Saturday, 25 February 2017


To hear Olivia tell it, it wasn’t unusual for George to stroll through their house spouting words at random — a process that could cause an outsider to wonder whether the ex-Beatle had suddenly started speaking in tongues.
“George would throw out words one after another,” she said in an interview this week. “He knew he’d find the word. He was good at that. Sometimes he was quiet and just thought about it, sometimes he just kept writing down words that began with ‘S’ until he got the right one. …  It didn’t matter what they were — he knew he would get to something.”
 In fact, that method is exactly what helped him get to “Something” — and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Give Me Love, Give Me Peace on Earth,” “My Sweet Lord,” “Awaiting on You All,” “Brainwashed” and so many other songs he wrote in the Beatles and as a solo artist. 

Olivia Harrison had good reason to recall that detail this week. She’s been deep in her husband’s writing for months, culling scraps of paper, notebook entries, scribbles on hotel stationery, napkins and other bits of writing surfaces for the new “extended edition” of Harrison’s 1980 quasi-autobiography, “I ME MINE.”

It arrives in conjunction with a massive box set — a hefty 18 pounds’ worth —t hat gathers newly remastered vinyl pressings of his solo albums. Additionally, the Austrian Pro-Ject audio company has created a limited-edition George Harrison turntable that retails for about $540 in the U.S.
“GEORGE HARRISON —THE VINYL COLLECTION” spans Harrison’s two pre-Beatles breakup efforts — “Wonderwall Music,” the soundtrack from a film that went unreleased in 1969, as well as his Moog-synthesizer exploration, “Electronic Sound,” the same year — through his 1970 blockbuster three-disc set “All Things Must Pass” and on up to his final studio collection, “Brainwashed,” released in 2002 after his death at 58 from cancer a year earlier.

Olivia said the impetus behind the updated edition of “I Me Mine” was simply because of the fact that the original version had gone out of print. 
“At first we thought of doing a digital version,” she said, “but then I said, ‘No, we need to do it right.’”
The original 399-page book wasn’t so much a formal autobiography as an annotated scrapbook, culling 48 photos and numerous reproductions of many original sheets along with fully printed lyrics to 83 Beatles and solo songs.

This image of George on Maui, Hawaii,is among photos included in an extended new edition of his "I Me Mine" book.

It was the first celebrity-driven book for Genesis Publications, the British  literary publisher that had assembled collector’s editions of journals from the HMS Bounty and other esoteric historical volumes. The new edition of “I ME MINE” is the 100th book Genesis has published.
The re-release, which will be feted with a public pop-up store event Sunday at artist Shepard Fairey’s Subliminal Projects space in Echo Park,  has grown to 632 pages with 52 photos and lyrics for 141 songs. Fairey’s portrait of George is featured on the cover.
“The book is mainly lyrics and text,” Olivia said, “so I didn’t think it was fair to add a lot more photos.”
Instead, she focused on gathering more lyrics for songs he never released, such as “Mother Divine” — “It’s a lovely sentiment,” she said, “and something he did sing over the years, maybe as a mantra” — and a light-hearted toast to his former band mate, “Hey Ringo.”
Sample lyric: “Hey Ringo, there’s one thing that I’ve not said/I’ll play my guitar with you till I drop dead.”
Her goal was to spotlight the songs George released after the original book came out. “Several albums came out after that book was made in 1980, which was pretty early on. I really started looking for songs recorded after that.”
The original text remains as it was, a virtual conversation between Harrison and old Liverpool pal and longtime Beatles publicist Derek Taylor. Harrison’s narrative covers his childhood in the hardscrabble seaport, the heady days of Beatlemania and life after the breakup.
George and Olivia’s only child together, singer-songwriter-guitarist Dhani Harrison, has been closely involved with production of the box set, Olivia said, overseeing the design of the box itself. It features a lenticular cover that toggles between photos of his father with and without mustache.
Although initially pigeonholed as “the quiet Beatle,” George quickly replaced that image with one as the spiritual Beatle, being an early devotee of Indian mysticism and music, which exposed him to philosophical ideas and crosscultural sounds.
“When I work with young players today, I always use George as an example,” said drummer Jim Keltner, one of the world’s foremost studio musicians who worked with Harrison, Starr and John Lennon after the Beatles dissolved. 
“When somebody writes a song and plays it for you as the band, or just to the drummer when you start to record,” he said, “my feeling is it should be so strong already without the band, that you know that once you put the band on  it you’ve really got something.
“George was like that every time he would play a song for you,” he said. “That’s the amazing thing about him.”

