Traveling Wilburys – Congratulations

This will be it for this Wilbury Weekend…one more tomorrow.

Congratulations for breaking my heart, Congratulations for tearing it all apart
Congratulations, you finally did succeed, Congratulations for leaving me in need

This appeared on their first Album Vol 1. This was the B side of the single End of the Line. Dylan sings this song of despair.

There is not a song on either of their two original album that I don’t know by heart. This one was played a lot in my car…which I seemed to livein… going in between a girlfriend and friends.

 

Congratulations

Congratulations for breaking my heart
Congratulations for tearing it all apart
Congratulations, you finally did succeed
Congratulations for leaving me in need

This morning I looked out my window and found
A bluebird singing but there was no one around
At night I lay alone in my bed
With an image of you goin’ around in my head

Congratulations for bringing me down
Congratulations, now I’m sorrow bound
Congratulations, you got a good deal
Congratulations, how good you must feel

I guess I must have loved you more than I ever knew
My world is empty now ’cause it don’t have you
And if I had just one more chance to win your heart again
I would do things differently, but what’s the use to pretend?

Congratulations for making me wait
Congratulations, now it’s too late
Congratulations, you came out on top
Congratulations, you never did know when to stop

Congratulations
Congratulations
Congratulations
Congratulations

Traveling Wilburys – Handle With Care

This was the hit that kicked the Wilburys project off the ground. George Harrsison and Jeff Lynne started the ball rolling… Initially an informal grouping with Roy Orbison and Tom Petty, they got together at Bob Dylan’s Santa Monica, California studio to quickly record an additional track as a B-side for the single release of Harrison’s song This Is Love. This was the song they came up with, which the record company immediately realized was too good to be released as a single B side. They also recorded “You Got It” at the session, which helped convince them to record an album together.

The song made it to #2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs Chart in 1988.

The title Handle With Care came when George Harrison saw the phrase on the side of a cardboard box in the studio.

Tom Petty on Bob Dylan: “There’s nobody I’ve ever met who knows more about the craft of how to put a song together than he does. I learned so much from just watching him work. He has an artist’s mind and can find in a line the keyword and think how to embellish it to bring the line out. I had never written more words than I needed, but he tended to write lots and lots of verses, then he’ll say, this verse is better than that, or this line. Slowly this great picture emerges. He was very good in The Traveling Wilbury’s: when somebody had a line, he could make it a lot better in big ways.”

Handle With Care

Been beat up and battered ’round
Been sent up, and I’ve been shot down
You’re the best thing that I’ve ever found
Handle me with care

Reputations changeable
Situations tolerable
Baby, you’re adorable
Handle me with care

I’m so tired of being lonely
I still have some love to give
Won’t you show me that you really care?

Everybody’s got somebody to lean on
Put your body next to mine, and dream on

I’ve been fobbed off, and I’ve been fooled
I’ve been robbed and ridiculed
In daycare centers and night schools
Handle me with care

Been stuck in airports, terrorized
Sent to meetings, hypnotized
Overexposed, commercialized
Handle me with care

I’m so tired of being lonely
I still have some love to give
Won’t you show me that you really care?

Everybody’s got somebody to lean on
Put your body next to mine, and dream on

I’ve been uptight and made a mess
But I’ll clean it up myself, I guess
Oh, the sweet smell of success
Handle me with care

The Beatles – The Inner Light

This song was the B side to Lady Madonna and a terrific song and melody. This is a George Harrison song and has gone largely unnoticed. It was George’s first song to appear on a single.

Harrison recorded the instrumental track for The Inner Light in India in January 1968, during the sessions for his Wonderwall Music soundtrack album. The only Beatles studio recording to be made outside Europe, the song introduced instruments such as sarod, shehnai, and pakhavaj.

George was reluctant to sing it because he was afraid he would not do it justice. Paul told him ‘You must have a go, don’t worry about it, it’s good.” McCartney and Lennon coaxed George into singing it. Two days later, McCartney and Lennon overdubbed backing vocals at the very end of the song, over the words “Do all without doing“.

George said about the song: : “Following John and I’s appearance on ‘The Frost Programme,’ the Sanskrit scholar Juan Mascaro, who was present in the audience, wrote a complimentary letter to me praising ‘Within You Without You.'” Juan’s letter stated: “It is a moving song. May it move the souls of millions.” George continues: “He also sent me a book called ‘Lamps Of Fire,’ suggesting that I wrote a song with the words of “Tao Te Ching.’  The words of ‘The Inner Light’ came from that book, page 66, 48a.”

