Thursday, March 21, 2013

Top 5 Songs: Let It Roll: The Best of George Harrison


Well it's official; I'm sick as a fucking dog, and no I'm not talking about being dirty-minded or perverted, although I am, and will always remain that way too;)

No, I'm just fucking sick. Snot running free like a Gazelle, making my nose look redder than Rudolph, and just that all-around shitty, icky feeling.

Oh well, it'll pass.

I figured I'd still do/make a Top 5 list though, so bear with me here.

I was watching the awesome documentary by award-winning director Martin Scorsese  about George Harrison called Living in the Material World. I'd seen before of course, but it's still fresh in my mind, thus why I picked this album:

It's the best, best of compilation out there so far about George Harrison's music and career. It encompasses his Beatle days and solo career.

One of the the things that sets it apart from other "Best Of" albums, is the swapping in of some live versions of his popular hits written while still in The Beatles. And really, the sheer amount of songs, both hits and b-sides is very appealing and worthwhile for any and all George Harrison fans.

I'll attempt to pull 5 top songs with a tie(or two) from this album, but damn if it isn't gonna' be tough as hell to do.
Let's do this thing!

5). Isn't It A Pity/Marwa Blues:

I really love "Isn't it a pity" even though it's a sad song. It's realistic and is all about the different ways people hurt each other, whether intentionally or not. The accompanying music to the last parts of the song feel epic and so beautifully moving. If you happen to get misty-eyed it's okay;)

Plus as an added pathos bonus, it seems George wrote this while he and long-time love Patti Boyd broke up and she got together with one of his best friends Eric Clapton. "Layla" anyone?

Marwa Blues is an instrumental, but damn is it beautiful. This one really showcases just how damn talented of  a guitar player George was. Plus it's soothing. Like lay out on the beach with a drink in your hand, or just admire the sunset/sunrise kind of song. Definitely good enough to meditate or fall asleep to as well.

4). While My Guitar Gently Weeps

How could you not include a song like this on a top 5 list right? Now while the live version on this album's fine, I prefer both the original and the version on the Beatles Love album. This was written during a rough period near the end of the Beatles existence as a group, and it seems as though George was trying to let everybody know ins his own way how he felt about the whole experience and his take away from all that.
Classic Harrison all the way.

Oh and did I mention Eric Clapton played with Harrison on the recording of this song? Well I did now;)

3). What Is Life?

Now you want a fun, poppy song, and this one's your man. I guess it's basically George asking one of those deep, introspective questions we all ask ourselves or someone else from time to time, and that's no different here. 

I first became aware of this song while watching my favorite movie of all time, Goodfellas, also by directed by Martin Scorsese. Amazing how those two projects wound up lining up with Scorsese huh? Hey, whatta' ya' gonna' do? The man has great tastes in music;)

2). Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp( Let It Roll)

I really, really love this song. Inspired by the very eccentric man who's house he bought in the the early 70's, The Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp is a really well-put together song that plays to Harrison's strengths, such as his guitar-playing, and the he had with words and phrasing things. And of course, the arrangement of accompanying instruments is impeccable as usual. But would you expect anything less from an ex-Beatles?;)

Bonus pop-culture reference, the sit-com show on CBS, How I Met Your Mother really kind of brought this song back into the collective consciousnesses once it started the playing the song during really important episodes.

1). My Sweet Lord

On the George Harrison documentary, legendary musician and for a time, unofficial fifth Beatle Billy Preston explained how George had come up with this song, but wanted it sound very Gospel-like and if Billy could help him out. I'm glad(or maybe he did) Billy Preston didn't flat out state the obvious to Harrison that his background and start to stardom was his Gospel roots/background. In no time at all, Preston worked his magic on the piano, and a massive hit song was born.

Even legendary music producer and convicted killer, Phil Specter loved this song so much, he pushed for it to be released as THE single from the very album this song originated from. Harrison wasn't so sure at first. He thought people wouldn't care for the chanting or the choir, or the different mantras included in the song, but he was proved wrong when it was released and became a colossal hit. It remains to this day one of Harrison's signature songs, and is definitely one of my favorites.

And that's it for me for this week. I hope you all have a great weekend no matter what you're doing.


Randomnerd said...

I'm sorry. I really am. But I have to veto you. While My Guitar Gently Weeps really should be number one. That just won't do.
But I'll allow you a mistake, hey. You're sick. You're not in your right mind. So it's okay.
Get better. Drink some Jalapeno juice. Clear out the sinuses.
Then we'll talk. ;)

Dale Bagwell said...

I could move it to number 3, especially the version from the Beatles Love album, but not anymore than that; just a personal preference really. That, and in honesty as damn good a song as it is, and it really is, it's been played out a lot on the radio and in general, much like "Freebird" and "Stairway to Heaven" have been. That's why it's not number one for me.

But since we're on the subject, what would be your Top 5 if you really had to pick them?

Randomnerd said...

George Harrison songs in general, or just from that album?

Randomnerd said...

We'll just go with this album.
5.) The Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)
4.) I Got My Mind Set On You
3.) My Sweet Lord
2.) Isn't It a Pity
1.) While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Yeah, I know, Numbers five and four look like they should be flipped, but I had to be honest with myself, and if I were going in order of which I were to listen to first, that's where they'd be. Shameful of me, I know. Sometimes the giddy bubblegum wins out over the musical snob. Sorry. Besides, I listened to Cloud Nine long before I heard any of these other songs. It's in my psyche.

Dan said...

I agree with Random. My guitar for the win. Until I was a dj on classics fm I didn't know Harrison did much post Beatles but behind the desk I was like hey I know that one! And I love that one!! Now I think he's just the best. All he needs is to end one with Ringo on the triangle and I'd be happy.

Dale Bagwell said...

Hey, never feel bad for your choices(unless we're talking Jusin Beiber) And at the end of the day it all comes down to personal preference. It's cool enough that our generation holds the Beatles in such high esteem that we do, while the younger kids know nothing, and care to know nothing about the classics.

Randomnerd said...

Which is why I'm so happy with my children. My daughter's ipod (secondhand, from a friend, no, I don't buy her that stuff. I'm not rich) is full of the Beatles, Zeppelin, Beach Boys, and Floyd. Zeppelin and Floyd are late comers, and she also has Selena Gomez and Adelle (sp?) on there, but she has a severe hatred for all things Beiber, so I figure we're good.
Lately she's taken to walking around the house singing about lost souls swimming in fish bowls. And drawing kitties eating fish next to Cthulhu.
I think I might wait before introducing King Crimson.

Dale Bagwell said...

If she's already drawing pictures of Cthulhu, then no, it's not too early to introduce her to King Crimson. I dare say it would blow her little mind. Especially "In the halls of the Crimson King" or "Epitaph".

"Get Snakey"

Hey whattaya' know, it's a brand new skit this week. Enjoy this fun little homage to one of the more recently popular "danc...