(Dark Horse, 1987)
After releasing two of the dullest, laziest LPs ever pooped out by an ex-Beatle (non-Ringo division), prospects seemed dim for a George Harrison comeback – particularly after the Gone Troppo debacle. And yet back he did indeed come, back ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP, with a tight, Jeff Lynne-assisted music-farm of smash-hit song-crops! “Got My Mind Set On You” was and is the biggie, as George rocks up and streamlines the arrangement of James Ray’s rather tedious original, a punchy beat and candy-sweet Lynne production (with those outer-space ELO backing vocals playing a prominent role) bringing out the song’s natural popchart potential. A hit, and deservedly so, despite (or because of) its mindless simplicity. In an album context, however, it does feel tacked-on as Cloud Nine’s final track, its relentless cheeriness not quite the best fit even on what is a generally upbeat Harrison disc. “Lay His Head,” one of the songs jettisoned from the original version of Somewhere in England seven years earlier, shows up on the B in remixed form. Actually better than most of the dreck on that LP, it’s a soft-pop trifle that suffices as a B-side; odd that this wasn’t included as a bonus track on any of the 2004 Harrison reissues.