Archives for posts with tag: George Harrison

“If I ever get out of here,
Thought of giving it all away
To a registered charity.
All I need is a pint a day
If I ever get outta here…”

 

Even if the Beatles had stayed together past 1970, one wonders how long they would have made a go of it.  Their contract with Capitol ran through 1976; would the loose confederation of cooperation stay together once no longer legally bound to do so?  We look at what other groups of their generation were able to sustain.  The Rolling Stones lost creative momentum after Some Girls (Tattoo You was largely made up of rejects from the previous decade) while the Who and Led Zeppelin wound up losing drummers.  Part of the Beatles’ charm all of these years later is that instead of putting out an It’s Hard or Dirty Work, their finite collection stands as a complete sentence.  Eventually the well will run dry here.

As we’ve been doing, in the alternate universe singles will be referred to by quotation marks and albums by italics. Writer/singer will be noted by J, P, G or R in parenthesis after the song.

 

March 1974- Rarities. Hey, they cashed in the previous spring with the “Red” and “Blue” albums and many of those songs were previously released on other LP’s.  Here they’re giving the fans their money’s worth like Hey Jude (aka Beatles Again), putting out songs that were only released as 45’s during their first decade together.  While all of their 1960’s A-sides had seen the light of day the previous year, there were still a few B-sides that hadn’t found its way on to an album.  No reason to miss charging fans for more product. In the real world, a version was released in the UK (1978) and the US (1980).

 

May 1974- “Jet” (P) b/w “Out the Blue” (J).  Paul’s run of rockers continues with the rousing A-side named after his dog (much better that his previous dog-inspired song, “Martha My Dear”).  John serves up a holdover from his “Mind Games” sessions.

 

September 1974- “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” (J) b/w “Bluebird” (P). The duo switch places as John goes up-tempo with horns and Paul turning in a second-rate version of “Blackbird”.

 

November 1974-  Band on the Run.  For the first time in the 70’s, Paul’s work clearly outshines the others and he gets six songs, including the opening/title track.  He also gets a bit of a medley (it’s tough for me to separate Mammunia and No Words) as well as the finale.  Regret and restraint take over side one, while side two has begins rather depressingly with John’s lament.

 

Side One-

Band on the Run (P)

#9 Dream (J)

So Sad (G)

No No Song (R)

What You Got (J)

Mamunia/No Words (P)

Side Two-

Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down and Out) (J)

Let Me Roll It (P)

Dark Horse (G)

Mrs. Vanderbilt (P)

Steel & Glass (J)

Ding Dong, Ding Dong (G)

Nineteen Hundred Eighty-Five (P)

 

December 1974- “Junior’s Farm” (P) b/w Maya Love (G).  Paul gets the Christmas single, backed with George’s offering.  We didn’t know this at the time, but this would be the last year each released new material.  Cobbling together enough for a 1975 release will present a bit of a challenge.  Of course, there’s always mining for another compilation release.

 

 

 

“What does it matter to ya, when ya got a job to do;
Ya got to do it well, you got to give the other fella hell!”

 

So far in this space over the last month we’ve kept the Beatles intact through 1972.  And in this space they’ve maintained a compilation sort of relationship instead of a collaborative one.  The albums Détente, Façade and Friendly Fire may total less than the sum of their parts but still hold together as only a Beatles LP can.

In 1973 each was producing his own album’s worth of original material for the first time since the 60’s (don’t forget that Let it Be was primarily recorded in 1969). Added to the equation was Paul McCartney getting the theme song to the new James Bond film, which set up perfectly in the group’s “two or three singles plus one album” front.

As we’ve been doing, in the alternate universe singles will be referred to by quotation marks and albums by italics. Writer/singer will be noted by J, P, G or R in parenthesis after the song.

March 1973- compilations 1962-66 and 1967-70 were released in real life to deal with pirated collections of previously released material, titled “Beatles: Alpha Omega”. Partially celebrating the tenth year anniversary of their first album Please Please Me, partially cashing in on their first compilation since 1970’s Beatles Again (since retitled Hey Jude). The 54 song cornucopia of their career as an empire instead of a commonwealth scored well on both sides of the Atlantic, with the “Red” album charting at No. 3 in the U.S. and U.K. charts while the “Blue” reached No. 1 in America and No. 2 in the United Kingdom.

 

June 1973- “Live and Let Die” (P) b/w “Miss O’Dell” (G) is released before Roger Moore’s debut as 007, backed with a quirky George aside that would find its way into the soundtrack behind Bond’s arrival in New Orleans.

