All Things Must Pass is a triple album by George Harrison recorded and released after the break-up of The Beatles. The first triple album by a solo artiste, the original vinyl release featured two records of rock songs, while the third, entitled "Apple Jam", was composed of informal jams led by Harrison with musician friends and other famous musicians.
It was eventually certified 6x Platinum by the RIAA.
The outpouring of the wealth of material on All Things Must Pass took many critics by surprise, with Harrison having long been overshadowed by the talents of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, despite the fact that some of his later period Beatles inclusions ("While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Something", and "Here Comes the Sun") were hailed as highlights of their respective albums. Consequently, as Harrison had only been allowed a few songs on any given Beatles album, he had amassed many otherwise unused compositions by their break-up, enabling him to release many of them on All Things Must Pass.
Harrison had been accumulating the songs he recorded for the album as far back as 1966; both "The Art of Dying" and "Isn't It a Pity" date from that year. In bootlegged conversation from the Get Back sessions, Harrison revealed that John had rejected "Isn't It a Pity" three years before, and that he (Harrison) had considered offering the song to Frank Sinatra. Harrison picked up several more songs in late 1968 while visiting Bob Dylan and The Band in Woodstock, New York. He and Dylan co-wrote "I'd Have You Anytime" and "Nowhere to Go" (also known as "When Everybody Comes to Town") at this time, and Dylan showed him "I Don't Want to Do It." All three songs were attempted at some point in the sessions for All Things Must Pass, but only "I'd Have You Anytime" made the album.
The January 1969 "Get Back" sessions saw early appearances of several other songs that would be considered for All Things Must Pass, including the title track, "Hear Me Lord", "Isn't It a Pity", "Let It Down", and "Window, Window", but nothing came of them at the time. The tense atmosphere fueled another song, "Wah-Wah", which Harrison wrote in the wake of his temporary departure from the band. He began writing "My Sweet Lord" while touring with Delaney & Bonnie in late 1969, and would later utilise their backing group "Friends" as an important part of the All Things Must Pass sound. He made one last detour before beginning work on All Things Must Pass, visiting Dylan while the latter was starting sessions for New Morning in May 1970, learning "If Not for You" and participating in a now-bootlegged session.
Recorded from May to August 1970 at Abbey Road Studios, and then further recording and mixing at Trident Studios from August to September 1970, Harrison enlisted the aid of Phil Spector to co-produce the album, giving All Things Must Pass a heavy and reverb-oriented sound, typical for a 1960s/1970s Spector production — but a sound Harrison would subsequently regret with the passage of time. In the electronic press kit that accompanies the 30th Anniversary reissue George is asked what he thinks of the album now thirty years later and he says, "...too much echo."
In late May 1970, before recording the album, Harrison sat in a studio with Spector and ran through fifteen songs on guitar, with occasional support from an unknown bass player. These demos (eventually bootlegged as Beware of ABKCO! due to an altered line in his performance of "Beware of Darkness") showed him in the process of weighing his material, as eight of the songs would be either substantially reworked or not appear on the finished album. Among these early outtakes, three have been officially released in one form or another: "Everybody, Nobody" was an early version of "The Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp", "Beautiful Girl" would be finished for Thirty Three & 1/3, and "I Don't Want to Do It" would wait fifteen years until being revisited for the soundtrack of Porky's Revenge. Five other songs, "Cosmic Empire", "Mother Divine", "Nowhere to Go," "Tell Me What Has Happened With You," and "Window, Window", have not seen official release., along with other tracks such as "Gopala Krishna", "Dehradun" and "Cosmic Empire" that did not make the final cut. Two demos of songs that did make the album, "Beware of Darkness" and "Let It Down" (with overdubs from 2000), would eventually be released on the remastered All Things Must Pass. Full discs of electric outtakes from the recording sessions would also leak on bootlegs in later years, and some of those tracks were also included in the remaster. Multiple takes of songs from the album appear on a bootleg three-disc box set The Making of All Things Must Pass along with other releases.
