Talk:All Things Must Pass

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Rosen quote[edit]

Anyone. Although I've paraphrased it slightly differently in the Album content section, would this quote from Jody Rosen be verifiable, direct, and explicit enough to support having "folk rock" in the article's infobox? "All Things Must Pass builds its big sound around a collection of typically modest Harrison tunes: downhearted, folk-rock confessions." Dan56 (talk) 06:44, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

  • I still read this as a comment on the actual compositions, not the album. It's the use of the colon there – "All Things Must Pass builds its big sound around a collection of typically modest Harrison tunes: downhearted, folk-rock confessions." To me, the "downhearted, folk-rock confessions" bit is expanding on the mention of the "Harrison tunes"; it's not attempting to describe the album, which "builds its big sound around" these songs. The mention of building ... around implies some sort of development from the source, the realisation of the compositions into something else, something bigger. And it's that "big sound" that's relevant to any genre(s) one might ascribe to the album, in my opinion. At best, the statement's ambiguous.
  • What gives you the impression Rosen is indulging in music theory? "tunes" (songs) : "folk-rock confessions". It sounds like an elaborate, far-fetched misinterpretation of a simple statement. Dan56 (talk) 00:09, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
  • It's more like he's indulging in discussion of compositional style as distinct from a sound recording. What gives me the impression is the sentence that precedes this one in the Rosen piece, the sentence you added at the end of Album content. In fact, looking at more of the NYT article now, I'm even more sure of it. The full para is: "Mr. Harrison specializes in sad songs that step darkly through minor chord changes, delivered with a doleful catch in the voice. All Things Must Pass builds its big sound around a collection of typically modest Harrison tunes: downhearted, folk-rock confessions. The trick works. Inflated to operatic scale, numbers like Art of Dying, the gruff, gospel-tinged Hear Me Lord and Wah-Wah, a churning rocker in which Mr. Harrison trades lead guitar lines with Eric Clapton, are quite touching. The symphonic squall of these songs seems less about rock star hubris than Mr. Harrison's straining to express outsized emotions – sorrow, regret, longing, writ very large." The sentence beginning "Inflated to operatic scale" and the mention of "symphonic squall" – they're further examples of the songs being realised in a way that's a development from "a collection of typically modest Harrison tunes". You might think my take on this is elaborate and far-fetched; I find yours simplistic, and a misinterpretation of what Rosen's saying. If he was trying to describe the album or its sound as "downhearted, folk-rock confessions" (as incongruous as that would be), then the usually good NYT copy editors have served him badly.
  • Now that I realise it needs to be attributed in this way, I can't argue with "folk rock" as the genre if a verifiable source directly supports it – I just don't believe this quote is sufficiently clear on the subject. Before seeing that a discussion had started on this page, I'd added the Rosen ref to support "folk rock" in the album infobox, but then as now, I don't believe it's adequate. I'll be looking for an alternative source for the album's genre. If it ends up being folk rock anyway, then okay – but just so long as it's supported by a direct statement on the issue. JG66 (talk) 04:05, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Other authors have made this point that (I believe) Rosen is making. How Spector, Delaney & Bonnie, the "Cecil B. De Mille aspect" (I forget who said that) transformed Harrison's compositions, some of which dated back to 1966, into something quite different from their origins. In a 2001 Mojo essay on All Things Must Pass, "A Quiet Storm", John Harris writes: "Strangely, though its songs were inspired by simplicity and rootsiness, its sound lay somewhere else entirely." I don't see the Rosen quote as a direct statement on the album's genre, by any means.
