Tarantino are dedicated to preserving film. You?
ALLEN: I have no strong feeling on it. I’m happy to go whichever way everyone is. Digital looks very good to me if it’s done well. Film always looks great if it’s done well. I’ve never shot anything in digital, but I think I will shoot my next film digitally to see what that’s like. It is more than the wave of the future; it’s the wave of the present, really.

DEADLINE: What are the advantages compelling you to try it for the first time?
ALLEN: They seem minimal. It’s all the after-stuff of not having to cut celluloid, but digital is really not cheaper and it’s not faster. It’s just that that’s the way everything has moved and it looks pretty. I see digital shot by good cameramen that is beautiful and I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, so I don’t mind it. I like that I can edit fast. You just punch electronics where it used to be you’d cut and then have to splice it and tape it and then look at it and un-tape it. Now, it’s bang, bang, bang, bang, bang and it’s done. I never start editing a film until it’s completely shot; I don’t edit along the way, ever. When it’s finished I come in here and we start with reel one, scene one and start editing shot by shot by shot until we’re finished. Once we get in here, going from nothing to the first draft is the longest part and that’s only about eight days for me. Then you look at it and the big problems become apparent, the ones you can’t get rid of by cutting or speeding it up.

DEADLINE: Like?
ALLEN: You need to make a character less likable or more likable or a relationship more believable. Maybe you add a music track or narration. Or certain things aren’t coherent in that version that’s two hours and ten minutes long. By the time you’re done running back and forth, it’s an hour and forty minutes. And you’ve removed all the junk, the stuff you were so gung-ho about, that you thought was so great. Reality sets in, and it’s gone.

DEADLINE: Are you a ruthless executioner of lines you loved when you wrote them on the page?
ALLEN: Ruthless. I think probably over the years I’ve been too ruthless, mainly because I’m anxiety-ridden. I’ve cut jokes and bits out of movies that would have played just great, if only I had had the nerve to leave them in. I regret having cut different jokes and different bits out of pictures and in retrospect I think they would have worked fine. I just didn’t have the nerve at the time. I worried they wouldn’t work.

DEADLINE: Afraid of overstaying your welcome with audiences with an overly long film?
ALLEN: Sometimes it didn’t even get to that. Once you’ve tested it, if they laugh they laugh; if they didn’t then you could always throw it away. There is a number of funny things that I never even tested with audience because I didn’t have the nerve to even show them, I was so anxiety-ridden they might be embarrassing or terrible or unfunny. They never saw the light of day. A number of them I regret because they were funny…probably.

DEADLINE: Can you recall specific jokes you killed that you regret?
ALLEN: I can recall many bits. InBananas, there was a very funny bit when the dictator came to the United States and was on the Cousin Brucie show. We cut that because I just didn’t have the nerve. There was a wonderful bit in Bananas too where the guys were in the jungle and all of a sudden a plane lands and the troops come out and it’s allegedly Bob Hope entertaining them. But then my character realizes, the guy’s not Bob Hope, he’s one of the police underground acting like Bob Hope; he’s a Latin American version, doing Hope jokes with the golf club, and all of a sudden when I realized that, the shooting starts and everybody scatters. I remember walking out of my house in Love And Death in the cold of winter, and the snow is covering the front door, and my having to dig a tunnel straight through. It looked very funny at the time. I cut it. There were a couple of great jokes in Manhattan that were too out of character, too broad for the tone of the picture. They would have been good in Take The Money And Run or Bananas. They were funny. In one, I was bicycling in a park with Mariel Hemingway and Michael Murphy and Anne Byrne Hoffman and Diane Keaton, and I got somehow sidetracked into a team of very fast cyclists. I was just riding this bike and made a turn and suddenly I was in with six guys who were going a mile a minute. It looked fun as I tried to escape that, but I worried it stood out like a sore thumb in the movie.

DEADLINE: Some would call that discipline. What you call it?
ALLEN: Anxiety. It’s easy for me to cut length, I never care about that. I notice a lot of people don’t like to cut, they’re reluctant to part with lines in stage plays and bits in movies. But I was brought up to cut stuff. When I learned how to write, the person I was most influenced by was always telling me, any doubt, cut it.

DEADLINE: Who was that?
ALLEN: Danny Simon. Neil Simon’s brother, who was really very helpful to me when I was 20 years old. He was a merciless editor and that rubbed off on me. This was when I was writing television. Danny and I would work on a skit. It would be coming along fine and then either he or I might come up with a great joke. And he would say, “Yes, it’s a great joke but it’s an expensive laugh.” He meant you’re stopping the action for the joke. I didn’t want to part with it because the joke was great, but then you thought, maybe the joke is too inside and only 100 people would get it. And nobody knows who Thelonious Monk is. Danny was a merciless cutter.

DEADLINE: Irrational Man marks the 11th time you’ve brought a film to Cannes, 12 if you count your contribution to the anthology New York Stories. You didn’t want to premiere in competition. Why?
ALLEN: I’ve never had a film in competition in my life. I just don’t feel you can say one film is better than another. Who’s to say some arbitrarily appointed group of judges can decide one is better? Is The Godfather better than Goodfellas, or whatever came out the same calendar year? You don’t make these films to compete. People make films for different reasons. For money. Or, they make them because something in them demands artistic expression. I do it because I enjoy the work. Once a film is over and I see it in this room and we’ve taken it as far as we can go, with no room for improvement… that’s it. It leaves this room and I never see it again ever, for the rest of my life.

