George Harrison is the eighth studio album by George, released in February 1979. It was written and recorded through much of 1978, a period of domestic contentment for Harrison, during which he married Olivia Trinidad Arias and became a father for the first time, to son Dhani. Harrison wrote several of the songs in Hawaii, while the track “Faster” reflected his year away from music-making, when he and Arias attended many of the races in the 1977 Formula 1 World Championship. The album also includes the hit single “Blow Away” and “Not Guilty”, a song that Harrison originally recorded in 1968 for the Beatles’ White Album.
Harrison co-produced this solo album with Russ Titelman, while the contributing musicians include Steve Winwood, Neil Larsen, Willie Weeks and Andy Newmark, with Eric Clapton and Gary Wright making guest appearances. The recording sessions took place at Harrison’s FPSHOT studio in Oxfordshire.
Issued on Dark Horse Records, George Harrison was warmly received by music critics on release, and commentators regularly cite the album among the artist’s best works after All Things Must Pass (1970). The album was remastered in 2004 as part of The Dark Horse Years 1976–1992 reissues.
With Harrison’s penchant for leisure and travel following Thirty Three & 1/3′s release, he had not started recording a follow-up until the spring of 1978, although he had been writing songs during his hiatus. Harrison decided to work with Russ Titelman as co-producer for George Harrison, which was recorded in his home studio at Friar Park, with string overdubs being effected at London’s AIR Studios. Special guests included Steve Winwood, Gary Wright (who co-wrote “If You Believe”) and Eric Clapton.
Before travelling to Hawaii in early 1978 to write or finish writing songs for the album, Harrison repeatedly listened to his 1970 triple album All Things Must Pass for inspiration. The new album was originally going to be titled Faster after the song of that title,which Harrison wrote as a tribute to his racing-driver friends in Formula 1. In addition to revisiting “Not Guilty”, a song he had first recorded with the Beatles in 1968, Harrison wrote “Here Comes the Moon” as a lyrical successor to his 1969 composition “Here Comes the Sun”. Another new song, “Soft-Hearted Hana” – the title of which references the Tin Pan Alley standard “Hard Hearted Hannah” – was written about a psychedelic mushroom experience Harrison had on the Hawaiian island of Maui. The recording of this song includes sounds and conversation captured at Harrison’s local Henley-on-Thames pub, The Row Barge.
The album was previewed by the single “Blow Away”, which reached number 51 in the United Kingdom and number 16 in the United States. George Harrison reached number 39 in the UK and peaked at number 14 in the US, going gold there. “Blow Away” was most successful in Canada, peaking at number 7 on the singles chart. Following the album’s release, Harrison’s efforts were increasingly directed towards the film industry, after he had formed Handmade Films in order to help his friends in Monty Python complete Life of Brian.
Three of the songs from the eponymous album were included on Harrison’s Best of Dark Horse 1976–1989 compilation: “Blow Away”, an edited version of “Here Comes the Moon”, and the single edit of “Love Comes to Everyone”. In 2009, “Blow Away” appeared on the career-spanning compilation Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison.
In 2004, George Harrison was remastered and reissued both separately and as part of the deluxe box set The Dark Horse Years 1976–1992 on Dark Horse with new distribution by EMI, adding the bonus track demo version of “Here Comes the Moon”.
George Harrison received favourable reviews upon its February 1979 release.
The original LP featured a close-up photograph of Harrison, taken by Mike Salisbury, with the album’s name printed in brown in the top right corner. For the 2004 CD-remaster, the same picture was used but with different lettering. The brown title was erased, and Harrison’s signature in white was added to the top left corner. Footage from these photo sessions can be seen in Martin Scorsese’s 2011 documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World.
All songs written by George Harrison, except where noted.
- Side one
- “Love Comes to Everyone” – 4:36
- “Not Guilty” – 3:35
- “Here Comes the Moon” – 4:48
- “Soft-Hearted Hana” – 4:03
- “Blow Away” – 4:00
- Side two
- “Faster” – 4:46
- “Dark Sweet Lady” – 3:22
- “Your Love Is Forever” – 3:45
- “Soft Touch” – 3:59
- “If You Believe” (Harrison, Gary Wright) – 2:55
- Bonus tracks
For the 2004 digitally remastered issue of George Harrison a bonus track was added:
- “Here Comes the Moon” (demo version) – 3:37
Upon adding Harrison’s catalog to iTunes, it was given another bonus track:
- “Blow Away” (demo version) – 3:04
The following personnel are credited in the album’s liner notes.
- George Harrison – lead and backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, dobro, mandolin, sitar, bass on “Faster”
- Andy Newmark – drums
- Willie Weeks – bass
- Neil Larsen – Fender Rhodes, piano,Minimoog
- Ray Cooper – percussion
- Steve Winwood – Polymoog, harmonium, backing vocals
- Emil Richards – marimba
- Gayle Levant – harp
- Eric Clapton – guitar intro on “Love Comes to Everyone”
- Gary Wright – Oberheim on “If You Believe”
- Del Newman – string and horn arrangements