  • What does "its sound lay somewhere else entirely" mean? Dan56 (talk) 00:09, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I know what I think it means. Harris writes: ""Strangely, though its songs were inspired by simplicity and rootsiness, its sound lay somewhere else entirely. All Things Must Pass, in large part, was a huge-sounding meisterwork, created by a cast of thousands." Harris then drops the subject until four pages later when discussing the sessions: "Three keyboards, two drummers, six guitars ... the rootsiness of Big Pink and John Wesley Harding was nowhere to be heard." I raised it as an example of how other commentators view Harrison's songs as morphing into something very different during the recording sessions; that's the album's identity, and I think that's the point Rosen's making. At their heart, these songs were "typically modest Harrison tunes" and "downhearted, folk-rock confessions"; but those descriptions appear to then be contrasted in mentions of "Inflated to operatic scale ... The symphonic squall of these songs ... straining to express outsized emotions". Rosen uses folk rock when discussing the compositions (where Harris uses "rootsiness"). JG66 (talk) 04:05, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
  • A separate issue here is the downside of having to attribute an album's genre. In-depth studies can give an overwhelming impression of something, yet authors might never get around to answering a specific question about an album's genre. Simon Leng's book, for instance: he dedicates a 35-page chapter to All Things Must Pass; before then there's 10 pages discussing projects that directly inspired All Things Must Pass; and over the next 220-odd pages of the book, when discussing later Harrison songs/projects or in the Conclusion, there are numerous references to, say, the sound of ATMP, including gospel. But at no point, as far as I can see, does he actually state: The genres for this album are rock, gospel, etc. It's frustrating because in that way, it would seem impossible to fill the genre field with something representative of what he (and others) might say about the album. What I'm wondering is – and feel free to enlighten/embarrass me, someone, please – is there actually an MoS requirement regarding citations for infobox genres? Sorry to go on, there's some history. JG66 (talk) 13:32, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
  • No b/c like everything else in the infobox, it's based on what's cited in the article. Per Wikipedia:IBX#References_in_infoboxes however, if it's likely to be challenged (no direct attribution leads to that), as it has been, citations should be included. Dan56 (talk) 00:09, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Thanks, I appreciate that. I'm afraid I'd been looking for something specific under Genre, since all the other infobox fields are so straightforward. JG66 (talk) 04:05, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
  • IMO, the Rosen quote does imply that she thinks the album is rooted in folk rock, and/or that many of the songs on the album are indeed folk rock compositions. I would have never used that term myself, but upon reflection I think that there are a few folky tunes on the album. However, to me its way too overproduced in general to be a folk rock album, but that's just my opinion. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 19:53, 12 October 2013 (UTC)
JG66, although I don't have much of a problem with it, I was wondering why you didn't challenge Y2kcrazyjoker4's recent edit considering the above discussion and what you expressed about "folk rock" being inadequate and reordering it last. Dan56 (talk) 01:15, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
Hang on – I said it was inadequate as the sole genre in the info box, if I remember right. Also, I simply don't believe Rosen's referring to the actual album as "folk rock". But yeah, I saw Y2k[etc]'s comment that "majority of articles for this album's songs identify them as folk rock" and thought: Really? Then why is it we've had to go for a citation (Rosen) that's in any way ambiguous?
I didn't challenge it because I just can't be bothered to invest too much in this issue – I'm praying the genre field gets removed from all music articles, as proposed in that recent discussion (but its removal will/would be for all the wrong reasons, in my opinion: simply to avoid the activities of energy-sapping time-wasters). Also, as I said recently, I'm relieved to see that something more reflective of the album's sound is included. JG66 (talk) 01:51, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