DEADLINE: Ever?
ALLEN: Ever. I’ve never seen Take The Money And Run since I made it. I never sawAnnie Hall again, or Bananas or Manhattan or any of them. Because, you can only have regrets. If I was to screen any of my films now I would only see what I could have done, what I did badly, where I screwed up, how much worse it is than the way I remembered it. You’re never going to think “Oh, God, this thing is great.” Many years ago I was in Europe making What’s New Pussycat. I was having lunch in a cafeteria in France on this film set. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were making a film there, I think it was The Sandpiper. I was chatting with him for a moment, I hardly knew him, and he said, “I never see my films after I make them, ever.” This was a great actor, but I thought, gee, that’s so strange. I was just a writer on my first film and I didn’t know anything. When I got into directing films myself, I understood completely what he meant.

DEADLINE: Daniel Day-Lewis once told me he rigorously prepares for roles and lives in the character’s skin through the shoot, and can’t watch the results because he sees only flaws. What’s it like when you have to watch yourself over and over in editing? Are you self-conscious or does that only kick in after you’re done?
ALLEN: Well, a little of both. If I’m in it it’s tougher. It’s like if you’ve ever heard your own voice on a tape recorder? It’s worse when you see and hear yourself. If I’m not in the film and it has delightful people like Diane Keaton or Emma Stone, I have no problem editing it. But then it’s finished, I have to let go because I get that feeling. Oh, God, I had such great people here and I let them down, whether it’s Dianne Wiest, Naomi Watts one all these wonderful actresses who I’ve worked with, and I’ve worked with so many over the years. They trusted me completely and they do my films for very little money and I always feel, ‘Oh, God, I let them down.’ So… the less I have to do with the movie when it’s done, the better.

Emma Stone Woody Allen Magic in the Moonlight

DEADLINE: Directors say, don’t ask me to choose my favorite film; they are all my children.
ALLEN: Yeah, well I hate them all. None are different, and all are…unsatisfying, when you’re finished. Once, I had a generally positive feeling when I finished Match Point. I thought I was very lucky with this film. I was going to use an actress and she fell out a week before we shot and by sheer luck I stumbled onto Scarlett Johansson, who was luckily available. I was shooting in London. I needed a cloudy day, and that day it was cloudy. I needed it to be rainy for two hours — it would rain. I wanted a week of sun, we got it. I could do nothing wrong; I couldn’t screw up no matter how hard I tried. Everything fell into place. When the picture was over, I had a nice feeling about it. I felt that every actor, even those who had one line or two made a contribution to the picture. They didn’t just say the line in a neutral tone. If some guy was repairing our clock or delivering a sandwich, whatever they did they did beautifully and made a contribution. Everybody brought their own thing to this movie and I felt by wonderful good luck, that picture came out very, very close if not right on to what I had conceived to begin with.

DEADLINE: If you watched it now?
ALLEN: I would never watch it because I remembered it so fondly and it would be like, my God what was I thinking?

Irrational ManDEADLINE: What of Joaquin Phoenix’s work made him right forIrrational Man, playing this tormented philosophy professor who seems reinvigorated by a death wish?
ALLEN: Often, I write a part with an actor in mind; I didn’t in this case. I finished the story because I thought I had a good idea. Then, who would be good for this? The first thought I had was certainly Emma Stone because she’s great for practically anything. She’s young and beautiful and gifted and she plays comedy, romance, drama. I saw her singing and dancing on Broadway…she was an easy choice. And then Juliet Taylor, the casting director, mentioned Joaquin. All of us thought he was a great actor. I wondered to myself, would he be a crazy or hard guy to work with? But he wasn’t. He was a very sweet nice person and very, very self-deprecating and insecure. He doesn’t appreciate how good he is and my job was not to direct him as much as to explain to him that his last take was not bad, it was great. He has such a high bar for himself and you explain to him that he is reaching the high bar that he set for himself. We knew as soon as Juliet mentioned his name, oh, he’s perfect.

DEADLINE: I’ve covered the casting of your films for years and young actors consider your invitation to be real validation of their talent. How does a young actor get on your radar and how voracious are you in watching movies to keep current?
ALLEN: I see movies, but not to keep current. I watch strictly for enjoyment. But you do get exposed to the ones that come along. I saw Winter’s Bone and became aware of Jennifer Lawrence. And Juliet Taylor has an encyclopedic knowledge and will so often say, I want you to meet so-and-so. Like Chazz Palminteri. He had not appeared in anything and I was doing Bullets Over Broadway and the second he stepped into this room…I didn’t even have to hear him say anything. I just cast him right away.

DEADLINE: How does your audition process work?
ALLEN: Sometimes I read them but very briefly. I don’t like that as much as just hearing them say something. They don’t have to read from my movie; I just like to hear them and so they come in, sit down here and read for one minute. Half a page maximum and you can tell. Juliet also shows me videos, says here’s three things this actress has done. I see her and she looks interesting and we ask her to come in here and if she’s normal, not incoherent or crazy…I hate casting and keep it short. The person walks in and I do a quick look, just to see them live. I get them out in less than a minute. I say I’m doing a film next April, and Juliet thought you’d be right for something in it. I just wanted to say hello so I don’t have to cast strictly from video. And they say hello and I say OK. I’ve got nothing more to say than thanks for coming in. That’s the way we cast. Once in a while, we’ll read somebody if we’re not sure they sound correct for the character.

