The Great Solo Beatles Album

All Things Must Pass [BOXED EDITION]

All Things Must Pass was George Harrison’s third solo album but the first released after the break-up of the fabs.  Since his first two albums were a film soundtrack and an electronic music experimental project, this was also his first solo album highlighting George’s ability as a songwriter.

George had started as an occasional third songwriter for the Beatles, but it appears that by the late 60s he was getting as prolific as John and Paul. But being restricted to an average of one song per record side for the Beatles, he had built up a considerable backlog of songs by the time the band split up. So in many respects All Things Must Pass, which is effectively a double album is actually a Beatles-era album, except that it is only one Beatles songwriting. Many of the songs took form during the chaotic Let It Be sessions, and as we mentioned in the last post, the title track actually appeared on a latter day Beatles compilation.

It could therefore be argued that the brilliance of All Things Must Pass is due to the inspirational cauldron of latter-day Beatles tension, and possibly George trying to prove to himself to the equal of John and Paul.  Most pundits will suggest that George never reached this level of consistent brilliance again, but then again, most people will agree that John and Paul never reached the heights of their Beatles legacy as solo artists.

Let me make no bones about it; this is my favorite solo Beatles album and up there with my favorite of all Beatles related records. It is also the best-selling solo album from the ex-Beatles. It is probably no coincidence that part of its greatness is the timing of the album. But aside from the spectral presence of the fabs (and the real presence of Ringo), there are many other big names who contributed – Eric Clapton, Gary Brooker, Peter Frampton, Billy Preston and the ever-controversial Phil Spector. And of course Bob Dylan, who contributed one song (If Not For You) and co-wrote another with George (the brilliant opener I’d Have You Anytime) – the intriguing Harrison/Dylan combination came back, of course, for the Traveling Wilburys.

In 2000, Harrison, possibly acknowledging this as one as his own masterpiece and aware of his own illness, was involved in remastering the album with the new color cover, a reworking of My Sweet Lord and completing an outtake I Live For You that further evidenced the depth and quantity of songs George was writing at stage.

There is a good chance you’ll have this one in your collection already -if you do, play it for George’s upcoming 65th on Monday and if you don’t, get it. The history of the album is interesting, but the bottom line is that All Things Must Pass is one of the most important albums of the rock era.

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