Updated: Nov 30, 2022
There is no doubt that the Beatles are one of the most influential rock bands in music history. Their music still holds up today and continue to stand the test of time. But everything comes to an end, and the Beatles were no exception.
Now the depending on who you ask the Beatles broke up on September 1969 with John Lennon privately informing his band mates that he was leaving the band, or on 10 April 1970, when Paul McCartney announced he was leaving the group.
When the Beatles disbanded all four members embarked on solo careers. For whatever reason most of the attention was focused on Paul McCartney and John Lennon.
Now there has been this ongoing debate as to who had the best solo career. Personally, I have all enjoyed the solo careers of all the former Beatles but I have always gravitated towards McCartney/Macca’s work.
Now with Macca releasing a new studio album this year, I went back to my music collection. With no disrespect to any of the former members of the Beatles, I really believe that George Harrison’s solo career has been criminally overlooked.
Let’s start with Harrison’s 1970 triple album All Things Must Pass. The record was released on November 27, 1970 and was produced by George Harrison and Phil Spector. The album was made up of his backlog of unused compositions from the late Beatles era.
Without a doubt, All Things Must Pass is simply a masterpiece that can go toe to toe with anything that fans believe are the quintessential recordings of both John Lennon and Paul McCartney. All Things Must Pass managed the rare feat of conveying Harrison’s spiritual mysticism without sacrificing his gifts for melody and grand, sweeping arrangements.
Kudos to co-producer Phil Spector who did a brilliant in capturing all of that so they whole world could hear this epic recording. Songs like I'd Have You Anytime, My Sweet Lord, What Is Life, All Things Must Pass, Isn't It a Pity, Awaiting on You and Beware of Darkness, are simply breathtaking recordings that hold their own against anything that Lennon ,Starr and McCartney have put out.
Next up is The Concert for Bangladesh (or Bangla Desh, as the country name was originally spelt),which is a live triple album by George Harrison and celebrity friends. The triple record garnered two shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The concerts were organised to raise international awareness and fund relief efforts for refugees from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), following the Bangladesh Liberation War-related genocide.
The benefit featured some of music’s most popular and or influential artists like fellow ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Leon Russell and the band Badfinger.
The Concert for Bangladesh was just an amazing show that clearly showcases how the power of music can bring people together.
If that wasn’t enough George Harrison managed to do he impossible, create a latter-day masterpiece with his 1987 record Cloud 9. The record was released on the 2nd of November 1987 with Jeff Lynne George Harrison behind the boards.
Cloud 9 proved to be a record that made Harrison a critically acclaimed and commercially significant recording artist. The album went on to unleash the #1 Rudy Clark's cover song Got My Mind Set on You, and propelled the Cloud 9 record to platinum status (1 million units).
Cloud 9 did a fine job of taking Harrison's part of “Bealtedom” and making it sound fresh and new.
Regardless of how the media has focused on Lennon and McCartney’s solo records, there is no doubt of Harrison’s talent and ability.
So before you go and listen to a Lennon and McCartney record , do yourself a favor and go give All Things Must Pass and Cloud 9 another try.