Several critics consider All Things Must Pass to be the best of all the Beatles' solo albums.[edit]

This text string from the lead: "Several critics consider All Things Must Pass to be the best of all the Beatles' solo albums", is not really supported in the article body. Unless I missed something, the only support for this claim comes from an unnamed journalist: "In 1999, All Things Must Pass appeared at number 9 on The Guardian's "Alternative Top 100 Albums" list, where the editor described it as the "best, mellowest and most sophisticated" of all the Beatles' solo efforts.[227]" I suggest that either this contentious claim be removed form the lead, or more support from notable critics be added, since one critic calling I the "best" does not justify the claim. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 23:12, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

From memory, there's four in total, Gabe. Aside from that quote from The Guardian '​s editor, I deliberately went for notable critics when it came to stating (and restating) that claim in the text. So we've got Richard Williams from 1971, and then Mikal Gilmore and John Harris (critic) from the early 21st century. I could include more who hold that opinion, but I already felt that adding Harris's view on ATMP being the best was almost gratuitous/excessive, given the length of the Reception section. Dan56 removed your earlier tag, by the way. I can't see that there's a problem at all with this statement in the lead, personally. As with all text in article leads, it's simply summing up a notable point made in the article body.
By the way, did you want to weigh in at the above discussion, about interpretation of that Rosen quote? I'd welcome your (and anyone else's) opinion. It's as clear as day to me, but ... JG66 (talk) 02:23, 12 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, I guess I had missed the Gilmore and Harris quotes; they help quite a bit, but the Williams quote: "Of all the Beatles' solo releases thus far, Harrison's album 'makes far and away the best listening'", is not the same as saying it's the best solo Beatles album musically. I would trim-out this quote as not adding much more than a personal opinion on listening pleasure. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 19:46, 12 October 2013 (UTC)
An album is "a collection of audio recordings (e.g., pieces of music) on a single gramophone record", according to a citation to the Oxford English Dictionary at Album. So, being audio, an album is there to be listened to; and in Williams' opinion, All Things Must Pass "[made] far and away the best listening" of all the Beatles' solo albums as of January 1971 ... Having said that, you've got a point, I admit, but then the statement in the lead only refers to "the best", not the best musically. A question of semantics, for sure. Aside from whether Williams' words do truly support that item in the lead ("Several critics consider ..."), I would like to keep the quote in, because I think his subsequent point is useful – that ATMP "is the one which most nearly continues the tradition they [the Beatles] began eight years ago". JG66 (talk) 01:48, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
I would suggest leaving the second part, but the first part is really unneeded excess, IMO. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 19:53, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

The Beatles Bible[edit]

I noticed that this article includes several citations to www.beatlesbible.com. Well, that site is not a WP:RS and it should be avoided, especially in a GA. In fact, this really should not have passed GAN with so many citations to an unreliable source that is guilty of numerous copyvios. I won't bother tagging them, as I'll allow some time for this to be fixed before I attempt to do so myself. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 20:43, 12 October 2013 (UTC)

That's easily fixed – Madinger and Easter's book works in every case. As far as "should not have passed GAN" goes, the application of WP:RS to reject Beatles Bible as a source seems to me to be quite a recent thing – at least, the extent to which we're now rejecting it. I agree it falls foul of WP:RS; what I mean is, back in February–March, four citations to the site didn't appear to bother an experienced reviewer like SilkTork either. JG66 (talk) 23:47, 12 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, I agree that SilkTork is both experienced and knowledgeable, but perhaps they overlooked those cites. No article should ever pass GAN with cites to unreliable sources guilty of copyvios. Its not a recent thing in general, but you are correct that beatlesbible flew under the radar for a while. Nonetheless, I was told not to use the site several years ago duing an FAC. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 19:56, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
All beatlesbible cites removed and replaced now. Cheers, JG66 (talk) 02:02, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks! GabeMc (talk|contribs) 19:56, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

To soul or not to soul[edit]

I'm so glad we're all concentrating on the really important aspects of these music articles – again. I believe there's every reason to include "soul" or perhaps "Motown soul" in the info box.

Under "Soul" in The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (1995), there's this: "In soul's mid-Sixties heyday, there were distinctive regional styles: gritty, gospelly shouting over a stripped-own backup in Memphis … smoothly orchestrated pop soul in Chicago … architectonic, dramatic mini-epics at Motown in Detroit … and a little of them all in New York." "Motown soul" is just another term for Detroit soul (as opposed to Memphis soul, Chicago soul, etc).