Friday, 24 February 2017


Between 1968 and 2002, George released 12 studio albums and one outstanding live LP (not to mention the 1971 all-star benefit album The Concert for Bangladesh), yet only one of those titles is perennially celebrated on a universal level.

That album, of course, is All Things Must Pass, the 1970 triple-LP opus Harrison conspired from a handful of songs rejected by Lennon and McCartney during the Fab Four’s final years.
There’s no doubt that ATMP is the best of the bunch, and quite arguably the single-greatest solo work by any member of The Beatles, according to many fans.

Lucky for us all the Harrison Family is releasing George Harrison – The Vinyl Collection TODAY.
A stunning box set that includes all 12 of the guitarist’s studio albums (as well as 1992’s Live in Japan and a pair of 12-inch picture discs of Cloud Nine singles), it’s the perfect opportunity to reconsider the work this quiet, spiritual, beautiful man delivered in increasingly sporadic doses before cancer took him away from us in November of 2001.
In honor of Harrison’s groundbreaking career and what would’ve been his 74th birthday on February 25, we’ve compiled a list of five albums.
Paul McCartney may have been the one who first started messing around with analog adventurism during the Revolver era, but with his second solo project it was George who dove deep into the chasm of these studio explorations when he acquired his first Moog synthesizer.

Electronic Sound was issued on the Fabs’ incredibly shortlived avant-garde offshoot of Apple Records—cheekily dubbed Zapple—and entails two lengthy compositions of amorphous sonic experiments on the Moog IIIc modular synth, which he had purchased directly from its inventor, the late Robert Moog, and is still owned by his family to this very day.

Coming off the 1974 North American tour with friend and mentor Ravi Shankar, George was eager to reboot and cut a new album as soon as possible, partially as a means to get out of his recording contract with Capitol/EMI.
Dark Horse was born out of his split from first wife Patti Boyd.
With Extra Texture, he chose to expound upon his sorrows by utilizing his old band’s love for Motown to deliver a searching, soulful dispatch that replaces theology with vulnerability as he employs an incredibly adept session group to help see through his crisis of faith, including such studio heavyweights as longtime Beatles associate Klaus Voormann on bass, drummers Jim Keltner and Jim Gordon, keyboardists David Foster, Gary Wright, Nicky Hopkins, Billy Preston and Leon Russell and unsung guitar hero Jesse Ed Davis to name but a select few.
Even Ronnie Spector turns up to sing backgrounds on the album’s luminous opening track “You.” Extra Texture was the victim of bad timing upon its release in 1975, but it’s a wonderful white R&B LP perfectly preserved for you to dig into 42 years later.

Originally released in November of ’76, George’s seventh solo album also marked the debut title for the guitarist’s new record label, Dark Horse. George enlisted jazz saxophonist Tom Scott, who was also featured on Extra Texture, to produce and a tighter, funkier studio band to punctuate the groove on this new chapter of his recording career.
The songs are lighter and brighter than its immediate predecessors, with “This Song” poking self-deprecating fun at his own legal woes and falling deeper into his creative relationship with Monty Python, particularly Eric Idle who directed to the album’s pair of music videos. It was also during this time when Harrison made his SNL debut appearing alongside Paul Simon to perform those indelible acoustic duets of “Here Comes the Sun” and the Simon & Garfunkel favorite “Homeward Bound” that remains one of the benchmark music performances in the show’s history.
In horse racing, the idea of the dark horse is the stallion that nobody bets on but wins the race. By making Thirty-Three & 1/3 the first missive from his new record label, he would prove his critics wrong about underestimating him ever again.

