By Jim Johnson

George Harrison fans have been counting down to today (September 23rd) for the long awaited release of the deluxe, eight-disc boxed edition, The Apple Years 1968-75. All the discs are digitally remastered versions of Harrison’s first six solo albums released between 1968 and 1975 on the Beatles’ Apple Records label. All the albums in the set —Wonderwall Music (1968), Electronic Sound (1969), All Things Must Pass (1970), Living In The Material World (1973), Dark Horse (1974), and Extra Texture (Read All About It) (1975) — are also available individually.

The collection, which comes 10 years after the release of the first Harrison box —The Dark Horse Years 1976-92 — features an exclusive DVD with “several video pieces, including a new seven-minute film with previously unreleased footage, an exclusive perfect-bound book with an introduction by George’s son, Dhani Harrison, new essays by award-winning radio producer and author Kevin Howlett, and rare and previously unpublished images.”

  • Prior to leaving Humble Pie, Peter Frampton was befriended by George Harrison who asked him to contribute acoustic guitar to assorted tracks for his 1970 solo debut, All Things Must Pass: “George called me up and he said, ‘Look, we need to do some more acoustics,’ and this was the best thing ever for me. We just sat, the two of us, in Abbey Road Studios — the studio they’d done Sgt. Pepper in, and they would just put up another reel. They went through the whole album, basically, and said, ‘We need some more acoustics here,’ so George and I would just add acoustics (guitar), overdub acoustics, maybe one or two tracks to each track. So basically, I’m playing on just about everything that’s not fully electric.”
  • Joshua Greene, the author of Here Comes The Sun: The Spiritual And Musical Journey Of George Harrison, recorded with Harrison in 1970 while a part of the Krishna sect Radha Krishna Temple, and recalled how practical Harrison was in the recording studio: “We came in, he said hello to his friends, slapped a few old buddies on the back. Then he started laughing and yukking it up about people’s reactions to a rock group with shaved heads — because he was putting out these albums of Sanskrit mantras. Then he looked at his watch and said ‘Y’know, we better get started, this studio is costing us 40 pounds an hour.’ That was impressive. He might’ve been a Beatle, he might’ve been one of the richest, most successful guys around — but he was very practical.”
  • We asked Olivia Harrison if George ever felt hurt by some of the negative reviews his solo work garnered due to much of it dealing with God and religion: “I don’t know. I don’t think he cared. He wrote what he felt, what he wanted to write. And recently I heard an interview (and) he said, ‘Y’know, sometimes you mention God, or you mention the word ‘Lord’ and it makes people’s hair curl.’ And he said, ‘Maybe I served some useful purpose (laughs).'”

The individual bonus tracks on the Harrison Apple albums are:

  • Wonderwall Music: “In The First Place” by Liverpool group the Remo Four, who played the rock elements of the recording sessions, a previously unreleased instrumental alternate take of the Beatles’ “The Inner Light,” and the previously unreleased “Almost Shankara,” a raga that was not used in the film or for the soundtrack LP.
  • All Things Must Pass: “I Live For You” (outtake), “Beware Of Darkness” (demo), “Let It Down” (alternative version), “What Is Life” (backing track), and “My Sweet Lord (2000).”
  • Living In The Material World: A remixed version of “Bangla Desh” — which has previously been available only on 1976’s The Best Of George Harrison — and the B-sides “Deep Blue” and “Miss O’Dell.”
  • Dark Horse: “I Don’t Care Anymore” — a B-side making its CD debut — and a previously unreleased early, acoustic take of “Dark Horse.”
  • Extra Texture (Read All About It): “This Guitar (Can’t Keep From Crying),” a song Harrison re-recorded in 1992 as a demo for the EurythmicsDave Stewart, who plays electric guitar on it. More than ten years later, the track received overdubs by Ringo Starr on drums, Dhani Harrison on guitar, and vocalist Kara DioGuardi. and released as part of Stewart’s 2006 Platinum Weird project.

The bonus DVD exclusive to The Apple Years box set includes:

  • George Harrison – The Apple Years Feature (2014)
  • All Things Must Pass (bonus feature in 2001 album package)
  • The Concert For Bangladesh EPK (2005)
  • “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” (video from Live In Japan, 1991)
  • “Miss O’Dell” (alternative version from 2006 deluxe edition of Living In The Material World)
  • “Sue Me Sue You Blues” (acoustic demo version from 2006 deluxe edition of Living In The Material World)
  • Living In The Material World (feature from 2006 deluxe edition of Living In The Material World)
  • “Ding Dong, Ding Dong” (original promo video, 1974)
  • “Dark Horse” (original promotional clip, 1974)

CHECK IT OUT: The All Things Must Pass teaser for The Apple Years 1968-75:


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