Universal Music Group and the Harrison family are proud to announce that George Harrison’s first six solo albums, released between 1968 and 1975 on The Beatles’ Apple Records label, have been digitally remastered from the original analog masters for CD and digital release on September 23rd by Capitol/UMe. Wonderwall Music, Electronic Sound, All Things Must Pass, Living In The Material World, Dark Horse, and Extra Texture (Read All About It) are available now for preorder, both individually in digipaks and together within the deluxe, eight-disc boxed edition, The Apple Years 1968-75.
Designed to complement Harrison’s 2004 collection, The Dark Horse Years 1976-92, the new box features an exclusive DVD with several video pieces, including a new seven-minute film with previously unreleased footage. The Apple Years box also includes an exclusive perfect-bound book with an introduction by Dhani Harrison, new essays by award-winning radio producer and author Kevin Howlett, and rare and previously unpublished images.
This project has been overseen by George’s son, Dhani Harrison who says, “I am so happy that what we started a decade ago by releasing The Dark Horse Years is now complete with the release of his first six albums as The Apple Years. Some of these records have long been out of print, and so I cannot wait for music lovers to get their hands on these newly remastered versions. It’s a very proud moment for us, and I would like to thank everyone who has helped us in any way to achieve this.”
The six albums have been digitally restored and remastered at Lurssen Mastering in Los Angeles by a GRAMMY® Award-winning team of engineers including Paul Hicks, Gavin Lurssen, and Reuben Cohen. Wonderwall Music, Living In The Material World, Dark Horse, and Extra Texture (Read All About It) are all newly expanded with previously unreleased or rare additional tracks. All Things Must Pass includes the five extra tracks first released in 2001.
Max Hole, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group International, said: “George Harrison is a musical icon and one of the most imaginative and influential artists of all time. It’s been great for us to work with Dhani and Olivia Harrison and all of the team behind The Apple Years project, a vital part of his legacy.”
“The album was a film soundtrack but as a standalone vision it embraces a glorious multiverse of sonorous vignettes like nothing I’ve ever heard. It speaks of a fearless heart.” – Nitin Sawney
Released in November 1968, George Harrison’s Wonderwall Music was the first solo album released by a member of The Beatles and the first LP to be released by Apple Records. The soundtrack music for director Joe Massot’s debut feature-length film, Wonderwall, the predominantly instrumental album is an intricate, vibrant tapestry of Western rock music and compositions in an Indian classical style.
In 1992, George recalled, “I decided to do it as a mini-anthology of Indian music, because I wanted to help turn the public on to Indian music.” Three bonus tracks have been added to the remastered album: “In The First Place” by Liverpool group The Remo Four, who played the rock elements of the recording sessions, a previously unreleased alternate take of “The Inner Light,” and the previously unreleased “Almost Shankara,” a raga that was not used in the film or for the soundtrack LP. The booklet also includes a new essay of appreciation by the acclaimed musician, producer and composer Nitin Sawney and newly written historical notes by Kevin Howlett.
“Squalls of cavernous sound, white noise explosions, beautiful delicate patterns, the sound was wild and fluid and bore no relation to George’s other work.” – Tom Rowlands (The Chemical Brothers)
As a direct result of The Beatles’ keen curiosity about experimental music and other avant-garde artistic expression, Apple Records launched its short-lived Zapple subsidiary in February 1969 as a forum for unfettered sonic exploration, or, as announced at the time, “more freaky sounds.” George’s Electronic Sound and John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With The Lions, both released in May 1969, were Zapple’s only releases before it was closed down. Electronic Sound’s cover art, painted by George, depicts his Moog IIIP (which was later used on four tracks by The Beatles on their album Abbey Road) with the four modules from which the sound was synthesized.
Each side of the Electronic Sound LP featured one exploratory long-form work. However, the American version of the album placed the pieces on opposite sides to the UK record, but with the same titles retained on the labels. Consequently, there has been confusion about which track is which. Research for the out-of-print album’s new release revealed that the UK LP was correct with “Under The Mersey Wall” on Side 1 and “No Time Or Space” on Side 2. The CD booklet includes new essays by The Chemical Brothers’ Tom Rowlands and Dhani Harrison, as well as newly written historical notes by Kevin Howlett.
