Two days in a row, I’m listening to albums that were in my house from an early age. However, in this case, I’m pretty sure my parents purchased a TRIPLE album for one song. That’s right, today we are listening to George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass”, his first major solo project released after the Beatles disbanded. Highly regarded, this album is rated #368 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Subconsciously, and perhaps somewhat ignorantly, I think I went through way too much of my life thinking “My Sweet Lord” was all there was to this album. After all, it really is a great song, blending a great melody with thoughtful and personal lyrics from George. It is the second song on side one (of six), and is the landmark single from this album. Not until much more recently, and once again recognized with this complete listen, that the entire album is really strong and showcases how much talent George had as a songwriter, much more so than was previously realized in the Beatles. Several other notable tracks like “Isn’t It A Pity”, which in my opinion is just as good a song as “Something” was for the Beatles, “What Is Life”, “Let It Down”, and “If Not For You” are all long-term keepers on the playlist. As an unexpected surprise, the entire first four sides are just one easy and pleasant listen, with much of George’s signature guitar sound. The last two sides are mostly instrumental jams, reminiscent of the days when the Beatles were a hyped cover band playing Chuck Berry and Little Richard songs all night.
Not surprisingly, many of George’s talented peers, including Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Peter Frampton, and Ginger Baker all find their way on to this album. It makes me happy as one who roots for the underdog, to understand more fully what an accomplishment this was for George Harrison, even as he was releasing music concurrent with Paul & John. I haven’t yet listened to John’s album that was also released in late 1970, but this is far better than “McCartney”, released earlier in the year. It isn’t even close.