George Harrison, All Those Years Ago

If you’ve read this site enough, you know that I like making declarations, so here is a strong one.  “All Those Years Ago,” is required listening for Beatles fans and one of the best George Harrison songs ever.  It was written by George Harrison as a song for Ringo Starr to sing, but Ringo thought the vocal melody was too high for him.  So, it went to the scrap heap.  Then John Lennon was murdered on the streets of New York City, stunning the world.  I’m sure right away, Beatles fans the world over expected a musical tribute of some sort from Paul, George, and Ringo.  Rumors of a reunion must have been strong, despite the concept being horribly illogical with John’s passing.  On a certain level, the pressure must have been high on these guys to do something, which was of course, cruelly unfair.  If your best friend died, would anyone expect you to make a commercial pop song?  A song that would be judged by music critics?  Well, the guys did respond, they are artists after all.  Paul made “Here, Today,” a touching ballad.  George took his stalled Ringo project, changed the lyrics, and made it a John Lennon tribute.  In many ways, it would be the closet thing people got to a Beatles reunion until the “Anthology” in the mid 9os.  Ringo was on drums, George was singing lead, Paul was on bass and sang backup with his wife Linda.  Famed Beatle producer George Martin contributed to the track’s production along with Geoff Emerick, the famous Beatle studio engineer.  The song is a nostalgic wonder, mixing elements of Chuck Berry guitar riffage, Bob Dylan lyricism, and sweet Beatle vocal backing magic, all classic marks of George’s songwriting.  The lyrics tell the story of George’s love for John, and his agreement with John’s life philosophies.  It also includes attacks on John’s critics, my personal favorite part.  It accomplishes a lot of ideas both musically and lyrically, but leaves you wanting more.  That’s probably the point because the biggest crime in John’s death, outside the destruction of his family, was how this was a man taken too soon.  John was nowhere near finished as an artist and as a leader of peace loving people around the world.  George knew that more then anyone, and created a song that I, and many others, can’t help but replay over and over.  Enjoy.

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