“It is both an intensely personal statement and a grandiose gesture, a triumph over artistic modesty, even frustration. In this extravaganza of piety and sacrifice and joy the music itself is no longer the only message.” – Ben Gerson (excerpt, 1971 Rolling Stone review)
All Things Must Pass was released by Apple Records in November 1970. Co-produced by Harrison and Phil Spector, many musicians contributed to the album, including Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Pete Drake, Gary Wright, Klaus Voormann, members of Badfinger, players from Delaney and Bonnie band, and John Barham. The triple-LP topped charts around the world and earned universal acclaim as a rock masterpiece.
George became the first Beatle to have a solo number one single in both the UK and America with the album’s lead single, “My Sweet Lord,” which introduced his signature slide guitar playing. George co-wrote the album’s opening track, “I’d Have You Anytime” with his friend Bob Dylan, who also wrote another song on the landmark album, “If Not For You.” The new package includes the five additional tracks added to the album’s 2001 reissue: “I Live For You” (outtake), “Beware Of Darkness” (demo), “Let It Down” (alternative version), “What Is Life” (backing track), and “My Sweet Lord (2000).”
“What we need isn’t material, it’s spiritual. We need some other form of peace and happiness.” – George Harrison (1967)
In May 1973 came the release of George’s second studio album of new songs, Living In The Material World. He was joined in the studio by several musician friends who had also played on All Things Must Pass and others like Jim Keltner, with whom he had worked during The Concert for Bangladesh concerts in 1971. The album and its lead single, “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” both reached number one in America and on charts around the world.
The spiritual nature of Living In The Material World, described by Rolling Stone as “miraculous in its radiance,” is also reflected in the inclusion of an illustration from the Bhagavad-Gita in the artwork. The new release adds a remix of the single version of “Bangla Desh,” which has previously been available only on The Best Of George Harrison (1976), as well as two B-sides included on the album’s 2006 reissue, “Deep Blue” and “Miss O’Dell.”
“To write a song is, to me, more a case of being the vehicle to get over that feeling of that moment, of that time.” – George Harrison
Released in December 1974, Dark Horse capped a prolific year for George, during which he had established his own Dark Horse record label, built a recording studio in his Friar Park home in England, and completed an ambitious tour of North America. Throughout the year, Harrison produced albums for several artists while also recording his own. The songs on the LP document both George’s fallibility, in “Simply Shady,” and his spirituality, in “It Is ‘He’ (Jai Sri Krishna).”
Dark Horse reached the top five in America, sounding a high note at the end of Harrison’s rather frenetic year. The new release adds “I Don’t Care Anymore,” a sought after B-side making its CD debut, and a previously unreleased early, acoustic take of “Dark Horse.” The CD booklet includes newly written historical notes by Kevin Howlett.
“The songs on Extra Texture are as introspective as any of George’s albums. The first track is what he would call a pop song and the last song is an eccentric homage to Bonzo Dog “Legs” Larry Smith. But in between are tracks with strong melodies and thought-provoking lyrics. They are moody and personal and some of my favourites.” – Olivia Harrison
In late 1974, George returned to California to record his next album, the soul-tinged Extra Texture (Read All About It), his final album to be released through Apple Records. Leon Russell played piano on “Tired Of Midnight Blue,” and for some of the sessions, Harrison was joined by guitarist Jesse Ed Davis, plus Jim Keltner, Paul Stallworth, and David Foster from new band Attitudes, who were later signed by George’s newly formed Dark Horse label.
Two of the LP’s songs date from 1974 sessions for Dark Horse at George’s home studio: the soulful love song “Can’t Stop Thinking About You” and the backing track of “His Name Is ‘Legs’ (Ladies & Gentlemen).” The new release adds “This Guitar (Can’t Keep From Crying),” a song Harrison rerecorded in 1992 as a demo for Dave Stewart, who plays electric guitar on it. More than ten years later, the track received overdubs by Ringo Starr on drums, Dhani Harrison on guitar, and vocalist Kara DioGuardi. The CD booklet includes newly written historical notes by Kevin Howlett.
The Apple Years 1968-1975 brings together these six albums for the first time in one beautifully presented collection. Remastered with meticulous care and attention to detail, George Harrison’s Apple albums now sound better than ever before. Olivia and Dhani Harrison believe that, with the release of these albums, many songs that were undervalued when first issued will now have new light shone upon them. There are many gems in the box awaiting fresh discovery or reevaluation.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.