George Harrison

The Dark Horse Years 1976-1992
(Capitol)

Yes, Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings, and yes, George Harrison had a thriving solo career, most of it on his own Dark Horse Records, after the Beatles called it a day. This DVD -- also gone solo after originally being included as a bonus disc in last year's pricey Harrison boxed set -- offers a peek into that era via videos, live performances, and more. Of the paltry seven clips included, it's actually the earliest ones that hold up the best (when Harrison still looked like he was enjoying the possibilities of the medium beyond a mere marketing tool). The courtroom farce "This Song" pokes fun at his infamous "He's So Fine"/"My Sweet Lord" plagiarism case, and "Crackerbox Palace" displays Harrison's affinity for bizarre British humor (he had a long-standing camaraderie with the Monty Python troupe; Python Eric Idle directed the surreal video). The undisputed highlight is the footage from his 1991 tour of Japan with Eric Clapton, who plays the faithful sideman while Harrison, in top vocal and guitaring form, runs through four tunes, including a splendid "Devil's Radio." The disc's throwaways include some promotional spots for the music Harrison wrote for the 1986 Madonna/Sean Penn turkey Shanghai Surprise, as well as a drab, nine-minute Dark Horse historical feature. There are interview snippets scattered throughout, but none is particularly enlightening; unearthed illumination is not this collection's raison d'être -- fantastic music is.

 
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