The Apple Years
7 CD, Box Set
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Audio CD, Box set, September 23, 2014
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In November 1968, George Harrison released 'Wonderwall Music'. A soundtrack to an art film called 'Wonderwall' this predominantly Indian music collection was the first solo album to be released by a Beatle and also the first album on the newly formed Apple Records. George would continue to release albums on Apple (and EMI) through to 1975's soul-influenced 'Extra Texture (Read All About It)' touching on experimentalism with 'Electronic Sound', the magnificent triple album 'All Things Must Pass', the chart-topping 'Living In The Material World' and the, perhaps, less well-known 'Dark Horse'. This box brings all these eclectic albums together in one set that mirrors 2004's 'Dark Horse Years' box set and will contain a perfect bound book with a DVD. All albums have been remastered by Dhani Harrison and Paul Hicks and all will be packaged in high-quality card packs and all albums, apart from 'All Things Must Pass' and 'Living In The Material World' contain newly written notes by Kevin Howlett. The DVD contains a brand new, never before seen video which has been painstakingly overseen by Olivia Harrison and all packages contain new photos many never seen before.
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As for the bonus tracks: Wonderwall has three bonus tracks. Electronic Sound doesn't have any bonus tracks. All Things Must Pass has the same five bonus tracks that were released back in 2001. Living In The Material World now has the three bonus (two are the same bonus tracks as released back in 2004), but no DVD this time that that came with that release. Both Dark Horse and Extra Texture have one bonus track each. I am sure George Harrison has a few more unreleased tracks besides the many outtakes and demos that could have been put out with this set. For example, Early Takes Volume 1 has 10 tracks that are either demos or early takes so there are tracks that could have been added to this set. A separate singles only CD could have been released with this box only with all of George's singles (both A and B sides).
The book that comes with this set is quite nice. The DVD is nice and it's short, way too short of what could have been put on it. Be very careful with the individual CD packaging. If you damage it in any way you can't just go buy a new jewel case to put it in. You will either have a damaged item or you will have to buy it again.
I bought this George Harrison Apple Years set because, fortunately or not, I buy/collect all releases by The Beatles and/or solo Beatles no matter what. There are a lot of people that are disappointed in this set because of the same reasons I have mentioned above, but again if you don't have any or all of these titles you can now get them. All of the titles in this set are available individually, but you won't get the book or the DVD if you do get them individually. You can save a ton of money (about $30.00 if you buy them individually on Amazon) as the box set is quite expensive. Good luck with your decision, but please don't get upset if you do buy it. You have been warned.
Some people have complained that this set should have been released before the Dark Horse box but apparently it's taken this long to sort out the legal issues with the other owners of Apple Records...
The discs are made as mini albums similar to the Beatles In Mono Box with George's quirky artwork and the Extra Texture cover does indeed have extra texture like the original vinyl.
The booklet is hardcover and has a lot of new photos, handwritten notes, tape boxes etc. and is written by Kevin Howlett.
The only slight negatives I could think of are that the pages of the booklet, being printed on glossy, photo-type paper, were slightly stuck together at first although no damage done - and I feel that the bonus tracks on "All Things Should Pass" should be at the end of the second disc - as with the 2000 reissue they appear in the middle of the triple album and - in my opinion - throw off the continuity of the album - they're great tracks and worth having, I just wish they were AFTER the original album tracks...but those are two very small gripes on one of the best box sets I've bought.
A lot of George's music was very unfairly treated by critics at the time ("Transcendental Mediocrity" etc.) so it's great to have it re-released with the care and respect it deserves.
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