In his round-up of ATMP '​s sound, Leng uses the word "Motown", just as one might say "Nashville" for country music or "Seattle" for grunge. He uses "Motown" again when discussing the sequencing of "Behind That Locked Door", a country song, on side 2: "Having already served up a menu of Krishna-meets-gospel, Southern rock, Motown, Dylan, and pure Harrison …" And while he's a bit all-over-the-place with soul's regional variations when discussing "What Is Life" ("Motown-spiced … "Stax horns" … "a rock-steady Northern soul backbeat"), Leng sums up that song as being "as innovative an exercise in rock-soul as The Temptations' 'Cloud Nine'". JG66 (talk) 05:38, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

If it's that unimportant, why open up a talk page post about it with lengthy explanations as to why one writer's use of the word "Motown" should be used to cite something other than "Motown"? Just cite a source that makes that statement explicitly. Dan56 (talk) 06:03, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
BTW, in the "rock-soul" quoted page you found, Leng uses "R&B" in the same context. Seriously tho, if it's that uncontentious, there should be a reliable source that can be cited instead of resorting to original research and not sticking to the source. Dan56 (talk) 06:40, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
He uses R&B only to describe Billy Preston and Doris Troy – "both genuine R&B heavyweights". And it's not original research; the point I was making is that while Leng only uses the word "Motown" late in that chapter, there can be no doubt he's talking about Memphis soul not Memphis R&B as you'd queried after Rvd4life's edit. I'm not pushing a genre because I want it to be this or that; I'm just trying to be helpful to readers. Just because a writer abbreviates something, it doesn't mean we have to parrot that. JG66 (talk) 07:11, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
"Memphis"? You mean "Motown", right? Leng is using "R&B" and "soul" interchangeably in that paragraph. And if the writer also references "Northern soul", "Stax", and whatever "rock-soul" is (as opposed to "pop-soul") then there's doubt that "Motown" was ever his personal "abbreviation" for "soul", especially since he never characterizes the album as "soul". Only when Leng talks about "What Is Life" (one song on a 23-song album) do the two get mentioned together, and Leng calls that song "Rock-soul", which sounds like some neologism. It would be more helpful to readers if they new Leng's actual word choice (perhaps quoting him in the article, especially the bit about "What Is Life" being an "exercise in rock-soul"?) and let them assume on their own what Leng means by "Motown". If this is such a safe assumption, then why is Leng the only source for it? Dan56 (talk) 08:56, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
To me it seems rather silly to label a record company (i.e Stax and Motown), radio format (i.e. classic rock), musical instrument, theme or whatever as a genre. Like Leng, Kenneth Wommack in his 2009 book (The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles, page 158) also highlights Harrison's "soul" influences on the record, along with "gospel". Rvd4life (talk) 14:20, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
So they are "influences" Harrison drew upon rather than one of the album's genre? Do you see my point about there needing to a source that makes that statement explicitly? Dan56 (talk) 01:53, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

Genre?[edit]

Behind That Locked Door is the only song classified as country on this album while the other acoustic numbers fall into folk rock (according to all their pages)...why is country and western listed as one of this album's genres? Jackbel (talk) 09:25, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

I know what you're saying, Jackbel, but it's for the simple reason that we have to adhere to the requirement of an author actually spelling out that "this album is [genre] and [genre]." It's unfortunate – or rather, it's unfortunate that some editors feel the need to police the requirement to ridiculous lengths – because we end up with album articles where readers think, uh? this album's not that genre. I do the same with a few wikipedia album articles.
The inclusion of C&W here comes from the conclusion to Simon Leng's chapter on the album, where he writes: "That the final product covers gospel, hard rock, country and western, Motown, and everything in between serves as a reminder of [Harrison]'s versatility as a musician and producer." To me, what's currently there is way better than having just "folk rock" (as we had before), but it means that everything from this comment of Leng's, even when C&W is represented by only a single song, has to be included. Even down to the term "country and western" rather than "country".
If you've got a better group of genres instead, supported by a decent source, then go for it. I put a lot of work into this article and the song articles, but you know, I'd actually be happy to see the genre field blank, after all the tedious discussions above and on user talk pages. Cheers, JG66 (talk) 13:01, 21 March 2014 (UTC)