In the fall of 1970, nearly eight years before Dhani Harrison was born, his father George released the seminal All Things Must Pass. The former Beatle’s third solo album would be deemed a masterpiece almost instantly, and 50 years later, it still has more to say.
At the helm of a special anniversary Super Deluxe reissue project — where the triple album has been expanded into 8 LPs, with 47 demos and outtakes — is Dhani, who went “digging through mountains of tapes” to create the best version possible of his dad’s most commemorated album, down to the very last detail. From the design of the literal box, to the iconic cover, to using new technologies to create the sound George would have wanted, the younger Harrison took the time and care to oversee the process to “showcase how great [the] project was,” as he puts it.
The box set, out today, August 6th, is available in three versions and includes a ton of extras that will deeply satisfy even the biggest of George Harrison fans. Particularly exciting is the extremely limited Uber Deluxe version, which comes in a box that was built from the wood of a fallen oak tree at his home, absolutely full of behind-the-scenes materials. Furthermore, some of the versions feature scrapbooks curated by George Harrison’s wife and Dhani’s mother, Olivia.
The ambitious project first needed its guide to come of age; it wasn’t until the mid-to-late ‘90s that Dhani Harrison took the deep dive into his father’s work for the first time. “When I was a kid, it was like Traveling Wilburys, Cloud Nine, Gone Troppo, you know what I mean?” he tells Consequence by phone. “That was the era we were in — the ‘80s and ‘90s.”
He spent more time listening to his father’s supergroup with Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison than he did listening to the LP he would later remaster and reissue. Around 1997, that all changed. “I went to kind of the beginning of my dad’s career and started listening from there,” he says. Despite his father’s illustrious career, both solo and with The Beatles, All Things Must Pass has “always” been Harrison’s favorite. For him, the album is as personal as it can get: “For me, it’s as if that whole album is about my home. And my garden. And my dad and his friends.”
The unmistakable album cover (which pop singer Lorde recently declared is the greatest one ever) was photographed at Friar Park, the vast property and home George Harrison purchased in Henley-on-Thames, England in early 1970. It’s the house where Dhani grew up, and it’s what inspired the All Things Must Pass song “The Ballad of Frankie Crisp.”
Frankie Crisp was a real person: Sir Frank Crisp owned the property for a few decades during the turn of the 20th century. On the LP cover, Harrison’s father, wise beyond his years in his late 20s, sits contentedly in the midst of a group of gnomes, which still exist today. In fact, Harrison sees the gnomes all the time. “They’re my friends,” he jokes. “I was with them yesterday. You know, they live in [a] part of the house. Sometimes we have lunch. But you know, they’ve been around for 100, 130 years.” (The gnomes have a special home in the Uber Deluxe version of the box set — they’ve been 3D printed as keepsakes. Because you can’t keep them separated, a figurine of George is included, too.)