George Harrison, Somewhere In England, Dark Horse DHK-3492, 1981
George Harrison’s career had all but stalled by 1980. His custom label Dark Horse was distributed by Warner Brothers, and the early submission of this record was rejected for lack of commercial potential. In November, 1980, Ringo Starr came to Harrison’s home studio to collaborate on some songs for his next solo record. Harrison presented a nostalgic tune called All Those Years Ago to Ringo, but because it was too hard to sing, he rejected it. They did finish the backing track together though, and Harrison moved on to other songs.
A few weeks later John Lennon was murdered. Harrison, alone with his thoughts and an unfinished album, rewrote the lyrics to All Those Years Ago as a tribute song to Lennon. With Ringo’s percussion tracks already laid down, George asked Paul & Linda McCartney to come in and sing the background parts. With the three surviving Beatles all performing together on their first track since the I Me Mine session in 1970, suddenly Warner Brothers was very interested in the album. The public was too, and Harrison had his first big hit since 1973.
Despite the success, there’s still a touch of morbidity about the record. The other songs are paeans to God, tales of woe, or rants against the music business. It’s one of the easiest Harrison albums to find these days because it sold so well and 36 years on everyone who wants one already has it. I’m glad I have it, but I probably won’t play it more than once a decade.
Cost: $2, $235 Remaining