DEADLINE: If I was a young actor, auditioning for Woody Allen, I’d be crushed if I was out of there in one minute. Does your assistant routinely say, it’s OK, that’s how he works?
ALLEN: They warn them beforehand that I cast quickly. Actors of course are so insecure. We never turn anybody down because they’re bad; we don’t hire them because we found somebody that suits the part better. But naturally every actor that comes in and doesn’t get the role thinks it’s because they’re no good or they screwed up. It’s never that. Once in a great while if a big actor comes in…say like Joaquin, who actually didn’t come in. Juliet says, he flew in from California; you’ve got to let him sit down for a minute. Please. And I’ve got nothing to say to him. So I make up meaningless stuff. I say, ‘Well, what are you in town for? What was your last picture? Oh, great.’ And, was it boring in Mexico? And then I turn to Juliet and say, you know, I’m out of stuff to say…and I think they don’t want to stay there either. They have a life to lead and they’re not interested in sitting in here getting interrogated. Worse is that very annoying thing of having to read in a room with three people looking at you. I’ve seen the people on tape and it’s painful for me to put actors through that. I know what I would feel like if I had to come in to a room and say hello and you hand me a sheet of paper and I start to act.

DEADLINE: I recall the time when Hollywood studios backed your films, you gave them a bare-bones idea of what you wanted to do, a budget and they said yes without seeing a script. Do you still do it that way?
ALLEN: It’s even freer, now that I’m backed independently. I’ve never had a script note in my life. I write the script; nobody sees it, not the people that put the money in the picture. I cast who I want, and make the film. That’s why I’ve always felt the only thing standing between me and greatness, is me. There’s no excuse for me not to be great except that I’m not. What can I say? Nobody tells me who to cast, how long to shoot, what to shoot, what themes to do, what stories, what line to take out. The backing arrives, and I show up at some point with the film. It could be horror, a comedy; it could be a black-and-white tragedy in medieval Prussia. Nobody knows. What they’re buying is me and the assumption that over many years, he hasn’t done anything that outlandish. The budgets are small compared to most film budgets. If you were backing me my whole film career you would have made money. But also, a film opens like The Avengers and in one weekend, one weekend, it makes more money than six of my films make in ten years.

DEADLINE: It must take discipline not to waver from that formula. Did somebody say something early on that made you realize you’re better not having your confidence rocked by some silly suggestion?
ALLEN: No, I never had that problem. Now, once in a while I will sit down with my wife or with Juliet Taylor and say, who do you think would be better here, Joaquin Phoenix or Alec Baldwin? Every once in a while I bounce something off somebody to get feedback. But I was very lucky from day one, when I made my first film, Take The Money And Run. It was a new film company, Palomar, and the film only cost a million dollars and we brought it in for less. At that time they felt there were certain people like me or Mel Brooks, who had some inexplicable magic comic thing, and that we knew what we were doing and didn’t want to mess with it. They were wrong; I floundered and stumbled all the way through, but they let me alone completely. My second film I did for United Artists, whose policy was to leave the artist alone. Again, I did the whole film for a million dollars. By the time I was up to my third or fourth film, we were saying he gets final cut. I’ve never made a film in my life, outside of the first two when it didn’t matter, where I didn’t have final cut, where I had to show scripts to people, where I had to check with anybody on casting. I’ve never had that problem in my life.

match-pointDEADLINE: Did your transition from studios to overseas funding come because of a slump, or because the game was changing?
ALLEN: The studio game was changing. It started on Match Point. I wrote Match Point for New York. When we began raising the money, people from London called and said if you do a film here we’ll back it. I thought, gee, this film wouldn’t work in Africa, but it would work in London. So I did it over there and I had a wonderful time. The weather was cool in the summer, the skies were gray, the people were lovely that I worked with, the British crews were great. So I made four films in London. And then other countries started calling me. Would you make one in Spain, would you make one in Rome, would you make one in Sweden? If they’d said, make a film in Egypt, well I don’t have an idea for Egypt. But I knew Rome well enough. So I started doing that and it worked out very nicely. My family liked going away in the summers, and they were backing the film there and then the films were successful.

When private backers contacted me, we would tell them what it amounted to in a certain sense is, you put the money in a brown paper bag and you get the film when it’s done. There’s nothing else to do. And some would say OK, but when it came down to contract discussions they would say, well I would like to at least know that it’s going to have somebody in it whose name I recognize. And we would get rid of them. We would say no, this is not going to work out, because we can’t guarantee anything. But there were a few who said look, we have faith in you as an artist, and if that’s the way you want to work, we’ll back your films. I don’t try and be difficult. If someone said, can I come on the set? Sure, I don’t care. If I didn’t want them I’d say well don’t come Tuesday because that’s a very dramatic scene. But come after that. I’m not looking to make people’s life miserable. If somebody putting money in my film asks, who’ll be in your film and I know I’m using Emma Stone or Joaquin, I don’t say you can’t know. I just like to feel I have the final say. Same with the distribution company; I have final say on ads. But I’ve never had to use it, at all. They send me posters. I pick a poster I like and I send it back and if they say to me we don’t really love this one, could you consider some of these others, I do; I’m very easy to work with, and flexible.

