All Things Must Pass (50th Anniversary) is a reissue celebrating 5o years of the release of George Harrison’s debut solo album in 1970. It is amazing to think that it seems like yesterday that we were reviewing the 30th anniversary reissue of the album twenty years ago. Times flies!
So what does All Things Must Pass (50th Anniversary) have to offer to hardcore Beatles and Harrison fans to justify its existence? Well, apart from the obligatory contemporary remix, there are three CDs worth of previously unreleased material to entice the diehard fan to part with hard-earned money for this elaborate box set.
Certainly, there is no doubt that All Things Must Pass (50th Anniversary) deserves to exist purely on the merits of the musical value and historical significance of the original (triple) album. From the vantage point of half a century later, it is clear that All Things Must Pass has proven to be one of the best solo Beatle albums and definitely the quiet Beatle’s finest moment.
It was a known fact that in the final years of the Beatles, Harrison had hoarded for himself material as the disintegration of the band indicated to Harrison that his best new songs should be saved for his inevitable solo album rather than be wasted on a Beatles album. Thus, songs like “My Sweet Lord”, “Wah Wah”, “What is Life”, “Beware of Darkness”, “Isn’t It a Pity” et al, represent the absolute high point of Harrison’s songwriting, the heights of which Harrison would never quite scale, it has to be said.
The extra bits on All Things Must Pass (50th Anniversary) provides an insight into the process behind the making of the album. The Day 1 and Day 2 demos are suitably intimate with a ‘fly-on-the-wall’ quality while the various takes afforded provide early glimpses of the final product. Interesting but hardly essential. The 2020 mixes are probably worth the price of admission, delivering cleaner versions of the much maligned reverb-drenched production that the late Phil Spector decided to treat the songs with. No doubt that the songs sound very very good.
All Things Must Pass (50th Anniversary) contains everything a classic rock completist would want from landmark releases like this – nothing more or less.
… still there’s more …