Recording 'All Things Must Pass'

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by jl151080, Aug 16, 2010.

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  1. jl151080

    jl151080 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Bristol, UK
    This is an extract from an article by John Harris, published in Mojo magazine, issue 92, July 2001.

    I was reading this again last night, and thought I'd post it here for anyone interested.

    Work began on All Things Must Pass at Abbey Road in late May. Jim Gordon and Carl Radle had reunited with Clapton and Whitlock at a PP. Arnold Session, and were duly booked; George also used - among others - Ringo, Klaus Voormann, Billy Preston and Gary Brooker. In addition, he inflated the sound by employing Badfinger to play acoustic guitars and percussion. With horns from Jim Price and Bobby Keys, the work took on a Cecil B. De Mille aspect. Adding to that impression, though most songs were split between the Clapton-Whitlock and Ringo-Klaus factions, on a few ocassions the two bands played as one.

    Three keyboards, two drummers, six guitars...the rootsiness of Big Pink and John Wesley Harding were nowhere to be heard. And small wonder: Phil Spector, an integral part of Beatledom since his work on the Lei It Be tapes, was producer. All was not right with Mr Wall Of Sound, however. "He used to have 18 cherry brandies before he could get himself down to the studio", George said in 1987. "I got so tired of that because I needed someone to help. I was ending up with more work than if I'd just been doing it on my own." "Sometimes it became too much", Klaus Voormann confirms. "He was just laughing all the time. In the end, I think George was getting fed up with him, so he did some of it himself. He was getting very drunk. Crazy. He just didn't stick to one thing - he'd suddenly be off doing something that had nothing to do with the record."

    "Spector communicated with us a bit", says Badfinger's drummer Mike Gibbins. "He used to call me Mr Tambourine Man. He was an oddball. He spent most of his time laying under the console, listening. I thought he was sleeping half the time. But it was a big experience for me, being a Welsh bumpkin. We were in awe. It was a Beatle, for Christ's sake. Not to mention Clapton. Having said that, George was very nervous about the whole deal, playing with all those master players. He told me, 'I guess you've got to jump in the deep end sometimes'".

    Among the extras was one Phil Collins. "I was about 16 and I was in a very shabby band", he remembers. "I got a phone call - would I like to go down to Abbey Road and play percussion on George Harrison's new album? Of course, I leapt up in the air and got in my car and got to the studio. And there was Phil Spector, Ringo, Maurice Gibb, Badfinger, Billy Preston, George, Mal Evans and all these notorious people I had heard of. I was asked to play percussion on this track. I had never played Congas or anything like that before. Anyway, the way Phil Spector used to work would be to say, 'OK, let's hear the keyboards, the drums and the guitars play through the track'. And every time he said 'Drums' I played, figuring he meant me. Since I'd never played Congas, my hands were getting pretty bad blisters by the time half an hour had gone past. And then he said 'OK, let's hear the bass, the acoustic guitars, the guitar and the drums.' And he'd go through all these combinations from the control room. About two and a half hours later, he says 'Right, Congas, you play this time!' My hands were bleeding by then. He hadn't been listening to me at all."

    In July, after a long struggle with illness, George's mother...died in Liverpool, and the sessions were put on hold. To complicate matters yet further, Clapton was obsessing over Patti, as Bobby Whitlock...well knew. "At one point I said, Why don't you just go out and fight it out? I knew everything. Everybody knew it. George didn't give a s**t, but Eric didn't know that."

    A more benign distraction was the occasional presence of Hare Krishna devotees. "At one session, we were half way through one of the tunes, and a Hare Krishna guy jumped out of the piano," laughs Mike Gibbins. "He was hiding in there - in a big Steinway grand! He jumped out and started dancing. George had to shud the session down and kick him out. 'Hare Krishna!' **** off". "We'd be Playin', and here come these Hare Krishna guys, bouncin' in, slingin' out flower petals and givin' out peanut butter cookies", recalls Bobby Whitlock. "We were recordin'! I thought these guys were faries. With their bald heads and paint and s**t. They would just show up. George had a whole s**t oad of 'em, livin' out at Friar Park. They were all camped out in some kind of commune or somethin'. They were everywhere. Peanut butter cookies out their ***, I aint kiddin' you.

    The sessions ended just as autumn arrived. By then, Clapton, Radle, Gordon and Whitlock enlisted Duane Allmann and journeyed to Miami, where they would become Derek and the Dominoes and resume work on Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. The album...had begun life during grabbed moments in George's sessions.