DEADLINE: So what are you looking for?
ALLEN: I just want to know in the end that nobody can say to me, ‘well, that’s the one we’re using,’ even if I feel it doesn’t represent the picture at all or if it was cheap and burlesque-y and they could say, ‘too bad, we’re using it.’ David Picker tells the story in his book when I first went to United Artists and they made a deal where I could do anything I wanted. I brought in the script that 25 or 30 years later becameSweet And Lowdown with Sean Penn. David Picker read it and they didn’t want to do it. I said hey, no problem. I could have forced them; the contract was they do what I want. I said, don’t be silly; I don’t want to do a project you’re not enthused over. Give it back to me, I’ll give you another script. My manager, Jack Rollins, who just celebrated his 100th birthday, taught me years ago that no deal is worth the paper it’s printed on. I’ve been with Jack for 50 years, on a handshake. And that’s really how I work. If the guys who put money in my films are not satisfied then I don’t want to be with them.

DEADLINE: You might have started shooting these cities for financial reasons, but I’ve watched the way you shot them in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Midnight In Paris orTo Rome With Love, and wanted to go there. There is such romanticism…
ALLEN: That’s because I’m a city freak. I love cities, cosmopolitan areas. Not all of them but almost all of them. Paris, Barcelona, London; these are fantastic places. I don’t think I could do that if I made a movie in Albuquerque. But just like with Manhattan, if you’re going to be in Paris or London or Rome or Spain, these cities became part of the story.

DEADLINE: When did it go from hardship of leaving home to reinvigorating your storytelling?
ALLEN: Right away it was artistically provocative to shoot in those cities. I’d like to go back to Paris and make a film. I did four in London and I always wanted to make another in Spain. Maybe where the festival is in San Sebastian. Just a great visual place. I knew those cities, and over the years I’d been to Barcelona, and Paris a million times. London a lot and Rome. But it wouldn’t feel that way in all cities. I contemplated making a film in Sweden; I’ve been there several times and have some sense of it. But if I had to make a film in Japan, I’d have to be shown around. I don’t have any feel for it at all.

DEADLINE: Everybody is courting China. How about there?
ALLEN: That is one of the countries that asked me to come and make a film. I don’t think I can. I’d have to make a film in a place I could live in for four months for the pre-production and shooting. I can live in Paris for four months or London or, you know, Barcelona. These are places that are like New York. But I don’t think I could live in many places. When I had to make a film in the United States I picked San Francisco because to me it’s one of the great cities of America.

DEADLINE: What’s your favorite Cannes memory? And did global media react differently when you started making movies outside New York?
ALLEN: I’ve always been very lucky abroad. Europe, South America, the Far East, they’ve always supported my films enthusiastically. Right from the start with Take The Money And Run.Bananas was a big hit in Europe and I remember being surprised that it was seen as a movie about politics. To me, it was just a bunch of jokes. They have supported me devotedly. If I show a film at Cannes, the audience there comes to enjoy movies. They’re not going there with a chip on their shoulder, or to be nasty. They see a lot of new movies, mine among them, and the publicity I do permeates the whole of Europe and beyond into Israel, Argentina, Japan, Tokyo. The film gets off to a tremendous commercial start there. America is a totally different. You open in America, and you either get good press or bad press. If you get bad press usually nobody comes. These blockbusters, you can get the worst press in the world and make a hundred million dollars. If I get bad press, people won’t come. If I get great press? Maybe they’ll come and maybe they won’t.

DEADLINE: Culture, from books to movies, is increasingly consumed on smart phones and iPads. I imagine a room in your house with a floor-to-ceiling wall of cherished hardcover books that kids probably consider to be dusty relics. How does the reverence for literature and films shown on big screens compare to when you were imprinting authors and filmmakers who influenced your growth as an artist?
ALLEN: Big difference from when I grew up, and I’m talking about not just my childhood in the ’40s but when I was a young adult, living in Manhattan at twenty-five with my peer group. We were not intellectuals, by any means. I was thrown out of school and none of us were intellectuals. We were sports fans. It was a big talk when the next film by Truffaut, Fellini or De Sica was coming out. This is what we waited to see. We were thrilled to see those pictures and we talked about them. Now, if I talk to young, bright kids, they don’t know from Citizen Kane, La Grande Illusion; they don’t know who Ingmar Bergman or Bunuel is, or the first thing about their films. There are people who’ve seen Citizen Kane on a screen this size [he holds his fingers two inches apart]. So there is no reverence; it’s a different time. I think it’s a big loss. They don’t and I can understand that because they are the future and I’m not. But I think that’s a huge loss for them to go and see Treasure Of The Sierra Madre on a three-inch screen, but they don’t. As far as books go, it’s exactly as you said and what Marshall McLuhan said years ago, that as time passes, books will become art objects.

DEADLINE: How invested are you in the digital age?
ALLEN: I don’t own a computer. I’ve never seen anything online at all — nothing. I don’t own a word processor. I have none of that stuff. It’s not an act of rebellion. I’m just not a gadget person.

DEADLINE: But you’ll shoot your next film digital. Aren’t you curious about what else technology offers?
ALLEN: Yeah, but to me it doesn’t make any difference. I don’t work in it. I set the shot up, I compose, I do all that. But it’s irrelevant to me whether they push the button on the camera; it doesn’t matter.

