‘All Things Must Pass 50th Anniversary’ – Details (Finally) Announced

Well, it’s been an interesting week.

On Tuesday someone at the official George Harrison site stuffed up and, two days before the official announcement, accidently made public a couple of pages worth of information about the long-awaited All Things Must Pass 50th Anniversary box sets. This included images, prices, and content details.

Of course fans around the world (including us) noticed and began sharing links and images.

The cat was very much out of the bag, but still Universal Music – with just two days to go until the official announcement – desperately tried to stop the spread of information.

In what is tantamount to using a sledge-hammer to crack a walnut, they had the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) write to anyone who had published images of the new All Things Must Pass box sets to issue an “Infringement Notice” and an order to take down those images. (FYI, the IFPI is a trade association representing some 1300 major and independent record companies in the US and internationally who create, manufacture and distribute sound recordings).

Some sites (like ours) complied, others didn’t.

All that effort on behalf of Universal Music and the IFPI and here we are – just two days later – with the whole kit and caboodle about this fantastic release now officially in the public domain. The publicity free-for-all can now proceed. “Free” being the operative word because sites like ours, made by fans and for fans, don’t make any money out of this. We just love the Beatles as a band, and as solo artists. And we help get the word out to others about new releases THAT PEOPLE MIGHT WANT TO BUY from Universal Music. Of course they have their own digital assets, but it is sites like ours that contribute to “word-of-mouth”, make recommendations, and the general buzz around new releases that record companies – like Universal – rely upon. But when someone makes a mistake at Universal Music, the first people they jump on is us?

Anyway, rant over.

The good news is that we’ve finally got the full details of the George Harrison All Things Must Pass – 50th Anniversay Edition, due out on August 6.

Uber Deluxe, Super Deluxe, and a variety of extended and standard editions (plus other merch) are now up on the official George Harrison online store site.

And there will be an Uber box set to rule them all – retailing for a cool US$999.98

It comprises:

  • An artisan designed wooden box (approx. 12.4″ x 12.4″ x 17.5″)
  • Elaborate and expanded 96 page version of the scrapbook, curated by Olivia Harrison, with previously unseen imagery and memorabilia from the era: handwritten lyrics, diary entries, studio notes, tape box images, a comprehensive track-by-track and more.
  • A second 44-page book chronicling the making of All Things Must Pass through extensive archival interviews with notes.
  • Wooden bookmark made from a felled Oak tree (Quercus Robur) in George’s Friar Park.
  • 1/6 scale replica figurines of Harrison and the gnomes featured on the iconic album cover
  • Limited edition illustration by musician and artist Klaus Voorman.
  • A copy of Paramahansa Yogananda’s “Light from the Great Ones”
  • Rudraksha beads contained in individual custom-made boxes
  • The remixed and remastered album on 3 vinyl discs with a replica of the original album poster
  • 5 LPs of outtakes and rarities
  • 5 CDs and 1 Blu-ray
  • Set features 70 tracks, including 47 demo recordings, session outtakes and studio jams, of which 42 are previously unreleased.
  • Blu-ray disc includes hi-res stereo, 5.2 surround and dolby Atmos mixes of the main album

The wooden box is huge. The packshot image above doesn’t give an indication how big this thing is. Here’s an Instagram image of Dhani Harrison sitting on the Uber crate at Friar Park – in what looks like the exact same spot the famous All Things Must Pass cover shot was taken:

There’ll also be a Super Deluxe 8 LP box containing the re-mixed and remastered album across 3 LPs, the 5 LPs of outakes and rarities included in the Uber, a book (not as comprehensive as the Uber edition version), and the original poster.

Also for vinyl lovers there’s to be a 5 LP set (original album on 3 LPs, plus two discs with 17 tracks of demo recordings, session outtakes and studio jams outtakes):

And there’ll be the re-mixed album proper on its own: 3 LPs in a slim box – the way it was originally released back in 1970. There will be two versions of this edition. One on black vinyl:

The other 3 LP set is a Limited Edition on 180gram black and green splatter vinyl. This one we believe is only available from the George Harrison official site:

For those not into vinyl there’s to be a Super Deluxe CD/Blu-ray box set containing 5 CDs (the original album across 3 discs, plus 2 discs of the outtakes and rarities). This collects 70 tracks across those 5 CDs, including 47 (42 previously unreleased) demo recordings, session outtakes and studio jams all housed in a beautiful slipcase. A Blu-Ray audio disc has the main album in hi-res stereo, 5.1 surround and Dolby Atmos is also featured. The collection contains a 56-page scrapbook curated by Olivia Harrison, with previously unseen images and memorabilia from the era, handwritten lyrics, diary entries, studio notes, tape box images, a comprehensive track-by-track and more. It also includes a replica of the original album poster:

There’ll also be a 3 CD set, with the third CD containing the original jams, plus additional demo recordings, session outtakes and studio jams. This will be housed in a square box with a scaled- down version of the original poster and a 20-page booklet with photos, introduction, and notes from Dhani Harrison and Paul Hicks on remixing the album:

And there’s a standard 2 CD with just the original album across two discs, re-mixed and re-mastered:

So, something for everyone. The Harrison camp has also just released a new video for the big reveal announcement.

It’s one of the outakes featured on the new releases – the song ‘Run Of The Mill (Take 36)’, a previously unreleased track. It really gives a clear indication of how the songs on All Things Must Pass were shaped and went through several permutations in the studio before the final, well-known and loved versions became part of popular music history:

See Universal Music? It’s not so hard. All we’re doing is trying to reach those people who are interested, and perhaps some of them are people you can’t reach.

Joe Strummer – Assembly – Dark Horse

Dark Horse Records last month released Assembly, a double LP or single CD compilation of the work of Joe Strummer, post his Clash days.

This one kind of passed us by somehow, but for lovers of the Dark Horse label (now newly revived) this is a very worthwhile purchase – and we say that not only for those label completists out there but because it contains some truly great music. It was released on March 26:

Dhani Harrison last year announced that Dark Horse (the label established by his father, George Harrison) was back, and there ensued a raft of digital-only re-issues of previously available material.

There seems now to be more physical product slowly emerging. For example, as part of Record Store Day last year there was a double LP of Ravi Shankar’s beautiful Chants of India. Produced by George Harrison this was the first time that title had been issued on vinyl – and on red vinyl at that.

Now comes the Joe Stummer compilation Assembly. And it too is on lovely red vinyl:

It’s also available on black vinyl:

And it can be had on CD too:

Why is Dark Horse issuing a “Best Of” style release for Joe Strummer? What’s the connection? Your guess is as good as ours. We can only surmise that Dhani Harrison must be a major fan of the late singer’s work. Interestingly the recent Ravi Shankar Chants of India had the catalogue number DH0001. The Joe Strummer LP has the catalogue number DH0002. Bring on DH0003, 0004, 0005……

The LP is beautifully presented in a gatefold sleeve with lyric inserts and liner notes by Jakob Dylan (who last year was involved in the Dark Horse digital-only release of the Tom Petty estate charity single ‘For Real – For Tom’ also featuring Dhani Harrison, Amos Lee, Lukas Nelson, Micah Nelson, and Willie Nelson). It sounds fantastic too because it’s remastered by one Paul Hicks at Abbey Road Studios and obviously well-known here for his work on Beatle, George Harrison and John Lennon re-issues.

It is fantastic to see that Dark Horse Records label back on physical product. If you’re not familiar with Strummer’s solo work (or his work post The Clash with The Mescaleros) check this out if you can. He’s pretty amazing and Assembly makes for great listening.

New Dylan Features George Harrison

More good news on the Beatle-related release front today. From the Super Deluxe Edition site:

“On 4 December this year, Sony ‘released’ 50th Anniversary Collection: 1970, a Bob Dylan collection that included all the out-takes from the New Morning and Self Portrait sessions that were not already available on The Bootleg Series Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait along with a legendary session with George Harrison.

This was put out in extremely limited quantities (in Europe only) and these kind of releases have happened for the last eight years and have become known as the ‘Copyright Collection’ series. Due to fan demand this 1970 set is now being made available in February for a full commercial release (albeit it’s still limited to some degree).

These are all the unreleased recordings from 1970, effectively. There are 74 tracks in total and nine of those feature George Harrison. In fact this commercial version includes two extra tracks that were “inadvertently left off the original release.

This three-CD set will be an eight-panel digi-pak and features notes by Michael Simmons. This is being released physically and for download only. It won’t be available via streaming.”

Bob Dylan: 1970 will be released on 26 February, 2021.

More on the My Sweet Lord RSD Limited Single

The only Beatle related item in today’s Black Friday Record Store Day releases is a re-issue of the George Harrison single ‘My Sweet Lord’/’Isn’t It A Pity’.