Named for the Australian slang term for going crazy, Gone Troppo was released in November of 1982. To rediscover it 35 years later with fresh ears is a delightful surprise. While by no means gold star George, Troppo nevertheless was a fun, frivolous swim through the waters of new wave as Harrison exhibits a sense of playfulness not present on a GH record in years and hiding beneath the cheese pop synths exist some of his strongest songwriting of the Dark Horse era. Listen close to songs like “Mystical One” and “Unknown Delight” and you might even discover the secret ingredient to Wilco’s Summerteeth.
George Harrison’s short tour of Japan in December of 1991 with old friend Eric Clapton and his band. Delivered to stores in July of ’92, this double live chronicle of the trek—even in its 25th anniversary year—remains arguably the best concert album by a solo Beatle on the market.
Taking comfort in the crack professionalism of Clapton’s band, which included the likes of current Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell, bassist Nathan East and guitarist Andy Fairweather Low among others, Harrison delivers a Greatest Hits set for the ages offering a well hued balance of choice solo material and his most beloved contributions to The Beatles, where “Something” segues into “What Is Life” and “Cloud 9” parts the sky for “Here Comes the Sun.”
This is also the only official George Harrison release to include a version of his best song from the late ’80s, “Cheer Down,” originally featured on the soundtrack to Lethal Weapon 2. 


The Vinyl Collection box set is released today!

All twelve of George’s studio albums on 180-gram heavyweight vinyl, newly re-mastered from original analogue tapes collected together in one deluxe set for the first time.

Order your copy ...  H E R E .   

Thursday, 23 February 2017


Acclaimed as the world’s most popular microphone, the Shure SM58® Cardioid Dynamic Microphone has been used faithfully by the world’s most influential musicians since 1966. To celebrate and honor the strong connection of the SM58 to legendary musical artists, Shure has partnered with both Paul McCartney and The Who to make available at auction a one-time production of 600 serialized graphic painted SM58s. All of the proceeds generated from the campaign will go directly toward foundations for which both artists are deeply vested, including Paul McCartney’s Meat Free Monday and The Who’s Teen Cancer America. The serialized microphones will come with graphics specific to each artist. The Paul McCartney Special Edition 50th Anniversary SM58 will feature cover art from the album Kisses on the Bottom, photographed by Mary McCartney, and The Who Special Edition will feature original artwork from graphic designer Richard Evans, who has been designing The Who’s album covers and promotional visuals since 1976.

Each artist will have 300 SM58 microphones produced for the auction, with serial numbers 11-300 listed for sale at a fixed price.  Additionally, Shure will be auctioning off serial numbers 1-10, which feature hand-signed autographs on the microphone handles. The limited edition microphones will be available at auction through eBay for Charity, with 100% of proceeds going directly to each artist’s chosen charity. The SM58 50th Anniversary Artist Edition serves as a commemorative purchase and donation, honoring the decades of world-renowned music these artists have produced and their history of charitable activities.
“Paul McCartney and The Who have created some of the most influential music in our lifetimes, and given their impact on the world, we thought it only appropriate to team up with them to create a special 50th Anniversary edition of the SM58 microphone, which has been used to share their voices with fans of all ages for decades,” said Mark Brunner, vice president of corporate and government relations at Shure Incorporated. “We also knew that Paul, Roger, and Pete are extremely active in charitable giving, having been major benefactors to, and creators of, charities for quite some time. As such, we’re particularly proud to support the musicians’ charities of choice by donating 100 percent of the proceeds to each.”
Meat Free Monday was launched by Paul, Mary, and Stella McCartney in 2009 with the aim of raising awareness of the damaging environmental impact of livestock production. The campaign encourages people to help slow climate change, preserve precious natural resources and improve their health by having at least one meat free day each week. Teen Cancer America was founded in 2012 by Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, who have been working charitably for teens with cancer in the UK for over 20 years. The goal of the foundation is to help hospitals and healthcare professionals bridge the gap between pediatric and adult oncology care as well as educate and support hospitals and outpatient facilities in the development of specialized units for teens.
“The Shure SM58 has carried my voice to millions around the world over many years, and it still carries millions of voices to audiences every day,” said Paul McCartney. “I am pleased to join with Shure in offering this special edition 50th Anniversary SM58 in support of a charity that is close to the heart of my family – here’s to many more years for both of us!”
“As we take a moment to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the SM58, it’s important to look back on all that we have accomplished as well as the important work that lies ahead – made possible by the power of music and of giving,” said Roger Daltrey.  “Shure and the SM58 have played a big part in my career, and we have joined forces on many charitable activities in support of teen cancer treatment thus far.  It feels natural that we are working together on this auction in commemoration of this important milestone.”



