We are starting a new series of posts today called Thursday Interviews. In this series we will highlight great interviews with musicians. Today’s post is a follow-up to this week’s Two’Fer Tuesday post which featured Gary Wright and Wonderwheel with George Harrison sitting in on slide guitar. That performance was featured on the Dick Cavett show and was followed by a 35 minute interview with George. I really enjoyed what George had to say and it was wonderful to see what a great sense of humor he had. I think you will like this new series of posts. Please let me know you thoughts…..
It’s kind of funny that George mentioned Marmalade…..they are the subject of my next post. Stay tuned!
Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We are gong to finish up the year with a countdown to New Years Day. As part of this countdown we will checkout some of my favorite songs about New Years and review some of the musical highlights from this year.
First up is a new years song from George Harrison. You have to love this one!
My selection for Most Significant Musical Event of 2012 kicks off our 2012 end of the year music review. This one is an easy call for me…..Bruce Springsteen joining President Obamas campaign during the last crucial weeks before the November election. The duo of ex-President Bill Clinton and Bruce toured the battleground states tirelessly in advance of the election and deserve a lot of credit for President Obama’s victory. Here are clips from both of these American heroes.
As usual, my online friend Gerard was the first to chime in with the right answer. Here is what Gerard said in his comment:
There are three well known musicians sitting in the making of this record/LP; Al Kooper, Todd Rindgren and last but not least George Harrison. If you listen to this number you can hear the guitar of George playing and strumming in Day After Day.
While Gerard was correct, Wikipedia identifies a few more musicians that participated and provides a few more details about George’s role in the following excerpt from its Badfinger article:
In 1971, the group rented Clearwell Castle, in Gloucestershire; living and recording there. They finished recording their third album, again with Emerick as producer, but the tapes were rejected by Apple. Harrison took over as producer in spring of 1971, but later pulled out of the project because of his Bangladesh commitments; the album was then completed by Todd Rundgren. Straight Up was released in the US in December 1971, and spawned two successful singles: “Day After Day” (Billboard number four), which sold over a million worldwide, and “Baby Blue” (US number 14). The album reached number 31 on the US charts. It included uncredited special guest appearances from Harrison, Leon Russell, and Klaus Voormann. Commenting on the recording of the dual slide guitars on “Day After Day”, Molland remembered: “Pete and I had done the backing track, and George came in the studio and asked if we’d mind if he played … It took hours, and hours, and hours, to get those two guitars in sync”.
As mentioned in the article above, George turned over production responsibilities to Todd Rundgren in order to plan his benefit concert for Bangladesh. Badfinger ended up as the backing band for the concert.
As a bonus, here is a great clip from that concert with George singing Here Comes The Sun backed by Pete Ham from Badfinger.
George Harrison, of the Beatles. Kudos to Gerard who posted a comment with the correct answer!
George help Eric write the song and played guitar on the recording. He was initially not given a writing credit for the song on the record and his guitar on the song was credited to “L’Angelo Misterioso” due to contractual issues.
Interestingly enough, Eric played the lead guitar part on While My Guitar Gently Weeps, George’s best song on the Beatles White album. I guess turnabout was fair play!
To say that George and Eric had an amazing friendship is a true under statement. Not many friendships could survive one of the friends “stealing” the other’s wife but that is exactly what happened when Eric wooed George’s wife Patty away from him. Some of Eric’s best songs were written about Patty including this one.
Before we wrap this up, let’s listen to Badge one more time. The video that goes with this one has some great pictures of George, Eric, and Patty in all all possible combinations.
So why did the Beatles break up? After more than 40 years no one knows the real story. At one time or another I think I have heard all four of them claim that they were the one that walked away first but I think I might have found the real answer and I will present evidence to make my case. First a little background.
A quick review of the Beatles catalog shows that John and Paul were responsible for the majority of songs on every album while George was given only one or two songs per album. The casual listener was led to believe that this was because that was all the songs he had that were “worthy”. This belief was of course blown to smithereens once the Beatles broke up and George’s first solo offering was All Things Must Pass, a stunning three record album completely written by George. How was that possible?
It was possible because George was a much bigger talent than John and Paul wanted us to believe. I expect that he had been bringing more to the table than they were prepared to put on “their” Beatle albums. To support this position I would like to point out that All Things Must pass, the title song on George’s first solo album had been pitched to the Beatles during the Twickenham sessions leading up to the Let It Be album. In listening to these sessions we hear take after take of the Beatles playing All Things Must Pass and guess what….they all suck! It seems pretty clear to me that John and Paul really did not have their heart in playing George’s song. Take a listen to this take that provides one example of the point I am making:
This take was made on Day 5 of the sessions…George walked out on Day 8 but was eventually talked into returning (read more about the Twickenham Sessions in this article on Wikipedia). I suspect that his mind was already made up to end the Beatles even when he returned. It must have been clear to him that he had outgrown the Beatles. Take a listen to this solo demo of All Things Must Pass (from my personal stash) that George was working on and compare and contrast the two versions yourself.
I feel compelled to offer up my “This coffee is served hot” disclaimer and state for the record that I am speculating here and don’t really have first hand knowledge of how the Beatles fell apart. You look at the evidence and make up your own mind and as always, let me know what you think.