Thirty Three & 1/3

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Thirty Three & 1/3
Studio album by George Harrison
Released 19 November 1976 (UK)
24 November 1976 (US)
Recorded 24 May–13 September 1976
FPSHOT, Oxfordshire
Genre Rock, pop, soul, funk
Length 39:15
Label Dark Horse
Producer George Harrison with Tom Scott
George Harrison chronology
The Best of George Harrison
(1976)
Thirty Three & 1/3
(1976)
George Harrison
(1979)
Singles from Thirty Three & 1/3
  1. "This Song"
    Released: 15 November 1976
  2. "Crackerbox Palace"
    Released: 24 January 1977 (US)
  3. "True Love"
    Released: 18 February 1977 (UK)
  4. "It's What You Value"
    Released: 31 May 1977 (UK)

Thirty Three & 1/3 (stylised as Thirty Three & 1/ॐ on the album cover) is the seventh studio album by English musician George Harrison, released in November 1976. It was Harrison's first album release on his Dark Horse record label, the worldwide distribution for which changed from A&M Records to Warner Bros. as a result of his late delivery of the album's master tapes. Among other misfortunes affecting its creation, Harrison was waylaid with hepatitis midway through recording, and the copyright infringement suit regarding his 1970–71 hit song "My Sweet Lord" was decided in favour of the plaintiff, Bright Tunes Music. The album contains the hit singles "This Song" – Harrison's satire on that court case and the notion of plagiarism in pop music – and "Crackerbox Palace". Despite the problems associated with the album, many music critics recognised Thirty Three & 1/3 as a return to form for Harrison after his poorly received work during 1974–75, and considered it his strongest collection of songs since 1970's acclaimed All Things Must Pass.

Harrison recorded Thirty Three & 1/3 at his Friar Park home studio, with production assistance from Tom Scott. Other musicians on the recording include Billy Preston, Gary Wright, Willie Weeks and David Foster. Harrison undertook extensive promotion for the album, which included producing video clips for three of the songs and making a number of radio and television appearances, including a celebrated live performance with singer-songwriter Paul Simon on NBC-TV's Saturday Night Live. The album was remastered in 2004 as part of the Dark Horse Years 1976–1992 reissues following Harrison's death in 2001.

Background and recording[edit]

After satisfying his EMI contract with Extra Texture (Read All About It), Harrison signed with Dark Horse Records, distribution for which had been with A&M Records since the label's founding in May 1974. A part of their agreement was that Harrison would deliver his new album by 25 June 1976. But he was stricken with hepatitis and was only able to start recording the record in late May. Not wanting to rush his debut album on his own label, Harrison put off A&M, telling them the album would be ready when it was ready. But with Dark Horse's other artists no longer doing so well, and Harrison's star on the wane, A&M decided they wanted to offload the label and promptly sued Harrison for late delivery of Thirty Three & 1/3 in September.[1] Within weeks, Harrison had moved both Dark Horse and himself over to Mo Ostin and Warner Bros. Records, who were more than pleased to have him, and Thirty Three & 1/3 and its lead single, "This Song", the upbeat and sardonic send-up of the "He's So Fine"/"My Sweet Lord" court case (which Harrison lost in 1976) were both released that November.

Release and reception[edit]

Billboard magazine ad announcing Dark Horse's new partnership with Mo Ostin and Warner Bros. Records
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[2]
Billboard (highly favourable)[3]
Robert Christgau B−[4]
Melody Maker (highly favourable)[5]
Music Box 3/5 stars[6]
NME (mixed)[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[8]

Named for the fact that he was thirty-three and a third years old during its recording (as well as being the speed at which the vinyl album would be played), Thirty Three & 1/3 gave Harrison his strongest reviews since All Things Must Pass (1970). Billboard magazine described the release as "a sunny, upbeat album of love songs and cheerful jokes that is his happiest and most commercial package, with least high-flown postures, for perhaps his entire solo career".[3] The reviewer rated the production "top-notch" before concluding: "And Harrison's often-spectacular melody writing gift gets brilliant display here."[3]

Thirty Three & 1/3 outsold Dark Horse and Extra Texture in the US, where it peaked at number 11 on its way to being certified gold by the RIAA and selling around 800,000 copies. In the UK, the album made it to number 35.[9] While the US single "Crackerbox Palace" made the top 20 (and "This Song" number 25), none of the singles released in the UK charted.

Among his extensive promotional activities for Thirty Three and 1/3, Harrison made an appearance with Paul Simon as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live on 20 November 1976, and in some of the show's comedy sketches. The duo performed "Here Comes the Sun" and "Homeward Bound" together on the programme. (The live Harrison-Simon performance of "Homeward Bound" was later included on the 1990 various artists' charity album, Nobody's Child: Romanian Angel Appeal and is also found on The Essential Paul Simon, Simon's greatest hits record released in 2007 on the bonus DVD.) The promotional videos for "Crackerbox Palace" and "This Song", both directed by Eric Idle, debuted on the same episode. A third video by Idle, for "True Love", was also produced in association with the album, but did not air on SNL.[10] Idle appears in the video as a guardian angel, with Harrison appearing like an Idle Edwardian Period character in straw hat and handlebar mustache.[11]

In 2004, Thirty Three & 1/3 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 "Tears of the World", an outtake from the 1980 sessions for Somewhere in England.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by George Harrison, except where noted.

