All Things Must Pass

And then there were two.

Two down here. Two up there. Two not here. I really don’t give a rodent’s rectum about politically correct - I know that’s a big surprise.

It pretty close to destroyed me when John Lennon was shot - just a few months after I moved to Florida - and it came entirely out of nowhere. I was jazzed about Double Fantasy and having John in the musical world again, and some dipshit shoots him. I can’t help but think of Twain’s line: It is clear we need a law against insanity: that is where the true evil lies.

In nineteen seventy four, George went on his first tour to support the album Dark Horse, with Tom Scott’s LA Express in brilliant support. He was plagued by bronchitis from the beginning, and the press quickly dubbed it the Dark Hoarse tour. My amazing Mom snagged me second row tickets through her connections in Atlanta for this momentous occasion; my friends Mark Gardner, Jim Schwartz, and Tommy and Cathy Archibald accompanied me in this pilgrimage to a borderline religious event.

Slightly awed by this close proximity, and knowing George’s wariness of hero worship, I was worried I might make him uncomfortable: it seemed I caught amused, sideways glances from the man onstage. Much more likely is the probability I was the fan in the stands, certain the team on the field was talking about him in the huddle.

He opened with a blistering version of the album’s opener, Hari’s on Tour, that showed off the LA Express to their best advantage, and tore through most of the Dark Horse album and the better part of what he knew was expected. In a nod to his friend John, he surprised us with an unexpected version of In My Life. Mysteriously - to me, anyway - some people were put off by his lyric change of I love you more to I love God more.


I had ostriched myself when I first heard of his cancer. I cling to a positive outlook anyway, and when
Ringo said “Do you think I’d be out playing music if my best friend was dying?”, I swallowed the hook all the  way to my sphincter. In a strange kind of synchronicity, I had received the 2000 remaster of All Things Must Pass just days before his death. This album is the soundtrack to most of nineteen seventy for me, and I think the best effort any of the post Beatles achieved. John’s Walls and Bridges does come close, just to be fair. And this is certainly the best production (co) effort to emerge from Phil Spector: though my suspicion is Harrison’s hand is very heavy here. The opening song - co-written with his friend Robert Zimmerman, entitled I’d Have You Anytime - sets the feel with George’s unmistakable slide and shimmering twelve string. The number two spot was My Sweet Lord, which became the rallying cry for the Jesus freaks crawling out of the woodwork at that time; and again there is that twelve string opalescence. George, the quiet Beatle, had learned perfectly the art of production from George Martin and Geoff Emerick. This recording still raises the hair on my head because the associative properties are so intense.

Listen! Recorded when he was twenty eight years old, one of the many spectacular songs from ATMP is entitled The Art of Dying. The only consolation I have for our loss is nobody who ever died was so prepared.

The aforementioned 2000 remaster perfectly updates the original: on the cover, factories and freeway overpasses come out of the sky to supplant the previous pastoral edition, and four garden gnomes are strewn supine on the lawn. The sound is digitally cleansed, revealing nuances previously muted by opiates and the limitations of technology. I almost forgot how powerful the title song, Awaiting on You All and Beware of Darkness truly are. A huge bonus is the inclusion of the acoustic demos, previously only available on less than legal means.

The Concert for Bangla Desh - yet another soundtrack for me, circa nineteen seventy two - is the

spiritual sequel to ATMP. The first concert for a cause, put together by George and his friend Ravi
Shankar, features Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell, Badfinger, and a blistering closing set from Bob Dylan.

One amazing man who took a sad song, and did what was within his power to make it better.

                “Life goes on within you and without you.”

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