On February 25, 1967, promotional films for the Beatles’ “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” debuted on ABC’s Hollywood Palace. Fans had never seen films like these before, and they hadn’t seen the Beatles look or sound like they did now—in full psychedelic splendor. Whether or not they liked the new look and sound, fans appreciated that the Beatles were “constantly changing,” which “kept them interesting.” A male Beatleness interviewee, born in ’53 recalled, “I was intrigued. I knew I was looking at a piece of art.”
One of the most striking things about these films was that the Beatles had grown facial hair, which many fans, especially younger ones, did not like. One female fan, age eight at the time, felt “they weren’t lovable anymore.” Another female fan, age nine at the time, recalled: “The mood was different. Who were these Beatles? What happened to my brothers? I think I went through a brief mourning.”
Several female fans, young teens at the time, described their look as “unattractive.” A female fan born in ’46, saw the band’s new look as “a statement that they were sympathetic to the movement and hippie culture.” Like the younger fans, she saw it as “a move away from their original cuteness,” but she wasn’t upset by it. To the contrary, politically involved young people now saw the Beatles as powerful, supportive allies.
It would be four months before the Beatles’ drug use was widely known, but several fans “knew those songs were druggy.” Preteens were more likely to express “disappointment” about the band’s possible drug use, feeling that it was “wrong.” Older fans were less judgmental, though many said that at the time they found drugs personally “scary.” 

