Most of the material that appears on this album was written by George Harrison whilst The Beatles were still together, but was recorded after their demise, at a time where George found himself uniquely placed to express himself to the utmost, and boy did he do it brilliantly.
With the production skills of the legendary Phil Spector and the likes of Eric Clapton (and even a very young Phil Collins) on hand to lend expert assistance, this album could have ranked alongside the multitude of other worthy albums of the time... however, what set this particular album apart from the rest is the sheer quantity and variety of tracks that George had accumulated over the years, and unleashed in one epic volume which rivals even the best Beatles albums.
This remastered and extended anniversary edition of the album is a much needed and welcome update of a bona fide classic release and is far better than the previous incarnation on CD. The extra tracks are not particularly 'essential', especially the new version of 'My Sweet Lord', which was probably better left alone, and like the original, the 'jam session' tracks are still very much extraneous and pretty pointless. This would count against the album if it wasn't for the fact that the album stands as a monumental achievement without them, and contains multiple tracks that are infinitely listenable. Ranging from the raging rock of the 'Derek and the Dominoes-esque' "Wah-Wah" to the plaintive "Let It Roll" and the amazing "Beware of Darkness", it is hard to fault throughout.
I strongly recommend to anyone whose opinion of George Harrison's solo recordings is based entirely upon 'My Sweet Lord' or even the 'Cloud Nine' album to have a listen to this album and be prepared to be impressed. Harrison's talent as a songwriter became evident in the latter days of the Beatles era, but even then he was overshadowed (and squandered) by Lennon and MacCartney... this album is testimony to and proof of the fact that, in his own right, George Harrison was truly one of the greats in rock history.
on 14 February 2007
Almost 40 years after its release, All Things Must Pass remains an excellent, uplifting album of great music. There's really nothing else to say.
However, it's worth adding that this edition is worth buying even if you have the original CD issue, which didn't have any bonus tracks. The sound on the new CDs is much cleaner, but George says in the liner notes that he resisted the temptation to remix the songs. Whatever has been done, the album sounds better than ever.
The new package is good, too, although in the CD age you don't get the large poster which adorned so many student rooms in the seventies.
There are five bonus tracks, of which the pick are 'I Live for You', which could have fitted on the album, and the remake of 'My Sweet Lord', featuring Sam Brown. I like it better than the studio original, although for me the best version of the song is on the Concert for Bangladesh.
In 1970, after the break-up of the Beatles, George Harrison released an unprecedented three album collection. This contains all the songs that were not used by the Beatles and represents not just Harrisons' own great songwriting skills but the collective talents of many others; such as Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Jim Gordon, Klaus Voorman, Billy Preston, Dave Mason, Badfinger and legendary producer Phil Spector who had a great time managing this project. This collection contains 23 original and unique, varied-styled songs along with five great bonus tracks. Standing out among these 'additional tracks' are the demo/instrumentals of "My Sweet Lord" and the great "What Is Life" (a song Harrison refers to as "novelty", but one that contains a magic mood that begs re-listening). The double CD set rounds off with five jam sessions with all the above mentioned artists. The entire repetoire carries forth a mood of tranquility, excitement, moodiness and a solemn atmosphere that transcends most Beatles songs. It is pure George Harrison and perhaps his best piece of work. Not being a 'jewel box' this package may collapse after a few years, as it is boxed exactly like the original three albums were...only smaller. God bless George and Phil for lasting this long to remind us what great music is all about.
on 23 January 2001
Poor old George Harrison, often cruelly overlooked in the inevitable millenium polls of songwriters and songs of the century. Well, everyone should sit up and pay attention now, because All Things Must Pass is not just the best Beatle solo album. Track for track, it arguably surpasses any Beatle album as well, and features some of Harrison's finest moments, including My Sweet Lord, Isn't It A Pity (later covered by Galaxie 500) plus a great version of Bob Dylan's If Not For You. Predominantly pastoral in tone, in keeping with the garden gnome cover, George and his army of guest musicians (the studio personnel includes members of Badfinger, as well as Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton) also get to freak out on the mighty Wah-Wah and on the Original Jam tracks, which made up the third disc of the original three-vinyl album. Although it has available on CD before, the album is now the subject of a well-deserved, high-profile re-release, including new liner notes by Harrison and embellished artwork based on the original sleeve design. It's ironic that some of the material here was written around the time of the ill-fated Get Back sessions and rejected in favour of Lennon-McCartney songs. Just as well, because now, thirty years on, we've got this remarkable collection of songs all in one little box. All Things Must Pass is absolutely essential for any casual Beatle fan who has taken a shine to the sublime contributions that he made in their twilight years (The Inner Light, Something, Here Comes The Sun... you get the picture). As for those of us who had it on vinyl for years, well... we knew that it was a masterpiece all along, didn't we?