This is described on the official RSD website as being a 7″ Vinyl, on the Capitol/UMe label, a ‘RSD First’ release, and that it would be limited to 7500 copies worldwide.

From the cover image supplied at the time collectors soon worked out this was going to come in a picture sleeve which replicated the one issued in Portugal, and was pressed in the former Portuguese colony of Angola way back in 1970. See our original post on this release for more.

Well, one of the new RSD singles has already popped up on the Discogs site – and it seems there is much more to it than that….. Firstly, from the hype sticker on the front we can see that the single is pressed on clear vinyl!

There’s confirmation it’s a reissue of the 1970 Angola pressing, but also that it is a numbered limited edition.

Additionally, the picture sleeve has been very faithfully reproduced – right down to the flipback construction style that would have been used for the original Angolan sleeve:

And we can see that the limited edition number is stamped in gold foil on the rear:So, there’s much more to this RSD release than we first thought. For collectors this sort of attention to detail is good to see. Well done Capitol/UMe.

Meanwhile, in other George Harrison news, it looks like there’ll be a big reissue program for the album All Things Must Pass in 2021.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary the George Harrison Estate has made available to stream a new 2020 stereo mix of the LP’s title song as a prelude of what’s to come.

“The new stereo mix of the album’s title track is just a taste of more things to come in 2021 as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of my father’s legendary All Things Must Pass album,” says Dhani Harrison.

 

New George Harrison For RSD Black Friday

This year Record Store Day just keeps on giving.

We’ve already had the main Record Store Day release program for 2020 spread out over three separate “drops”. This has stretched out the process considerably.

And now the folks at RSD are adding to that with the traditional Black Friday set of releases thrown into the mix as well.

Amonst the Black Friday offerings (which is November 27 this year) is one for Beatle collectors, a 45 rpm single of George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord’/’Isn’t It A Pity’:

This will be limited to 7,500 copies worldwide, and comes in a re-created picture sleeve – the one pressed for the Portuguese market in the former Portuguese colony of Angola back in 1970. Curious to know if it will come complete with the same mis-spelling on the B-side of the original, ‘Ins’t It A Pity’?

Not sure why we’re getting this Angola/Portuguese picture sleeve, but it looks cool. I guess this is in line with the Beatles’ The Singles Collection box set that came out about this time last year, with every Beatle single in a picture sleeve from a different place around the world?

(Just as an FYI – Valentim de Carvalho CI SARL was a Portuguese record company that, in a joint venture with EMI, had the contract for pressing Beatle and Beatle-related titles back in the 1960’s and 70’s. They had a plant in Angola which, back then, was still a Portuguese colony. Aparently the quality of these pressings was excellent.)

Note that this reissue single is listed as a ‘RSD First Release’. These titles are sold first at independent record stores, but may also be released to other retailers or webstores at some point in the future.

For the full RSD Black Friday release list click on the icon below.

 

Harrison on Harrison – A New Book

George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviews and Encounters is a new anthology of the words of George Harrison by Grammy Award winning author Ashley Kahn.

Being a Beatle (and an ex-Beatle) meant that Harrison was interviewed literally thousands of times over the course of his life. This carefully curated and chronologically arranged anthology pulls together some of his most revealing and illuminating interviews, personal correspondences and writings. It spans the years 1962 to 2001 and provides a remarkable insight into the man he really was. You come away from this book with evidence that George Harrison was way more than just “the quiet Beatle“. He was an articulate, funny, candid and deeply spiritual human being.

In many cases Kahn has uncovered interview tapes that have never been shared publicly in full before, and he includes them here unfiltered, without bias or interpretation.

Some of the stand-outs for us are the interviews by David Wigg, Anthony DeCurtis and Maureen Cleave. Cleave wrote a fascinating piece on Harrison for the London Evening Standard in 1966 entitled “How a Beatle Lives. Part 3: George Harrison—Avocado with Everything . . . ”.  Now, remember, he’s just 23 years old at this point in time but in the second paragraph of Cleave’s article she states that Harrison is: “…a strong-willed and uncompromising character with a strict regard for what he considers to be the truth, and an even stricter regard for his own rights.” This is a trait that stayed with him throughout his life.

Three years later, David Wigg asks Harrison how he comes to terms with fame and being a Beatle:

George Harrison: All I’m doing, I’m acting out the part of Beatle George, and, you know, we’re all acting out our own parts. The world is a stage and the people are the players. Shakespeare said that. And he’s right, you know.

