George Harrison, MBE (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was an English musician and singer-songwriter who achieved international fame as lead guitarist of The Beatles. Often referred to as “the quiet Beatle”, Harrison became over time an admirer of Indian culture and mysticism, and introduced it to the other Beatles, as well as their Western audience. Following the band’s break-up he was a successful solo artist, and later a founding member of the Traveling Wilburys. Harrison was also a session musician and a film and record producer. He is listed at number 11 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
Although most of The Beatles’ songs were written by Lennon and McCartney, Beatle albums generally included one or two of Harrison’s own songs, from With The Beatles onwards. His later compositions with The Beatles include “Here Comes the Sun”, “Something” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. By the time of the band’s break-up, Harrison had accumulated a backlog of material, which he then released as the triple album All Things Must Pass in 1970, from which two hit singles originated: a double A-side single, “My Sweet Lord” backed with “Isn’t It a Pity”, and “What Is Life”. In addition to his solo work, Harrison co-wrote two hits for former Beatle Ringo Starr, as well as songs for the Traveling Wilburys—the supergroup he formed in 1988 with Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Roy Orbison.
Harrison embraced Indian culture and Hinduism in the mid-1960s, and helped expand Western awareness of sitar music and of the Hare Krishna movement. With Ravi Shankar he organised the first major charity concert with the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh. In addition to his musical accomplishments, he was also a record producer and co-founder of the production company HandMade Films. In his work as a film producer, he collaborated with people as diverse as the members of Monty Python and Madonna.
He was married twice, to model Pattie Boyd from 1966 to 1974, and for 23 years to record company secretary Olivia Trinidad Arias, with whom he had one son, Dhani Harrison. He was a close friend of Eric Clapton. To date, he is the only Beatle to have published an autobiography, with I Me Mine in 1980. Harrison died of lung cancer in 2001.
Wonderwall Music is George Harrison’s first solo album and the soundtrack to the film Wonderwall. The songs are virtually all instrumental, except for some non-English vocals and a slowed-down spoken word track. The songs were recorded in December 1967 in England, and January 1968 in Bombay, India. Wonderwall Music is notable for being the first official solo album by one of the Beatles as well as Apple Records’ first LP release. The album is currently out of print.
The recordings for the album were started in December 1967 in England. The rest was recorded in January 1968 in Bombay, India. Also recorded during the Indian sessions was the backing track to “The Inner Light”, which became the B-side to “Lady Madonna”, the final Beatles single on Parlophone Records.
Some of the musician’s credits are pseudonyms for Harrison, Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr. Harrison is listed merely as producer, arranger and writer for the album. Peter Tork of The Monkees also played banjo (specifically, one borrowed from Paul McCartney), but was not credited. Tork has stated that his brief recording features in the movie, but not on the soundtrack album.
All of the tracks were composed by Harrison, and it was the first official solo album by a Beatle. It was the first album release on the newly formed Apple Records, appearing in November 1968, a few weeks before The Beatles. It would also be the first Apple record to be deleted, though it was remastered and reissued on CD in 1992.
In the CD liner notes, Harrison’s description of the recording done in England is revealing: “I had a regular wind-up stopwatch and I watched the film to ‘spot-in’ the music with the watch. I wrote the timings down in my book, then I’d go to Abbey Road, make up a piece, record it.” While the tracks recorded in England were made on multitrack recording machines and remixed, the Indian portions were recorded live to two-track stereo.
Wonderwall Music did not chart at all in the United Kingdom, but reached #49 in the United States in early 1969.
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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…
Tracks from 1968 Wonderwall Music album
- On The Bed
- Party Seacombe
- Red Lady Too
- Ski-ing^Gat Kirwani
- Wonderwall To Be Here
- KHJ ‘Yellow Submarine’ Promo