The first triple album from a solo artist: George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass (1970)

In the UK, on Nov. 27, 1970, Apple Records released George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, a three-record set of music (two discs were songs, the third record was simply titled Apple Jam, four jam sessions that included Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and musicians from the other recordings). The album would be released in the US on December 10.

Many consider this to be Harrison’s first solo release, and technically it is — post-Beatles. Harrison had recorded a soundtrack album called Wonderwall Music in 1968 (for the film Wonderwall) and an experimental Moog synthesizer album, titled Electronic Music, in 1969 (on the short-lived, Apple subsidiary label for experimental music, Zapple Records).

Harrison’s album arrived seven months after McCartney, Paul McCartney’s debut solo album, and was released prior to John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. Ringo Starr had already released two solo records in 1970 (March’s Sentimental Journey and September’s Beaucoups of Blues).

All Things Must Pass featured an incredible lineup of musicians: Harrison and Dave Mason (Traffic) on guitars; Pete Drake (“Lay Lady Lay”) on pedal steel guitar; keyboards from Gary Wright (“Dream Weaver”), Billy Preston (the fifth Beatle), Gary Brooker (Procol Harum) and Bobby Whitlock (co-founder of Derek & The Dominos); rhythm guitars and percussion from Badfinger; drums and percussion from Ringo Starr, Jim Gordon (Wrecking Crew session great and Derek & The Dominos) and Alan White (Plastic Ono Band and Yes); KlausVoorman (Beatles’ friend from Germany and artist for Revolver cover) and Carl Radle (Derek & The Dominos) on bass; Bobby Keyes (“Brown Sugar”) on tenor saxophone and the great session musician Jim Price on trumpet.

Harrison’s album contained new music, as well as several previous songs that had been rejected for Beatles’ albums, including two from 1966 (“The Art of Dying” and “Isn’t It a Pity”). Harrison produced the album with Phil Spector, and it quickly worked its way to the #1 spot on both the UK and US album charts (for eight weeks and seven weeks respectively). The song “My Sweet Lord” also shot to the top of the singles charts quickly.

Here’s one of many songs that had that “Wall of Sound” energy: “Wah-Wah” (from 1972’s The Concert for Bangladesh).

About poppaculture

I am a seasoned consumer of modern (and not so modern) culture.
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3 Responses to The first triple album from a solo artist: George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass (1970)

  1. Still my favourite solo album by an ex-Beatle (despite the jam LP being largely uninteresting).

    Are there other triple studio (not live) albums by a single artist from the first vinyl era? Despite being an aficionado of triple live albums, I cannot think of another studio example.

    • poppaculture says:

      I agree with you. This recording is a remarkable feat. At the time (1970), the only other “contemporary” three-disc album I can recall was the Woodstock soundtrack. The three-disc release is still a rarity as a studio effort (as you mentioned, it’s more common for live albums and anthology collections). Two come to mind as I type. In the late ’70s, Lol Creme and Kevin Godley released Consequences and The Clash released Sandinista! in 1980.

      • Consequences and Sandinista! Very nice memory-work!
        I recently did a feature on triple lives (in 3 parts of course) entitled…
        Welcome Back My Friends (Part 1)
        The Show that never Ends (Part 2)
        Ladies and Gentlement… (Part 3)
        No prizes for guessing the inspiration for those titles!

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