Tuesday 19 October 2021


Some of the most significant moments heard on this remarkable new collection LET IT BE 50th Anniversary :

-The First Known Recording of "Something" as a Collaborative Work-in-Progress

Harrison took his time when crafting this future standard, which became his first — and only — A-side single for the Beatles in October 1969. He debuted the initial musical fragments for "Something" over a year earlier, during sessions for the White Album on Sept. 19, 1968. Though these tentative musical sketches weren't recorded, studio staff recall Harrison tinkering with the melody on a harpsichord in between takes for another of his compositions, "Piggies." At this early stage, he toyed with giving the song to singer Jackie Lomax, a friend from the Liverpool clubs who had recently been signed to the Beatles' record label, Apple. Harrison would produce Lomax's debut LP that fall, but he ultimately held onto "Something," which was still far from complete. He was helped along by another Apple signee, 19-year-old James Taylor, who had just recorded a track for his own debut album called "Something in the Way She Moves." Harrison, who played on the record, used the title as lyrical inspiration for his own work in progress. 
The song was still only partially complete when Harrison offered it up for consideration during the Get Back sessions on Jan. 28, 1969. Though never attempted as a formal take, this earliest known recording of "Something" is an intimate insight into the creation of a classic. In a touching display of camaraderie, the band rallies around Harrison as he struggles to fill the gaps in the lyrics. "What could it be, Paul?" he wonders while trying to finish the opening line. "Attracts me like a…?" Lennon suggests a stream of consciousness approach. "Just say whatever comes into your head each time...until you get the word." He demonstrates with the less-than-romantic "attracts me like a cauliflower." Harrison counters with "attracts me like a pomegranate," which mercifully doesn't make the final cut either. "I've been through this one for about six months!" he moans. "Just that line. I couldn't think of anything." They set it aside and move onto the bridge, which Harrison fills in with ad-libbed dummy lines ("What do you know, Mr. Show? I don't know, I don't know.") while his bandmates experiment with backing harmonies. 
With just three days left before the sessions were due to conclude, it was clear that "Something" required too much work to be completed by the deadline. The song was briefly tackled the following day before being permanently shelved for the remainder of the Get Back/Let It Be project. But according to Glyn Johns, Harrison continued to fine-tune the song during his off hours. "One evening when we were at Apple [Studios], George Harrison came to me and asked if I would mind staying behind after everyone else had gone home because he wanted to record something," Johns said. "We waited for everyone to leave, and he got an acoustic guitar. I put a vocal mic up and he sang 'Something.' My jaw was on the floor, I just thought it was extraordinary. He said, 'Well, what do you think?' He hadn't quite got the confidence about that song that he should have had. And I thought that was quite telling really."

By the time Harrison demoed the song a month later on Feb. 25 — his 26th birthday — the now-famous lines were more or less in place.  

-A Full Band Rendition of "All Things Must Pass"

"John and Paul saw themselves as the songwriting partnership for the Beatles," says Giles Martin. "[On the tapes] they talk about how they need to write songs and how they have to deliver and all that kind of stuff. But George, on the other hand, has grown as a songwriter. He's writing amazing work at that stage." In addition to the aforementioned "Something," Harrison presented future solo standouts like "All Things Must Pass," "Isn't It a Pity," "Hear Me Lord" and "Let It Down" for consideration. None made the final tracklist for Let It Be.

On the session tapes, Lennon can frequently be heard referring to Harrison as "Harrisongs," a playful (though no doubt painful) dig at his song publishing company. The implication was clear: Harrison's songs were all well and good, but they were very much his own thing. "John and Paul isolated him to a certain degree," says Martin. "I find it remarkable that you never get a Lennon-Harrison or a McCartney-Harrison song. Most other bands have that if they have more than one songwriter. But there isn't that in the Beatles."
"All Things Must Pass," which Harrison debuted the first day of sessions on Jan. 2. The Beatles attempted the tune 37 times the following day, and 11 more times on the 8th.

Destined to become the title track to Harrison's first post-Beatles solo statement, the song drew inspiration from "All Things Pass," a poem published in LSD guru Timothy Leary's 1966 book Psychedelic Prayers — itself a psychedelic reinterpretation of the Tao Te Ching. George admits as much on the session tapes from Jan. 3. "It's Timothy Leary, I suppose. That gave me the idea…Apart from life giving me the idea!" Having spent the past autumn in the Catskills with Bob Dylan and his musical brethren in the Band, Harrison drew on these memories when working out an arrangement for the new song. "The motion of it is very, you know, Band-y" he tells the others. To facilitate this request, Lennon adds washes from a Lowery organ, a favorite of the Band's keyboard player Garth Hudson (who, Harrison points out, McCartney closely resembles with his new beard). 
John, Paul and George work out a charming three-part blend for the choruses, with McCartney's high harmony providing a fascinating glimpse of what Harrison's solo favorite could have been as a full-fledged Beatles track. Rather than treat "All Things Must Pass" like a chore — as has often been claimed — the whole band appears happily engaged in the task of shaping Harrison's song. McCartney suggests an instrumental break, and Lennon offers a lyrical adjustment, tweaking "a wind can blow those clouds away" to "a mind can blow those clouds away" after misreading Harrison's lyric sheet. "Get a little bit of psychedelia in it, y'know," he jokes. 
The new line remained in place when Harrison recorded the song for his solo disc in late May 1970, weeks after news of the Beatles' split made headlines around the world.
-The Belated Debut of "Fancy Me Chances," an Early "Lennon-McCartney Original"


The back-to-basics mentality of the Get Back project provided the Beatles with a perfect opportunity to air out a lengthy list of their primitive tunes. In the original Let It Be film, McCartney can be heard name-checking long-forgotten titles like "Too Bad About Sorrows'' and "Just Fun." Bootleg session tapes reveal versions of "Because I Know You Love Me So," "Won't You Please Say Goodbye," "Thinking Of Linking," and "I'll Wait Till Tomorrow," most stretching back to Lennon and McCartney's time in their pre-Beatles band, the Quarrymen.
Rehearsals for "Two of Us" on Jan. 24 triggered a particularly acute burst of nostalgia as McCartney and Lennon worked out Everly Brothers harmonies over two acoustic guitars. It reminded them of their teenage writing sessions camped out in McCartney's father's living room, scrawling words and chord changes in a school exercise book. Each completed composition was topped off with the lofty heading: "Another Lennon-McCartney original." Now, years later, McCartney couldn't resist writing "Another Quarrymen Original" on the lyric sheet to "Two Of Us." Though McCartney had written the song about aimless drives with new girlfriend Linda Eastman, it may as well have been about his friendship with Lennon, and the choice of arrangement underscored the sentimentality of the song.

Clutching their acoustics, the pair frequently paused work on "Two of Us" to launch into impromptu versions of staples from their Quarrymen-era set: Everly Brothers covers and rootsy acoustic tunes that swept Britain during the late '50s skiffle craze. One of these was "Maggie Mae", a 19th century Liverpool folk song.
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