    For one reason or another, Eric's presence on All Things Must Pass remained a secret. "He's on nearly every track there is," marvels George today. "Like, the very first note on the album is Eric - I'd Have You Anytime. In those days, the record company - both mine and his - didn't like you to have your name on other people's records. Very possessive. If you look on the sleeve of the last Cream record, my credit is L'Angelo De Mysterioso or something. That was me. He just didn't get any credit because they said you're not allowed to."

    The album's cover photo was a delight. In a bleached-out, creepingly eerie photo, Harrison - looking like a green-fingered mystic - posed in wellies and hat. Surrounding him were four garden gnomes, seemingly in a state of either repose or exhaustion. Those looking for symbols duly took the hint: this was George's way of calling time on The Beatles. "The gnomes had been taken from Friar Park at one time, before George moved in," says the photographer, sometime Dylan associate Barry Feinstein. "Someone called him and asked him if he wanted to buy them back. He said, 'Yeah', so they dropped them off. The last day we were there, I went out on the back lawn and saw them there, and figured that was the shot. I got a chair, sat him down, and did some pictures with an umbrella, and some without. We finished within 20 minutes." And the gnomes represent The Beatles? "Yes. Well, that's what I thought when I saw them. I picked the gnomes because it looked like a good picture, and I thought symbolically that that's what it could be. Did I mention it to George? I really don't remember. But that was in my head. What else could it be?" Just four gnomes. "Yeah, but you know it was over with The Beatles, right? And that title All Things Must Pass. Very symbolic."

    All Things Must Pass was rock music's first triple album, swelled to such a gargantuan size by the 'Apple Jam' disc...thus, it came in the kind of box that was usually only required by opera labels. "It was a bloody big thing", says Tony Bramwell. "It took ages to deliver a hundred of them. You needed arms like an orang-utan to carry half a dozen. And it was a huge thing to plough through - we said to people, 'Listen to My Sweet Lord and then get into the rest of it as you go along. People were taken aback: 'God, what's that? A doorstop?"
    xilef regnu and vonwegen like this.
  2. yellowballoon

    yellowballoon Forum Resident

    Peter Frampton also played guitar on the album but was not credited. This from Peter himself in an interview in Beatlefan magazine some years back. No I don't remember the issue but maybe other readers of Beatlefan here can fill in the blanks. I believe the issue was during the summer Peter played with Ringo?

  3. MYKE

    MYKE Analog Upstairs, Digital Downstairs

    I just read right here last night where Bobby himself says that Frampton wasn't there...Bobby ? Are you reading this ? :wave:
  4. Todd W.

    Todd W. It's a Puggle

    Thanks for posting this ........
  5. aberyclark

    aberyclark Well-Known Member

    Even with the "dated" wall of sound, I think ATMP is a masterpiece. Many of the effects were printed on the takes and are now permanent.
  6. Perhaps he played with the Klaus-Ringo combo since there were often times where they were playing as two separate "groups".
  7. MYKE

    MYKE Analog Upstairs, Digital Downstairs

    I'm just not going back through 1800 posts again...either he or CoCo will look in soon, and we'll get it straight from the man himself. :agree:
  8. brainwashed

    brainwashed Forum Hall Of Fame

    Boston, MA
    ...and George himself had no recollection of Phil Collins being involved either. I believe he even "apologizes" for this in the 2000 liner notes. Ron
  9. MYKE

    MYKE Analog Upstairs, Digital Downstairs

    I definitely defer to you Sir, I read many of your interactions with must have been truly honored. :righton:
  10. JimC

    JimC Well-Known Member

    As to the players, is there a track by track breakdown somewhere? Which "group" played on a certain track? I think I can recognize Ringo, but then I'm not sure.

    And I recall that interview with Frampton as well. He said he was on the album, playing acoustic, I think.
  11. MYKE

    MYKE Analog Upstairs, Digital Downstairs

    In the Bobby Whitlock Thread, he does break a LOT down. :agree:
  12. JimC

    JimC Well-Known Member

  13. Almost Simon

    Almost Simon Forum Resident

    Bobby Whitlock did a breakdown on one of his threads. But not sure if that mentioned every band member. Probably more about which of the Domino's appeared on which track.

    Superb album. For me its close between ATMP and Layla for being my alltime fave LP.
  14. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Lawrenceville, NJ
    I have a book on Harrison's music called "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" that attempts a track by track breakdown of musicians. I'll try to post the info later from home.
  15. Evan L

    Evan L Beatologist

    Conan O'Brien was there?