When I bought the 2DVD set of 2002's "Concert For George" – the nearest a mere mortal like me was going to get to that stunning celebration of George Harrison's life and music/film legacy – I bawled my eyes out like a big girl's blouse. I can remember the whole sensory experience of music, emotion and video 'getting to me' on a level I found both profound and ultimately uplifting. I'd simply forgotten how good his songwriting was and I (like others) needed some reminding. Re-visiting his mammoth 3LP debut solo work "All Things Must Pass" on this definitive 2CD Apple Remaster has been the same. Wonder and awe...all over again. Here are the Apple Scruffs...
UK and USA released 22 September 2014 – "All Things Must Pass" by GEORGE HARRISON on Apple/George Harrison Estate 0602537914005 (Barcode is the same) is a 3LP Set onto 2CDs with Bonus Tracks and plays out as follows:
Disc 1 (59:37 minutes):
1. I'd Have You Anytime
2. My Sweet Lord
4. Isn't It A Pity (Version 1)
5. What Is Life [Side 2]
6. If Not For You
7. Behind That Locked Door
8. Let It Down
9. Run Of The Mill
Tracks 1 to 9 make up Side 1 & 2 of the 3LP Box Set "All Things Must Pass" – released 27 November 1970 in the USA (30 November 1970 in the UK) both on Apple STCH 639
10. I Live For You [1970 Outtake]
11. Beware Of The Darkness (27 May 1970 Demo Version, Outtake]
12. Let It Down [Early Version, Remixed in 2000]
13. What Is Life [Backing Track]
14. My Sweet Lord (2000)
Tracks 10 to 15 first appeared as Bonus Tracks on the January 2001 "All Things Must Pass" 2CD Reissue – sanctioned by George Harrison. His son Dhani Harrison and UK singer Sam Brown added vocals to the 2000 Version of "My Sweet Lord" along with percussion from Ray Cooper. Dhani’s keyboards and vocals also bolstered up the remixed outtake "I Live For You".
Disc 2 (65:38 minutes):
1. Beware Of Darkness [Side 3]
2. Apple Scruffs
3. Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)
4. Awaiting On You All
5. All Things Must Pass
6. I Dig Love [Side 4]
7. Art Of Dying
8. Isn't It A Pity (Version 2)
9. Hear Me Lord
10. It's Johnny’s Birthday
11. Plug Me In
12. I Remember Jeep
13. Thanks For The Pepperoni
14. Out Of The Blue
Tracks 1 to 14 are Sides 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the 3LP set "All Things Must Pass". NOTE: On original issues of the vinyl album the 11-minute "Out Of The Blue", the 50-second "It's Johnny's Birthday" and the 3:15 minutes of "Plug Me In" made up Side 5 - while "I Remember Jeep" (extended from 6:59 minutes to 8:05 on CD) and "Thanks For The Pepperoni" (5:26 minutes) made up Side 6. For both the January 2001 and September 2014 CD reissues – the tracks have been rejiggered as above. All songs on "All Things Must Pass" are Harrison originals except "I'd Have You Anytime" which is a co-write with Bob Dylan and "If Not For You" which is a Bob Dylan cover version.
Lead Vocals (All Tracks) – GEORGE HARRISON
Guitars - GEORGE HARRISON, DAVE MASON (of Traffic), ERIC CLAPTON (Derek & The Dominoes)
Pedal Steel Guitar - PETE DRAKE
Rhythm Guitars and Percussion – BADFINGER (featuring Pete Ham and Tom Evans)
Keyboards - BILLY PRESTON, BOBBY WHITLOCK (Derek & The Dominoes), GARY BROOKER (Procol Harum) and GARY WRIGHT (Spooky Tooth)
Saxophone and Trumpet – BOBBY KEYS and JIM PRICE
Bass – CARL RADLE (Derek & The Dominoes) and KLAUS VOORMAN
Drums – ALAN WHITE (Yes), JIM GORDON (Delaney & Bonnie, Derek & The Dominoes) and RINGO STARR (The Beatles)
Congas – PHIL COLLINS on "Art Of Dying" (uncredited)
Backing Vocals – GEORGE O'HARA-SMITH SINGERS
The first thing you notice about the latest 2014 version is that the 'colourised' artwork of the January 2001 Mini Box Set has gone (as has the box) – we're now back to the more sombre original black and white artwork. I can't say I think the 3-way foldout hard card cover is an improvement on the 'colour' box of 2001 (which I rather liked) – but at least we get the fold-out lyric poster reproduced (with the colour shot of a bearded Harrison on the other side) and the three different colour inner sleeves for each album now get spread over two CD inners and the inside artwork. Harrison's own liner notes for the 2001 version return (reappraising the album from a 30-year distance - highlighting the large number of musicians involved) – but you have to go the bottom of the poster to get the real 'new' info...the AUDIO.