 

September 1973- “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)” (G) b/w “Only People” (J). George gets his first A-side in two years (that in the real world would reach No. 1) while John’s contribution is a perfect B-side: in the real 1980 Playboy interviews Lennon said, “It was a good lick, but I couldn’t get the words to make sense.”

 

November 1973- Four Sides of the Circle was a proposed title for what would wind up becoming Revolver.  Just as the title speaks to incongruity, so is the current situation of the four recording separately yet compiling collectively.   John dominates side one while Ringo shines with a George-penned song;  Paul bookends the second side and delivers the finishing kick, named after his Land Rover.

Side One-

Mind Games (J)

The Mess (P)

Living in the Material World (G)

Photograph (R)

Tight A$ (J)

Get on the Right Thing (P)

I Know (I Know) (J)

Side Two-

My Love (P)

You Are Here (J)

The Day the World Gets Round (G)

Little Lamb Dragonfly (P)

Don’t Let Me Wait Too Long (G)

Meat City (J)

Helen Wheels (P)

 

December 1973- “Mind Games” (J) / “Helen Wheels” (P) (Double-A). Akin to “Day Tripper”/”We Can Work it Out”, the quartet comes up with a double-sided hit for the holidays.  And just like they did after Abbey Road, it’s the top two tracks from the recently released LP.  After a year that saw a salute to the 60’s, an appearance in a James Bond movie and another compelling front, what would 1974 bring?

 

“War is over; if you want it!”

It’s one thing to have a dream; another thing entirely to perpetuate said dream over an extended period of time.  Earlier this month here I’ve taken a look at what would have happened if the Beatles had stayed together in 1970 and 1971; does one dare one kick the apple down the road one more year?

To keep Apple afloat in the early 70’s the Fab Four reduced their collaboration to piece-meal efforts, with John & Paul alternating A-sides (with occasional efforts from George) and the four coming up with enough tracks for a yearly album.

As we’ve been doing, in the alternate universe singles will be referred to by quotation marks and albums by italics. Writer/singer will be noted by J, P, G or R in parenthesis after the song.

 

May 1972- “Hi Hi Hi” (P) b/w “Oh! Yoko” (J).  After the group’s Christmastime single dominated December, the group waits a few months to release their spring follow-up. Paul’s commercial ear for what sells is aptly matched with John’s muse.

 

November 1972- Friendly Fire is released despite the logistical nightmare of John living in the United States as well as the enmity between Lennon and McCartney evident at the end of side one.  The resulting album was one that reflected the group’s worldwide concerns:  “New York City” starts off the LP while the second side ups the political ante, beginning with “Attica” and then finishing with John and Paul’s one-two punch of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Give Ireland back to the Irish”.  George’s real-life output was non-existent in 1972 (no albums released), so we continue to mine his rich vein from All Things Must Pass.

Side One-

New York City (J)

Dear Boy (P)

Not Guilty (G)

Back off Boogaloo (R)

C Moon (P)

How Do You Sleep? (J)

Dear Friend (P)

Side Two-

Attica (J)

Hear Me Lord (G)

Tomorrow (P)

Crippled Inside (J)

Run of the Mill (G)

Sunday Bloody Sunday (J)

Give Ireland Back to the Irish (P)

 

December 1972- “Happy XMas (J) b/w “Christmastime is Here Again” (ALL). Lennon’s ode to the holiday and world peace was held back one calendar year in this world, and the group resurrected an old yuletide staple from their club albums.  How long could this charade continue?

“You may say I’m a dreamer…”

This month saw the Beatles effectively break up fifty years ago thanks to an “interview” tucked into the packaging of Paul McCartney’s self-titled solo album.  Last week we explored the possibility of the Fab Four extending a loose partnership through the end of 1970; this week we kick the fantasy can another year down the road.

Think of their 60’s collaboration as an empire and their 70’s work as a commonwealth, a confederation that gave the four a common stage to keep while giving each ample time to pursue their passions: John focused on his peace and justice causes, Paul toured with his makeshift “McCartney & Friends”, George enjoyed gardening and race cars with a dash of humanitarianism, and Ringo acted in multiple films of varying quality.  Releasing two to three singles plus one album a year would do just that.

Just like last week, in this new world singles will be referred to by quotation marks and albums by italics. Writer/singer will be noted by J, P, G or R in parenthesis after the song.

 

April 1971- “Another Day” (P) b/w “Power to the People” (J).  Paul’s hit-making ability soars to the top of the charts while John’s political passion becomes an inadvertent anthem for the summer’s youth.

 

August 1971- “Bangladesh” (G) b/w “Heart of the Country” (P) was released to support those starving in the country formerly known as East Pakistan.  The fact that he appeared at Madison Square Garden minus his bandmates naturally was tabloid fodder. Paul’s B-side is a nice tune that helped push sales for those who thought the A-side was a little heavy-handed.

 

November 1971- Façade arrives just in time for the Christmas market as the group continues its recent tradition of using French words for their album titles.  The fourteen tracks may be released behind a united front, but at this point the band was clearly anything but behind the scenes.  Paul gets one more song (five) than John and George (four apiece) on the LP (in the real world Harrison didn’t release a studio album in 1971).  Ringo’s song affectionately deals with his relationship with the other three band members.  As opposed to 1970’s Détente, Paul also gets the last word on side two with a mini-suite.

Side One-

How? (J)

Too Many People (P)

Wah Wah (G)

Early 1970 (R)

Let It Down (G)

Smile Away (P)

Jealous Guy (J)

Side Two-

Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (G)

It’s So Hard (J)

Back Seat of My Car (P)

Deep Blue (G)

Gimme Some Truth (J)

Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey (P)

 

December 1971- “Imagine” (J) b/w “Oh Woman Oh Why” (P) delivers John’s manifesto with Paul letting loose on the flip side, giving fans a nice stocking-stuffer.  John’s ode to the holidays and peace would have to wait a calendar year.  Do we dare imagine another year where The Beatles gritted it out to show a united front?

“It was fifty years ago today”-

On April 10, 1970, Paul McCartney slipped in a press release disguised as an interview to accompany his new self-titled album.  The 37-question and and answer sequence was the unofficial divorce decree of The Beatles.

But what if they had averted disaster?  What if cooler heads had prevailed?  The 2017 novel “Once There Was a Way” by Bryce Zabel covers this alternate history where John, Paul, George & Ringo continue to make music in the 1970’s and beyond.  The film “Boyhood” saw actor Ethan Hawke put together a “Black Album” of solo recordings by the group, and there are “Orange” and “Green” albums on the internet.  It’s relatively easy to do a greatest hits collection of their solo works.  But what would have an early-70’s Beatles album looked like?

Over the next few weeks we’ll do that in this space, accounting for label demands and the inner politics of the band at the time.  We’ll also compensate for the relaxed schedules of the 70’s, where groups didn’t release more than one album per calendar year.  This is where things step over the line from the realistic to the fantastic:

Apple management (Allen Klein & Lee Eastman representing the members of the group) effectively embargo any new releases until “Let it Be” comes out as an single, album, and film later in the spring.  But the four still record songs on their own over the next few months.  By the time the single, film and album are released cooler heads prevail.  They agree on a détente where they could continue to put out product and stabilize what was once a sinking Apple corporation; giving John time for his causes, Paul the freedom to play live with a backing group (titled “Paul McCartney & Friends”), George the necessary break to feed his spiritual hunger, and Ringo more time to appear in movies.

In this new world, singles will be referred to by quotation marks, albums by italics. Writer/singer will be noted by J, P, G or R in parenthesis after the song.

March 6, 1970- “Let it Be” (P) is released with “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” (J).  It reaches number one.

April 24, 1970- Let it Be is released, as there was no McCartney album hitting the market in this world.  Another number one with the film being released four days later.

May 11, 1970- “The Long and Winding Road” (P) b/w “For You Blue” (G). In one world, the Fab Four’s final chart-topper.  In another, the natural post-album release to feed the hungry market that had just watched the movie.

 

August, 1970- “Instant Karma” (J) b/w “Apple Scruffs” (G).Recorded in January, John wanted this rush-released. Even held back five-plus months, its intensity still has charge.  George’s paean to the group’s fans is a nice throw-in.

 

November, 1970- Détente

Just in time for the Christmas season release (as was the custom from 1963 through 1965 as well as 1967 and 1968), they return to fourteen tracks that was the norm for six of their first seven studio albums.  John gets five songs while Paul and George get four apiece, and Ringo receives his moment in the spotlight.  Paul’s best song of the year kicks off the LP in grand fashion (and each gets a turn in the first four tracks), while the first side ends with John’s compelling sermon. An emotional second side wraps up with George letting things go, relaxing tensions. Like the détente they had sought amidst business, musical and personal differences over the previous year.