The album features the talents of Ringo Starr, members of Badfinger, Eric Clapton and the other members of Derek and the Dominos, future Yes drummer Alan White, keyboard players Billy Preston, Gary Brooker and Gary Wright. A young, pre-Genesis Phil Collins played bongos on "Art of Dying", but was not credited on the original release (this was fixed on the 2001 remaster). Bob Dylan, a close friend of Harrison's, co-wrote "I'd Have You Anytime" with him, while Harrison covered Dylan's "If Not For You", which had been recently released on Dylan's New Morning album. Alan White stated that John Lennon may have played on "If Not For You." Though uncredited, Maurice Gibb was also present in the recording session having been friends with Ringo Starr, and played keyboards on "Isn't It a Pity", though there is no definitive evidence as to which version. 
Reaction and aftermath
All Things Must Pass' lead single was "My Sweet Lord", which proved an enormously popular recording, reaching #1 worldwide, and earned Harrison a copyright infringement suit from the publishers of The Chiffons's 1963 hit "He's So Fine" — a grievance that would not be settled for years. A judge later found that Harrison had unintentionally copied the earlier song; this prompted Harrison to later write "This Song". He also bought the publishing rights to "He's So Fine" to prevent future suits. The album itself reached #1 in the UK for eight weeks, and spent seven weeks at the top in the U.S., where it was certified six times platinum, making All Things Must Pass Harrison's most commercially successful and generally best-loved album.
Anglo-Australian pop singer Olivia Newton-John's cover of Harrison's "What Is Life" reached the UK top twenty in 1972. (The year before, she reached the top ten with a cover of Dylan's "If Not For You", arranged similarly to Harrison's version; in the US, her version became her first successful pop single, reaching #25. She would cover another song from All Things Must Pass, "Behind That Locked Door").
A remastered edition of All Things Must Pass, supervised by Harrison, was released in 2001, just months before his death; it contained bonus tracks, including a partially re-recorded additional version of "My Sweet Lord". It also included a newly colourised version of the originally monochrome cover. With the original version of the album being concurrently deleted, the remastered edition of All Things Must Pass is the only commercially available version of the release.
On July 29, 2006, The Official UK Charts company changed their records because there was a postal strike when the album had originally been on the charts. At the time, record retailers would send in documents saying how many records had been sold, but because of the strike they could not during an eight-week period in 1971. All Things Must Pass, which had originally peaked at number 4 (with Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge over Troubled Water at number one), now has been given the number one spot for all eight weeks.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 437 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The Guardian ranked the album on 9th place in magazine's list of The Top 100 Albums That Don't Appear In All The Other Top 100 Albums Of All Time.
In 2000, George Harrison personally oversaw the remastering of All Things Must Pass — the beginning of a re-issue project that was to see all his albums refurbished. Harrison lived long enough only to witness All Things Must Pass' re-release in January 2001 on his own GN Records imprint, distributed by EMI.
The re-issued CD version featured the original sepia album cover redesigned in colour. Disc one contained the original vinyl sides one and two plus bonus material and disc two contained the original vinyl sides three to four with the "Apple Jam" tracks in a different order.
Harrison participated in Web chats and magazine interviews to promote the reissue. It was a big seller, reaching No. 4 in Billboard's Pop Catalog Chart as well as sparking a critical reconsideration of Harrison's greatest work and solo career as a whole. After Harrison's death in November 2001, the reissue returned to the upper regions of the same catalogue chart.
All tracks written by George Harrison, except where noted.
