Final George Harrison album is due in November
Sick as he was during his final year, George Harrison had one album left in him. The former Beatle, who spent much of 2001 undergoing cancer treatments before he died in November, still found time to lay down a dozen tracks, which he coproduced with his son Dhani and with fellow Traveling Wilbury Jeff Lynne. Now, Harrison’s label Dark Horse has announced it will release the completed album, titled ”Brainwashed,” via Capitol Records on Nov. 19.
The team finished and released only one track before Harrison’s death: ”Horse to the Water,” which appeared on ex-Squeeze keyboardist Jools Holland’s ”Small World Big Band” last winter. (That track will not appear on ”Brainwashed,” a Harrison spokesperson told EW.com.) But Lynne, who produced Harrison’s last studio album, 1987’s multiplatinum ”Cloud Nine,” said in a statement that Harrison had given him and Dhani a lot of guidance on what the finished album should sound like. ”George constantly talked about how he wanted the album to sound, and there was always that spiritual energy that went into the lyrics as well as the music,” Lynne said. ”Before we started working on the album, George and Dhani had collaborated extensively on pre-production. George would come round my house and he’d always have a new song with him. He would strum them on a guitar or ukulele. The songs just knocked me out.”
According to Billboard, other musicians on the album (whose working title was the punning ”Portrait of a Leg End”) include ex-Traffic drummer Jim Capaldi and veteran session drummer Jim Keltner. The album will contain one unspecified cover tune and 11 original tracks, with titles like ”Valentine,” ”Pisces Fish,” and ”Brainwashed,” a song that’s a kiss-off to a former Harrison manager. ”I need to get that last song out of my system,” Harrison told Billboard in 1999. ”To have someone sit at your table with your family every night and then betray your trust is one of the worst experiences imaginable. Sometimes songwriting is the only way I can respond to the outside world, to exorcise its demons.”
Harrison’s music will also live on in the form of a tribute album, ”Songs From the Material World,” which Koch Records is releasing next Feb. 25, which would have been Harrison’s 60th birthday. According to Launch.com, contributors include such Harrison contemporaries as Todd Rundgren, Donovan, Kinks guitarist Dave Davies, Byrds frontman Roger McGuinn, Mountain singer Leslie West, Bonnie Bramlett (of Delaney & Bonnie), and rarely-heard-from founding Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green. Younger artists include Beatle son Julian Lennon, They Might Be Giants, ex-Wilco guitarist Jay Bennett, and the Smithereens. Aptly, a portion of the album’s proceeds will go to the T.J. Martell Foundation, a music-industry charity that raises money to fight cancer and AIDS.