    Evan :laugh:
  16. MYKE

    MYKE Analog Upstairs, Digital Downstairs

    And...he says it in the new issue of " Hittin' The Note " too !?!? Paraphrasing : most of the acoustic stuff...says George asked him personally to go back, and add some acoustic guitar... :confused:

    What I find odd about that is, George " caught up " in the remaster's liner notes, as another member said, about even Phil Collins' presence being overlooked, so why not add Frampton's name then too ???
  17. brainwashed

    brainwashed Forum Hall Of Fame

    Boston, MA
    I think Frampton may have added some acoustic rhythm, but sheesh.... Tommy Evans, Pete Ham, Joey Molland, Eric and George himself already had layers of acoustics on many songs. Whatever Peter contributed is probably not remembered or very significant. As it is, listening to the many session tapes it's doubtful Frampton was part of the sessions. It's usually quite easy to distinguish which group of musicians are on specific tracks. Though George said in later interviews that he was surprised Ringo was on more than half the songs. It's possible that Frampton may have added some things after the sessions proper... much like Gary Wright did (on piano). Ron
  18. MYKE

    MYKE Analog Upstairs, Digital Downstairs

    Dig it. And can you imagine how weird for me last night...after 48 hours of reading the Bobby thread, then the discussions pick up my brand new-just arrived issue of HTN, and there it is again ???? :wtf:
  19. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Lawrenceville, NJ
    Here is what Simon Leng's educated guesses are, made in consultation with Klaus, from the book While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music Of George Harrison. He indicates he is least certain about the keyboardists.

    I'd Have You Any Time - Clapton, Voorman, White
    My Sweet Lord - Clapton, Preston, Voorman, Wright, Starr, Gordon, Badfinger
    Wah Wah - Clapton, Voorman, Preston, Wright, Starr, Price, Keys, Badfinger
    Isn't It A Pity - Ashton, Voorman, Preston, Wright, Starr, Badfinger
    What Is Life - Clapton, Whitlock, Radle, Gordon, Price, Keys, Badfinger
    If Not For You - Voorman, Wright, Preston, White, Starr
    Behind That Locked Door - Drake, White, Preston, Voorman, Wright
    Let It Down -Clapton, Whitlock, Radle, Gordon, Price, Keys, Wright, Brooker
    Run of the Mill - Whitlock, Radle, Gordon, Price, Keys, Wright
    Beware of Darkness - Clapton, Mason, Whitlock, Wright, Radle, Starr
    Apple Scruffs - only George
    Let It Roll - Drake, Whitlock, Preston, Wright, Voorman, White
    Awaiting On You All - Clapton, Radle, Voorman, Gordon, Price, Keys
    All Things Must Pass - Drake, Capton, Whitlock, Voorman, Starr, Gordon
    I Dig Love - Clapton, Mason, Wright, Preston, Whitlock, Voorman, Starr, Gordon
    Art of Dying - Clapton, Whitlock, Wright, Preston, Radle, Gordon, Collins, Price, Keys
    Isn't It A Pity 2 - Ashton, Clapton, Whitlock, Radle, Starr, Badfinger
    Hear Me Lord - Clapton, Radle, Gordon, Wright, Whitlock, Preston, Price, Keys

    No mention of Frampton
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  20. apple-richard

    apple-richard Overnight Sensation

    Great thread, thanks for the info. I figured it must have been crazy times in 1970.
  21. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, US
    I disagree here. The rhythm section on "Wah Wah" is clearly Carl Radle and Jim Gordon. Same groove they got on several songs from Clapton's s/t album and Layla.
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  22. Gloi

    Gloi Well-Known Member

    Alan White talks about recording All Things Must Pass here:
    In the interview he talks about Lennon being on 'If Not For You'. What does anyone think of this claim?
  23. john lennonist

    john lennonist There ONCE was a NOTE, PURE and EASY...

    Thanks a bunch for this, Rfreeman!

    I printed it up and put it with my German LP :thumbsup: pressing for reference when listening!
  24. Simon A

    Simon A Arrr!

    I've enjoyed this but would love to read the whole article. Is there a link to it anywhere?
  25. kollektionist

    kollektionist Forum Resident

    To the best of my knowledge Phil Collins is not on the album, although he was indeed involved in a session for Art of Dying.
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