Cloud Nine (George Harrison album)
|Studio album by George Harrison|
|Released||2 November 1987 (UK)
3 November 1987 (US)
|Recorded||5 January–late March 1987
|Producer||Jeff Lynne, George Harrison|
|George Harrison chronology|
|Singles from Cloud Nine|
Cloud Nine is the eleventh studio solo album by English musician George Harrison, the former guitarist for the Beatles. The album was recorded and released in 1987 after Harrison had taken a five-year hiatus from his career as a solo artist. The hit single "Got My Mind Set on You" from this album re-established Harrison as a critically acclaimed and commercially significant recording artist. Cloud Nine was the last studio solo album released during Harrison's lifetime.
Background and recording
Frustrated with the changing musical climate, George Harrison suspended his recording career in the early 1980s. Instead of recording, he opted to pursue other interests, including film production with his own company, Handmade Films. The odd soundtrack or charity song would surface during this period, but otherwise, it was a musically silent period for Harrison.
By late 1986, after a substantial break, Harrison felt the desire to make music again. He asked former Electric Light Orchestra leader and fellow musician Jeff Lynne to co-produce a new album with him. After writing a round of new compositions (including the songs already contributed to the 1986 film Shanghai Surprise), Harrison entered his home studio Friar Park in Henley-on-Thames on 5 January 1987 to begin recording his first new commercial album in five years.
Besides Harrison and Lynne, other artists involved in the recording sessions included Jim Keltner and Ringo Starr on drums, Eric Clapton on guitar and both Gary Wright and Elton John on piano (Elton John was recovering from his vocal surgery at the time). With new-found enthusiasm, Harrison actively promoted the album, even appearing with Starr at the Prince's Trust Concert that June to perform "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".
The cover features Harrison's first American-made guitar, a 1957 Gretsch 6128 that he purchased in Liverpool during 1961. Harrison called it his "old black Gretsch". Harrison gave the guitar to his longtime friend, Klaus Voormann who kept it for 20 years. The guitar had been left in Los Angeles and had been modified. Harrison asked for the return of the guitar, had it restored and used it for the cover shoot.
Release and aftermath
|Los Angeles Times|||
|The New York Times||(favourable)|
Harrison's cover of Rudy Clark's obscure song "Got My Mind Set on You" quickly reached number 1 in the United States and number 2 in the United Kingdom. It was a surprising hit for the former Beatle, who had not enjoyed a mainstream number 1 hit in nearly 15 years. A few weeks later, Cloud Nine was released to very high anticipation, and it was promptly lauded by many critics as Harrison's best work since All Things Must Pass. The album went to number 10 in the UK; it also achieved number 8 and platinum status in the US. The success of the single "Got My Mind Set on You" and its accompanying video re-introduced George Harrison to the mainstream.
The Beatles tribute song "When We Was Fab" proved a successful follow-up single, reaching the top 25 in both the UK and US. The next single, "This Is Love", was a minor hit in the UK.
While the success of Cloud Nine was not enough to spur Harrison into a tour, it inspired him to continue making music. In the spring of 1988, along with Lynne, he would call up friends Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison and begin recording a project ultimately released as the Traveling Wilburys.
In 2004, Cloud Nine was remastered and reissued both separately and as part of the deluxe box set The Dark Horse Years 1976-1992 on Dark Horse Records with new distribution by EMI. The reissue included the bonus tracks "Shanghai Surprise" and "Zig Zag" (the latter also released as the B-side to "When We Was Fab") from the film Shanghai Surprise.
The album has consistently been praised by rock critics. Reviewing the album in Rolling Stone, David Wild wrote that "If Cloud Nine were simply a decent record, it would still mark a major comeback for George Harrison, whose latter-day solo efforts have for the most part presented little more than a tired blend of spiritual, romantic and musical banalities. But the good news is that Cloud Nine – Harrison's first album since 1982's Gone Troppo – is considerably more than merely decent; it is in fact an expertly crafted, endlessly infectious record that constitutes Harrison's best album since 1970's inspired All Things Must Pass."
Reviewing for AllMusic, critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote of the album, "Harrison crafted a remarkably consistent and polished comeback effort with Cloud Nine", adding that it is "one of his very best albums".
All songs by George Harrison, except where noted.
- Side one
- "Cloud 9" – 3:15
- "That's What It Takes" (Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Gary Wright) – 3:59
- "Fish on the Sand" – 3:22
- "Just for Today" – 4:06
- "This Is Love" (Harrison, Lynne) – 3:48
- "When We Was Fab" – 3:57
- Side two
- "Devil's Radio" – 3:52
- "Someplace Else" – 3:51
- "Wreck of the Hesperus" – 3:31
- "Breath Away from Heaven" – 3:36
- "Got My Mind Set on You" (Rudy Clark) – 3:52
- Bonus tracks
- "Shanghai Surprise" – 5:09
- Duet with Vicki Brown
- "Zig Zag" (Harrison, Lynne) – 2:45
- iTunes Store bonus track
- "Got My Mind Set on You (Extended Version)" (Clark) – 5:17
The following personnel were credited in the liner notes.
- George Harrison – Lead vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, sitar, backing vocals
- Jeff Lynne – Acoustic, electric and bass guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
- Eric Clapton – electric guitar
- Elton John – piano
- Gary Wright – piano
- Ringo Starr – drums
- Jim Keltner – drums
- Ray Cooper – drums, percussion
- Jim Horn – baritone and tenor sax
- Bobby Kok – cello
- Vicki Brown – lead vocals (on "Shanghai Surprise")
Certifications and sales
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- "American album certifications – George Harrison – Cloud Nine". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH