Music News

George Harrison's Solo Songs Collected on Career-Spanning Disc

George Harrison
Let It Roll - Songs by George Harrison
(Capitol/Apple/Dark Horse)

A great band is always more than the sum of its individual parts and, perhaps, no band illustrates that adage better than The Beatles, arguably the greatest band of all time. You could cherry pick the best songs from each member's entire solo career and still not come up with an album as strong as one of The Beatles' less celebrated discs, let alone Revolver and their other masterpieces.

Of course, having set the bar so unattainably high as a band, it was inevitable that the individual's solo efforts would not reach it... and there's certainly no shame in that, in 40+ years no other group or artist has been able to get there either!

Let It Roll - Songs by George Harrison is not the first compilation of the late, "quiet" Beatle's solo efforts, but it does have the distinct advantage of drawing material from his entire solo career and varying label affiliations. As a single disc of 19 tracks and nearly 78 minutes, it's a tight summation but a great one.

Organized non-chronologically, it still manages to hang together well, despite vast differences in production styles (most notably those of Phil Spector and Jeff Lynne) throughout. All of Harrison's signature songs -- including "My Sweet Lord," "Blow Away," "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)," "All Things Must Pass" -- are represented here, along with his two gorgeous takes on the Beatles era, "All Those Years Ago" and "When We Was Fab." Three of his best-loved tunes with the band -- "Something," "Here Comes the Sun" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" -- are presented in solo, live recordings from his famous 1971 Concert for Bangladesh. Meanwhile, "Any Road" and "Marwa Blues" from his excellent 2002 posthumous album, Brainwashed, show Harrison's creativity lasted the length of his mortality.

The only quibble with this disc would be the choice of "Got My Mind Set On You" as the lead-off track. Yes, it was a sizable hit, but it begins with programmed drum beats that immediately date-stamp it to the 1980s. Worse than that, it's a slight song that wasn't even penned by Harrison! The disc would have been much better served beginning with something more representative of the man and the spirituality inherent in his songwriting, like the magnificent and majestic "What Is Life."

The disc is packaged beautifully and Let It Roll - Songs by George Harrison is in stores now.

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Thomas Bond
Contact: Thomas Bond