Somewhere in England
|Somewhere in England|
|Studio album by George Harrison|
|Released||1 June 1981 (US)
5 June 1981 (UK)
|Recorded||Sporadically between 30 October 1979 and 23 September 1980, and November 1980 to February 1981
|Genre||Rock, new wave|
|Producer||George Harrison, Ray Cooper|
|George Harrison chronology|
|Singles from Somewhere in England|
Somewhere in England is the ninth studio album by George Harrison, released in 1981. The album was recorded as Harrison was becoming increasingly frustrated with the music industry. The album's making was a long one, during which conflicts with Warner Bros. Records arose. Somewhere in England was the first Harrison album to be released after the death of his former Beatles bandmate John Lennon.
Content to move at his own speed, Harrison began recording Somewhere in England in the autumn of 1979 and continued sporadically, finally delivering the album to Warner Bros. Records in September 1980. However, the executives at Warner Bros. rejected it, ordering Harrison to drop four of its songs ("Tears of the World", "Sat Singing", "Lay His Head", and "Flying Hour"), finding them too downbeat. Harrison's original cover art, featuring his profile against a map of Great Britain was also vetoed by Warner Bros. With Harrison already feeling unable to relate to the current post-punk and new wave musical climate, he acceded to their requests.
Picking up the project again in November, Harrison was joined in his home studio at Friar Park in Henley-on-Thames by Ringo Starr, who arrived specifically to have Harrison produce some songs for him. They recorded two Harrison originals "Wrack My Brain" and "All Those Years Ago" plus a cover of "You Belong to Me" for Starr's impending album Can't Fight Lightning (which was later released as Stop and Smell the Roses). The two other songs were finished but "All Those Years Ago" went unadorned. Starr later admitted that the key was too high for him to sing. During this period, Harrison had received word that John Lennon was slightly hurt over his autobiography I, Me, Mine, which, in Lennon's estimation, praised every musician Harrison had worked with except him. Harrison was never able to make amends, as on 8 December 1980, Lennon was shot dead outside his apartment building, the Dakota.
After the shock and devastation of Lennon's murder, Harrison decided to utilise the unfinished recording of "All Those Years Ago". He changed the lyrics of the song to reflect the Lennon tragedy. With Starr's pre-recorded drum track in place, Harrison invited Paul and Linda McCartney, and their fellow Wings band-mate Denny Laine, to record backing vocals in early 1981. Along with "All Those Years Ago", three more songs were added to the album: "Blood from a Clone" (a searing indictment of the music scene at the time), "Teardrops" and "That Which I Have Lost". A new cover was then shot in the Tate Gallery in London, and Somewhere in England was resubmitted and accepted.
"All Those Years Ago" was released as the lead-off single that May to a very strong response, reaching number 13 in the United Kingdom and number 2 in the United States. It was Harrison's biggest hit since "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)" in 1973, and Somewhere in England benefited from its presence on the album. Peaking at number 13 in the UK and number 11 in the US, these chart positions were, superficially, Harrison's best transatlantic album peaks in some time, yet Somewhere in England actually sold less than it would appear, since its chart life – in both countries – was brief, and it became Harrison's first proper studio album to fail to reach gold status in the US. It was generally overlooked by the public, with follow-up single "Teardrops" reaching only number 102 in the US.
Aftermath and later releases
Two of the songs from Somewhere in England were included on Harrison's 1989 Best of Dark Horse 1976–1989 compilation: "All Those Years Ago" and "Life Itself".
In 2004, Somewhere in England 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, adding the bonus track demo version of "Save the World", recorded in 1980. Specially for this reissue, Harrison's originally rejected artwork was now reinstated.
Interestingly, a survey conducted in 2006 of the top 50 most popular 'Harrisongs' on the official George Harrison.com message boards included only one song from the album ("Life Itself", number 29), yet included three of the four rejected songs ("Flying Hour" at number 14, "Lay His Head" at number 27 and "Sat Singing" at number 41).
All songs composed by George Harrison, except where noted.
- Side one
- "Blood from a Clone" – 4:03
- "Unconsciousness Rules" – 3:05
- "Life Itself" – 4:25
- "All Those Years Ago" – 3:45
- "Baltimore Oriole" (Hoagy Carmichael) – 3:57
- Side two
- "Teardrops" – 4:07
- "That Which I Have Lost" – 3:47
- "Writing's on the Wall" – 3:59
- "Hong Kong Blues" (Carmichael) – 2:55
- "Save the World" – 4:54
- The track's end features a short excerpt from "Crying", originally released on Harrison's 1968 debut album Wonderwall Music.
- Bonus tracks
Somewhere in England was remastered and reissued in 2004 with the original mix of "Unconsciousness Rules" and adds:
- "Save the World" (Acoustic demo version) – 4:31
The iTunes Music Store offers one of the lost tracks:
- "Flying Hour" (Bonus track) – 4:35 (This is not the version Harrison intended for release on the original rejected LP but rather the rendition which appeared on the 45/CD single that accompanied the rare 1988 book "Songs By George Harrison". Tracking in at 4:35, this slower version begins with a studio count in, is longer, lacks and adds guitar riffs, fades slightly at the end and plays at the correct speed).
- Original (rejected) track listing
- "Hong Kong Blues" (Carmichael) – 2:53
- "Writing's on the Wall" – 3:58
- "Flying Hour" (Harrison/Mick Ralphs) – 4:04
- "Lay His Head" – 3:43
- Remixed and issued as the b-side of Got My Mind Set On You
- "Unconsciousness Rules" – 3:36
- "Sat Singing" – 4:28
- "Life Itself" – 4:24
- "Tears of the World" – 4:00
- Issued as a bonus track on the 2004 remaster of Thirty Three & 1/3
- "Baltimore Oriole" (Carmichael) – 3:57
- "Save the World" – 4:56
- George Harrison – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Synthesizers
- Alla Rakha – Tabla
- Gary Brooker – Keyboards, Synthesizers
- Al Kooper – Keyboards, Synthesizers
- Mike Moran – Keyboards, Synthesizers
- Neil Larsen – Keyboards, Synthesizers
- Tom Scott – Lyricon, Horns
- Herbie Flowers – Tuba, Bass
- Willie Weeks – Bass
- Ray Cooper – Keyboards, Synthesizers, Percussion, Drums
- Jim Keltner – Drums
- Dave Mattacks – Drums
- Guest musicians on "All Those Years Ago"
- Paul McCartney – Backing Vocal
- Linda McCartney – Backing Vocal
- Denny Laine – Backing Vocal
- Ringo Starr – Drums
Peak positions (reissue)
- "Picks and Pans Review: Somewhere in England". People. 27 July 1981. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- [dead link]
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "austriancharts.at George Harrison - Somewhere in England" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 35, No. 4" (PHP). RPM. 4 July 1981. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "dutchcharts.nl George Harrison - Somewhere in England" (ASP). Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
- "charts.org.nz George Harrison - Somewhere in England" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "norwegiancharts.com George Harrison - Somewhere in England" (ASP). Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "swedishcharts.com George Harrison - Somewhere in England" (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "George Harrison > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "allmusic ((( Somewhere in England > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "Album Search: George Harrison - Somewhere in England" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- 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 Somewhere in England by George Harrison". Oricon Style. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
- "Top 100 Albums of 1981". RPM. 26 December 1981. Retrieved 18 December 2013.