PAUL HICKS, GAVIN LURSSEN and REUBEN COHEN are the team of three who have handled the new '2014 Remaster' – done at Lurssen Mastering in California. His in-house team have won 3 Grammies and I've raved about Lurssen's work before on more than one occasion – see reviews for "Barnstorm" by Joe Walsh on Hip-O Select, "Gold" by The Crusaders on Universal, Stephen Bishop's "Careless" and "Bish" both on Hip-O Select and Terry Callier's "Occasional Rain" on Universal 'Originals'. His modern-day mastering work includes top name artists like John Mellencamp, Tom Waits, Roseanna Cash and even actor Jeff Bridges. Just to take a like-to-like comparison – the gorgeous Pedal Steel guitar work of Pete Drake on the 2014 Remaster of "Behind That Locked Door" is so much clearer and that rhythm section positively brimming with bass warmth and gentle snare shuffles. And when Phil Spector's typically OTT Production threatens to swamp everything on "Let It Down" with a Wall of Noise – they've somehow managed to make the overall soundstage clearer yet still keep it properly muscular. And the truly wonderful Version 1 of "Isn't It A Pity" sounds just glorious, as do the huge acoustic guitars and piano on "Run Of The Mill". After the 'all things louder than everything else' remaster of 2001 – this new 2014 version is a welcome controlled tone down - absolutely gorgeous stuff.
If I'm truthful I've never really thought much of the Dylan collaboration song "I'd Have You Anytime" which always felt to me like a poor man's version of the genuinely lovely "If Not For You". But what you can't fault is the audio wallop of both it and "My Sweet Lord" – the only solo Beatles single to hit the Number 1 spot on the UK charts twice – the original Apple 7" on R 5884 in January 1971 and on reissue in January 2002 after his awful and tragic passing in late November 2001. The huge electric guitars and layered vocals of the manic "Wah-Wah" attack your speakers like its "Helter Skelter Part 2" – while the already mentioned "Isn't It A Pity" is surely his greatest solo song (check out the Eric Clapton and Billy Preston live version in HD on YouTube).
The Bonus Tracks (tagged on once again at the end of Disc 1) are shockingly good and I'd argue better than some of the indulgent fluff on the original release. Dhani Harrison's subtle but beautiful vocal and keyboard contributions to "I Live For You" make the outtake sound like a lost gem and will thrill fans. The "Beware Of Darkness" demo is an acoustic ditty and strips the finished track of its bombast. Having been used to the doomy studio swagger of the final version for so long – this wonderfully barebones "Beware Of Darkness" is unplugged - stark - his Liverpool nasal/vocal phrasing filling the speakers as the strings rattle. And that jab at Klein's Abkco – what a hoot. But best of all is "...this is called "Let It Down"..." – a truly beautiful early version of the second last song on Side 2. Frankly this is way better than the finished version for me – the feel and melody is fabulous – containing a prettiness that got strangled on the LP version. The 'Backing Track' of "What Is Life" is a busy Spector affair chugging along as the guitars and brass jab. The sitar-introduced '2000' version of "My Sweet Lord" is a strange beast – liable to be viewed as lovely by some and a 'should have left it alone' travesty by others. I like it and Dhani Harrison, Sam Brown and Ray Cooper all add something to the mix this time around.