DEADLINE: How do you reconcile your avoidance of computers and iPads, when you signed on to create a TV series forAmazon’s streaming service?
ALLEN: I don’t even know what a streaming service is; that’s the interesting thing. When you said streaming service, it was the first time I’ve heard that term connected with the Amazon thing. I never knew what Amazon was. I’ve never seen any of those series, even on cable. I’ve never seen The Sopranos, or Mad Men. I’m out every night and when I come home, I watch the end of the baseball or basketball game, and there’s Charlie Rose and I go to sleep. Amazon kept coming to me and saying, please do this, whatever you want. I kept saying I have no ideas for it, that I never watch television. I don’t know the first thing about it. Well, this went on for a year and a half, and they kept making a better deal and a better deal. Finally they said look, we’ll do anything that you want, just give us six half hours. They can be black and white, they can take place in Paris, in New York and California, they can be about a family, they can be comedy, you can be in them, they can be tragic. We don’t have to know anything, just come in with six half hours. And they offered a lot of money and everybody around me was pressuring me, go ahead and do it, what do you have to lose?

DEADLINE: So you said yes…
ALLEN: And I have regretted every second since I said OK. It’s been so hard for me. I had the cocky confidence, well, I’ll do it like I do a movie…it’ll be a movie in six parts. Turns out, it’s not. For me, it has been very, very difficult. I’ve been struggling and struggling and struggling. I only hope that when I finally do it — I have until the end of 2016 — they’re not crushed with disappointment because they’re nice people and I don’t want to disappoint them. I am doing my best. I fit it in between films, so it’s not like, no film this year, I’m doing Amazon. It’s a job within my usual schedule. But I am not as good at it as I fantasized I might be. It’s not a piece of cake; it’s a tough thing and I’m earning every penny that they’re giving me and I just hope that they don’t feel, ‘My God, we gave him a very substantial amount of money and freedom and this is what he gives us?’

DEADLINE: But haven’t you just voiced the anxiety and insecurity that fueled your entire creative career?
ALLEN: I hope it’s just the anxiety again, but this is hard. I’m like a fish out of water. Movies I’ve been doing for decades, and even the stage stuff, I know the stage and have seen a million plays. But this…how to begin something and end it after a half an hour and then come back the next time. It’s not me.

DEADLINE: You really regret that deal?
ALLEN: Oh, it’s amazing how you can regret. I haven’t had a pleasurable moment since I undertook it.

DEADLINE: You mentioned review-proof blockbusters. There is an obsession with global box office, sequels, cross pollination of branded content. You’ve never made a sequel. How do you feel about the way the movie business is going?
ALLEN: Well, I think it’s terrible. To me, movies are valuable as an art form and as a wonderful means of popular entertainment. But I think movies have gone terribly wrong. It was much healthier when the studios made a hundred films a year instead of a couple, and the big blockbusters for the most part are big time wasters. I don’t see them. I can see what they are: eardrum-busting time wasters. I think Hollywood has gone in a disastrous path. It’s terrible. The years of cinema that were great were the ’30s, ’40s, not so much the ’50s…but then the foreign films took over and it was a great age of cinema as American directors were influenced by them and that fueled the ’50s and ’60s and ’70s. Then it started to turn. Now it’s just a factory product. They can make a billion dollars on a film and spend hundreds of millions making it. They spend more money on the advertising budget of some of those films than all the profits of everything Bergman, Fellini and Bunuel made on all their films put together in their lifetimes. If you took everything that Bergman made in profit, everything Bunuel made and everything that Fellini made in their lifetimes and added it all together, you wouldn’t equal one weekend with the The Avengers and its $185 million to $200 million.

DEADLINE: Hasn’t the movie business always been art meeting commerce? Isn’t it just that the pendulum shifting toward the latter?
ALLEN: Hollywood is just commerce, and it’s a shame. There are all these wonderfully gifted actors out there that, as you said before, will be in a film of mine for virtually nothing, union minimum, for what you called validation. Really, it’s because they want to work on something that doesn’t insult their intelligence; they don’t want to have to get in to a suit and practice stunts for two months and then do stunts and then… they want to be in something that doesn’t demean their artistic impulses.

DEADLINE: Some of your peers, Martin Scorsese and Ridley Scott for example, are making big-budget broad canvas movies. Was there ever a big story you wanted to tell so badly that you have been tempted to compromise your creative control so you could get the financing?
ALLEN: No. I don’t have any interest in that. I’ve got to say though, the guys you just mentioned, I have nothing but amazed admiration for them. How a guy like Scorsese or Ridley Scott can make a big film, and still put their artistic vision into it and deal with the studios and stars and triumph over that to make the fabulous films that they make is something that is beyond me. I don’t have the personal resources, the character, the intelligence; I don’t know how they do it but they do it. They make wonderful films that work. Those directors compromise but the results are not artistically demeaning. They manipulate and navigate the waters and come up with great movies, fighting the battle against the Philistine studios, the money people, and triumph artistically. I have nothing but awe and admiration for them. I can’t imagine how they do it. Me, I don’t want to be bothered or have to talk to anybody. I don’t want to have to talk to anyone. I just don’t have the temperament for it. I couldn’t survive it so I’d rather get my little 18 million dollar budget and make my film. And if I go over, I give away a portion of my salary and that’s fine with me. Over the years I’ve given away a lot of monies, starting right from the beginning. I get the film I want, I never have to think about it but I still admire that those guys can make big-canvas, high-budget movies, these beautiful, wonderful films and they can finesse the terrible burden of having to deal with the suits.

DEADLINE: Quentin Tarantino has told me he will retire a couple of movies from now, on the grounds that he wants to stop before feeling that his next film can’t be his greatest, at which point he begins repeating himself. What is your feeling about a filmmaker’s longevity? Is there a time to stop?
ALLEN: Only when you want to. It depends. Some guys only make a few films, and then a guy like Bunuel made them his whole life. I enjoy the making of the film and it’s something for me to do. If nobody ever comes to my films, if people don’t want to give me money to make films, that will stop me. But as long as people come all over the world and I have an audience and I have ideas for films, I will do them for as long as I enjoy the process. And I like the whole process of making a film.

