A very happy birthday to Mr. George Harrison who would have been 73 years old today (In fact, from what he’s said, he believes his birthday was actually a little past 10pm on Feb 24 – the clocks were moved due to WWII bombing….but anyway).
George Harrison’s career brought us from the teen pop of the mid-1960s to a state of transcendentalism through the late 60s and 70s. From the earliest days of The Beatles, through his 1970s masterpiece “All Things Must Pass”, through “Cloud Nine” and The Traveling Wilburys, and even to his final work “Brainwashed” -In my opinion, his songs are all evergreens.
In honor of The Dark Horse’s birthday, I assembled some of my favorite George Harrison deep tracks. I stayed away from some of the MEGA deep stuff – like songs from Wonderwall Music, etc. The material below is all generally digestible. My hope is that you haven’t heard some of these – and it leads you to a higher state of purpose in life 🙂 Enjoy!
Top Ten George Harrison Deep Cuts:
10.) Crackerbox Palace – 1976 – Album: 33 1/3, Besides all of The Monty Python references in the video, I love the Bari Sax interplay with the slide guitar and phasing guitar texture. …And it’s Jeff Lane’s favorite.
9.) The Art Of Dying – 1970 – All Things Must Pass – Yeah, that’s Eric Clapton playing lead. Wah Wah and all. Damn, son. How about those lyrics? “Nothing in this life that you’ve been trying can equal or surpass the art of dying” ….Are you still with me?!
8.) This Song – 1976 – 33 and 1/3 – How about Mr. Billy Preston on the keys?! Just George having fun – a great rock n roll song – many would consider it a throw away, but I love it. An ode to writers block. “This song is in E”
7.) Brainwashed – 2002 – “Brainwashed” — George’s social commentary songs are usually my favorites – no doubt a habit he picked up from his buddy Bob. Love the line “…they even got my grandma while she was working for the mob.” An interesting look at the world – I would be curious to what George would think about social media. “Brainwashed” is always a good song during the American election cycle…
6.) Badge – 1968 – “Farewell Cream” – Yeah, I went there. What ya gonna do about it? George and Ringo are both co-writers on this classic from Cream’s final album. George is playing the rhythm guitar and, likely, the Leslie guitar parts. C’mon folks, this is a George tune through and through.
5.) Awaiting On You All – 1970 – All Things Must Pass –
“Because the Pope owns 51% of General Motors,
and the stock exchange is the only thing he’s qualified to quote us.”
HA! Could ANYONE else in the universe come up with that line in a song? Nope. So distinctly George Harrison. Besides “My Sweet Lord”, “Awaiting On You All” is a cliff notes guide to Krishna. This rejection of the material world theme would carry over into George’s life and music for the rest of his career. “By chanting the names of the Lord and you’ll be free. Because the Lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see.” How cool is this song? ….and Phil Spector’s Wall Of Sound?! Sign me up, ALL DAMN DAY!
4.) A Horse To The Water – “Small World Big Band (Jools Holland) – 2001 – From what I remember, this was George’s last single while he was alive. We were all waiting for the “Tales Of A Bootleg” album that became Brainwashed in 2002 after he died. It’s a return to the huge sound that his early solo recordings had and that his 80s recordings were often missing. A favorite of mine….
3.) Piggies – 1991 – Live In Japan with Eric Clapton – We are pretty lucky in this life that we were awarded a live version of Piggies…because, that probably shouldn’t have happened at all. Clapton’s band – including the great Greg Phillinganes and Chuck Leavell – did a great job in recreating the harpsichord and string sections of this song. The reason it’s here, the new 3rd verse: “Everywhere there’s lots of piggies, playing piggie pranks, you can see them on their trotters down at the piggie banks, paying piggie thanks to Big Pig Brother….” Yes. Yes. and YES! The original song comes from The White Album (1968), but if you didn’t know that, i doubt youve made it down the list this far.
2.) Love Comes To Everyone – George Harrison – 1979 – One of my favorite lines:
“It’s so true it can happen to you all; there,
Knock and it will open wide,
And it only takes time
‘Til love comes to everyone.”
Love Steve Winwood on the synth as well ????
1.) Beware Of Darkness – All Things Must Pass – 1970 – as deep as you can get, baby:
Watch out now, take care
Beware of greedy leaders
They take you where you should not go
While Weeping Atlas Cedars
They just want to grow, grow and grow
Beware of darkness (beware of darkness)
And with that, I’ll leave you with a “Hari Krishna!” Happy Birthday, George!