George Harrison (album)

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George Harrison
Studio album by George Harrison
Released 20 February 1979 (US)
23 February 1979 (UK)
Recorded March–November 1978
FPSHOT, Oxfordshire
Genre Rock
Length 39:58 (LP)
43:37 (CD)
Label Dark Horse
Producer George Harrison, Russ Titelman
George Harrison chronology
Thirty Three & 1/3
(1976)
George Harrison
(1979)
Somewhere in England
(1981)
Singles from George Harrison
  1. "Blow Away"
    Released: 14 February 1979
  2. "Love Comes to Everyone"
    Released: 20 April 1979
  3. "Faster"
    Released: 30 July 1979 (UK only)

George Harrison is the eighth studio album by English musician George Harrison, released in February 1979. It was written and recorded through much of 1978, a period of domestic contentment for Harrison, during which he married Olivia Trinidad Arias and became a father for the first time, to son Dhani. Harrison wrote several of the songs in Hawaii, while the track "Faster" reflected his year away from music-making, when he and Arias attended many of the races in the 1977 Formula 1 World Championship. The album also includes the hit single "Blow Away" and "Not Guilty", a song that Harrison originally recorded in 1968 for the Beatles' White Album.

Harrison co-produced his eponymous solo album with Russ Titelman, while the contributing musicians include Steve Winwood, Neil Larsen, Willie Weeks and Andy Newmark, with Eric Clapton and Gary Wright making guest appearances. The recording sessions took place at Harrison's FPSHOT studio in Oxfordshire.

Issued on Dark Horse Records, George Harrison was warmly received by music critics on release, and commentators regularly cite the album among the artist's best works after All Things Must Pass (1970). The album was remastered in 2004 as part of The Dark Horse Years 1976-1992 reissues.

History[edit]

With Harrison's penchant for leisure and travel following Thirty Three & 1/3's release, he had not started recording a follow-up until the spring of 1978, although he had been writing songs during his hiatus. Teaming up with a co-producer for the first time in years, Harrison decided to use Russ Titelman to help realise the music for George Harrison, which was recorded in his home studio at Friar Park, with string overdubs being effected at London's AIR Studios. Special guests included Steve Winwood, Gary Wright (who co-wrote "If You Believe") and Eric Clapton.

Release[edit]

The album was previewed by the single "Blow Away", which reached number 51 in the United Kingdom and number 16 in the United States. George Harrison reached number 39 in the UK and peaked at number 14 in the US, going gold there. "Blow Away" was also successful in Canada, peaking at number 7 on the singles chart. Following the album's release, Harrison's efforts were increasingly directed towards the film industry, after he had formed Handmade Films in order to help his friends in Monty Python complete Life of Brian.

Three of the songs from the eponymous album were included on Harrison's Best of Dark Horse 1976–1989 compilation: "Blow Away", an edited version of "Here Comes the Moon", and the single edit of "Love Comes to Everyone". In 2009, "Blow Away" appeared on the career-spanning compilation Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison.

In 2004, George Harrison was remastered and reissued both separately and as part of the deluxe box set The Dark Horse Years 1976-1992 on Dark Horse with new distribution by EMI, adding the bonus track demo version of "Here Comes the Moon".

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[1]
Billboard "Spotlight"[2]
Elsewhere 3/5 stars[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 3/5 stars[4]
Melody Maker (favourable)[5]
The Music Box 3.5/5 stars[6]
People (mixed)[7]
Rolling Stone (favourable)[8]
Smash Hits 6/10[9]
Uncut 4/5 stars[10]

George Harrison received positive reviews upon its February 1979 release.[11] In a concurrent interview with Harrison for Rolling Stone, music journalist Mick Brown spoke of the critical reception as being "exceptionally good" in the UK and suggested that the new album was the artist's best since All Things Must Pass, to which Harrison replied: "Well, I hope it does as well as All Things Must Pass. I think this album is very pleasant."[12] Billboard magazine featured George Harrison as its "Spotlight" album (meaning "the most outstanding new product of the week's releases") and highlighted "Love Comes to Everyone", "Here Comes the Moon" and "Not Guilty" among the "best cuts".[2]

Rolling Stone '​s album reviewer considered it to be "refreshingly light-hearted" and wrote: "After several highly uneven LPs that saw the audience for his mystic musings dwindle dramatically, Harrison has come up with his finest record since All Things Must Pass. A collection of ten catchy pop songs, George Harrison reminds us that this artist was always a much better tunesmith than priest."[13]

Describing the album's release, author Elliot Huntley writes that its commercial performance was hindered by the fascination with new wave music in Britain, and as a result, "interest in Beatle product was probably at an all time low".[14] In his 1981 book The Beatles Apart, NME critic Bob Woffinden opined: "George Harrison is his most successful album since All Things Must Pass, and would probably have sold in its millions had it arrived at the beginning rather than the end of the decade." Woffinden praised Harrison's songwriting and the "co-production arrangement" with Titelman, before describing the album as "one of the best Beatle solo efforts".[15]

Following Harrison's death in November 2001, Carol Clerk of Uncut magazine referred to it as the "acclaimed George Harrison album",[16] while Greg Kot's assessment for Rolling Stone that year read in part: "'Here Comes the Moon' is a dreamy little wonder, the kind of incantation that underscores the [album's] romantic subtlety … Harrison is breezingly ingratiating on 'Blow Away' and 'Faster.'"[17]

