George Harrison – Cloud 9

This song was the title track of Georges 1987’s superb album. Song starts off with Harrison and Clapton trading licks and George matches him with his slide guitar. George was not a virtuoso type of guitar player but he was one of the best slide guitarists in the business. Guitar players are still trying to get his tone.

George wasn’t a self-indulgent guitar player…he always played for the song and always gave the song what it needed.

I love the blues-tone that Jeff Lynne got out of this production. He emphasized the bass drum and the bass to make it sound grounded.

Although the album was titled Cloud Nine, Harrison decided to use the numeric “9” in the song’s title to avoid confusion with the Temptations’ 1968 hit song “Cloud Nine.”

The song wasn’t released as a single but it’s a great-sounding song. This album marked a huge comeback for George. This album peaked at #8 in the Billboard 100, #5 in Canada, and #10 in the UK in 1988.

After this album, George formed the Travelin Wilburys.

Cloud 9

Have my love
It fits you like a glove
Join my dream, tell me yes
Bail out should there be a mess
The pieces you don’t need are mine

Take my time
I’ll show you cloud nine
Take my smile and my heart
They were yours from the start
The pieces to omit are mine

Have my love
Use it while it does you good
Share my highs but the times
That it hurts pay no mind
The pieces you don’t need are mine

I’ll see you there on cloud nine

Take my hope
Maybe even share a joke
If there’s good to be shown
You may make it all your own
And if you want to quit that’s fine
While you’re out looking for cloud nine

George Harrison – When We Was Fab

I loved this song when I heard it. To hear George sing about his time with The Beatles surprised me. Of all the Beatles George seemed to have the most resentment and some of it was understandable. A few years after this he would join the remaining Beatles and start on The Beatles Anthology.

George co-wrote the song with Jeff Lynne, who also co-produced the album that shortly pre-dates the two of them forming The Traveling Wilburys. ‘When We Was Fab’ is a musical nod to the psychedelic sound that the Beatles had made their own. George used a sitar, string quartet, and backward tape effects.

This one peaked at #23 in the Billboard 100, #20 in Canada, and #25 in the UK.

He also got some help from Ringo. Starr played drums on this track and a few others on the album. Harrison says that when he started writing the song, he had Ringo’s drumming in mind for the intro and the overall tempo.

The album was Cloud Nine…it peaked at #8 in the Billboard Album Charts, #5 in Canada, #10 in the UK, and #27 in New Zealand.

 

From Songfacts

Harrison wrote this after the Beatles had split up. It’s about the days of Beatlemania, when the group was known as “The Fab 4.” It sounds very much like a Beatles song. 

Jeff Lynne, George’s bandmate from the superstar band The Traveling Wilburys and leader of The Electric Light Orchestra, produced this song and as well as the rest of this album. A huge Beatles fan, Jeff also appears briefly in the video for this song (look for the big afro). 

Harrison states in this song: “income tax was all we had.” Excessive taxation was a scourge for him – he wrote the Beatles song “Taxman” on the subject.

Gary Wright, who had a big hit with “Dream Weaver,” played piano on this track.

 

When We Was Fab

One! Two!
Back then long time ago when grass was green
Woke up in a daze
Arrived like strangers in the night
(Fab! Doot, doot, doot doo)
Long time ago when we was fab (Fab!)
Back when income tax was all we had
Caressers fleeced you in the morning light
Casualties at dawn
And we did it all
(Fab! Doot, doot, doot doo)
Long time ago when we was fab (Fab)
In my world you are my only love

And while you’re in this world
The fuzz gonna come and claim you
But you mo better wise
When the buzz gonna come and take you away
Take you away. Take you away

The microscopes that magnified the tears
Studied warts and all
Still the life flowed on and on
(Fab! Doot, doot, doot, Gear!)
Long time ago when we was fab (Fab)

But it’s all over now, baby blue
(Oo! doot, doot doot. Fab!)
Long time ago when we was fab
(Fab!) Like this pullover you sent me
(Fab! Doot, doot, doot. Gear!)
And you really got a hold on me
(Fab! Doot, doot, doot, Gear!)

