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Music Review: George Harrison – Gone Troppo

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Gone Troppo either means gone tropical or is an Australian expression meaning gone crazy. Whatever the album title implied, it was George Harrison at low ebb.

He had become disenchanted with the music business plus he owed his record company one more album. That is not a good combination for any musician.

He decided to fulfill his contract as quickly as possible and issued the album in early November of 1982. The company provided little promotion and it only reached number 108 on the American album charts, which is amazing considering the George Harrison name. It got worse in his home country as it did not even sell enough copies to register on the English charts at all. He would not release another studio album for five years.

The album was recorded over a four month period and he used a couple dozen musicians. Some of his supporting cast included bassist Willie Weeks, keyboardist Jon Lord, pianist Neil Larsen, keyboardist Billy Preston, and his eternal drummer Jim Keltner.

The opening track, “Wake Up My Love,” was released as a single and quickly disappeared reaching only 53 on the Billboard Magazine pop singles chart. It was a very ordinary 80s keyboard based song that has not held up well over the years.

This is an album that you really have to look hard at in order to find some positive points. “That’s The Way It Goes” has some social commentary and subtle slide guitar. “Unknown Delight” is a fair to good ballad. “Dream Away” was a Harrison contribution to the movieTime Bandits and since there was no soundtrack issued, it was the only place to acquire the song. The most interesting song was “Circles” which was composed during 1968 as a possible track for The Beatles White Album.

My favorite was the cover of an old 1961 hit by The Stereos who were a rhythm and blues quintet from Ohio. “I Really Love You” featured group harmonies rather than a Harrison lead vocal and is pleasant pop.

Gone Troppo was George Harrison issuing an album because he had too, not because he wanted too. He had taken very little time off from the recording studio since his pre-Beatles days and he sounded tired. This is an album only for fans who want his entire catalogue.

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About David Bowling

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/the-other-chad/ The Other Chad

    I actually really like this album. Contractual filler or not, to my ears Harrison was having a pretty good time on this one – especially on the title track. Probably the most underrated album in his discography.

  • daledebil

    I think this is not the most underrated album in his discography. It’s simply the worst album in his discography.