My George Harrison Best of record is probably a rip-off of the one you can see on this picture. My cover is different, but the tracklist is exactly the same.
The record was released on Capitol, however my record says “Music for Pleasure”, it seems to be a branch of Emi. Music for Pleasure is a nice name for a record company. That’s the reason why I mention it. Apart from that: Whatever.
This record is a nice compilation split into two parts. Side A has some Beatles tracks written by George. I can’t really tell whether they are his most famous ones, or the commercially most successful ones or why they were chosen. They are not in chronological order either. Two definite hits are on there for sure, Something and While my Guitar gently weeps. Here comes the Sun also rings a bell. On the B Side there is some of his solo stuff, f.e. from the All Things Must Pass album.
Probably like most of my generation, I got introduced to the Beatles properly with the 1 compilation that had all their number one singles on it. I bought that when it was released in 2000 and a bit later a friend gave me All Things Must Pass, which had just been released in a remastered 30th anniversary edition. I listened much more to this then to any Beatles stuff. What is life has become a particular favourite of mine.
Looking at the tracklist now I realise the two sides seem to somewhat mirror each other. The first songs could be the two big (Beatles and Solo) hits Something and My Sweet Lord, Taxman and Bangla-desh (both song 4) reveal the political side of George Harrison’s song writing, while the two last songs somehow incorporate the same kind of spirit. Both have an amazing melody that is incredibly mellow, but when the song gets stuck in your head for a time, it turns into a jolly nice sing-along thing.
The best discovery I made on the record is this brilliant little song called You. Popular trivia says George Harrison rehearsed this one just singing all those “I”s and “You”s and couldnt really come up with any lyrics, until finally someone said he should just leave it like that. And it sounds right, the utter wordlessness just seems like the perfect proof of someone being hopelessly in love.
And here is another personal trivia. Back then at the time of 1 and All Things Must Pass, a friend of mine told me her dad, as a practising Christian, downloaded a Hallelujah-only version of My Sweet Lord – a version, where the backing choir only sings Hallelujah, no Hare Krishna etc. Whether this was an official version or a converter’s edit, I have no idea. Also, how the act of (likely) illegal downloading corresponds with being a practising Christian, I do not know. But since the concepts and understandings of religion seem to be so difficult to grasp, maybe belief lies in what you believe feels right.
Update: Here’s a picture of the version I have.