Disc 2 opens with a huge "Beware Of Darkness" – the guitars and strings swirling into one collective sound. "...Beware of mire..." Harrison sings and you know he means every word of it. The washboard shuffle of "Apple Scruffs" has that harmonica warbling with renewed clarity and the "...perpetual mirth..." of the strange-odd "Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp..." has those acoustic guitars peeping up above the piano and pedal steel. Once again Spector smothered "Awaiting On You All" with so many instruments and voices that it's hard to work out where the song is at times. But then we're hit with his melancholic masterpiece title track "All Things Must Pass" – a song so lovely in melody that surely it would have had a shot a second No. 1 (the USA issued "What is Life" b/w "Apple Scruffs" on Apple 1828 in February 1971 and that achieved a No. 10 placing). It's still got that slightly excessive hiss present as it opens – but the warmth of the song takes over and the remaster is genuinely subtle with the instrumentation (so touching). That drum roll opening on "I Dig Love" has real clout now, as does the keyboard funk that anchors the song throughout. The guitars crash in on "Art Of Dying" (sounds like Clapton) as it races along with that Rubber Soul vocal Spector gives Harrison's lead. The double-LP proper ends on a real musical high – "Hear Me Lord". Sounding at times almost like the Faces circa "Long Player" - big guitars vie with big vocals and even bigger ideas – his personal struggle with faith filling the song with sincerity as that huge organ note lingers in the background while someone fills the whole six minutes with sweetly soulful piano fills. The remaster is a lot less bombastic than the really loud 2001 version too...and very much the better for it.
The placing of the "Johnny's Birthday" ramshackle 50-second snippet first (Phil Coulter's "Congratulations" sung under another guise) in the "Apple Jam" LP portion makes more than sense – it works. We then get four guitar battles – all instrumentals. First up is "Plug Me In" which has the feel of a Derek & The Dominoes "Layla" outtake – all soloing and no vocals – searching for a riff and not quite finding it. The 8:08 minutes of "I Remember Jeep" was fun at the time and that soulful piano interlude towards the end still makes it a cool listen. The Johnny B. Goode grunge boogie of "Thanks For The Pepperoni" is yet another guitar strut that feels like you're eavesdropping on a particularly rocky Blind Faith session. But my poison in the bunch has always been the 11:14 minutes of "Out Of The Blue" (Bobby Keys on Sax) that feels like the Faces with too many beers and one too many amps in the studio. I’m always reminded of The Rolling Stones guitar juggernaut "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" from 1971's "Sticky Fingers". I suspect like so many fans – I haven't played this stoner jam for decades...and I'd actually forgotten just how good it is...
George Harrison would return with the more tempered "Living In A Material World" single LP in 1973 and score another No. 1 with "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)" – but many remember him for ATMP. Post Beatles - he splurged - the public loved it then and have held it in affection ever since. And on re-hearing this wonderful remaster of "All Things Must Pass" – is it any wonder.
The quiet and contemplative Beatle passed too damn quickly (aged only 58 in 2001) – I can still feel the shock and hurt of it. Re-listening to this sprawling solo 'White Album' of 1970 has only made me want to re-visit the rest of his recorded legacy – and that's got to be the best Remaster compliment of them all...
on 1 September 2007
George Harrison's 'All things must pass' is the archetypal curate's egg....some excellent, some not so good, and the rest somewhere in between.
Self-consciously released as a barnstorming triple album back in 1970, 'All things must pass' proves the point that Harrison had a huge backlog of songs to get off his chest after the Beatles split, but it does so at the expense of consistency of the material.
At its best, there are some charming, beautifully-crafted, melodic songs on this album. 'I'd have you any time', 'What is life', 'If not for you' and 'Run of the mill' brim with lovely melodies, surprising little musical twists and turns and thoughtful lyrics.....and, of course 'My sweet Lord' is a towering classic and the most lauded song from Harrison's post-Beatles output.
On the down-side, some of Phil Spector's production flourishes are heavy-handed, especially hampering the out-and-out rock songs and really date the overall sound.
In addition, not all the regulation songs on this album are from the top-drawer - even Harrison's 'greatest' album contains its fair share of filler - and the live blues jams, making up the last 30 minutes of this album, are a complete waste of time and should have stayed in the private collection.
Overall, I wouldn't be too swayed by the people that come on here, praising this album to the skies. Although it was a confident artistic statement from Harrison after the demise of the Beatles and contains some excellent material, in all honesty, 'All things must pass' is a bit of a mixed bag and the overall sound is fairly dated. It's a sort of worthy, but slightly rambling, period-piece...
...I can see how it wowed the critics and ruled the stereogrammes back in 1970, but how much it has to offer today's fan of pop music is a bit debatable.
on 23 December 2000
After the turmoil of the break up of the Beatles (most audible in Let It Be) comes the peaceful happiness of ATMP, in my opinion the finest solo Beatles album. There is a sigh of resignation & also a feeling of relief and release audible on this album, that it is now George by himself and what you get is what you hear.
From the subdued I'd Have You Anytime with its smooth slide guitar the album contains some lush production from Phil Spector (proof that he could have become an apt producer for the Beatles under the right circumstances). After the commercial My Sweet Lord comes George's very own Hey Jude, Isn't It A Pity. Surely about the break-up of his previous group the strings almost become an audible picture of the tears that must have been shed in those harrowing days.
