The most monumental of all the Beatles solo projects-and one of the most critically and commercially successful-George Harrison's All Things Must Pass here receives a complete make-over, with a complete new remastering and five new bonus tracks! Also here is a 20-page booklet annotated by George.
It's hard to imagine, but Beatles resident mystic George Harrison has arguably become the band's most curmudgeonly cynic. We offer as evidence this splendidly remastered 30th-anniversary edition of his 1970 multidisc solo epic. If the mini-boxed set's booklet and twin inner CD sleeves won't convince you (the album's familiar cover is colorized and altered to include backdrops of a freeway-tangled cityscape and nuclear reactor cooling towers, respectively), then maybe his liner-note apology for Phil Spector's "big production" (kind of like Da Vinci grousing about Mona's crooked smile) or his laconic, stripped-down, 2000 rethink of "My Sweet Lord" will. With such a mindset, it's unsurprising Harrison has allowed a nearly decade-and-a-half gap to grow between recordings. Still, no amount of grumpy auto-revisionism can subtract from the admittedly overwrought majesty of these tracks, which were the logical sonic extension of Abbey Road. It remains Harrison's unequaled masterpiece. The devolved "My Sweet Lord" aside, the bonus tracks here offer new insight: the unreleased "I Live for You" further highlights the album's oft overlooked country facet; spare takes of "Beware of Darkness" and "Let It Down" underscore the strength of Harrison's songwriting; an alternate backing track of "What Is Life" demonstrates the meticulousness of Spector's production. And then there's the project's truly stellar session lineup, which included Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Klaus Voorman, Jim Gordon, Dave Mason, Badfinger, Billy Preston, Ginger Baker, Carl Radle, Gary Brooker, Jim Price, Bobby Keys, Pete Drake and, it turns out, even Phil Collins! --Jerry McCulley