Brainwashed (George Harrison album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Brainwashed harrison.jpg
Studio album by
Released18 November 2002
StudioFPSHOT, Oxfordshire; various locations
LabelDark Horse/EMI/Parlophone
George Harrison chronology
Live in Japan
The Dark Horse Years 1976–1992
Singles from Brainwashed
  1. "Stuck Inside a Cloud"
    Released: 2002 (promo only)
  2. "Any Road"
    Released: 12 May 2003

Brainwashed is the twelfth and final studio album by English rock musician and ex-Beatle George Harrison. It was released posthumously on 18 November 2002, almost a year after his death at age 58, and 15 years after his previous studio album, Cloud Nine. Recordings began over a decade before Harrison's death but were repeatedly delayed. The album's overdubs were completed by his son Dhani, session drummer Jim Keltner, and longtime friend and collaborator Jeff Lynne.

Brainwashed reached the top 30 in the UK and the top 20 in the US, and received mostly favourable reviews. The album includes the singles "Stuck Inside a Cloud" and "Any Road". The instrumental "Marwa Blues" went on to receive the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, while "Any Road" was nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.[1]


Harrison began recording the tracks that eventually were issued on Brainwashed as early as 1988 (with "Any Road" being written during the making of a video for "This Is Love" from the album Cloud Nine) and continued to do so in a sporadic manner over the next decade and a half. Progress was delayed by business problems with Harrison's former manager, Denis O'Brien, as well as his work with the Traveling Wilburys, Ravi Shankar, and his work on The Beatles Anthology.[2] In an interview in 1999, Harrison announced the title of his next album to be Portrait of a Leg End, and played songs entitled "Valentine", "Pisces Fish" and "Brainwashed".[3] During the promotion for the 2001 re-release of All Things Must Pass, Harrison joked that the name of the album would be Your Planet Is Doomed – Volume One.[4] After recuperating from being attacked in his home on 30 December 1999 by a man suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, Harrison focused on finishing the album, simultaneously sharing his ideas for all its details (from the sound of the finished songs to the album's artwork) with his son Dhani – information that ultimately proved very valuable, as Dhani helped to complete the album after his father’s death.

Harrison successfully battled throat cancer in 1997;[5] in 2001 he underwent surgery to remove a cancerous growth from one of his lungs,[6] and radiotherapy for lung cancer which had metastasised to his brain.[7] Once he realised it was an irreversible situation, he worked further on the album's songs – in conjunction with Dhani and his old collaborator Jeff Lynne – until he was unable to do more. Harrison's final work on the album was carried out at a recording studio in Switzerland shortly before his trip to the United States for cancer treatment. On 29 November 2001, Harrison died, leaving Brainwashed unfinished, but with a guide to completing it in the hands of his son and Lynne.

After a few months away from the project, both Lynne and Dhani returned to working on Harrison's final songs and added the appropriate instruments, as per his specifications, to the recordings. So close to completion was the project that the two used the exact timetable and session bookings that Harrison himself had originally planned.

Lynne reflected on Brainwashed in 2020: "His life was in those final songs, the things he got up to each day, like riding down the River Thames. Lots of very personal stuff. Some of them are really good. We gradually just filled them in. It was just about mixing them and making them sound like George would like them. You just had to go with your gut feeling."[8]

"Run So Far" had previously appeared on Eric Clapton's album Journeyman (backed by Harrison), 13 years before finally being available in a version sung by its original writer.


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[10]
entertainment.ie4/5 stars[12]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[13]
The Guardian3/5 stars[14]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[15]
Music Story4/5 stars[16]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[18]
San Francisco Chronicle4/5[19]
Uncut3/5 stars[20]

Brainwashed was released on 18 November 2002 to mostly favourable reviews. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album scores 77, based on 16 reviews, which means "generally favorable".[9]

Writing in Uncut, Nick Hasted described it as "the best solo record by a Beatle since McCartney's Flowers in the Dirt (1989)". Although he found that "a certain monotony creeps in towards the end", Hasted wrote that "Harrison's songs and singing represent a burst of form".[20] Keith Phipps of The A.V. Club concluded his review by writing: "Harrison never seemed to recognize the difference between philosophical profundities and the sound of a catchy song, and that may have been his greatest gift to the world. Brainwashed offers a fine, final reminder of that gift."[21] PopMatters' Gary Glauber found the album "phenomenal" and "easily ... Harrison's best solo effort since All Things Must Pass". He said it was "spiritual and uplifting in a way that serves to remind how much this undervalued Beatle will be missed" and "in turns funny, serious, philosophical, precious and ultimately enjoyable".[22]

The album was issued on LP and CD. A limited-edition CD box was also released, containing a Brainwashed poster, a Dark Horse sticker, a guitar pick with George's signature on it, and a bonus DVD with a seven-minute featurette about the making of the album. The album sold respectably, reaching number 18 in the US and going gold, and number 29 in the UK, where "Any Road" became a top 40 hit single in spring 2003. A live tribute to Harrison by an assembly of his musical contemporaries, titled Concert for George, took place at London's Royal Albert Hall simultaneously with the release of the album.

