It’s hard to believe that George Harrison passed away over seven years ago. Despite producing an excellent catalog of solo work, he will always be remembered as the silent Beatle behind John Lennon and Paul McCartney. And while he contributed some memorable songs within the group, his guitar work ultimately stands out most.
When I heard that another George Harrison compilation album was being released I questioned if it was really necessary. However, after listening to Let It Roll: Songs By George Harrison I am a convert. The set may not be essential but it is enjoyable. When you gather the better part of his solo output onto one disc you have a very listenable collection.
George Harrison scored three Number One hits during his solo career, his most famous being “My Sweet Lord.” Taken from All Things Must Pass, it became one of his signature songs. The gentle and catchy spiritual tune established him as a respected and viable commercial artist, allowing him to escape from the Lennon and McCartney shadow. His other Number Ones were “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth),” in which he appealed for peace and “Got My Mind Set On You,” which was a pure pop creation.
Three tracks are lifted from his Concert For Bangladesh album. I have always thought that this particular version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” was superior to the studio release. Rolling Stone ranked it as the 7th greatest guitar song of all time and hearing Harrison play it live is a treat. Also, performances of “Something” and “Here Comes The Sun” are also included and, while I understand that these were recorded after his Beatles career had ended and so fit the theme of this album, I still prefer the original studio versions.
Among the other tracks included on this set are “All Those Years Ago,” which was a poignant tribute to John Lennon, and “When We Was Fab,” which was Harrison's tongue-in-cheek look back at the Beatles. “Isn’t It A Pity” and “What Is Life” were both pulled from All Things Must Pass and further show that album’s brilliance.
Let It Roll: Songs By George Harrison is a good overview to George Harrison's solo work and worth seeking out for anyone who desires an introduction to his post-Beatles work.