Temptations – Cloud Nine

This was written by Motown writers Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, who had written earlier Temptations hits “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” and “Just My Imagination.” Love the bass in this song.

This was a new sound for The Temptations. It was psychedelic soul-funk similar to Sly & the Family Stone, rather than the earlier smooth Soul they were known for. The song peaked at #6 in the Billboard 100 in 1969.

The Temptations all together had 4 number 1 hits, 15 Top Ten hits, and 53 songs in the Billboard 100.

This was the first Motown song to win a Grammy. It won for Best Rhythm & Blues Performance By A Duo Or Group, Vocal Or Instrumental in 1968.

From Songfacts

 

This was the first Temptations song recorded with new lead singer Dennis Edwards. David Ruffin, their original leader, was fired after he missed a gig. Ruffin became very difficult to work with when Motown refused to bill the group as “David Ruffin and The Temptations,” as they had done with “Diana Ross and The Supremes.”

The lyrics could be interpreted to be about drugs, which would go against The Temptations clean-cut image. They knew Whitfield and Strong didn’t do drugs, however, so they didn’t have a problem with the lyrics.

This was the first Motown song to use a wah-wah pedal. A white guitarist named Dennis Coffey brought it to a Motown workshop and played it for Whitfield while he was arranging this song. Whitfield loved the way it worked and had Coffey join the Motown house band when they recorded the track.

Whitfield used Coffey on many more sessions, including the seminal track “War.” Coffey, who had a hit on his own with “Scorpio,” considers his work on “Cloud Nine” some of his best. “It’s kicking major ass,” he told Songfacts. “That groove was so funky it’s amazing.”

Whitfield and Strong wrote this shortly after the songwriting team of Holland/Dozier/Holland left Motown. Holland/Dozier/Holland wrote many of the hits for the label, so it was a big boost for Motown when Whitfield and Strong stepped up and wrote another hit.

The week after this was released, Motown head Berry Gordy released Marvin Gaye’s version of “Heard It Through The Grapevine,” which until then he refused to release because he did not think it was a hit.

Cloud Nine

Oh ho, ho ho ho, ooh, hoo
Childhood part of my life, it wasn’t very pretty
You see, I was born and raised in the slums of the city
It was a one room shack that slept ten other children besides me
We hardly had enough food or room to sleep
It was hard times
Needed something to ease my troubled mind
Listen, my father didn’t know the meaning of work
He disrespected mama, and treated us like dirt
I left home, seekin’ a job that I never did find
Depressed and downhearted I took to cloud nine
I’m doin’ fine, up here on cloud nine
Listen one more time I’m doin’ fine, up here on cloud nine
Folks down there tell me
They say, give yourself a chance son, don’t let life pass you by
But the world of reality is a rat race where only the strongest survive
It’s a dog eat dog world, and that ain’t no lie
Listen, it ain’t even safe no more to walk the streets at night
I’m doin’ fine, on cloud nine
Let me tell you about cloud nine

Cloud nine, you can be what you wanna be
(Cloud nine) you ain’t got no responsibility
And ev’ry man, ev’ry man is free
(Cloud nine) and you’re a million miles from reality
I wanna say I love the life I live
And I’m gonna live the life I love up here on cloud nine
I, I, I, I, I, I I’m riding high
On cloud nine, you’re as free as a bird in flight
(Cloud nine) there’s no diff’rence between day and night
(Cloud nine) it’s a world of love and harmony
(Cloud nine) you’re a million miles from reality

Cloud nine, you can be what you wanna be
Cloud nine you ain’t got no responsibility
Cloud nine, and ev’ry man in this world is free
(Cloud nine) and you’re a million miles from reality
(Cloud nine) you can be what you wanna be