Monday, November 29, 2021


Monday's Playlist: George Harrison: 20 years gone

 Hard to believe it's been twenty years since George Harrison passed away. I don't know if he was my favorite Beatle (my ranking changes several times a day) but he released my favorite solo Beatle album. No, I'm not talking about Wonderwall Music...

All Things Must Pass was released as a triple album and features contributions from Eric Clapton and the musicians who would end up being the core of Derek and the Dominoes but also Gary Wright, Peter Frampton, Alan White, Ginger Baker, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Bobby Keys, Klaus Voormann, the guys from Badfinger... A veritable who's who of the English rock scene of that time.

In those three records were songs that George had been unable to use in the Beatles... Let's wrap our heads around that. The Beatles were so brilliant that the guy who wrote Something, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Here Comes the Sun or Taxman was only the third best songwriter in the band. A band so exploding with talent that a song like Isn't It A Pity was not deemed worthy of being recorded by the Beatles!

So twenty years ago today I went to the movies with a friend of mine to see David Lynch's Mulholland Drive. After the movie ended, still reeling from the shock of that masterpiece, we went to a bar to imbibe and talk about what we had just seen. When we came into the bar, the radio was playing Harrison's version of Got My Mind Set on You. We didn't think much of it. But then the radio played My Sweet Lord and I put two and two together. I asked the bartender if George Harrison had passed, and she confirmed that he had. This was not unexpected: we knew he was unwell.

Nowadays, there would have been an alert on our smartphones but twenty years this is how you'd find out about stuff. So I asked the bartender to humor me and play a few songs in George's honor: a Hard Day's Night, which contains my favorite Harrison guitar solo (that little repeated motif toward the middle of the song which was recorded with a 12-string Rickenbacker and doubled by a piano) and While My Guitar Gently Weeps, a song so miraculously perfect that it still brings a tear to my eye, and All Those Years Ago, a wonderful song that George wrote to eulogize his old friend John Lennon, and When We Was Fab, a nostalgic song where he reminisces about his Beatle days with fondness and warmth and none of the acrimony that sometimes surrounded the subject.

And now I'm off to listen to those songs again. I recommend you do the same. That's why the playlist below exists.

Enjoy, comment, share!

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