All Things Must Pass is the most commercially successful album by any former Beatle. Even to this day more copies of this album have been sold than any solo album by Paul McCartney, John Lennon or Ringo Starr.
On the whole, it has also been rapturously received by critics; for instance, it was listed at #433 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. One of the more divisive aspects of the album is Phil Spector's "wall of sound" production, which some critics have written off as an excess of The '70s, though it should be emphasised that this is a minority opinion. More broadly, the third disc of studio jams has also frequently been written off. Despite this, the majority of reviewers have given the album perfect or near-perfect scores throughout the years.
LP OneSide One
- "I'd Have You Anytime" (2:56)
- "My Sweet Lord" (4:38)
- "Wah-Wah" (5:35)
- "Isn't It a Pity (version one)" (7:10)
- "What Is Life" (4:22)
- "If Not for You" (3:29)
- "Behind That Locked Door" (3:05)
- "Let It Down" (4:57)
- "Run of the Mill" (2:49)
LP TwoSide Three
- "Beware of Darkness" (3:48)
- "Apple Scruffs" (3:04)
- "Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)" (3:48)
- "Awaiting on You All" (2:45)
- "All Things Must Pass" (3:44)
- "I Dig Love" (4:55)
- "Art of Dying" (3:37)
- "Isn't It a Pity (version two)" (4:45)
- "Hear Me Lord" (5:46)
Apple JamSide Five
- "Out of the Blue" (11:14)
- "It's Johnny's Birthday" (0:49)
- "Plug Me In" (3:18)
- "I Remember Jeep" (8:07)
- "Thanks for the Pepperoni" (5:31)
Note: The final five tracks have been rearranged in reissues; "Out of the Blue" has been moved to the end of the album, with the other four remaining in sequence. This was Harrison's original intended track order.
Another note: CD reissues are across two discs; on early releases, disc one comprises sides 1-3, while disc two comprises sides 4-6; on the 2001 remaster, disc one comprises sides 1 and 2 plus the bonus tracks listed below, while disc two comprises sides 3-6.
Bonus Tracks (2001 Remaster):
- "I Live for You"
- "Beware of Darkness (acoustic demo)"
- "Let It Down (alternate version)"
- "What Is Life (alternate mix)"
- "My Sweet Lord (2000)"
All tropes must pass:
- Ballad of X: "Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)".
- Call-Back and Dark Reprise: The first version of "Isn't It a Pity" reprises the ending melody of "Hey Jude" in a minor key. It's also just a second shorter than the earlier song.
- Cover Version:
- Dark Is Evil: "Beware of Darkness".Beware of darknessWatch out now, take careBeware of the thoughts that lingerWinding up inside your headThe hopelessness around youIn the dead of night
- Death Song:
All things must pass awayAll things must passNone of life's strings can last
- "All Things Must Pass"
There'll come a time when most of us return hereBrought back by our desire to beA perfect entityLiving through a million years of cryingUntil you've realized the Art of DyingDo you believe me?
- "Art of Dying".
- Deliberately Monochrome: The album cover.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: "What Is Life"Tell me, what is my life without your love?Tell me, who am I without you, by my side?
- Distinct Double Album: A triple one, for that matter! The first two records were filled with songs (including the title track) that George had originally offered to the Beatles but didn't get recorded because John and Paul were unwilling to let him have more than his two-songs-per-record quota (kinda like what happened to Ringo, just not nearly as extreme). The third record is mostly jam-session recordings.
- Epic Rocking: "Isn't It a Pity (version one)" (7:10), "Out of the Blue" (11:14), "I Remember Jeep" (8:07). "Hear Me Lord", at 5:46, just misses the cutoff for this trope.
- Face on the Cover: George sitting amongst garden gnomes.
- God-Is-Love Songs: "My Sweet Lord", "What Is Life", and "Hear Me Lord" all have Harrison thank higher powers.
- Grief Song: "All Things Must Pass" where Harrison concludes that all things in life have to pass, but this just means that one should move on.
- Improv: Harrison gave the backing musicians free reign to change arrangements on their own - a fine idea given how much talent he was surrounded with. The third record consists of nothing but short improvised jams.
- Interfaith Smoothie: The backing vocals of "My Sweet Lord" transition effortlessly from chanting "Hallelujah" to chanting "Hare Krishna" and eventually become a Vedic prayer to Vishnu.
- Loudness War: The 2001 remaster (though an arguably even more annoying aspect is the horrible EQ treatment).
- Miniscule Rocking: "It's Johnny's Birthday" doesn't even reach fifty seconds.
- Mood Whiplash: The somber, sobering "Beware of Darkness" is followed by the peppy harmonica strains of "Apple Scruffs."
- Not Christian Rock: A more literal example than most, as Harrison's God-Is-Love Songs were frequently interpreted as references to the God of Abraham, but in fact, Harrison almost certainly had Krishna in mind.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Harrison is surrounded by four garden gnomes on the album cover, a symbol for The Beatles.
- Record Producer: Phil Spector.
- Repurposed Pop Song: "All Things Must Pass" was actually recorded for a Beatles album, but refused by the others, causing George to re-use it here. The demo finally did appear on a Beatles album in 1996; The Beatles Anthology.
- In fact, most of the songs on the first two LPs were rejected Beatles compositions.
- Rule of Two: "Isn't It a Pity" is presented in two versions.
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: "Wah-Wah".
- Special Guest: As the Beatle most engaged with outside musicians, George was able to assemble quite the backing group for his big solo moment. Along with a return appearance from Ringo, Ginger Baker, Jim Gordon, and session ace Jim Keltner contributed on drums alone - not to mention temporary "Fifth Beatle" Billy Preston on keyboards, along with, Gary Wright and Gary Brooker, best buddy Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Dave Mason, and Harrison himself playing guitar. All the bricks Phil Spector could possibly want for a mighty wall of sound, often cramped into one studio with the entire Badfinger band along for good measure. That's not to mention the (supposed) inclusion of a pre-fame Phil Collins on congas. Also, while he doesn't appear on the album, Bob Dylan co-wrote "I'd Have You Anytime."
- Spinoff: The formation of Derek and the Dominos was an indirect result of the sessions for this album, as all of the band's members ended up playing on the album together.
- Title Track: "All Things Must Pass".