Somewhere in England

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For the 1940 film, see Somewhere in England (film).
Somewhere in England
Studio album by George Harrison
Released 1 June 1981
Recorded March–September 1980, November 1980–February 1981
Studio FPSHOT, Oxfordshire
Length 39:43
Label Dark Horse
George Harrison chronology
George Harrison
Somewhere in England
Gone Troppo
Singles from Somewhere in England
  1. "All Those Years Ago"
    Released: 11 May 1981
  2. "Teardrops"
    Released: 15 July 1981

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.


Harrison began recording Somewhere in England in March 1980 and continued sporadically,[1] finally delivering the album to Warner Bros. Records in late September that year.[2] However, the executives at Warner Bros. rejected the album, feeling it was "too laid back" and not sufficiently commercial. Harrison agreed to rework the album and to record new material. Harrison's original cover art, featuring his profile against a map of Great Britain, was also vetoed by Warner Bros.

Returning to the project 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 completed but "All Those Years Ago" was left unfinished.[clarification needed] Starr later admitted that the key was too high for him to sing.[citation needed] Shortly before the death of John Lennon, excerpts from Lennon's forthcoming interview in Playboy magazine were published in which Lennon said he was hurt over Harrison's 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 WB executives who had rejected his original album), "Teardrops" and "That Which I Have Lost". To make room for the new songs, Harrison elected to drop four tracks from the original line-up: "Tears of the World", "Sat Singing", "Lay His Head", and "Flying Hour." A new cover was then shot in the Tate Gallery in London, and Somewhere in England was resubmitted and accepted.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[3]
Elsewhere 2/5 stars[4]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 3/5 stars[5]
Goldmine (favourable)[6]
Mojo 3/5 stars[7]
The Music Box 3.5/5 stars[8]
Music Story 3/5 stars[9]
People (favourable)[10]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[11]
Uncut 2/5 stars[12]

"All Those Years Ago" was released as the lead-off single that May to a strong response, reaching No. 13 in the United Kingdom and No. 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 No. 13 in the UK and No. 11 in the US, these chart positions were Harrison's best transatlantic album peaks in some time. Somewhere in England's chart run was relatively brief in America, however, and it became Harrison's first proper studio album to fail to reach gold status there. The follow-up single, "Teardrops", reached only No. 102 on Billboard's singles listings.

Aftermath and later releases[edit]

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". "All Those Years Ago" also appeared on the Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison career-spanning compilation, released in 2009.

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. The reissue featured the original mix of "Unconsciousness Rules" and, as a bonus track, Harrison's demo of "Save the World", recorded in 1980. In addition, Harrison's rejected artwork was reinstated, replacing that used for the 1981 official release.

The iTunes Music Store's digital version of the album includes the song "Flying Hour" as a second bonus track. Rather than this being the rendition of "Flying Hour" that Harrison had intended for release on Somewhere in England, however, it is the version that appeared on the EP accompanying the rare 1988 book Songs by George Harrison. With a running time of 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.

In 2006, a survey was conducted on the official message boards to find the artist's 50 most popular songs, the results from which featured only one track from the album – "Life Itself", at number 29. The same survey included three of the four rejected songs, however: "Flying Hour", at number 14; "Lay His Head", number 27; and "Sat Singing", number 41.

Track listing[edit]

Official release[edit]

All songs composed by George Harrison, except where noted.

Side one

  1. "Blood from a Clone" – 4:03
  2. "Unconsciousness Rules" – 3:05
  3. "Life Itself" – 4:25
  4. "All Those Years Ago" – 3:45
  5. "Baltimore Oriole" (Hoagy Carmichael) – 3:57

Side two

  1. "Teardrops" – 4:07
  2. "That Which I Have Lost" – 3:47
  3. "Writing's on the Wall" – 3:59
  4. "Hong Kong Blues" (Carmichael) – 2:55
  5. "Save the World" – 4:54

2004 reissue bonus track

  1. "Save the World" (Acoustic demo version) – 4:31

iTunes-edition bonus track

  1. "Flying Hour" (Harrison, Mick Ralphs) – 4:35

Original (rejected) track listing[edit]

  1. "Hong Kong Blues" (Carmichael) – 2:53
  2. "Writing's on the Wall" – 3:58
  3. "Flying Hour" (Harrison, Mick Ralphs) – 4:04
    • Remixed and issued as bonus track on the iTunes edition of the album
  4. "Lay His Head" – 3:43
  5. "Unconsciousness Rules" – 3:36
  6. "Sat Singing" – 4:28
  7. "Life Itself" – 4:24
  8. "Tears of the World" – 4:00
  9. "Baltimore Oriole" (Carmichael) – 3:57
  10. "Save the World" – 4:56




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  3. ^
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