In a review for the 2004 reissue, Uncut described George Harrison as "a freshly enthused, minor treat – a fulsome acoustic rocker replete with sunshine melodies and gorgeous slide guitar".[10] Writing in the The Rolling Stone Album Guide that year, Mac Randall highlighted "Not Guilty" and the "understated gem" "Your Love Is Forever" as the album's best songs, but considered that "elsewhere mellowness overwhelms musicality".[18] An unimpressed Richard Ginell of AllMusic describes the album as "a painstakingly polished L.A.-made product" and "an ordinary album from an extraordinary talent". Ginell writes of the preponderance of "halfhearted songs lurking here, although some are salvaged by a nice instrumental touch", and while he considers "Blow Away" the album's "most attractive" song, he finds Harrison's new reading of "Not Guilty" "an easy listening trifle".[1]

The cover[edit]

The original LP featured a close-up photograph of Harrison, taken by Mike Salisbury, with the album's name printed in brown in the top right corner. For the 2004 CD-remaster, the same picture was used but with different lettering. The brown title was erased, and Harrison's signature in white was added to the top left corner. Footage from these photo sessions can be seen in Martin Scorsese's 2011 documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by George Harrison, except where noted.

Side one
  1. "Love Comes to Everyone" – 4:36
  2. "Not Guilty" – 3:35
    • Written in India in 1968
  3. "Here Comes the Moon" – 4:48
  4. "Soft-Hearted Hana" – 4:03
  5. "Blow Away" – 4:00
Side two
  1. "Faster" – 4:46
  2. "Dark Sweet Lady" – 3:22
  3. "Your Love Is Forever" – 3:45
  4. "Soft Touch" – 3:59
  5. "If You Believe" (Harrison/Gary Wright) – 2:55
Bonus tracks

For the 2004 digitally remastered issue of George Harrison a bonus track was added:

  1. "Here Comes the Moon" (demo version) – 3:37

Upon adding Harrison's catalog to iTunes, it was given another bonus track:

  1. "Blow Away" (demo version) – 3:04

Personnel[edit]

The following personnel was credited in the liner notes.[19]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification
United States (RIAA)[29] Gold

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Richard S. Ginell, "George Harrison George Harrison", AllMusic (retrieved 23 August 2014).
  2. ^ a b Ed Harrison (ed.), "Billboard's Top Album Picks", Billboard, 24 February 1979, p. 80 (retrieved 21 November 2014). From the magazine's reviews key: "Spotlight – The most outstanding new product of the week's releases".
  3. ^ Graham Reid, "George Harrison (2011): Ten years after, a dark horse reconsidered" > "George Harrison", Elsewhere, 22 November 2011 (retrieved 14 August 2014).
  4. ^ Larkin, p. 158.
  5. ^ E.J. Thribb, "George Harrison: George Harrison", Melody Maker, 24 February 1979, p. 29.
  6. ^ John Metzger, "George Harrison The Dark Horse Years (Part Two: George Harrison)", The Music Box, vol. 11 (5), May 2004 (retrieved 14 August 2014).
  7. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: George Harrison". People. 9 April 1979. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Rolling Stone review
  9. ^ Starr, Red. "Albums". Smash Hits (22 March–4 April 1979): 31. 
  10. ^ a b "George Harrison George Harrison", Uncut, April 2004, p. 118.
  11. ^ Huntley, pp. 163, 169.
  12. ^ Brown, Mick (19 April 1979). "A Conversation With George Harrison". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  13. ^ Huntley, p. 169.
  14. ^ Huntley, pp. 161–62.
  15. ^ Woffinden, p. 106.
  16. ^ Carol Clerk, "George Harrison", Uncut, February 2002; available at Rock's Backpages (subscription required).
  17. ^ The Editor of Rolling Stone, p. 188.
  18. ^ Randall, Brackett & Hoard, p. 368.
  19. ^ George Harrison (CD booklet). George Harrison. Dark Horse Records. 2004. p. 10. 
  20. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  21. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 31, No. 7" (PHP). RPM. 12 May 1979. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  22. ^ "dutchcharts.nl George Harrison - George Harrison" (ASP). Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  23. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  24. ^ "norwegiancharts.com George Harrison - George Harrison" (ASP). Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  25. ^ "George Harrison > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  26. ^ "allmusic ((( George Harrison > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  27. ^ ジョージ・ハリスン-リリース-ORICON STYLE-ミュージック "Highest position and charting weeks of George Harrison by George Harrison". Oricon Style. Retrieved 3 October 2009. 
  28. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1979". RPM. 22 December 1979. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  29. ^ "American album certifications – George Harrison – George Harrison". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 10 October 2012.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

Sources[edit]

  • The Editors of Rolling Stone, Harrison, Rolling Stone Press/Simon & Schuster (New York, NY, 2002; ISBN 0-7432-3581-9).
  • Elliot J. Huntley, Mystical One: George Harrison – After the Break-up of the Beatles, Guernica Editions (Toronto, ON, 2006; ISBN 1-55071-197-0).
  • Colin Larkin, The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th edn), Volume 4, Oxford University Press (New York, NY, 2006; ISBN 0-19-531373-9).
  • Mac Randall, Nathan Brackett & Christian Hoard (eds), The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th edn), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY, 2004; ISBN 0-7432-0169-8).
  • Bob Woffinden, The Beatles Apart, Proteus (London, 1981; ISBN 0-906071-89-5).