Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Because of All Their Tears, Their Eyes Can't Hope to See

I have been down the rabbit hole of Beatles' blogs of late, and as a result have spent undue time thinking about all sorts of FabFour related items.   One thing that has really taken me aback is the plethora of George Harrison songs that were rejected by John, Paul, and George Martin for inclusion on Beatles' LPs.  Perhaps the most shocking example is the song presented here today - Isn't It A Pity.   Written in 1966, George proposed it as a track for Revolver according to Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn, or possibly Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band per EMI engineer Geoff Emerick.  Not only was it rejected at that time, but was put down a second time in 1969 when George brought it up again during the Get Back sessions.   For me that was a stupendously bad decision by John and Paul.  It is one of George's most stunningly beautiful and deep compositions and could have been the best song on the LP that was eventually released as Let It Be.

George had so many pent-up songs in his side bag that when the group finally fell apart, his first solo release was chock full of tasty nuggets and he shot out of the gate ahead of his former band mates during the early solo years.

The version of Isn't It A Pity presented here is the most popular version, which appeared on the B-side of the My Sweet Lord single as well as the album.  There is a quieter reprise version at the end of the studio portion of All Things Must Pass.

The quality of George's songs was definitely on the ascent as the Beatles were coming apart at the seams.  The "what if" game in my head keeps playing through the options.   Clearly John was going to leave from the moment Yoko came on the scene, it was just a matter of time.  But could the other three have soldiered on without him?  I believe that they could have.  George was ready to step up to the plate, so to speak, but the management issues at Apple Corp. and the battle over who should manage it split Paul from the other three and doomed them from continuing as a recording entity.  In the short term it may have been a boon to George's career, but I cannot help but believe that even a few more years of McCartney and Harrison song-filled albums could have left us with even greater treasures.   Alas it was not to be.