By: Matthew Rothstein
On April 10 of 1970, the break-up of The Beatles came out to the public. Within less than a month, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr released their first solo albums, while John Lennon didn’t release his first album “Plastic Ono Band ” until December 1970.
For George Harrison, this became an opportunity to move forward as an artist. He invited music producer Phil Spector to listen to his unreleased catalog of music (which dates as far back as 1966). This back-up of music gave Harrison enough material to make his first album.
In making the album, Harrison gathered some huge artists at that time including Peter Frampton, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Gary Wright, Badfinger, Bobby Keys, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Klaus Voorman. It took seven months to complete the album.
The album came out on Nov. 27 1970, and a 50th anniversary album was released Aug. 6 2021. It’s a triple record, which includes a jam out record called “Apple Jams.”
The original album had 23 songs, but Harrison still had 42 songs that hadn’t been unreleased until the 50th anniversary album came out. These include songs such as “Cosmic Empire,” “Mother Divine,” and “Going Down to Golden Green.”
The album lasted number one on the billboard album chart for seven weeks. The biggest hit from the album was “My Sweet Lord” which hit number 1 on the billboard single charts—the first out of any Beatle member.
With a large backup catalog of music and a star studded cast of artists working alongside him, this album is considered a classic. George was given freedom to express the material he wanted to release, and this album helped him establish his solo music career for fifteen years.
The lyrics/songs come from an inspiration of eastern spirituality and philosophy. Some of the music were songs that didn’t make into The Beatles albums, and others were new original material that he made for the album. It also covers a wide range of emotions from songs like the ballad “I’d Have You Anytime” to upbeat songs like “Apple Scruffs.”
Phil Spector’s wall of sound both brings light to the music and is deafening. An example of this is in the song “Wah-Wah”—the production is roaring. However, the wall sound in that song does make it hard to distinguish who is playing in the song.
Overall, Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” is an excellent album from beginning to end. Even with the spiritual and religious themes in some of the songs, it’s an album that explores different aspects of life that are still relevant today.
It’s considered one of the best Beatles solo albums alongside Paul McCartney’s “Band on the Run,” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
Personal Essential Track: What is Life
Other Standout Tracks: All Things Must Pass, Beware of Darkness, Run of the Mill, Isn’t it a Pity, I’d Have You Anytime, Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let it Roll), and My Sweet Lord.