DEADLINE: So until you get that tap on the shoulder…
ALLEN: I’ll keep going. Now, sometimes I come out with a film and nobody wants to see it. But it doesn’t matter to me. I’m already working on another film and having the enjoyment of that and maybe that film a lot of people will come and see, but then I’m on the next one anyway. I never look back. When I was a little boy, I thought the fun in the movies would be the fame and the adulation and the money. Then when I started making films, I realized the fun in the film is not that it’s well-reviewed or that people line up and see it or it’s heartbreaking if they don’t or you’re a great hero if you win an award. All that stuff is nonsense. If it’s not fun when you’re spending the three months writing the film, and then three months shooting the film and the three months editing… if that comprises most of your year and it’s not fun, then why do it? It’s fun for me. I’m in contact with beautiful women and charming guys and art directors and costumes and Cole Porter’s music…it’s a wonderful way to earn a living.

DEADLINE: In that PBS Masters special on your early years, you were a prolific comedy writer, and did great stand-up comedy and you make a movie each year like clockwork. What’s the biggest thing that you struggle with as a creator?
ALLEN: The constant desire to do something great and the knowledge that it’s not really in me. I’ve had more than my share of opportunity over the decades to do something great, to break new ground, to find a new form, to electrify, to really stun people. After a while I had to realize, well, wait a minute, nobody’s stopping me. I mean, go ahead and do it. You can do anything you want to. You can have a blank screen for an hour and a half in the movie house if you wanted; you’re the boss. And then I start to think the reason it is not coming is that you can’t do it. You don’t have it in you. You do not have greatness in you; you’re not Kurosawa, or Fellini. You’re a comic turned film director with a modest talent to amuse, to entertain. But true greatness is not in you. You’re not William Faulkner or Cole Porter. You’re one of the entertainers of your lifetime and that’s it. So I’m constantly struggling to say no, this isn’t so, wait until you see what I do next. Then I see what I do next and it’s truly fine and nice but it’s not…I can’t live up to my own egotistical image of myself, I guess.

DEADLINE: Well, if it’s any consolation, this interview takes one item off my bucket list.
ALLEN: I’m 79. You got it in, just under the wire.

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MUSIC MONDAY George Harrison’s best album is possibly ALL THINGS MUST PASS

 

George Harrison – ”All Things Must Pass” [Full Album]

All Things Must Pass

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the album. For other uses, see All Things Must Pass (disambiguation).
“Apple Jam” redirects here. For jam made from apples, see apple jam and apple sauce.
All Things Must Pass
All Things Must Pass 1970 cover.jpg
Studio album by George Harrison
Released 27 November 1970
Recorded 26 May–late October 1970
Studio Abbey Road Studios, London; Trident Studios, London; Apple Studio, London
Genre
Length 105:59
Label Apple
Producer George Harrison, Phil Spector
George Harrison chronology
Electronic Sound
(1969)
All Things Must Pass
(1970)
The Concert for Bangladesh
(1971)
Singles from All Things Must Pass
  1. My Sweet Lord
    Released: 23 November 1970 (US); 15 January 1971 (UK)
  2. What Is Life
    Released: 15 February 1971 (US)
Alternative cover

Album artwork of the 2001 re-release of All Things Must Pass

All Things Must Pass is a triple album by English musician George Harrison. Recorded and released in 1970, the album was Harrison’s first solo work since the break-up of the Beatles in April that year, and his third solo album overall. It includes the hit singles “My Sweet Lord” and “What Is Life“, as well as songs such as “Isn’t It a Pity” and the title track that had been turned down for inclusion on releases by the Beatles. The album reflects the influence of Harrison’s musical activities with artists such as Bob Dylan, the Band, Delaney & Bonnie and Billy Preston during 1968–70, and his growth as an artist beyond his supporting role to former bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney. All Things Must Pass introduced Harrison’s signature sound, the slide guitar, and the spiritual themes that would be present throughout his subsequent solo work. The original vinyl release consisted of two LPs of songs and a third disc of informal jams, titled Apple Jam. Several commentators interpret Barry Feinstein‘s album cover photo, showing Harrison surrounded by four garden gnomes, as a statement on his independence from the Beatles.

Production began at London’s Abbey Road Studios in May 1970, with extensive overdubbing and mixing continuing through October. Among the large cast of backing musicians were Eric Clapton and Delaney & Bonnie’s Friends band – three of whom formed Derek and the Dominos with Clapton during the recording – as well as Ringo Starr, Gary Wright, Preston, Klaus Voormann, John Barham, Badfinger and Pete Drake. The sessions produced a double album’s worth of extra material, most of which remains unissued.