“The Inner Light” finally appeared on an album called Rarities (released in the UK in 1978 and the US in 1980, and then the Past Masters CDs released in 1987.

Paul McCartney’s quote on the song… Forget the Indian music and listen to the melody. Don’t you think it’s a beautiful melody? It’s really lovely.

From Songfacts

George Harrison wrote this song. It was released as the B-side of “Lady Madonna” and was Harrison’s first song to appear on a single.

All the music was recorded by Indian session musicians at the EMI studios in Bombay, India, while George was working on the soundtrack to the movie Wonderwall.

George Harrison had originally recorded this for the Wonderwall soundtrack in January 1968. When The Beatles got together for recording sessions shortly before their trip to India, John and Paul added harmonies to the final line, “Do all without doing.” 

The lyrics are a translation of a section of the Tao Te Ching. Juan Mascaro, a Sanskrit teacher at Cambridge University, sent the book to George.

This was Harrison’s last Indian-themed Beatles song.

The original release was in mono; a stereo version was mixed in 1970 and used on the Past Masters compilation. The mono mix features an extra Indian instrument in the intro that did not make it to the stereo version.

Jeff Lynne from Electric Light Orchestra performed this at George Harrison’s 2002 memorial show The Concert For George. Lynne was good friends with Harrison and played with him in The Traveling Wilburys.

The Inner Light

Without going out of my door
I can know all things of earth
Without looking out of my window
I could know the ways of heaven
The farther one travels
The less one knows
The less one really knows

Without going out of your door
You can know all things on earth
Without looking out of your window
You could know the ways of heaven
The farther one travels
The less one knows
The less one really knows

Arrive without traveling
See all without looking
Do all without doing

 

 

 

George Harrison – My Sweet Lord

I’ve posted many of Harrison’s songs but I avoided this one because it is so well known… but after hearing it yesterday I couldn’t resist anymore. The opening chords with the slide part is perfect. The song was/is hugely popular and peaked at #1 as My Sweet Lord/Isn’t It A Pity in the Billboard 100, #1 in the UK, #1 in Canada, #1 in New Zealand.

After Harrison died, this was re-released in the UK, where it once again went to #1. Proceeds from the single went to the Material World Charitable Foundation, which Harrison started in 1973 to support charities that work with children and the poor.

It came off the album “All Things Must Pass” which was a triple album and suddenly George was the Beatle that was finally heard and on top of the world…and it is arguably the best album by an ex-Beatle.

In 1971, Harrison was accused of copying its melody from the Chiffons’ 1963 song “He’s So Fine.” Eventually, the United States district court ruled that Harrison was guilty of subconscious plagiarism, and Harrison developed an extreme paranoia about songwriting for many years. Later on, George would write and record “This Song” as a response to what happened.

Harrison did a parody of this along with the “Pirate Song” with Monty Python…video is below.

From Songfacts

This was Harrison’s first single as a solo artist, and it was his biggest hit. The song is about the Eastern religions he was studying.

Highly unusual for a hit song, Harrison repeats part of a Hindu mantra in the lyric when he sings, “Hare Krishna… Krishna, Krishna.” When set to music, this mantra is typically part of a chant, that acts as a call to the Lord. Harrison interposes it with a Christian call to faith: “Hallelujah” – he was pointing out that “Hallelujah and Hare Krishna are quite the same thing.”

In the documentary The Material World, Harrison explains: “First, it’s simple. The thing about a mantra, you see… mantras are, well, they call it a mystical sound vibration encased in a syllable. It has this power within it. It’s just hypnotic.”

In 1971, Bright Tunes Music sued Harrison because this sounded too much like the 1963 Chiffons hit “He’s So Fine.” Bright Tunes was controlled by The Tokens, who set it up when they formed the production company that recorded “He’s So Fine” – they owned the publishing rights to the song.

During the convoluted court case, Harrison explained how he composed the song: He said that in December 1969, he was playing a show in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the group Delaney and Bonnie, whose piano player was Billy Preston (who contributed to some Beatles recordings). Harrison said that he started writing the song after a press conference when he slipped away and started playing some guitar chords around the words “Hallelujah” and “Hare Krishna.” He then brought the song to the band, who helped him work it out as he came up with lyrics. When he returned to London, Harrison worked on Billy Preston’s album Encouraging Words. They recorded the song for the album, which was released on Apple Records later in 1970, and Harrison filed a copyright application for the melody, words and harmony of the song. Preston’s version remained an album cut, and it was Harrison’s single that was the huge hit and provoked the lawsuit, which was filed on February 10, 1971, while the song was still on the chart.