Side one
  1. "Woman Don't You Cry for Me" – 3:18
  2. "Dear One" – 5:08
  3. "Beautiful Girl" – 3:39
  4. "This Song" – 4:13
  5. "See Yourself" – 2:51
Side two
  1. "It's What You Value" – 5:07
  2. "True Love" (Cole Porter) – 2:45
  3. "Pure Smokey" – 3:56
  4. "Crackerbox Palace" – 3:57
  5. "Learning How to Love You" – 4:13
Bonus tracks

For the 2004 digitally remastered issue of Thirty Three & 1/3, a bonus track was added:

  1. "Tears of the World" – 4:02

iTunes bonus track:

  1. "Learning How to Love You (Early Mix)" – 4:13

Personnel[edit]

The following personnel are credited in the liner notes.[12]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
United States (RIAA)[21] Gold 500,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[22] Silver 60,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Calkin, Graham (2006). "Thirty Three & 1/3". JPGR. Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  2. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r8989
  3. ^ a b c "Top Album Picks", Billboard, 5 December 1976, p. 58 (retrieved 14 October 2013).
  4. ^ "CG: George Harrison". Robert Christgau. 
  5. ^ Ray Coleman, "Harrison Regains His Rubber Soul", Melody Maker, 27 November 1976, p. 23.
  6. ^ John Metzger. "George Harrison – Thirty-Three & 1/3 / Dark Horse Years (Box Set / Album Review)". Musicbox-online.com. 
  7. ^ Bob Woffinden, "George Harrison: Thirty-Three & 1/3", NME, 27 November 1976; available at Rock's Back Pages (retrieved 17 July 2012).
  8. ^ "George Harrison: Album Guide", rollingstone.com (retrieved 18 March 2014).
  9. ^ a b "George Harrison > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ Thirty Three & 1/3 (CD booklet). George Harrison. Dark Horse Records. 2004. p. 9. 
  13. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  14. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 26, No. 20" (PHP). RPM. 12 February 1977. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  15. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  16. ^ "norwegiancharts.com George Harrison - George Harrison" (ASP). Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  17. ^ "allmusic ((( George Harrison > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  18. ^ 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 33 1/3 by George Harrison". Oricon Style. Retrieved 3 October 2009. 
  19. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1977". RPM. 31 December 1977. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  20. ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1977". billboard.biz. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  21. ^ "American album certifications – George Harrison – Thirty Three and A Third". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 10 October 2012.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  22. ^ "British album certifications – George Harrison – Thirty Three and A Third". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 10 October 2012.  Enter Thirty Three and A Third in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go

References[edit]

  • Dale C. Allison Jr., The Love There That's Sleeping: The Art and Spirituality of George Harrison, Continuum (New York, NY, 2006; ISBN 978-0-8264-1917-0).
  • Keith Badman, The Beatles Diary Volume 2: After the Break-Up 1970–2001, Omnibus Press (London, 2001; ISBN 0-7119-8307-0).
  • Roy Carr & Tony Tyler, The Beatles: An Illustrated Record, Trewin Copplestone Publishing (London, 1978; ISBN 0-450-04170-0).
  • Alan Clayson, George Harrison, Sanctuary (London, 2003; ISBN 1-86074-489-3).
  • Peter Doggett, You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Breakup, It Books (New York, NY, 2011; ISBN 978-0-06-177418-8).
  • The Editors of Rolling Stone, Harrison, Rolling Stone Press/Simon & Schuster (New York, NY, 2002; ISBN 0-7432-3581-9).
  • Gary Graff & Daniel Durcholz (eds), MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, Visible Ink Press (Farmington Hills, MI, 1999; ISBN 1-57859-061-2).
  • George Harrison, I Me Mine, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA, 2002; ISBN 0-8118-3793-9).
  • Elliot J. Huntley, Mystical One: George Harrison – After the Break-up of the Beatles, Guernica Editions (Toronto, ON, 2006; ISBN 1-55071-197-0).
  • Ian Inglis, The Words and Music of George Harrison, Praeger (Santa Barbara, CA, 2010; ISBN 978-0-313-37532-3).
  • Simon Leng, While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison, Hal Leonard (Milwaukee, WI, 2006; ISBN 1-4234-0609-5).
  • Chip Madinger & Mark Easter, Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium, 44.1 Productions (Chesterfield, MO, 2000; ISBN 0-615-11724-4).
  • Robert Rodriguez, Fab Four FAQ 2.0: The Beatles' Solo Years, 1970–1980, Backbeat Books (Milwaukee, WI, 2010; ISBN 978-1-4165-9093-4).
  • Nicholas Schaffner, The Beatles Forever, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY, 1978; ISBN 0-07-055087-5).
  • Gary Tillery, Working Class Mystic: A Spiritual Biography of George Harrison, Quest Books (Wheaton, IL, 2011; ISBN 978-0-8356-0900-5).
  • Bob Woffinden, The Beatles Apart, Proteus (London, 1981; ISBN 0-906071-89-5).