George Harrison – The Stories Behind the Albums

We just had an email from Universal Music alerting us that the George Harrison page on their site has some new content.

Every week, music writer Richard Havers will review each of the fourteen Harrison solo albums and tell the stories behind them. Each review will contain audio streams of the album (Spotify and Deezer), quotes, insights and soundbites.

So far they have up there: Wonderwall Music; Electronic Sound; All Things Must Pass; The Concert for Bangladesh; and Living in the Material World.

1WonderwallMusic

2ElectronicSound3AllThingsMustPass3ConcertForBangladesh5LivingInAMaterialWorldGeorge-Harrison-150x150

Ravi Shankar – ‘In Celebration’ 4CD Set

In 1995 George Harrison was producer of an impressive 4 CD compilation box set honouring the musical life and genius of his friend and mentor, the Indian master musician Ravi Shankar. It was called In Celebration and it formed a key part of the celebrations that year marking Shankar’s 75th birthday.

The four CDs trace four distinct aspects of Shankar’s output: Classical Sitar; Orchestral and Ensembles; East-West Collaboration; and Vocal and Experimental.

The set was released on the Angel label (an EMI subsidiary specialising in classical music), and George’s own Dark Horse Records label.

Because it was expensive the following year (1996) there was also an In Celebration – Highlights single-disc version for those wanting a taste from each of the four CDs:Ravi Highlights1Ravi Highlights2Ravi Highlights3

We’ve had a copy of the single disc Highlights for years and have often enjoyed escaping into the world of Indian music. As a result we’ve been on the lookout for a long time for a reasonably priced second-hand copy of the full box set – now long out of print. At last we’ve got our hands on a copy (via eBay and from a seller based in France of all places).

The larger set is a much more detailed and elaborate affair, with silver embossed printing details and individual artwork for each CD. When we say “box set” this is actually presented as a tall, deluxe hard-back book, with the four CDs stored in holders inside the front and rear covers.Ravi 1Ravi 2

In between them is a beautiful 60 page book with a foreword by George Harrison and a lengthy essay, richly illustrated with photographs, on the life and work of Ravi Shankar by Timothy White, a former Editor In Chief of Billboard magazine: Ravi 4Ravi 3

There’s a handy glossary of terms included at the back – a big help in understanding and appreciating Indian classical music, its instruments and main themes and influences.

This is all really nicely done as a package and a great selection of, and tribute to, Shankar’s life and work.Ravi 5Ravi 6Ravi 7Ravi 8_0003

A Very Unusual “All Things Must Pass”

We went crate digging last weekend at one of the best second-hand record stores in the Sydney area called Revolve Records and Relics in the suburb of Erskineville. If ever you’re in Sydney it is well worth a visit as they have a constant turnover of new stuff.

What we found there was an intriguing version of the 1970 George Harrison triple LP All Things Must Pass.

We’ve detailed in the past a couple of the different pressings that are out there – including what we thought was the unique, Australian triple-gatefold version.

Well, it appears that another market also had a triple-gatefold that is similar, but not identical.

The front cover looks familiar:

ATMP Cover

As you can see this one is a little beaten up and has a bit of ring-wear but overall it’s not in too bad a condition. (Those black spots at the top are small, dark paint droplets where it has accidentally been splashed by someone not being too careful….).

The rear cover is very different:ATMP rear

As you can see, it’s plain black with a white Apple in the centre and the words: “2 George Harrison LP’s plus 1 Apple jam session  3 LP’s for the price of 2  Apple STCH 639”

The gatefold opens out to reveal the first of the three coloured, top-loading sleeves into which the vinyl slips. The lyrics for the songs on Side 1 and 2 are printed here:

ATMP GF1

Open the out the second of the gatefolds and this is what the right hand side looks like – with lyrics for the songs on Sides 3 and 4 printed on the centre, grey coloured panel. The mauve (or lilac) coloured panel on the right has the song titles and details of who plays in the Apple Jam tracks on Sides 5 and 6, plus a large “Apple Jam” logo:

ATMP GF2

The labels are trying to be like the original, bright orange found on other versions of this release worldwide, but they are really more a dull, reddish brown. There’s the full Apple for Sides 1 and 3:ATMP L1

And a “cut” Apple for Sides 2 and 4:ATMP L2The Apple Jam record (Sides 5 and 6) has custom Apple Jam labels on both sides: ATMP L3

Unlike the Australian triple gatefold, the spine on this release has a dark black and white print:ATMP Spine

[Click on any image above to see larger versions]

Nowhere, either on the cover or on the labels, is a place of manufacture stated – making it something of a mystery. Also, if there was ever one of the large George Harrison posters which came with this release in other markets, it is long gone. None to be found.