Young fans had strong reactions to these short films, especially “Strawberry Fields Forever.” A male fan born in ’61 remembers, “I liked both songs, but I ran out of the room terrified from ‘Strawberry Fields Forever.’ The whole thing was dissonant and strange and it scared me. It gave me the creeps; the loopy sound, the drums getting louder, it was cacophonous.”
Those who heard “Strawberry Fields Forever” on the radio, without the film’s “nothing is real” imagery, also found it disturbing: “I was scared when I heard “Strawberry Fields Forever” on the car radio. My mom had to explain to me why I didn’t need to be scared of it,” recalled a male fan born in ’58.
Another male fan, three years older, remembered, “I was sick for a week that February and I heard ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ a lot on the radio. I got a weird feeling when it came on.” Another male fan, age nine at the time, also remembers it vividly: “I thought ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ sounded like a funeral song, especially the opening keyboard chords. Then it just got spookier as it went along. I couldn’t listen to it and not get the creeps.”
Though the song is familiar to us now, it’s easy to imagine how “Strawberry Fields Forever” could have scared a sensitive child or baffled a preteen—Lennon’s vocal and the use of innovative production techniques create an otherworldly quality; the layered instrumentation, including a ghostly mellotron, created an intense aural landscape. It was hard to pin down what this peculiar song was about, though many sensed it was trying to tell them something important.
Like other recent Beatle offerings, “Strawberry Fields Forever” asked fans to reconsider their relationship with reality. The song expressed an odd mix of insecurity, motivation, and resignation, along with self-awareness and utter confusion. Despite a hopeful undercurrent, it seemed sad. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t fun. And you certainly couldn’t dance to it.
For some young fans, scarier than the song itself was the prospect of getting to know these new Beatles. Fans remember DJs commenting on the song too. A male fan, age eighteen at the time, remembers Dan Ingram at New York City’s WABC saying, “That’s not a song, that’s an experience.” Another male fan, born in ’51 recalled, “The DJ on our local Cleveland station said, ‘That’s the worst piece of garbage I ever heard.’”
Teenagers were more open to these new songs and understood that some thought and repeated listening were required. Some young fans understood that too and were ready for the challenge: “I embraced it as it came, it was surreal and ethereal. Some of my friends dropped out of the Beatle experience. They preferred the happy things like ‘She Loves You’ but I was ready to continue the journey,” said a female fan born in ’56. A male fan born in ’49 remembers finding “Strawberry Fields Forever” “complex and a little hard to get a handle on.”
Fans who missed the videos on Hollywood Palace had another opportunity a few weeks later when the videos aired on ABC’s American Bandstand in March. When host Dick Clark asked teenagers what they thought of the films, most commented on the Beatles’ facial hair, saying things like “It ruins their image” and “They look like somebody’s grandfather.”
A week after the Bandstand broadcast, “Penny Lane” was number one; “Strawberry Fields Forever” peaked at number eight in April. These two songs, each memorializing the author’s Liverpool childhood, provide one of the purest examples of John and Paul’s essential difference.
By this point, fans felt like they were indeed on a journey with the Beatles—an adventure, a trip. They wanted to “continue the journey” or “go along for the ride” because they were challenged and enriched by the new sounds, images, and ideas the band was presenting; they wanted to stay tuned. It was doing something to them, and whatever it was, they liked it. 



The Beatles first film A Hard Day’s Night is today considered a classic. Drawn from their real-life experiences, this fictionalized peek into their world feels real, as if we were getting an intimate glimpse into the personalities within the group, and the interaction between each other and with the outside world.
Of course, it was no accident that A Hard Day’s Night was an artistic success. Although the Beatles and their music were obviously major factors for that accomplishment, the crew and cast members deserve much deserved praise for elevating the film from the exploitation quickie that would have been fine for the powers behind United Artists: They wanted the film to be released quickly before the Beatles “fad” had faded, so the studio could benefit from both the film’s box office receipts and the music rights for the songs in the film.

The talents best known for their contributions include director Richard Lester, screenwriter Alun Owen, musical score director (and Beatles producer) George Martin, and actor Victor Spinetti. There are other participants who not only also contributed their talents to the film, but other projects they handled in their career make for some very interesting – and sometimes unlikely – links to the Beatles’ first film.
One of those individuals was Jimmy Page. Before gaining worldwide fame as the guitarist, writer, and producer for Led Zeppelin, Page was a popular session player throughout the 1960s, contributing to hits by rock icons including the Who, Donovan, the Kinks, and Joe Cocker, to name a very few. Jimmy Page never contributed to any songs recorded by the Beatles: The only other players on Beatles’ sessions were generally those who either played instruments that were beyond their own talents (e.g. the piccolo trumpet on “Penny Lane”), producer George Martin, or “special guests” (Eric Clapton, Billy Preston).
But Page did participate on one major Beatles-related session right after the explosion that was Beatlemania. Per an article by Tony Barrell, Jimmy Page would usually show up for a session without any knowledge of what he would be doing or the identity of the client. In early 1964, he arrived at EMI studios to find this particular job was being led by Beatles producer George Martin, and upon checking out the music he immediately realized that the project was the score for A Hard Day’s Night.
In Barrell’s article, Page revealed he ended up performing background guitar on one of the key pieces written (but not performed) by the Beatles themselves: “Ringo’s Theme,” the instrumental rendition of “That Boy” that accompanies the scene where Ringo is in “disguise” in various vignettes as he travelled along a river, snapping photos while accompanied by a young “deserter.”
Jimmy Page can also be heard prominently (if fleetingly) earlier in the film, in the scene that takes place in the train compartment: Ringo turns on a transistor radio and, as the Beatles start rocking out to the raucous music, it is swiftly turned off by the stodgy businessman who had just joined them (and who was portrayed by veteran British actor Richard Vernon, whose numerous credits include Goldfinger and The Duchess of Duke Street).
Studio Daily posted a comprehensive look at the restoration of A Hard Day’s Night for the 2014 Blu-ray/DVD release, including details about the incidental music used in the film. In that article, drummer Clem Cattini recalls that Page (and “Big Jim” Sullivan”) performed on this track.
The Studio Daily article contains many other interesting details about music used in the film, including the existence of an alternate piano piece to accompany Paul McCartney’s playing in a hotel room. But the fact that the future mastermind behind Led Zeppelin participated in one of the biggest rock movies ever made is a surprising revelation that may delight fans of both Jimmy Page and the Beatles. 



