Release Date: Sep 23, 2014
Record label: Capitol
Genre(s): Singer/Songwriter, Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Album Rock, Soft Rock
Arriving ten years after The Dark Horse Years: 1976-1992, The Apple Years: 1968-75 offers the first act of George Harrison's solo career presented in a handsomely produced, impeccably remastered box set. The outside packaging mirrors The Dark Horse Years but the discs housed inside the box show a greater attention to detail than the previous set: each of the albums is presented as a paper-sleeve mini-LP replicating the original album art (Extra Texture does indeed have extra texture on its sleeve), while the brief hardcover book contains perhaps the glossiest paper to ever grace a rock music box set. Better still, the remastering of all six albums is superb.
George HarrisonThe Apple Years 1968-‘75(Universal Music Group)Rating: 4 out of 5 stars It’s hard to say why it took a decade to collect, digitally restore, expand and reissue George Harrison’s first six albums recorded during the titular time period. The ex-Beatles lead guitarist already had his later music boxed up with 2004’s The Dark Horse Years but perhaps the reissue of Lennon’s entire solo catalog and the ongoing McCartney series that has been dribbling out convinced the Harrison family it was about time to do right by George. While both his 1970 magnum opus, the multi-disc All Things Must Pass and its follow-up, 1973’s Living in the Material World have already been reissued for the digital age, the other four were available only as expensive imports, so this long delayed appearance should thrill collectors.
In the hierarchy of Beatles solo albums, George Harrison’s rank just above Ringo Starr’s increasingly spotty efforts. If it gets mentioned at all, the discussion begins with his 1970 album All Things Must Pass and ends with Cloud Nine, the 1987 release that yielded his last solo hit. The seven albums he recorded between tend to get pushed out of the conversation.
The Beatles’ legacy is like that certain 19th century empire “on which the sun never sets, and whose bounds nature has not yet ascertained”. These are invisible, temporal confines, true but, still, there is a subtly disturbing feeling of uneasiness behind this concept. There’s a reassuring, yet creepy awareness that certain ideas can’t be perfected, and yet they remain the paradigm through which art must be—sometimes unwittingly—judged.
George Harrison The Apple Years 1968-75 (Ume/Apple) The Quiet Beatle might have inspired alternate modifiers in the waning days of the Fab Four and into the first half of his solo career. Dour, divine, depressed, the Liverpudlian of The Apple Years 1968-75 wears many moods between Krishna rock and "Ding Dong, Ding Dong" roll. George Harrison cut another six albums following the dissolution of the Beatles imprint, not including a pair of Traveling Wilburys – a comeback documented on Dark Horse Years 1976-1992 in 2004 – but the overall narrative begins with the label's LP bow.