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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Cloud Nine (Dark Horse, 1987)

If George only knew. Now that he passed away, like all things must do, everybody starts considering him as probably the most influential guitar player in popular music of the last 40 years. Before his death, he was the Quiet Beatle. However, almost every Beatles fan learned to play guitar after listening to him. From the simplest strumming ever of the acoustic guitar in “Love Me Do” to the great G suspended 4th opening chord in “A Hard Day’s Night”; from the melancholic “I Need You” to the dry and powerful chords of “Taxman”; and, last but definetly not least, from the Indian sitar and tabla sounds of “Within You Without you” (his masterpiece) to his eternal question for finding a real God in “My Sweet Lord”. Harrison grew artistically under the bigger, overwhelming shadow of the Beatles, a band bigger than the sum of its parts. He asked his Beatle friends to go with him to India for the trascendental meditation that could have saved the band from the inevitable split and, in the meantime, to find God, Vishnu or whatever its name was. He also asked Paul and John to help him with his solo projects. They declined.

It’s no coincidence that after the India trip, Harrison wrote his best songs with the Beatles, turning “Something” and “Here Comes The Sun” from Abbey Road into instant beloved hits and perennial classics of rock and roll. More than God, he found out how to live in peace with himself and how to understand human nature. Later, he forgave his best friend Eric Clapton for writing a desperate love song to his wife Pattie "Layla" Boyd (ultimately stealing her from him), and of course, a man so complete like George found another woman in his life, the great Olivia Arias.

He also took a lot of patience for writing and recording Cloud Nine, the only album he recorded as a solo artist since 1982. Clapton plays the solo on “Devil’s Radio”, and they settle down their differences and play just like they did 19 years ago with “While my Guitar Gently Weeps”. Jeff Lynne, that selfish guy from the Electric Light Orchestra, produces the album and co-writes “Someplace Else”, which reminds us a little bit of the song “Free As A Bird” that he co-produced with Paul, Ringo and George for the Anthology 1 collection.

The title track was number one in Argentina, back in 1988, and the album was an international success with "Got My Mind Set On You," a catchy James Ray cover. George also remembered the good ol' Beatles Days on "When We Was Fab" and that would be the last time he would sing a song about his beloved friends.

On the album cover, George’s smiling and he’s wearing sunglasses. Of course he wasn’t thinking about death on that moment, but he was ready to face it and let go. His mind was in peace. Altought this album led Harrison to record two albums with the Travelling Wilburys (the supergroup with Lynne, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan), He didn’t release anything after as a solo artist until Brainwashed. May God bless him.


Piero said...

I think Cloud Nine is one of the many solo Beatles albums indispensable in any discography collection. George never lost his talent. He was the quiet Beatle but with his guitar and his music was an incredible talented like Lennon or McCartney. He gave The Beatles there own sound. This album Cloud Nine was a masterpiece with such classic songs like Got my mind set on you, when we was fab, this is love, someplace else, devil's radio to mention some and with the assistant of ELO frontman Jeff Lynne in the production. After this came The Traveling Wilburys vol 1 another great album and a new compilation in 1989 called The Best of Dark Horse 1976 1989 with 3 new songs one from the Lethal Weapon film called Cheer Down; Poor Little girl and Cockamanie Business. Unfortunately George doesn't make another solo album in the 90s only another Wilburys album and a live album in Japan. Great post Javier

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