In further testimony, Harrison claimed he got the idea for “My Sweet Lord” from The Edwin Hawkins Singers’ “Oh Happy Day,” not “He’s So Fine.”

When the case was filed, Harrison’s manager was Allen Klein, who negotiated with Bright Tunes on his behalf. The case was delayed when Bright Tunes went into receivership, and was not heard until 1976. In the meantime, Harrison and Klein parted ways in bitter fashion, and Klein began consulting Bright Tunes. Harrison offered to settle the case for $148,000 in January 1976, but the offer was rejected and the case brought to court.

The trial took place February 23-25, with various expert witnesses testifying. The key to the case was the musical pattern of the two songs, which were both based on two musical motifs: “G-E-D” and “G-A-C-A-C.” “He’s So Fine” repeated both motifs four times, “My Sweet Lord” repeated the first motif four times and the second motif three times. Harrison couldn’t identify any other songs that used this exact pattern, and the court ruled that “the two songs are virtually identical.” And while the judge felt that Harrison did not intentionally copy “My Sweet Lord,” that was not a defense – thus Harrison was on the hook writing a similar song without knowing it. Harrison was found guilty of “subconscious plagiarism” in a verdict handed down on August 31, 1976.

Assessing damages in the case, the judge determined that “My Sweet Lord” represented 70% of the airplay of the All Things Must Pass album, and came up with a total award of about $1.6 million. However, in 1978 Allen Klein’s company ABKCO purchased Bright Tunes for $587,000, which prompted Harrison to sue. In 1981, a judge decided that Klein should not profit from the judgment, and was entitled to only the $587,000 he paid for the company – all further proceeds from the case had to be remitted back to Harrison. The case dragged on until at least 1993, when various administrative matters were finally settled.

The case was a burden for Harrison, who says he tried to settle but kept getting dragged back to court by Bright Tunes. After losing the lawsuit, he became more disenfranchised with the music industry, and took some time off from recording – after his 1976 album Thirty Three & 1/3, he didn’t release another until his self-titled album in 1979. He told Rolling Stone, “It’s difficult to just start writing again after you’ve been through that. Even now when I put the radio on, every tune I hear sounds like something else.”

This was recorded at Abbey Road studios using the same equipment The Beatles used. There were some familiar faces at the sessions who had contributed to Beatles albums, including John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Billy Preston and Eric Clapton. Bobby Whitlock was friends with Harrison and Clapton, and played keyboards on the album. When we spoke with Whitlock, he shared his thoughts:

“That whole session was great. George Harrison, what a wonderful man. All the time that I ever knew him, which was from 1969 to his passing, he was a wonderful man. He included everyone on everything he did because there was enough for all.”

Whitlock adds, “All during the sessions, the door would pop open and in would spring three or four or five Hare Krishnas in their white robes and shaved heads with a pony tail coming out the top. They were all painted up, throwing rose petals and distributing peanut butter cookies.” (For more on these sessions, check out our full Bobby Whitlock interview)

This was the first #1 hit for any Beatle after the band broke up. Harrison was the first Beatle to release a solo album. He came out with Wonderwall Music, a soundtrack to the movie Wonderwall, in 1968.

When this song was released, the phrase “Hare Krishna” was associated with a religious group called the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, whose members would often approach passengers in airports, seeking donations and trying to solicit members. Individuals in this group became popularly known as “Hare Krishnas,” with a generally negative connotation.

Artists who record chant music often face a negative reaction from listeners who don’t understand the mantras. When we spoke with Krishna Das, the leading American chant musician, he explained: “‘My Sweet Lord’ is very clear and very beautiful, but the problem is that English has been appropriated by Western religion and it’s very hard to talk about spiritual things in a song that doesn’t get too ‘organized religion-y,’ you know? And then you get a lot of people who have a negative reaction to that as well. You can get a lot of negativity from the organized religion people. Like, ‘This isn’t our Jesus. This isn’t the way it is.'”

Phil Spector produced this and sang backup. With the blessing of Harrison and John Lennon (and over the objections of Paul McCartney), Spector produced the last Beatles album, Let It Be.

