George Harrison, George Harrison

Douglas Wolk

By Douglas Wolk

on 01.14.14 in Reviews

George Harrison

George Harrison

In some ways, this 1979 set is Harrison’s, “Hey, guys, did I mention that I was in the Beatles?” album: He revived “Not Guilty” (of which the Beatles famously recorded more than 100 takes for the White Album before deciding to scrap it), wrote “Here Comes the Moon” as a direct sequel to his greatest Beatles-era song, and brought in his old pal Eric Clapton to provide a “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”-style introduction to “Love Comes to Everyone.” Still, it’s much more a product of its decade than of the ’60s. Mostly recorded in L.A., it’s essentially Harrison’s stab at soft rock, a mode that was nicely suited to his thoughts about materialism, universal love and the veil of maya.

Harrison’s stab at soft rock

Think of George Harrison as being in the same genre as, say, Seals & Crofts or Christopher Cross, instead of as what a Beatle was doing 10 years later, and its virtues become a lot more evident: musicianship that’s thoughtful rather than simply tasteful, a sense of humor about its hippie wispiness, an openness to happiness coupled with an open-eyed critique of hedonism (well, Harrison always had a bit of the moralist about him). The album’s Top 20 hit was “Blow Away,” a genuinely gratified-sounding love song with a graceful chorus, but its other highlight is “Faster,” which doesn’t quite pass judgment on an unidentified high-living friend.