The album is all light and shade; after Isn't It A pity comes the crashing Wah Wah. There are the heavier moments like Let It Roll & Awaiting On You All (the latter containing some very clever lyrics) but these are always followed by the gentler George moments such as the gorgeous Behind That Locked Door and Beware Of Darkness. George's vocal performances cannot go without mention. He sings beautifully and there are some very clever harmonies on tracks such as My Sweet Lord, Apple Scruffs and Hear Me Lord (this last track could be George's Let It Be).
All Things Must Pass shows George free from tensions and pressures. It's George being himself and at last sounding like himself. On ATMP he has almost found peace.
Play late at night with orange incense burning, sit back and enjoy those diminished chords, great harmonies and the lush spot-on production.
Play immediately after Let It Be and you will never regret the Beatles' break-up again.
Can't wait for the re-issue!
on 15 February 2001
I'd almost forgotten how good this album really is!
Having replaced all of my vinyl Beatles Albums with CD's (while carefully keeping all of the old 33's intact) and also buying the CD versions of "essential" solo material - "Plastic Ono Band", "Band On The Run", "Imagine" etc - I must confess I'd overlooked "All Things Must Pass"!
What a mistake!
The first 2 Albums of the orginal 3 record set were quite outstanding - and the re-mastered versions remain so!
Everyone knows "My Sweet Lord" but "Wah-Wah", "Isn't It A Pity" and my own particular favourite "Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp" all come across as fresh and original as ever!
In the case of the latter don't all true Beatle fans just love those semi-autobiographical tracks? . . who else could write a song about the architect of the house they live in?
It's easy to subscribe to the view that the true greatness of the Beatles was the chance in a million happening that put two true geniuses together at a Church Fete in Woolton Liverpool!
Listen to this album again and there's a strong case for suggesting that the genius count becomes three!
It is suggested that these tracks were stockpiled by George because he couldn't get space for them on the Beatles albums! This is partly supported, perhaps, by the fact he has never quite suppassed himself again with his solo collections - although "Cloud Nine" came close and "Living In The Material Word" was also a very good album!
The Jam tracks haven't quite stood the test of time but it was, nevertheless, facinating to read the liner notes that can now, finally after 30 years, give a complete list of all musicians appearing including, inevitably, Eric Clapton - with even the suggestion that a young Phil Collins was in attendance during the sessions!
The bonus Tracks are patchy although the slight change in the words of "Beware of Darkness" was interesting to say the least!
Finally the packaging and presentation of this boxed sat are excellent - I particularly like the re-working of the original cover pic on each of the inner sleeves and the booklet!
In two words: "BUY IT!"
on 26 January 2001
...probably. Maybe Plastic Ono Band might pip it to the post. No, actually it doesn't; All Things Must Pass IS the best solo album by any of the ex-Beatles.
This reissue has been remastered, not remixed, making the sound clearer although the songs do not suddenly sound noticeably different, as on the recent reissues of John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band and Imagine. Depending on your viewpoint, that is either a refreshing change or a bit of a disappointment. I was very impressed with the remixes of the aforementioned Imagine and POB CDs but, then again, ATMP has been reissued exactly as George originally wanted us to hear it, and obviously how he still wants us to hear it.
The songs are brilliant, from My Sweet Lord to Beware Of Darkness to All Things Must Pass. The Dylan cover sounds like a George song, in that it fits in perfectly with the rest of the album. There are so many good songs that all I need say really is that the only part of the album you probably won't listen to over and over forever more is the Apple Jam at the end.
The bonus tracks on this reissue range from interesting (alternative backing track to What Is Life) to absolutely essential (previously unreleased I Live For You). Then there's My Sweet Lord (2000) which, whilst not an improvement on the original, is great listening if only to hear George's voice back on record. It also has a new slide guitar part which, whilst slightly disconcerting in its unfamiliarity, is beautiful in its own right. Oh, and then there's Sam Brown's fantastic vocals to finish it off. A much appreciated gift to the fans from George, and it's with that in mind that I think it should be listened to.
All in all, a can't-go-wrong purchase. Not just for Beatles fans like me, either, An essential album full of great songwriting and great playing for any true music fan.
on 10 July 2009
Others have already said what a superb album this is - and it is - one of the greats easily. But I think it's worth pointing out that the manner in which the songs are put in on the various CDs to me, ruin the package. I can understand putting the extra songs all at the end, or on a separate CD, but not being able to listen to the album as originally released is highly annoying.