All Things Must Pass was critically and commercially successful on release, with long stays at number 1 on charts around the world. The album was co-produced by Phil Spector and employs his Wall of Sound production technique to notable effect; Ben Gerson of Rolling Stone described the sound as “Wagnerian, Brucknerian, the music of mountain tops and vast horizons”.[1] Reflecting the widespread surprise at the assuredness of Harrison’s post-Beatles debut, Melody Makers Richard Williams likened the album to Greta Garbo‘s first role in a talking picture and declared: “Garbo talks! – Harrison is free!”[2] According to Colin Larkin, writing in the 2011 edition of his Encyclopedia of Popular Music, All Things Must Pass is “generally rated” as the best of all the former Beatles’ solo albums.[3]

During the final year of his life, Harrison oversaw a successful reissue campaign to mark the 30th anniversary of the album’s release. Following this reissue, in March 2001, the set was certified six-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Among its appearances in critics’ best-album lists, All Things Must Pass was ranked 79th on The Times “The 100 Best Albums of All Time” in 1993, while Rolling Stone currently places it 433rd on the magazine’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time“. In January 2014, All Things Must Pass was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Background[edit]

Music journalist John Harris has identified the start of George Harrison‘s “journey” to making All Things Must Pass as his visit to America in late 1968, following the acrimonious sessions for the BeatlesWhite Album.[4] While in Woodstock in November,[5] Harrison established a long-lasting friendship with Bob Dylan[4] and experienced a creative equality among the Band that contrasted sharply with John Lennon and Paul McCartney‘s domination in the Beatles.[6][7] Coinciding with this visit was a surge in Harrison’s songwriting output,[8] following his renewed interest in the guitar, after three years spent studying the Indian sitar.[9][10] As well as being one of the few musicians to co-write songs with Dylan,[4] Harrison had recently collaborated with Eric Clapton on “Badge“,[11] which became a hit single for Cream in the spring of 1969.[12]

Billboard ad for Harrison’s Wonderwall Music soundtrack (1968)

Once back in London, and with his compositions continually overlooked for inclusion on releases by the Beatles,[13][14] Harrison found creative fulfilment in extracurricular projects that, in the words of his musical biographer, Simon Leng, served as an “emancipating force” from the restrictions imposed on him in the band.[15] His activities during 1969 included producing Apple signings Billy Preston and Doris Troy, two American singer-songwriters whose soul and gospel roots proved as influential on All Things Must Pass as the music of the Band.[16] He also recorded with artists such as Leon Russell[17] and Jack Bruce,[18] and accompanied Clapton on a short tour with Delaney Bramlett‘s soul revue, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends.[19] In addition, Harrison identified his involvement with the Hare Krishna movement as providing “another piece of a jigsaw puzzle” that represented the spiritual journey he had begun in 1966.[20] As well as embracing the Vaishnavist branch of Hinduism, Harrison produced two hit singles during 1969–70 by the UK-based devotees, credited as Radha Krishna Temple (London).[21] In January 1970,[22] Harrison invited American producer Phil Spector to participate in the recording of Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band single “Instant Karma![23][24] This association led to Spector being given the task of salvaging the Beatles’ Get Back rehearsal tapes, released officially as the Let It Be album (1970),[25][26] and later co-producing All Things Must Pass.[27]

Harrison first discussed the possibility of making a solo album of his unused songs during the ill-tempered Get Back sessions, held at Twickenham Film Studios in January 1969.[28][29][nb 1] At Abbey Road Studios on 25 February, his 26th birthday,[32] Harrison recorded demos of “All Things Must Pass” and two other compositions that had received little interest from Lennon and McCartney at Twickenham.[33][34] With the inclusion of one of these songs – “Something” – and “Here Comes the Sun” on the Beatles’ Abbey Road album in September 1969, music critics acknowledged that Harrison had bloomed into a songwriter to match Lennon and McCartney.[35][36] Although he began talking publicly about recording his own album from the autumn of 1969,[37][38] it was only after McCartney announced that he was leaving the Beatles, in April 1970, signalling the band’s break-up,[39] that Harrison committed to the idea.[40] Despite having already made Wonderwall Music (1968), a mostly instrumental soundtrack album, and the experimental Electronic Sound (1969),[41] Harrison considered All Things Must Pass to be his first solo album.[42][nb 2]

Content[edit]

Main body[edit]

I went to George’s Friar Park … and he said, “I have a few ditties for you to hear.” It was endless! He had literally hundreds of songs and each one was better than the rest. He had all this emotion built up when it was released to me.[47]

– Phil Spector, on first hearing Harrison’s backlog of songs in early 1970

Spector first heard Harrison’s stockpile of unreleased compositions early in 1970, when visiting his recently purchased home, Friar Park.[47] “It was endless!” Spector later recalled of the recital, noting the quantity and quality of Harrison’s material.[47] Harrison had accumulated songs from as far back as 1966; both “Isn’t It a Pity” and “Art of Dying” date from that year.[48] He co-wrote at least two songs with Dylan while in Woodstock,[49] one of which, “I’d Have You Anytime“, appeared on All Things Must Pass.[50] Harrison wrote “Let It Down” in late 1968 also.[51]

He introduced the Band-inspired[52] “All Things Must Pass”, along with “Hear Me Lord” and “Let It Down”, at the Beatles’ Get Back rehearsals, only to have them rejected by Lennon and McCartney.[53][54][nb 3] The tense atmosphere at Twickenham fuelled another All Things Must Pass song, “Wah-Wah“,[58] which Harrison wrote in the wake of his temporary departure from the band on 10 January 1969.[59]Run of the Mill” followed soon afterwards, its lyrics focusing on the failure of friendships within the Beatles[60] amid the business problems surrounding their Apple organisation.[61] Harrison’s musical activities outside the band during 1969 inspired other compositions on the album: “What Is Life” came to him while driving to a London session that spring for Preston’s That’s the Way God Planned It album;[62]Behind That Locked Door” was Harrison’s message of encouragement to Dylan,[63] written the night before the latter’s comeback performance at the Isle of Wight Festival;[64] and Harrison began “My Sweet Lord” as an exercise in writing a gospel song[65] during Delaney & Bonnie’s stopover in Copenhagen in December 1969.[66][nb 4]