David Wigg: Do you expect another part, later?

Harrison: Oh, many parts. Yes.

Wigg: Is that why you’ve come to terms with it?

Harrison: Yes, because you just do whatever you can do. I mean, even if it’s being a Beatle for the rest of my life, it’s still only a temporary thing. And, I mean really, all we did was get born and live so many years and this is what happened. I got born seemingly to become Beatle George. But it doesn’t really matter who you are or what you are, because that’s only a temporary sort of tag for a limited sort of period of years.

That approach to life (in this temporal world and beyond) were to remain a constant.

Nearly twenty years later, in an interview with Anthony DeCurtis for Rolling Stone magazine around the time of the release of the album Cloud Nine, Harrison was still looking to keep the same even keel to his life, to keep things in perspective:

DeCurtis: One of the things about it, in mentioning that, you’ve always been a person who’s taken such care to keep a private life, to maintain that kind of thing. Does it feel sort of strange to be back in the record company office, sitting down, interviews, tapings? All this business?

Harrison: Not really, not really. I feel it’s like, sort of, say, somebody who is a fireman, or something, and he doesn’t sit around in his fireman suit all of his life. But when he goes to work he puts it on and he goes and gets on his fire engine. It’s sort of like that. Once I’ve done all this bit, I’ll walk away and I’m still . . . I mean it’s only the moment I’m in Warner Brothers office, or, somebody comes up to me and says, “Hey, will you sign this record,” or something, that I’m conscious of being an ex-Beatle and being George Harrison. I don’t live my life thinking that I’m this sort of . . . pop person. And so I think, now even more so, it’s just much easier for me to talk to people. I just talk to them like one human to another. And although that’s all superimposed on top of my being, all this past and present, but I just walk away from these interviews and just carry on as if nothing happened.

Of course being based in Australia we were pleased to see included a 1988 interview by the respected Australian journalist, Ray Martin, who got another perspective on how Harrison counteracted that “Beatle George Harrison” expectation that accompanied him wherever he went:

Martin: There is a quote….of you saying that “I have to be more ordinary than ordinary people are.” Why do you have to be more ordinary?

Harrison: [Chuckles.] Well, because, um, people have—we all have concepts of each other, you know? And the concept is, somebody see[s] me on a plane or in the streets or something, and they immediately remember all this Beatle stuff, and they have this concept of me as that person. But in reality, I don’t go around thinking of myself as “George Harrison the Beatle,” or whatever. I do now because I’m on the television, but normally I’m just like you, you know, just like everybody else; I’m just a human, and sometimes you have to, rather than just be ordinary, you have to make an effort to be more ordinary, in as much as that they will calm down and try to see that there’s actually a person in here [gestures toward himself]—other than this big myth about the Beatles. That’s all.

This is just one of many themes running through the content painstakingly gathered together for this book. George’s words reveal the complexity of his character: wise but at times naïve, sensitive but also self-deprecating, and always refreshingly, unabashedly human. As editor Ashley Kahn writes in his preface: “Read his words and know the man. Read, and know a life well-lived.

George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviews and Encounters is published by Chicago Review Press.

As a side note, Chicago Review Press has an extensive number of titles done in the same style as this book. They are part of a ‘Musicians In Their Own Words’ series, and the list of artists is lengthy including Dylan, Coltrane, Joni Mitchell, Bowie and Miles Davis – to name but a few. One you might also want to seek out is Lennon on Lennon: Conversations with John Lennon.

Record Store Day 2020 Rescheduled

In the world-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Record Store Day has become the latest in a long line of events to be postponed. The official site now states:

We’ve decided that the best of all possible moves is to change the date of Record Store Day this year to Saturday, June 20.

We think this gives stores around the world the best chance to have a profitable, successful Record Store Day, while taking into consideration the recommendations of doctors, scientists, the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, and the need to be good citizens of both local and worldwide communities.

We’re working with all of our partners and our stores to make this change as smooth as possible for everyone who participates in Record Store Day: customers, record stores, artists, labels and more.  Record Store Day is everywhere and we want to hold our party when everyone can gather around safely to celebrate life, art, music and the culture of the indie record store.

This means we’ll have to wait a little longer to purchase the three Beatle-related items that were announced just over a week ago – but that’s OK.

This is a fast-changing situation and we all need to keep up to date with the latest directives from our governments, and more importantly to personally do what is necessary to reduce our exposure.

We’ll get through this folks. Keep safe!