In an interview with Howard Stern, Peter Frampton verified that he played lead guitar on “My Sweet Lord.” According to Frampton, Harrison was a fan of his and invited him to the studio, where he handed Frampton his legendary Les Paul. Frampton assumed he was going to play rhythm, but Harrison said he wanted him to play lead, so Frampton did. Frampton wasn’t officially credited for this (just as Eric Clapton wasn’t credited on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”), but rumors circulated for years.

Harrison released a new version, “My Sweet Lord 2000,” when he reissued All Things Must Pass.

Producer Phil Spector thought “My Sweet Lord” was the commercial hit of the album, and everyone else resisted him on that. According to Phil, George and others worried about how the public might react to the religious overtones and the Hare Krishna influence.

George Harrison parodied “My Sweet Lord” during Eric Idle’s Rutland Weekend Television Christmas special on December 26, 1975, turning it into “The Pirate Song.” >>

Artists to cover this song include Aretha Franklin, Johnny Mathis, Richie Havens, Nina Simone, Peggy Lee and Julio Iglesias. The Chiffons also covered the song in 1975 amidst the plagiarism lawsuit over their song “He’s So Fine.”

The guitar riff on America’s 1975 #1 hit “Sister Golden Hair” was inspired by this track. That song was produced by George Martin, who worked on most of The Beatles albums.

Gerry Beckley, who wrote “Sister Golden Hair” and sang lead, said in his Songfacts interview: “I very openly tip my hat there to ‘My Sweet Lord’ and George Harrison. I was such a fan of all The Beatles but we knew George quite well and I just thought that was such a wonderful intro.”

U2 performed this as a tribute at their show in Atlanta on November 30, 2001, the night after Harrison died.

George Harrison and Monty Python.

 

 

My Sweet Lord

My sweet Lord
Hm, my Lord
Hm, my Lord

I really want to see you
Really want to be with you
Really want to see you Lord
But it takes so long, my Lord

My sweet Lord
Hm, my Lord
Hm, my Lord

I really want to know you
Really want to go with you
Really want to show you Lord
That it won’t take long, my Lord (hallelujah)

My sweet Lord (hallelujah)
Hm, my Lord (hallelujah)
My sweet Lord (hallelujah)

I really want to see you
Really want to see you
Really want to see you, Lord
Really want to see you, Lord
But it takes so long, my Lord (hallelujah)

My sweet Lord (hallelujah)
Hm, my Lord (hallelujah)
My, my, my Lord (hallelujah)

I really want to know you (hallelujah)
Really want to go with you (hallelujah)
Really want to show you Lord (aaah)
That it won’t take long, my Lord (hallelujah)

Hmm (hallelujah)
My sweet Lord (hallelujah)
My, my, Lord (hallelujah)

Hm, my Lord (hare krishna)
My, my, my Lord (hare krishna)
Oh hm, my sweet Lord (krishna, krishna)
Oh-uuh-uh (hare hare)

Now, I really want to see you (hare rama)
Really want to be with you (hare rama)
Really want to see you Lord (aaah)
But it takes so long, my Lord (hallelujah)

Hm, my Lord (hallelujah)
My, my, my Lord (hare krishna)
My sweet Lord (hare krishna)
My sweet Lord (krishna krishna)
My Lord (hare hare)
Hm, hm (Gurur Brahma)
Hm, hm (Gurur Vishnu)
Hm, hm (Gurur Devo)
Hm, hm (Maheshwara)
My sweet Lord (Gurur Sakshaat)
My sweet Lord (Parabrahma)
My, my, my Lord (Tasmayi Shree)
My, my, my, my Lord (Guruve Namah)
My sweet Lord (Hare Rama)

(hare krishna)
My sweet Lord (hare krishna)
My sweet Lord (krishna krishna)
My Lord (hare hare)

George Harrison – Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)

Another positive song from George. The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #8 in the UK and #9 in Canada in 1973. Just another good song from George that continues his positive message.

“Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)” replaced Wings’ “My Love” at number 1 on the Hot 100 singles chart…For the week ending 30 June that year, the Harrison and McCartney songs were ranked numbers 1 and 2 respectively.

George Harrison said this about the song: “Sometimes you open your mouth and you don’t know what you are going to say, and whatever comes out is the starting point. If that happens and you are lucky, it can usually be turned into a song. This song is a prayer and personal statement between me, the Lord, and whoever likes it.”

Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)

Give me love
Give me love
Give me peace on earth
Give me light
Give me life
Keep me free from birth
Give me hope
Help me cope, with this heavy load
Trying to, touch and reach you with,
Heart and soul

Om m m m m m m m m m m m m m
M m m my lord . . .

Please take hold of my hand, that
I might understand you

Won’t you please
Oh won’t you

Give me love
Give me love
Give me peace on earth
Give me light
Give me life
Keep me free from birth
Give me hope
Help me cope, with this heavy load
Trying to, touch and reach you with,
Heart and soul

Om m m m m m m m m m m m m m
M m m my lord . . .

George Harrison – Devil’s Radio

This song was not a big hit but it was one of my favorites off of his “comeback” album Cloud Nine in the 1980s. The song is pure George. He always valued his privacy and in this song, he made it clear he detested gossip in any way.

“Devil’s Radio” was inspired by a church billboard Harrison had seen that stated “Gossip: The Devil’s Radio…Don’t Be a Broadcaster.” The song did peak at #4 in Billboard Mainstream Chart Rock charts. The Cloud Nine album peaked at #8 in the Billboard Album Charts.

Even when George was young he didn’t like people knowing his business. As his mom would recall, “George was always against nosy mothers, and he used to hate all the neighbors who stood around gossiping.”

Devil’s Radio

Gossip, gossip
Gossip, gossip

I heard it in the night
Words that thoughtless speak
Like vultures swooping down below
On the devil’s radio

I hear it through the day
Airwaves gettin’ filled
With gossip broadcast to and fro
On the devil’s radio

Oh yeah, gossip
Gossip, oh yeah

He’s in the clubs and bars
And never turns it down
Talking about what he don’t know
On the devil’s radio

He’s in your TV set
Won’t give it a rest
That soul betraying so and so
The devil’s radio

Gossip, gossip
Gossip, gossip
(Oh yeah) gossip, (gossip) oh yeah
(Gossip) oh yeah, (oh yeah) gossip

It’s white and black like industrial waste
Pollution of the highest degree
You wonder why I don’t hang out much
I wonder how you can’t see

He’s in the films and songs
And on all your magazines
It’s everywhere that you may go
The devil’s radio

Oh yeah, gossip
Gossip, oh yeah

Runs thick and fast, no one really sees
Quite what bad it can do
As it shapes you into something cold
Like an Eskimo igloo

It’s all across our lives
Like a weed it’s spread
’till nothing else has space to grow
The devil’s radio

Can creep up in the dark
Make us hide behind shades
And buzzing like a dynamo
The devil’s radio

oh yeah
(Gossip) gossip, (gossip) gossip
Oh yeah, gossip I heard you on the secret wireless
Gossip, oh yeah You know the devil’s radio, child
Gossip, gossip
Gossip, gossip

George Harrison – Blow Away

This song gets overlooked at times. It’s a simple song but a good pop song. I do remember hearing this on the radio quite a bit when it was released. The song was on the album George Harrison (#14) and it peaked at #16 in the Billboard 100, #51 in the UK, and #7 in Canada. This song stood out a little in this disco and punk era.

Steve Winwood is providing backup vocals and playing a PolyMoog synthesizer. The song was included in the Eric Idle film “Nuns on the Run” released in 1990.

In 2010, AOL radio listeners chose the track as one of the “10 Best George Harrison Songs”, appearing at number 2 on the list, behind “My Sweet Lord”… I don’t agree with the AOL listeners as being number 2 but I do like the song.

 

The original video is below…the duck baffles me but I just enjoy it.

Blow Away

Day turned black, sky ripped apart
Rained for a year ’til it dampened my heart
Cracks and leaks
The floorboards caught rot
About to go down
I’d almost forgot.

All I got to do is to love you
All I got to be is, be happy
All it’s got to take is some warmth to make it
Blow away, blow away, blow away.

Sky cleared up, day turned to bright
Closing both eyes now the head filled with light
Hard to remember what a state I was in
Instant amnesia
Yang to the yin.

All I got to do is to love you
All I got to be is, be happy
All it’s got to take is some warmth to make it
Blow away, blow away, blow away.

Wind blew in, cloud was dispersed
Rainbows appearing, the pressures were burst
Breezes a-singing, now feeling good
The moment had passed
Like I knew that it should.

All I got to do is to love you
All I got to be is, be happy
All it’s got to take is some warmth to make it
Blow away, blow away, blow away.