Tracks: Beware of Darkness

Quick fact: George was the best Beatle.

Just look at the list of Beatles songs that are his… If I Needed Someone, Taxman, I Want To Tell You, Within You Without You,  Something, Piggies, that perennial herald of warmer weather Here Comes The Sun and While My Guitar Gently Weeps(!) to name but a few…

Granted, he happened to be in band with two other blokes who were quite handy with a tune so songs that would otherwise have been guaranteed single selections weren’t considered worthy enough. So instead of a scathing swipe at HMRC and a catchy-as-the-flu hook or a beauty of a tune about the dangers of overloading your brain with too many ideas at one time they released the one where the drummer intoned about living in a questionably-coloured underwater boat.

Still, after a couple of non-traditional solo releases while the band were still active, when the Beatles officially called it a day in 1970 (Lennon had called it quits the previous year) the foot had been taken off the hose pipe for George and he released the triple album All Things Must Pass – itself a gorgeous song that the rest of the Beatles had passed on (the berks) –  in October.

All Things Must Pass is full to the brim with great songs, some of George’s very best are here: I’d Have You Anytime, My Sweet Lord, Isn’t It A Pity, What Is Life, All Things Must Pass, Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll) and, of course, Beware of Darkness.

Beware of Darkness has some pretty dense and dark imagery in the lyrics, wonderfully offset by some beautiful yet complex instrumentation (with a shift from G major to G sharp minor that really shouldn’t work but does so brilliantly) and George’s genuinely affirming words. Harrison was himself on a perpetual quest for peace and, religion aside, his spirituality and the solace he seeks to find within it are at the forefront in this one and whether you get on that wave yourself or not there’s no denying the sincerity of his vocal.

I can’t express how much I love this song, to be honest. It’s one of my go-to tunes when I hear that black dog barking in a far off field and is one of my own coping techniques when I worry it might get closer. I’ll drop this on and then, if it’s one of those days, follow it up with another Harrison related tune from the Python boys.

7 thoughts on “Tracks: Beware of Darkness

  1. Good album though one I haven’t listened to in quite some time. Interestingly, my 22-year-old son, who might best be termed “Beatle-aware-and-sort-of-a-fan,” came home one day and told me he borrowed this CD from the library! Completely out of the blue. I don’t even know how he knew about it. Anyway, thanks for the reminder and I will add it to the never-ending queue of Things-To-Listen-To.

    • I’ve found myself going back and listening the first solo albums from The Beatles lately (Ringo aside) thanks to Spotify. Pleasantly surprised by McCartney’s rawness and intimacy, Lennon’s is suitably bonkers but holds up better than I remember but I still think George surrounded himself with more musicians (it’s like the ultimate 70’s sideman group) and pushed his song writing a tad beyond that of Paul and John (primal scream therapy was always an odd choice to base songwriting around) and incorporate more ideas.

      • I found that I was interested in the Beatles’ solo careers for the first few years after they split up, then I somewhat drifted away. (And mind you, I was a huge Beatles fan).

        I was always aware of what they were doing but I wasn’t actively seeking them out or listening to them as much.

        Interestingly, while we might both agree Ringo isn’t our first choice, his solo albums sold as well as anybody’s back in the seventies.

        If I had to pick a favorite album of all their solo stuff, beyond question it would be “Band on the Run.” I thought Macca pulled it all together on that one.

  2. Yeah, that album was early enough on (1973) that Paul hadn’t yet gone to shite. They say that “Let Me Roll It” is his tribute to John. Some classic stuff in his first few solo albums. But truthfully, I can’t remember the last time I bought any solo stuff by any of them.

  3. Best Beatle, eh? Won’t touch that one! But ATMP is probably my favourite solo effort by a former-Fab and ‘Beware of Darkness’ one of its strongest tracks, so complete agreement. Hurrah!

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