Monday, April 20, 2009

George Harrison - What Is Life

(Apple, 1971)

Odd as it seems, Apple only pulled two American singles from the monster All Things Must Pass, with “What Is Life” dribbling out about three months after the album’s release. Once again we get LP tracks on both sides, so there probably wasn’t much incentive for shoppers to pick this one up, given that the album had already sold a zillion copies by this point. Regardless, it’s a great choice for a single, as the rip-rarin’ and horn-blarin’ pop-rock of the A-side (one of my favorite George Harrison songs, and a perfect example of just how DENSE the production was on these sessions) features what’s probably solo Harrison’s best guitar riff over pounding, ultra-reverbed drums. “Apple Scruffs” on the B – with just voice, guitar, harmonica, and some percussive tapping – sounds like something that would have fit well on Let It Be, or perhaps, minus the backing vocals, as an especially lighthearted throwaway on a late-’60s Dylan record.

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