Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Wonderwall Music (Album) 1968
- Recorded between November 1967 and February 1968 and released in November 1968.
- The second solo album by a Beatle (after Paul McCartney's soundtrack for The Family Way), this album was written by Harrison as a soundtrack for the film Wonderwall.
- Much like the film that McCartney had written a soundtrack for, Wonderwall isn't particularly well-remembered either. This was mainly due to the fact that Wonderwall was barely released due to distribution issues, and so it remains a fairly obscure curiosity of the '60s.
- Harrison collaborated with the orchestral composer John Barham to create 19 tracks, most of which were Indianesque tunes influenced by Harrison's time in Bombay. Harrison used the opportunity afforded to him to extend his creativity by writing songs for lesser-known Indian instruments.
- Some tracks feature various other experiments in genre-hopping, ranging from psychedelic rock to cowboy music and varying modes of Eastern music.
- During these sessions, Harrison also recorded the backing tracks for his Beatles song The Inner Light.
- Aside from a spoken-word piece and some unintelligible Indian singing, there are no real vocals on the album as its mostly incidental music.
- Harrison plays piano, mellotron, acoustic and electric guitars.
- Some 20-odd musicians worked on the soundtrack, playing the following western instruments: piano, flugelhorn, harmonium, steel guitar, tack piano, organ, drums, bass, harmonica, banjo, and flute. The Indian instruments featured are: sarod, tabla, pakavaj, shehnai, sitar, surbahar, santoor, bansuri, and tabla tarang.
- Ringo Starr provided some drumming for the soundtrack, and Eric Clapton also guest-featured as well.
- I listened to this a bit but found it fairly unlistenable. There are some shining moments but they're obviously taken out of context as this is music written to go with a film. Harrison pushed the Indian angle to its natural endpoint with this album, and it's interesting to note that he returned to Indian music genres very little after this point - it's as if he got it out of his system.