Nike's black-and-white 1987 Air Revolution TV ad is full of iconic sports imagery, yet it had one huge difference from all its predecessors: the Beatles' 1968 song "Revolution" blasted as the soundtrack.

Before Nike's commercial, any classic pop tune that appeared in an ad video was a cover, a facsimile, like Sunkist's re-working of "Good Vibrations' by the Beach Boys. Sure, Lou Reed appeared in a 1984 ad for Honda's Elite scooters, "Walk on the Wide Side" creeping in the background. Although the spot ends with Reed sitting on a scooter, taking off his shades, and saying, "Hey, don't settle for walkin,'" none of Reed's actual vocals from the track are included.

Nike used the real thing: John, Paul, George and Ringo. Soon after the ad hit the airwaves in mid-March, the band's record label, Apple Records, sued for $15 million, their lawyer claiming that the band hadn't given their "authorization or permission." George Harrison said the spot opened the door for the band's songs to be used to advertise everything from "women's underwear" to "sausages." Yet Yoko Ono – who held shares in the Beatles' record company – had helped broker the original deal. She thought the spot might introduce a new generation to her late husband's music. Nike stopped running the ads early in 1988, and the case settled out-of-court the next year on terms that have been kept secret since.

But the ad didn't recede into video history. If you watch any spot now, you can feel the influence of the Air Revolution video.
The video's directors, Paula Greif and Peter Kagan, originally met through legendary photographer Arthur Elgort; Kagan was his assistant. Kagan says Greif "was smart and funny and had fantastic taste and ... she liked my film." He needed validation because he "was doing weird stuff. This was the era when doctors and lawyers were pulling old Super 8 cameras out of their closets and trading them for VHS video cameras. The discount bins at the camera stores had piles of fantastic S8 film cameras for very little money."

Greif sent them the Barneys spot, and they loved it: "They wanted us to shoot a Super 8 sports commercial." They got to work on the Air Revolution ad. Kagan imagined the "idea was to create a feeling and not tell a story." His "$50 Nikon Super-8 camera made a shit-ton of noise, particularly when I over-cranked – that's when you shoot more film faster, to get a slow-motion result." McEnroe was not pleased. They filmed him during an exhibition match, but the tennis star "definitely wanted to win." Whenever McEnroe wound up for a serve Kagan's "little camera would just wail." He says the tennis star "had no sense of humor about my camera. But, I needed the shots and kept going until someone told me to stop. He fucking hated me."

Laura Israel, who had edited their music videos, also worked on the Nike spot. Kagan says that Israel "was conflicted about even dubbing the "Revolution" track onto a 3/4" videotape to use as scratch for our "director's cut.' We had been told that the agency was going to re-record 'Revolution' with the Georgia Satellites, and what we were doing would serve as a temp track for our rough cut."

They were all in for a surprise, according to Kagan: "A few weeks later Paula and I were in L.A. shooting a Dur
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