Side One-

Maybe I’m Amazed (P)

Remember (J)

My Sweet Lord (G)

It Don’t Come Easy (R)

Every Night (P)

Art of Dying (G)

God (J)

 

Side Two-

Mother (J)

Isn’t it a Pity (G)

That Would be Something (P)

Working Class Hero (J)

Teddy Boy (P)

Isolation (J)

All Things Must Pass (G)

 

December, 1970- “What is Life” (G) b/w “I Found Out” (J).  George gets his turn on the holiday single released alongside the LP (akin to “Day Tripper” and Rubber Soul in 1965).  Starting with a sweet guitar riff and put over the top with a waterfall of sound (thank you Phil Spector), this rings in the new year at number one.  What would 1971 bring these Beatles?

It was fifty years ago June 1st that The Beatles released their best-known album…one that would help mark the second half of their careers.  “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” helped re-set the rock world during the summer of 1967…and has spawned more than a few imitators in the years since.  The landmark LP was more than just what everybody was listening to:  Sgt. Pepper’s was one of the first albums of the rock era to not spawn singles (Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever was released months earlier).

It’s release came at a fortuitous time, because for the first time The Beatles US and UK album track lineups were the same.  Over the previous four years the group’s American (Capitol) and British (Parlophone) releases were similar yet different:  while “Meet the Beatles” was a mish-mash of two albums plus a stand-alone single, Revolver” cut out three Lennon-voiced songs.  By trimming the UK LP’s from 14 to 11 tracks and adding standalone singles into the mix, Capitol was able to generate 11 units from the 7 Parlophone albums.  This also created American LP’s that had no British counterpart…from “Beatles VI” to “Yesterday and Today” (that first featured the famed “Butcher Cover”).  What would Sgt. Pepper have looked like under this landscape?

Under the practice of slapping recent singles and slicing extra tracks to get each album to 11,  I would imagine Capitol would be more than okay with placing “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” on the LP.  That makes 15 tracks–and candidates to leave Pepperland would be “Getting Better”, “She’s Leaving Home”, “Being for the Benefit of Mister Kite” (Strawberry Fields getting the last spot on side one) and “Lovely Rita”.

 

The modified Sgt. Pepper-

Side 1-

1-“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

2-“With a Little Help from My Friends”

3-“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

4-“Fixing a Hole”

5-“Strawberry Fields Forever”

Side 2-

1-“Penny Lane”

2-“Within You and Without You”

3-“When I’m Sixty-Four”

4-“Good Morning Good Morning”

5-“Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)”

6-“A Day in the Life”

 

Sadly, the presence of the Beatles’ latest single would spike sales even more.  This would also give Capitol a head start on their fall product (having been robbed the previous year of no new Beatles LP in November/December like 1964 or ’65).  They’d also have “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” from 1966 still waiting for an LP to be slapped onto.  Add the summer single “All You Need is Love” and “Baby, You’re a Rich Man” Capitol would be just three tracks shy of a new album.  Padding things out would be songs that didn’t make the “Pepper” cut and were consigned for the “Yellow Submarine” cartoon movie project:  George’s “Only a Northern Song” and “It’s All Too Much” plus Paul’s “All Together Now”.  That smokey big bite of songs would come together to form a late October/early November release by Capitol… “Magical Mystery Tour” be damned.

“Beatles on Safari” track listing-

Side 1-

1-“All You Need is Love”

2-“Baby You’re a Rich Man”

3-“Getting Better”

4-“Only a Northern Song”

6-“She’s Leaving Home”

Side 2-

1-“Being for the Benefit of Mister Kite”

2-“Lovely Rita”

3-“It’s All Too Much”

4-“All Together Now”

5-“Rain”

6-“Paperpack Writer”

I know, this completely messes up the “Magical Mystery Tour”…but I’m sure Capitol would be okay with holding their MMT back until after the film premiered in late December.  Seven tracks would be available…so one could pad the Capitol version with “Jessie’s Dream” (an instrumental never released anywhere) or “Death Cab For Cutie” (performed by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in the film).  They could also mimic the US versions of “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help” by padding the album with soundtrack instrumentals.  Unless they wanted to wait for the “Lady Madonna”/”Inner Light”/”Across the Universe”/”Hey Bulldog” sessions of February ’68.