In November it will be 40 years since George Harrison released his masterpiece, “All Things Must Pass”.
It was the first triple LP ever released by a solo artist. Harrison had so many songs – many of them stored up from his Beatles days – that they sprawled across 2 LPs, plus a third disc called “Apple Jam” which was just that: George and his mates jamming in the studio.
In both the US and the UK the album came out in a black box with a matte, monochrome shot of Harrison on the front, sitting like an elf (complete with accompanying garden gnomes) in the garden of his Friar Park mansion:
The box came with a huge poster of George (36″ x 24″), and each inner sleeve was in a different colour, complete with the printed lyrics to the songs it contained. Record one is in a light blue sleeve, record two is grey, and record three (“Apple Jam”) is mustard coloured.
The US box open with orange inner and light blue sleeve for record one
The US box open with the lyric sleeve for record two
The US box open with the mustard coloured “Apple Jam” sleeve
The US and UK labels were Apple – but in this time in bright orange:
On the first two discs there was the full Apple on one side, and a cut Apple on the other:
The “Apple Jam” disc (sides 5 & 6) had its own custom labels:
In Australia the packaging for the 3 x LP set was quite different. It was a specially designed triple fold-out cover (not a box set), with a shiny laminated finish on the outside:
The Australian release – front cover
The original release was a top-load cover (there was a later Parlophone label release which was side-load – see below). Here’s the rear cover for the Australian release:
The Australian release – rear cover with song list and artist details
The triple gate-fold opened up like this, and the inserts in which the records are held were made of high quality textured paper in the same colours as the US and UK box-set inner sleeves:
The Australian triple gatefold open on one side
The Australian triple gatefold open both sides
The original Australian issues also came with the giant George poster, and had the bright orange Apple labels – however this time in full on all four sides of each LP (in other words no “cut” Apples on sides 2 and 4):
Plus it also had the special Apple Jam labels for sides 5 & 6:
In the 1990’s in Australia came a vinyl re-issue of the set. It came in the same triple gatefold cover, but this time at a lower quality of paper. And it wasn’t on Apple Records, but the Parlophone label:
There were two 45 rpm singles released from the album at the time. These were “My Sweet Lord” and “What Is Life”. In Australia “My Sweet Lord” was backed with “Isn’t It A Pity” and a little bit unusually, the labels on each side had a full green Apple – kind of like a double “A” side:
In 2001 came an LP and a CD re-issue, both of which came as box sets. Here’s the deluxe vinyl box:
The EU 2001 re-issue vinyl box cover
Both the CD box and the LP box were expanded and remastered – containing five previously un-released bonus tracks: “I Live For You” (out-take); “Beware Of Darkness” (demo); “Let It Down” (alternate version); “What Is Life” (backing track); and “My Sweet Lord (2000)” (alternate version). Both box sets featured a colourised version of the original front cover image. Unlike the original 1970 LP box set, this one had a song list on the rear:
The vinyl was again three LP records – including the “Apple Jam” disc:
The vinyl box open – notice the booklet cover’s statement on environmental degradation
The internal packaging was quite different to the original in a lot of ways. The inner lining (now purple) and the inner sleeves for example:
The vinyl 2001 reissue with the inner sleeve for Disc 1
A booklet replaced the giant poster, but still had some shots from the same photo shoot:
And the LP labels (the record was released on George’s own GN Records label) were different too:
The CD box set contained all the content of the triple LPs – but on two CDs:
The 2001 CD reissue cover – still in shrink wrap with original sticker
All the tracks on “All Things Must Pass” (2001) were remastered and/or remixed by George. He says in the booklet that on some tracks he wanted to “….liberate some of the songs from the big production that seemed appropriate at the time, but now seem a bit over the top with the reverb in the wall of sound”. I guess he means Phil Spector’s production work on the original. There are no hard feelings though as in the booklet George pays tribute to “….the amazing Phil Spector, who produced so many fantastic records in the sixties. He helped me so much to get this record made….God bless you Phil”. For more information on the complete story of the 2001 reissue see wikipedia
The CD box also had the coloured cover. Urbanisation and degradation of the environment gets worse from the front image, through to changes in each image on the inner sleeves, until the final scene on the booklet where George is literally overshadowed by a motorway and factories belching smog. Here’s the CD label:
Also from 2001 comes a 3 track CD single re-issue of “My Sweet Lord”:
The 2001 “My Sweet Lord” CD single cover
The disc contained “My Sweet Lord”, “Let It Down” and “My Sweet Lord (2000)”:
For further information see also the official All Things Must Pass website, and the excellent Beatles Recorded Sound Index entry.
Don’t forget to check out this weird version of this album.
Also this update on another US label variation in the collection.
And click here for the Record Store Day 2010 limited edition of “All Things Must Pass”.