- "I'd Have You Anytime" (Harrison, Bob Dylan) – 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" (Dylan) – 3:29
- "Behind That Locked Door" – 3:05
- "Let It Down" – 4:57
- "Run of the Mill" – 2:49
- "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
Side five (Apple Jam)
- "Out of the Blue" – 11:14
- "It's Johnny's Birthday" (Bill Martin, Phil Coulter, Harrison) – 0:49
- "Plug Me In" – 3:18
Side six (Apple Jam)
- "I Remember Jeep" – 8:07
- "Thanks for the Pepperoni" – 5:31
Disc one Tracks 1–9 as per sides one and two of original issue, with the following additional tracks:
- "I Live for You" – 3:35
- "Beware of Darkness" (acoustic demo) – 3:19
- "Let It Down" (alternate version) – 3:54
- "What Is Life" (backing track/alternate mix) – 4:27
- "My Sweet Lord (2000)" – 4:57
Disc two Tracks 1–9 as per sides three and four of original issue, followed by the reordered Apple Jam tracks, for which all participants are believed to now be credited as composers also.[nb 1]
- "It's Johnny's Birthday" (Martin, Coulter; new lyrics by Mal Evans, Harrison, Eddie Klein) – 0:49
- "Plug Me In" (Eric Clapton, Jim Gordon, Harrison, Dave Mason, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock) – 3:18
- "I Remember Jeep" (Ginger Baker, Clapton, Harrison, Billy Preston, Klaus Voormann) – 8:07
- "Thanks for the Pepperoni" (Clapton, Gordon, Harrison, Mason, Radle, Whitlock) – 5:31
- "Out of the Blue" (Al Aronowitz, Clapton, Gordon, Harrison, Bobby Keys, Jim Price, Radle, Whitlock, Gary Wright) – 11:16
The following musicians are credited on the 2001 release:
- Guitars: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Dave Mason, Peter Frampton, John Lennon
- Bass guitar: Klaus Voormann, Carl Radle
- Orchestral arrangements: John Barham
- Keyboards: Gary Wright, Bobby Whitlock, Billy Preston, Gary Brooker
- Drums and percussion: Ringo Starr, Jim Gordon, Alan White, Phil Collins, Ginger Baker
- Harmonica - George Harrison
- Pedal steel guitar (with talk box): Pete Drake
- Tenor saxophone: Bobby Keys
- Trumpet: Jim Price
- Rhythm guitars and percussion: Badfinger
- Fender Rhodes and backing vocals ("I Live for You") and ("My Sweet Lord", 2000 version): Dhani Harrison
- Tambourine ("My Sweet Lord", 2001 version): Ray Cooper
- Additional lead vocals ("My Sweet Lord", 2001 version): Sam Brown
- Tea; Sympathy; Tambourine: Mal Evans
- Leng, Simon (2003). The Music of George Harrison: While My Guitar Gently Weeps . London: Firefly Publishing. pp. 71. ISBN 0-946719-50-0.
- Sulpy, Doug; and Schweighardt, Ray (1997). Get Back: The Unauthorized Chronicle of The Beatles' Let It Be Disaster . New York: St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 269. ISBN 0-312-19981-3.
- Leng, Simon. 2003. The Music of George Harrison: While My Guitar Gently Weeps. p. 32.
- Unterberger, Richie (2006). The Unreleased Beatles: Music & Film . San Francisco: Backbeat Books. pp. 231–232. ISBN 0-87930-892-3.
- Leng, Simon. 2003. The Music of George Harrison: While My Guitar Gently Weeps. p. 60.
- Leng, Simon. 2003. The Music of George Harrison: While My Guitar Gently Weeps. p. 45.
- Leng, Simon. 2003. The Music of George Harrison: While My Guitar Gently Weeps. p. 50.
- Unterberger, Richie. 2006. The Unreleased Beatles: Music & Film. p. 286-288
- "The Music of George Harrison: While My Guitar Gently Weeps", Simon Leng, p. 54, SAF Publishing Ltd, 2002, ISBN 094671950
- Tiano, Mike. "Alan White & The Beatles". Notes From The Edge. http://www.nfte.org/interviews/AW_Lennon.html. Retrieved on 2007-12-04.
- Bobby Whitlock interview
- "Number one for Harrison at last". icLiverpool. http://icliverpool.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0100regionalnews/tm_objectid=17476343&method=full&siteid=50061&headline=number-one-for-harrison-at-last-name_page.html. Retrieved on 2007-12-04.
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ATMP 2001 bk
- Inglis, p. 147.
- Leng, pp 99–101.