I Dig Love” resulted from Harrison’s early experiments with slide guitar, a technique that Bramlett had introduced him to,[65] in order to cover for guitarist Dave Mason‘s departure from the Friends line-up.[69] Other songs on All Things Must Pass, all written during the first half of 1970, include “Awaiting on You All“, which reflected Harrison’s adoption of chanting through his involvement with the Hare Krishna movement;[70][71]Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)“, a tribute to the original owner of Friar Park;[72] and “Beware of Darkness“.[73] The latter was another composition influenced by Harrison’s association with the Radha Krishna Temple,[74] and was written while some of the devotees were staying with him at Friar Park.[75]

Shortly before beginning work on All Things Must Pass, Harrison attended a Dylan session in New York on 1 May 1970,[76] during which he acquired a new song of Dylan’s, “If Not for You“.[58] Harrison wrote “Apple Scruffs“, which was one of a number of Dylan-influenced compositions on the album,[77] towards the end of production on All Things Must Pass, as a tribute to the diehard fans who had kept a vigil outside the studios where he was working.[71][78]

According to Leng, All Things Must Pass represents the completion of Harrison’s “musical-philosophical circle”, in which his 1966–68 immersion in Indian music found a Western equivalent in gospel music.[79] While identifying hard rock, country and western, and Motown among the other genres on the album, Leng writes of the “plethora of new sounds and influences” that Harrison had absorbed through 1969 and now incorporated, including “Krishna chants, gospel ecstasy, Southern blues-rock [and] slide guitar”.[80] The melodies of “Isn’t It a Pity” and “Beware of Darkness” have aspects of Indian classical music, and on “My Sweet Lord”, Harrison combined the Hindu bhajan tradition with gospel.[81] The recurrent lyrical themes on the album are Harrison’s spiritual quest, as it would be throughout his solo career,[82] and friendship, particularly the failure of relationships among the Beatles.[83][84] Rob Mitchum of Pitchfork Media describes the album as “dark-tinged Krishna folk-rock”.[85]

Apple Jam[edit]

On the original LP‘s third disc, entitled Apple Jam, four of the five tracks – “Out of the Blue”, “Plug Me In”, “I Remember Jeep” and “Thanks for the Pepperoni” – are improvised instrumentals built around minimal chord changes,[86] or in the case of “Out of the Blue”, a single-chord riff.[87] The title for “I Remember Jeep” originated from the name of Clapton’s dog, Jeep,[88] and “Thanks for the Pepperoni” came from a line on a Lenny Bruce comedy album.[89] In a December 2000 interview with Billboard magazine, Harrison explained: “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.”[90][nb 5]

The only vocal selection on Apple Jam is “It’s Johnny’s Birthday”, sung to the tune of Cliff Richard‘s 1968 hit “Congratulations“, and recorded as a gift from Harrison to Lennon to mark the latter’s 30th birthday.[92] Like all the “free” tracks on the bonus disc,[93] “It’s Johnny’s Birthday” carried a Harrison songwriting credit on the original UK release of All Things Must Pass,[94] while on the first US copies, the only songwriting information on the record’s face labels was the standard inclusion of a performing rights organisation, BMI.[95] In December 1970, “Congratulations” songwriters Bill Martin and Phil Coulter claimed for royalties,[92] with the result that the composer’s credit for Harrison’s track was swiftly changed to acknowledge Martin and Coulter.[88]

Demo tracks and outtakes[edit]

Aside from the seventeen compositions issued on discs one and two of the original album,[96] Harrison recorded at least twenty other songs – either in demo form for Spector’s benefit, just before recording got officially under way in late May, or as outtakes from the sessions.[97][98] In a 1992 interview, Harrison commented on the volume of material: “I didn’t have many tunes on Beatles records, so doing an album like All Things Must Pass was like going to the bathroom and letting it out.”[99][nb 6] As well as “Wah-Wah”, “Art of Dying” and others that would soon be developed in a band setting, Harrison’s solo performance for Spector included the following songs,[100] all of which remain unreleased:[29][nb 7]

  • “Window, Window” – another composition turned down by the Beatles in January 1969[102]
  • “Everybody, Nobody” – the melody of which Harrison adapted for “Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp”[100]
  • “Nowhere to Go” – a second Harrison–Dylan collaboration from November 1968, originally known as “When Everybody Comes to Town”[103]
  • “Cosmic Empire”, “Mother Divine” and “Tell Me What Has Happened to You”.[29][104]

Also from this performance were two tracks that Harrison returned to in later years.[97]Beautiful Girl” appeared on his 1976 album Thirty Three & 1/3,[29] and the Dylan-written “I Don’t Want to Do It” was Harrison’s contribution to the soundtrack for Porky’s Revenge! (1985).[58]

During the main sessions for All Things Must Pass, Harrison taped or routined early versions of “You“, “Try Some, Buy Some” and “When Every Song Is Sung“.[105][106] Harrison offered these three songs to Ronnie Spector in February 1971 for her proposed (and soon abandoned) solo album on Apple Records.[107] After releasing his own versions of “Try Some, Buy Some” and “You” between 1973 and 1975,[108] he offered “When Every Song Is Sung” (since retitled “I’ll Still Love You”) to former bandmate Ringo Starr for his 1976 album Ringo’s Rotogravure.[109]Woman Don’t You Cry for Me“, written in December 1969 as his f