This is a classic interview with Dick Cavett. Recorded 40 years ago (November 23, 1971), the conversation starts with light small-talk, then tackles some bigger issues. Did Yoko break up the band? Did the other Beatles hold him back musically? Is there any relationship between drugs and the Indian music that so fascinated Harrison? It was a question better left to Ravi Shankar to answer, and that he did:
A lot of GREAT music was released in 1970, here are my 20 chosen songs.
Into the Mystic – Van Morrison
“Into the Mystic” is one of Morrison’s warmest ballads, an Otis Redding-style reverie with acoustic guitar and horns. The lyrics are truly mysterious: “People say, ‘What does this mean?’ ” said Morrison. “A lot of times I have no idea what I mean. That’s what I like about rock & roll — the concept. Like Little Richard — what does he mean? You can’t take him apart; that’s rock & roll to me.”
Written by Van Morrison and featured on his 1970 album Moondance. It was also included on Morrison’s 1974 live album, It’s Too Late To Stop Now. It was recorded during the Moondance sessions at A&R Recording Studios in New York City in September to November 1969. Elliott Scheiner was the engineer.
– We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic
Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic
1969 was another great year in music, here are my 20 chosen songs (and those who came close).
Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones
One of the greatest rock songs from any artist, “Gimme Shelter” is a glowering, snarling beast of a recording. It tiptoes in on one of music’s most recognizable chord-based riffs, ghostly “oooh’s,” and percussion ratcheting up the tension. When the full band enters—sinister low piano notes, fuzzy harmonica, organ chimes—it grabs you by the lapels and shakes you, begging you for shelter from an ominous storm.
-Bill Janovitz (Rocks Off: 50 Tracks That Tell the Story of the Rolling Stones)
It first appeared as the opening track on the band’s 1969 album Let It Bleed. Greil Marcus, writing in Rolling Stone magazine at the time of its release, said of it, “The Stones have never done anything better.”
The recording features Richards playing in his new open tuning on electric guitar. The recording also features vocals by Merry Clayton, recorded at a last-minute late-night recording session during the mixing phase, arranged by her friend and record producer Jack Nitzsche.Lisa Fischer was later recruited to perform the song during their concerts.
– Oh, a storm is threat’ning
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away
He was a giant, a great, great soul, with all the humanity, all the wit and humor, all the wisdom, the spirituality, the common sense of a man and compassion for people. He inspired love and had the strength of a hundred men. He was like the sun, the flowers and the moon and we shall miss him enormously. The world is a profoundly emptier place without him.
– Bob Dylan (George Harrison’s Obituary, Nov 2001)
The final Beatles Christmas offering was also recorded separately, as the band had effectively split by this point. It features an extensive visit with John and Yoko at their Tittenhurst Park estate, where they play “what will Santa bring me?” games. Harrison only appears briefly, and Starr only shows up to plug his recent film, The Magic Christian. Paul sings his original ad-lib, This is to Wish You a Merry, Merry Christmas. Starting at 1:30, at the tail-end of Ringo’s song, the guitar solos from The End are heard, followed by Yoko interviewing John.
On November 29, 2002, a year after his death, a tribute concert for George Harrison was held at Royal Albert Hall. Friends and family gathered to play his songs, and it was an impressive, if predictable, roster:
Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Tom Petty, and Eric Clapton, who also served as musical director, took center stage, but George’s son Dhani Harrison was also there, as was Ravi Shankar’s daughter Anoushka, early British rock & roller Joe Brown, and Gary Brooker. Unlike many all-star lineups, everybody had a close personal connection to George.