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Music / All Things Must Pass

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"Tell me, what is my life without your love?"

All Things Must Pass is the third studio album by George Harrison, released in 1970 through Apple Records. It is generally considered to be his greatest solo album and was an international commercial success, spawning the hit singles "My Sweet Lord" (his Signature Song) and "What Is Life". Unusually for the time, it was a triple album; it largely consisted of songs rejected by The Beatles when Harrison was still a member,note  with an additional disc of studio jams.

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.


LP One

Side One
  1. "I'd Have You Anytime" (2:56)
  2. "My Sweet Lord" (4:38)
  3. "Wah-Wah" (5:35)
  4. "Isn't It a Pity (version one)" (7:10)

Side Two

  1. "What Is Life" (4:22)
  2. "If Not for You" (3:29)
  3. "Behind That Locked Door" (3:05)
  4. "Let It Down" (4:57)
  5. "Run of the Mill" (2:49)

LP Two

Side Three
  1. "Beware of Darkness" (3:48)
  2. "Apple Scruffs" (3:04)
  3. "Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)" (3:48)
  4. "Awaiting on You All" (2:45)
  5. "All Things Must Pass" (3:44)
  6. "I Dig Love" (4:55)
  7. "Art of Dying" (3:37)
  8. "Isn't It a Pity (version two)" (4:45)
  9. "Hear Me Lord" (5:46)

Apple Jam

Side Five
  1. "Out of the Blue" (11:14)
  2. "It's Johnny's Birthday" (0:49)
  3. "Plug Me In" (3:18)

Side Six

  1. "I Remember Jeep" (8:07)
  2. "Thanks for the Pepperoni" (5:31)

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. On the 2020 remix, disc one comprises sides one and two, while disc two comprises sides 3-6.

Bonus Tracks (2001 Remaster):

  1. "I Live for You"
  2. "Beware of Darkness (acoustic demo)"
  3. "Let It Down (alternate version)"
  4. "What Is Life (alternate mix)"
  5. "My Sweet Lord (2000)"

I really want to trope you Lord, but it takes so long, my Lord:

  • Alternate Album Cover: The 2001 remaster colorizes the black-and-white cover photo and adds a blue border. The inner sleeves and the front of the liner notes booklet feature additional edits to the photo that Photoshop in various urban setpieces.
  • Ballad of X: "Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)".
  • The Cameo: A number of celebrities make brief appearances in the music video for "My Sweet Lord", some of whom were connected to Harrison in one way or another (including prior collaborator Jeff Lynne, "Weird Al" Yankovic, who parodied Harrison's version of "Got My Mind Set On You" as "(This Song's Just) Six Words Long", and Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr).
  • Concept Video: The music video for "My Sweet Lord", done to promote the 2020 remix of All Things Must Pass, revolves around two agents from the Bureau of Certification investigating... something... after their superior (played by Mark Hamill) informs them that an unspecified "it" is happening again.
  • Cover Version:
    • The Bob Dylan cover "If Not for You" (George had played on a early take of the song Dylan recorded during the sessions for the New Morning album, later released on Volume 2 of Dylan's Bootleg Series).
    • "It's Johnny's Birthday" is Cliff Richard's "Congratulations" sung with new lyrics to commemorate John Lennon's thirtieth birthday.
  • Dark Is Evil: "Beware of Darkness".
    Beware of darkness
    Watch out now, take care
    Beware of the thoughts that linger
    Winding up inside your head
    The hopelessness around you
    In the dead of night
  • Death Song:
    • "All Things Must Pass"
    All things must pass away
    All things must pass
    None of life's strings can last
    • "Art of Dying".
    There'll come a time when most of us return here
    Brought back by our desire to be
    A perfect entity
    Living through a million years of crying
    Until you've realized the Art of Dying
    Do you believe me?
  • 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."
  • The Not-Remix: The Harrison estate remixed the entire album in 2020, exactly 50 years after its original release, to address longtime issues Harrison had with Phil Spector's dense production, with this new version releasing in 2021. While everything on the original 1970 release is retained, the amount of reverb is heavily reduced and the vocal tracks are brought further forward. These changes were based on Harrison's unfulfilled intentions for the 2001 remaster.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Harrison is surrounded by four garden gnomes on the album cover, a symbol for The Beatles.
  • Pep-Talk Song: "Behind That Locked Door" has the narrator urging the song's subject to stop being sad and to share "the love you are blessed with" with the world. Harrison later said that the lyrics were aimed at Bob Dylan, encouraging him to open back up as a songwriter following his motorcycle crash.
  • Production Throwback:
    • The first version of "Isn't It a Pity" reprises the ending melody of "Hey Jude" in a minor key, making it feel like a Dark Reprise. It's also just a second shorter than the earlier song.
    • "Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp" makes a nod to "The Inner Light".
      My eyes are shining, full of inner light
    • The music video for "My Sweet Lord" (released in 2021) features a brief sequence where a man in the movie theater imitates Harrison's dance moves from the "dancing furniture" music video for "Got My Mind Set On You" (released in 1987), complete with a recreation of his leather chair.
  • Record Producer: Phil Spector.
  • Re-Cut: The tracks on Apple Jam are rearranged in most reissues to reflect Harrison's originally intended order; "Out of the Blue" has been moved to the end of the album, with the other four remaining in sequence. The 2020 remix restores the original running order.
  • Repurposed Pop Song: George wrote the majority of the album's songs when he was still with The Beatles, and made some unsuccessful attempts to convince the others to record them. "Isn't It a Pity?" dated all the way back to the Revolver sessions. They actually worked a bit on "All Things Must Pass" during the "Get Back sessions" in 1969, before dropping it. A demo of the song finally did appear on a Beatles album in 1996: The Beatles Anthology.
  • Rule of Two: "Isn't It a Pity" is presented in two versions.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: The title lyric in "Wah-Wah" is sung in imitation of a wah-wah pedal.
  • 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. They also flew legendary Nashville steel guitarist Pete Drake in to help out. 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.
    • As was Ringo Starr's second solo album Beaucoups of Blues. Starr and steel guitarist Pete Drake hit it off during the sessions, and when Ringo mentioned an interest in doing a whole album of Country Music, Drake invited him to come to Nashville and try it. Drake ended up producing the album and assembling the musicians and songs.
  • Title Track: "All Things Must Pass".
  • We Used to Be Friends: "Run of the Mill"
    As the days stand up on end
    You've got me wondering how I lost your friendship
    But I see it in your eyes