George Harrison's first six solo albums, which were released between 1968 and 1975 on the Beatles' Apple Records label, have been digitally remastered and will be released September 23 via Capitol/UMe.
They will be available individually and as a new box set, The Apple Years 1968-75
Wonderwall Music, Electronic Sound, All Things Must Pass, Living in the Material World, Dark Horse and Extra Texture (Read All About It) are available for pre-order individually and in the deluxe, eight-disc boxed edition.
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 bound book with an introduction by Harrision's son, Dhani Harrison, new essays by radio producer and author Kevin Howlett and rare and previously unpublished images.
"I am so happy 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," Dhani says. "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 albums were digitally restored and remastered at Lurssen Mastering in Los Angeles by a 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 expanded with previously unreleased or rare additional tracks. All Things Must Pass includes the five extra tracks first released in 2001.
Here's a rundown of each album.
Released in November 1968, 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, Harrison 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.
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 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.
All Things Must Pass
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)."
Living In The Material World
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."
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.
Extra Texture (Read All About It)
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 10 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.