This exact same version is listed on the Discogs site, but no country of origin is definitively stated there. They just say: “Unknown country of manufacture, likely Singapore or Malaysia. Released in a three-panel fold out gatefold cover very similar to the Australian original”.

However, the fantastic apple records.nl has this version detailed fully, and suggests it could either be from Singapore or Hong Kong, depending on subtle differences in the label colours. (This site is an absolute goldmine for anyone interested in the different Apple pressings from around the world).

UPDATE: One other item of evidence has just emerged!

While fishing around in the sleeves just now out fell what looks like an official EMI flyer advertising other releases available from the company for the year 1971. We hadn’t noticed this before. It’s small (about 7″x7″), and has four pages.

The front page of the flyer:

IMG_1714

The inside two pages:IMG_1718The rear cover:IMG_1716

A tiny reference at the bottom says this flyer is “Designed & Printed by Times Litho Publicity Pte. Ltd.” A little Internet detective work reveals this to be a former Singapore-based company, active between the years 1965-1971. So, I guess that’s definite proof that this is in fact a genuine Singapore pressing!

If anyone else has anything more definitive please do let us know. Would it have come with a poster, for example? Drop us a line using the Leave a Reply section below.

Making of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ Video (Love version)

With the 10th anniversary of The Beatles/Cirque du Soleil Love album and stage show coming up on July 14, the official Beatle YouTube site has uploaded a “making of” style video for the George Harrison song ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’.

It includes a tribute to the late George Martin and information on how elements of the Las Vegas show are being tweaked and updated with fantastic new graphical elements for 2016:

The official Beatles site also has the song in full – complete with the fancy new graphics – all part of the 10th anniversary revamp:

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery – Part Five

Another instalment  in our occasional series on Beatle (or Beatle-related) album covers that have possibly been, well, borrowed as inspiration by others…..(see here, here, here and here).

Check out this 1976 Olivia Newton John cover art:Olivia+Newton+John+Come+On+Over+-+Original+Issue+60731

The cover photo for ONJ’s Come On Over was taken 11 years after this photo:george_harrison_living_in_the_material_world_pool_photo_the_beatles_help

Read about the origins of this striking George Harrison image here.

And thanks to Darienzo for letting us know that the rear cover image on Paul Anka’s 1974 album Anka also has a very similar photo:Anka 1

Thanks also go to Tom for sending through this image of Jackson Browne’s LP I’m Alive from 1993:Jackson Browne

Martin Scorsese Exhibition – George Harrison Documentary

Scorsese Sign2The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia is currently hosting a massive exhibit featuring the work of legendary film director Martin Scorsese.

Scorsese of course was responsible for George Harrison: Living in the Material World, the 2011 landmark documentary on the life and work of George Harrison.george-harrison

In the exhibition, which we visited last week, there’s a section on Scorsese’s love of music and the numerous documentaries he’s made over time including The Last Waltz (from 1978 detailing The Band’s last ever concert); No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (his 2005 documentary on Dylan’s early years); and Shine A Light (a 2008 concert film featuring the Rolling Stones live at the Beacon Theatre in New York).

Playing on a large screen within the exhibition are extracts from George Harrison: Living in the Material WorldScorsese Screen Shot2 Scorsese Scree Shot1

The Scorsese exhibition runs at ACMI until September 18. It’s well worth a look.Scorsese Sign (1)

Farewell Prince – “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

Not a lot to say given the events of last week.

Only that Prince totally dominates this brilliant 2004 rendition of George Harrison’s ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’:

What an amazing guitarist he was. And what happened to that guitar? Where did it go?

Maybe now he’s gone we’ll never know.

Three Single Finds at the Glebe Record Fair

It has been distinctly quite on the purchase history front – not much out there recently that we’ve wanted to add to the collection. That changed last Saturday with a visit to one of Sydney’s biggest record fairs held in the suburb of Glebe, which is very close to the downtown area. The Glebe fair is always a pretty big deal and every year lots of people who love vinyl, books and CDs turn up to crate dig for a couple of hours to their hearts content:

glebeAnd that’s just some of the crowd. The room is actually about three times bigger than what you can see here. When you first walk in there’s an amazing – some would say daunting and overpowering – number of stalls to check out and make your choices.

We really tried to be disciplined and not go crazy and so walked away with just three vinyl 45’s that, until now, were not in the collection. They’re all Australian pressings, two from John Lennon, and one from George HarrisonIMG_1575IMG_1574IMG_1576

It’s good to have the original Apple Records custom labels for George Harrison’s “Dark Horse”, from 1974. (It’s wife Olivia’s eyes on the B side).

Each of these came in their original Apple paper sleeves too:IMG_1577

Here are some links to previous Glebe record fair visits and what we found: (i) 2012,         (ii) 2012, (iii) 2012, (iv) 2013, and (v) 2015.