Whilst George’s solo output might not be as artistically groundbreaking or stylistically diverse as John or Paul’s, I would say he has the most consistently strong body of work of any of the ex-Beatles. With one exception (my least favourite choice here) there is no such thing as a ‘bad’ George Harrison album; even the most average of albums has songs and moments to treasure and move you. Which made this ranking of the ‘worst’ to the ‘best’ George Harrison albums (post-Beatles) all the more difficult.
I hope you enjoy my list, and I hope it encourages you to check out or revisit some of the wonderful catalogue of this awesome human being.
10. Dark Horse (1974)
Unlike the other ex-Beatles who all had their peaks and valleys, George’s solo output is probably the most consistently strong, with the possible exception of ‘Dark Horse,’ which I found difficult to get through. There may be something I’m missing here, but it just didn’t grab me or move me in any way, and unlike all of his other albums, I didn’t find this an enjoyable experience for the most part.
Favourite Track: Dark Horse
9. Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976)
The worst I can say about Thiry Three and a 1/3 is that it didn’t have a lasting effect on me. Other than that, it was an ‘o.k’ album.
Favourite Track: Crackerbox Palace
8. Extra Texture (Read All About It) (1975)
The next three are all good albums, if a little average. I think over time I will probably interchange them in my affections as they are neither bad nor brilliant; each with their strong moments.
Favourite Track: You
7. Somewhere In England (1981)
Pretty rocking and full of interesting ideas, but not quite up there with his best.
Favourite Track: Life Itself
6. George Harrison (1979)
A really sweet album, full of love and positivity. A particularly ‘pleasant’ experience, and full of the great man’s peaceful character.
Favourite Track: Here Comes the Moon
5. Gone Troppo (1982)
My high placing of Gone Troppo may surprise some fans, as artistically it isn’t the peak of Harrison’s powers. But to me, this is just such a FUN album from beginning to end. There’s just something totally hypnotic about it and I can’t help but love it!
Favourite Track: Dream Away
4. Living In The Material World (1973)
‘Living in the Material World’ was always going to suffer in people’s estimations coming after the seminal post-Beatles’ double album ‘All Things Must Pass.’ But George manages to capture a similar magic to that album and to also progress off in interesting directions here. There are times when he comes across a little ‘preachy’ in certain songs (‘The Lord Loves the One That Loves the Lord’ etc..) but he measures this with a contrasting acerbic wit (‘Sue Me, Sue You Blues’) and sumptuous beauty (‘Give Me Love,’ ‘Be Here Now’) in the songs and this makes this album one to return to again and again.
Favourite Track: Be Here Now
3. Cloud Nine (1987)
Rather like the next 2 albums on the list, ‘Cloud Nine’ showcases George’s writing at its very best, and every song is better than the last. A Stella comeback album that I never tire of listening to. A combination of the best melodic pop, a certain infectious nostalgia and the ‘Jeff Lynne’ factor makes this album an essential listen.
Favourite Track: Someplace Else
2. Brainwashed (2002)
It’s incredible to think that someone who was essentially on their deathbed during the making of this album could produce something which was so strong musically but also such a positive and life affirming experience for anyone who listened to it. It’s a real testament to the essence of a truly unique man, and there isn’t a bad song on there. A superb album. And it’s great to think that he book-ended his solo career with his two best albums.
Favourite Track: Rising Sun
1.All Things Must Pass (1970)
‘All Things Must Pass’ is the sound of a man released. After living in the shadow of two unsurpassed songwriters for 10 years, George was finally free to pour out all the ideas he had had to sit on or compromise. The resulting double album is both a solid classic throughout and a cathartic experience for both the writer and the listener.
Favourite Track: Run of the Mill
I hope you enjoyed my visit through the great George’s back-catalogue. As you can see, he’s definitely a Beatle who’s solo work deserves a listen!
Rest in peace George.
(25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001)