When it comes to favorite members of the Beatles, George Harrison tends to get overlooked by many. He was never seen as the songwriting juggernaut that John Lennon and Paul McCartney were, nor was he seen as as Ringo was. Unfortunately, George was largely overshadowed and passed over, even when the Beatles split in 1970. At least until seven months later, when he — before any of his former bandmates — released his first solo album, All Things Must Pass.
All Things Must Pass is a juggernaut of an album, in both sheer size and the amount of raw talent that was mixed to perfection. In length, the album is over one hour and 45 minutes, nearly double what is considered a normal length for a studio release, and even required to be recorded on three different records. The ridiculously long runtime and amount of tracks listed only arose because of Harrison digging up old, unused material from his Beatles days. Two of the tracks date back as far as 1966, showing how long Harrison had been accumulating his work.
George Harrison wasn’t truly flying solo when he was recording, however. In order to perfect the sound and overall quality of All Things Must Pass, Harrison enlisted many of his rocker friends to contribute during the recording. Among the already or soon-to-be famous included the likes of Eric Clapton, Billy Preston and Phil Collins — all providing either backup vocals or on instruments.
All the help George had received, and material he had compiled certainly rounded off this album to aid it in staying consistently superb from start to finish. Many of Harrison’s most famous and catchy songs were all on All Things Must Pass, from uptempo romps like “What is Life,” to songs which showcase his impressive use of slide guitar techniques on “Wah-Wah.” And to top the metaphorical sundae with a cherry, Harrison incorporates much of his spirituality into his music. Harrison overflowed with an untapped, raw spiritual energy in tracks such as “Awaiting on You All,” and most famously, his signature song “My Sweet Lord.”
After listening to the album in its entirety for the first time, I couldn’t help but wonder why many of these had never made it on to a Beatles album. Then again, George was working under the creative powers of Lennon and McCartney, as well as having wrote many of these tracks during the tumultuous final years of the Fab Four. It’s highly likely many of Harrison’s pitches were likely shot down before they could even take off. Needless to say, the astounding production of Harrison’s debut solo album seemed almost like a slap in the face to his tenure with the Beatles, and how stifled and constrained he must have felt.
Overlooked or not, George Harrison was an excellent musician and had a creativity that was only magnified by his work. His debut as a solo artist broke out with such magnitude and energy that many of the songs released then are still considered among the best produced by a Beatle. All Things Must Pass, while composed of material originally rejected, is an album deemed a masterpiece.
Jack Gleckler is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Jack by tweeting him at @thejackgleckler.