Record Store Day 2020 – Beatle Related Titles

It’s been a bit quiet on the new Beatle product front for a while. Then comes the 2020 Record Store Day official lists – and not one, but three titles that will be of ineterst to collectors.

First up, Paul McCartney and yet a further re-issue of his first solo album from 1970, simply called McCartney:

This time around, for it’s 50th anniversary, McCartney is getting the Half Speed Master treatment. There will be just 7000 copies produced. If you’d like to know more about Half Speed Mastering UMe has produced this article. Abbey Road Studios engineer Miles Showell (who worked on this 2020 re-issue of McCartney) explains more here:

And, as one wag said on one of the better re-issue forums (Super Deluxe Edition – which we love): “Just as he did fifty years ago, Paul’s making sure his solo album gets released before Let It Be hits the streets…” That’s actually very funny. History repeats.

Also on this year’s Record Store Day list, a Ravi Shankar Centennary Edition of his Chants of India album, produced by George Harrison in 1997. In what is the first physical product to come out of the new distribution relationship between BMG and Harrison’s Dark Horse Records, this LP is being issued for the first time on vinyl – and it will be on red coloured vinyl to boot! 3000 copies are being pressed, and the 2LP set will come in a gatefold cover with an exclusive photo print:

Finally, a John Lennon title is included in the 2020 RSD list. A 7″ black vinyl single of his 1970 hit ‘Instant Karma!’ is being billed as the 2020 Ultimate Mixes. The single will feature newly mixed audio and a faithful reproduction of original UK sleeve artwork. 7000 copies are being pressed:

Record Store Day this year is on Saturday, April 18. Check here for the full list of what is planned for release. You can find the US RSD store here. The official RSD UK store is here.

BMG Signs Deal with George Harrison’s Dark Horse Records

Billboard and Music Week are reporting that music distributor and publisher BMG has formed a new multi-faceted worldwide distribution partnership with Dark Horse Records, the George Harrison-founded record label now led by his son, Dhani Harrison.

The deal not only includes releases from the back-catalogue of Dark Horse, but also Harrison’s Indian label imprint, HariSongs. It’ll also include the solo work of Joe Strummer, including his work with The Mescaleros.

Dark Horse will also release entirely new recordings through BMG, like the recent Tom Petty estate charity single ‘For Real – For Tom’ that featured Jakob Dylan, Dhani Harrison, Amos Lee, Lukas Nelson, Micah Nelson, and Willie Nelson.

Initial releases are digital only. The first slate of under the deal will include the George Harrison-produced Chants of India by Ravi Shankar; the live album Ravi Shankar & Ali Akbar Khan In Concert 1972; Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros’ albums Rock Art and The X-Ray StyleGlobal A Go-Go, and Streetcore; and Attitudes Ain’t Love Enough: The Best of Attitudes.

However, the good news for collectors of physical product is that future releases in 2020 will include compilations, live albums, and box sets featuring rare and unreleased recordings from the Dark Horse label. That means we might see new releases (plus bonus material) on CD and LP from the likes of Splinter, Stairsteps, Keni Burke, Jiva, the late Henry McCullough, and maybe even some Ravi Shankar…..

 

Unusual New Zealand ‘All Things Must Pass’

We scored an unusual example of George Harrison’s 1970 solo triple LP All Things Must Pass the other day.

It’s an original, early pressing from New Zealand, and a couple of things set it apart.

Firstly the box. It has the familiar photograph of George and his gnomes in the garden of his home at Friar Park on the front, but the hinged box itself is not black, but a lovely deep blue colour which I hope you cane pick up in the images below:

As you can probably see, the front cover photo isn’t in great shape, having had something removed from the top left-hand corner, but otherwise the box itself is in reasonable condition. This box set is quite rare as only the first run of this album was shipped with the box made in New Zealand. After these ran out HMV NZ imported the Australian triple gatefold version of the sleeve.

Here’s the inside of the lid listing song titles and credits:

The three LPs inside come in the familiar inner lyric sleeves. However, these too are different in colour to other international versions:

And the orange Apple labels are also unique, done in that slightly washed-out colour tone common to New Zealand pressings:

These Apple labels don’t have the “cut” Apple on the flip side, while the third Apple Jam label is particularly nice:

Here are two close-ups of the New Zealand manufacturing credits:

And finally the box spine, with the gold lettering – this time on a deep blue background:(As usual, click on the images to see larger versions)

We also have an unusual Singaporean copy of All Things Must Pass that’s worth a look.