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Needless to say, reading it on the page doesn’t do it justice.
Harrison’s last two songs for the Beatles, “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun,” are justly recognized as classics. His late-blooming success as a songwriter spurred great expectations for his solo career, and initially he outpaced both Lennon and McCartney in sales and critical acclaim. His first solo effort, All Things Must Pass, retains an atmospheric majesty.
Much has been made of the treasure trove of songs he had written that were kept off of the group’s albums, but even in 1970 Harrison had few great songs, as I Me Mine makes plain. Lennon and McCartney, more gifted songwriters, didn’t exactly set the world on fire as solo artists, either. But they did have a deep need to prove themselves on their own, however embarrassing the results often were. Careerism of the kind exemplified by McCartney meant little to Harrison, though, and he seemed comfortable with the waning of his solo career as the 1970s and 1980s wore on.
When he in late 2001, he was putting the finishing touches on his first new album in over a decade. Even allowing for the excesses of praise that generally greet posthumous releases, Brainwashed (released last November) is his best album since All Things Must Pass, and may ultimately stand up better. At long last, Harrison manages to communicate his Hindu convictions in a genuine way, without the kind of hectoring, superficial holiness that dulled his music for so long. He plays gorgeous slide guitar on almost every number, and manifests two qualities not often on display in his solo work — humor and warmth. It seems too easy to say that imminent death could have inspired this quantum leap in his songwriting, but Brainwashed provides good evidence for that argument. The album sure sounds like a summation.
Predictably, the rock world responded to Harrison’s death with lavish tributes, lauding both his solo music and his spiritual wisdom. Those less disposed to the excesses of celebrity mourning or the youth culture that the Beatles ushered in can remember him with more grace and honesty, as a man of some talent who labored hard to maintain his dignity within a maelstrom. To paraphrase his old friend Bob Dylan: he was in a whirlwind, now he’s in some better place.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?