The early seventies were laced with threads of worldwide movements, new discoveries, and bone-chilling tragedies, but amongst the chaos of a new decade, there was one particular decision that struck the hearts of many. On April 10th, the legendary band, The Beatles, were officially broken up. Over the course of ten years, The Beatles captivated the ears and minds of many. Having groundbreaking records, catchy “yeah, yeah, yeahs,” that no one could get out of their head, and stealing the hearts of crazed teenage girls throughout what is known as “Beatlemania,” The Beatles made their mark. Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr are what the world has come to know and love as the members of The Beatles. Authentic personas were given to them by the press and adoring fans. McCartney was “the cute one,” Lennon was “the smart one,” Starr was “the funny one,” and Harrison was “the quiet one,” but isn’t it always the quiet ones that have the loudest minds?
John and Paul were the usual composers when writing the music, leaving George and Ringo with little works of their own on any studio album The Beatles produced. For Harrison, his ideas were often turned down and swept under the rug, in a way, when he would pitch them. However, not all of his songs had been rejected, which in turn gave us well-known songs such as “Here Comes the Sun” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Harrison was a crucial aspect to the later success and the everlasting legacy of The Beatles, but his musical prowess didn’t stop when the band parted ways.
Harrison’s first solo album, post-Beatles break-up, is known as “All Things Must Pass,” in which the title track is also a song The Beatles had turned down. Although it wasn’t his first solo album in general, it is certainly the one that established his place as a solo artist and proved that he didn’t need his three other bandmates to guide him through his own success. The single that was chosen to be released from the album, “My Sweet Lord”, was a top-charting hit that brought major prosperity to Harrison. Before the decision was made for “My Sweet Lord” to be the single that would be released, however, it was in strong criticism because of the fact that it was more of a religious song than the usual happy-go-lucky, love song that The Beatles were known for producing throughout their decade of ruling in the music industry.
Being a triple album, Harrison had the room to experiment with sounds a bit, and that’s exactly what the entire third record is, also known as “Apple Jam.” The other two records consists of the former Beatles’ trademark pieces about spirituality and life in general. Most of the songs are favored by the acoustic guitar, in which George had grown rather talented with over the years. The entire album is an ideal piece to listen to if you were to sit down in a dark room illuminated only by candlelight, and I can’t deny that I have done just that on several occasions. From the moment the first chord is strung on his guitar to the final, gruff note leaving Harrison’s lips during any given song, it’s as if the music has captured you in some sort of self-aware bubble. The flow of his lyrics guide your mind to think about things you wouldn’t normally think of during a routine daydream. For instance, the mellowed tune of “Run of the Mill,” a personal favorite of my own along with “Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let it Roll),” could make you question your very purpose in life and cause you to realize that maybe you aren’t living to your fullest potential.
Harrison was a poet in his own, distinct way, and although the legend had passed away in November of 2001, his legacy and lyrics are still in the minds, hearts, and souls of millions across the universe.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.