George Harrison’s first post-Beatles solo album, All Things Must Pass, came out on this day. For my money, it is the best solo record any Beatle ever released. I’m sure some people would argue for Imagine or Plastic Ono Band, and had those two been released together as a double album, I might agree. But All Things Must Pass is a colossal undertaking, both in size and in ambition, and succeeds to an astonishing degree.

On the right day, I might even argue that ATMP is the best Beatles-related album, period. You’d look at me funny and I’d quickly back off it; but it has a unity of purpose and vision that you could never get in the Beatles, with John and Paul constantly battling for center stage and George trying to get a word in edgewise. If creative chaos is your thing, the White Album has all you want; but if heaping helpings of elegiac beauty are what you’re looking for, All Things Must Pass is what the doctor ordered.

At this time George was channeling a lot of powerful energy from whatever deity was supplying him with material, and I think it may have fried his circuits. None of his solo work after this did much for me, and while I like the Traveling Wilburys — who doesn’t like the Traveling Wilburys? — it’s hardly the music of the spheres. It’s like George had this huge pent-up store of creative tension that he released into All Things Must Pass, but after that, without the other Beatles to rebuild the tension, he just kind of petered out.

Well, never mind. All Things Must Pass is plenty for one lifetime. Wherever in the spacetime continuum George is currently residing, I hope he’s having a beautiful day.

5 2 votes
Article Rating