In 2004, Brainwashed's "Marwa Blues" won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. The album was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album, as well as Best Male Pop Vocal Performance (for the track "Any Road").[23] That same year, Harrison's former bandmate Paul McCartney named "Marwa Blues" as one of his all-time favourites.[24] In 2009, three of the tracks from Brainwashed were included on Harrison's career-spanning compilation album, Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison: "Any Road", "Marwa Blues" and "Rising Sun".

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by George Harrison, except "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler.

  1. "Any Road" – 3:52
  2. "P2 Vatican Blues (Last Saturday Night)" – 2:38
  3. "Pisces Fish" – 4:50
  4. "Looking for My Life" – 3:49
  5. "Rising Sun" – 5:27
  6. "Marwa Blues" – 3:40
  7. "Stuck Inside a Cloud" – 4:04
  8. "Run So Far" – 4:05
  9. "Never Get Over You" – 3:26
  10. "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" – 2:34
  11. "Rocking Chair in Hawaii" – 3:07
  12. "Brainwashed" – 6:07


Additional personnel



  1. ^ "Grammy Award Winners". The New York Times. 16 January 2013. Archived from the original on 11 February 2009. Retrieved 24 December 2008.
  2. ^ Sharpio, Marc (2002). Behind Sad Eyes. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 180.
  3. ^ Sharpio, Marc (2002). Behind Sad Eyes. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 190.
  4. ^ Huntley, pp. 309–10.
  5. ^ Lyall, Sarah (31 December 1999). "George Harrison Stabbed in Chest by an Intruder". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  6. ^ Jury, Louise (4 May 2001). "George Harrison undergoes surgery for cancer". The Independent. London. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  7. ^ Carpenter, Jeff (9 November 2001). "George Harrison Receives Radiation Treatment". ABC News. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  8. ^ "George Harrison: "It Was Typical of George to Bring People Together". Uncut. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  9. ^ a b "Reviews for Brainwashed by George Harrison". Metacritic. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  10. ^ Brainwashed at AllMusic
  11. ^ Zupp, Adrian (30 November 2002). "George Harrison Brainwashed" in "Reviews and Previews – Albums". Billboard. p. 19. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  12. ^ Lynch, Andrew (2 December 2002). "George Harrison – Brainwashed. Review by Andrew Lynch". Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  13. ^ Sinclair, Tom (22 November 2002). "Brainwashed Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  14. ^ Petridis, Alexis (15 November 2002). "George Harrison: Brainwashed". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  15. ^ Hochman, Steve (18 November 2002). "Harrison sings his final odes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  16. ^ Decoene, Pricilia. "Critique de Brainwashed, George Harrison (in French)". Music Story. Archived from the original on 6 October 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  17. ^ Perlich, Tim (21 November 2002). "Record Guide Reviews". Now. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  18. ^ Fricke, David (12 December 2002). "Brainwashed | Albums Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 6 December 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  19. ^ Selvin, Joel (17 November 2002). "Harrison's final farewell befits the quiet Beatle: George Harrison Brainwashed". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 1 February 2020. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  20. ^ a b Hasted, Nick (December 2002). "From Here to Eternity: George Harrison Brainwashed". Uncut. p. 134.
  21. ^ Phipps, Keith (22 November 2002). "George Harrison: Brainwashed". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  22. ^ Glauber, Gary (13 December 2002). "George Harrison: Brainwashed". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 31 December 2002. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  23. ^ "Grammy Award Winners". The New York Times. Associated Press. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  24. ^ Paul McCartney's Glastonbury Groove
  25. ^ "George Harrison – Brainwashed (album)" (in German). Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  26. ^ "George Harrison – Brainwashed (album)". Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  27. ^ "George Harrison – Brainwashed (album)" (in French). Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  28. ^ "Album Search: George Harrison – Brainwashed" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  29. ^ "Highest position and charting weeks of Brainwashed by George Harrison". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  30. ^ "George Harrison – Brainwashed (album)". Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  31. ^ "George Harrison – Brainwashed (album)". Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  32. ^ "George Harrison – Brainwashed (album)" (in German). Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  33. ^ "The Official Charts Company – George Harrison – Brainwashed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  34. ^ "George Harrison – Billboard Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  35. ^ "Canadian album certifications – George Harrison – Brainwashed". Music Canada.
  36. ^ "Yamachan Land (Archives of the Japanese record charts) – Albums Chart Daijiten – The Beatles" (in Japanese). 30 December 2007. Archived from the original on 14 February 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
  37. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  38. ^ "British album certifications – George Harrison – Brainwashed". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Brainwashed in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  39. ^ "American album certifications – George Harrison – Brainwashed". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  40. ^ "Recorded Music Top 20 Albums 2002–03" (PDF). EMI Group Annual Report 2003. pp. 18/96. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2011.

External links[edit]