wonderwall music

George Harrison, photographed for the “Wonderwall Music” album by Astrid Kirchherr, 1968

“I was in London then [in the late Sixties] and George said he needed a photo for the inner sleeve of his Wonderwall album. I said, I just don’t feel like it, and anyway I haven’t got a camera. He smiled and said, ‘Darling, I just need to click my fingers and there’s any camera you want!’ So I had to do it, and I do really like that picture. Then later George said, ‘Come over to London and I’ll set up a studio for you and you can be a photographer here.’ But I was so unsure then if I was any good or not, that I just couldn’t accept his offer. I’d had years of being called ‘The Beatles’ photographer’. I’d go into a magazine with my portfolio, and all they would want to talk about was The Beatles. They didn’t care if picture was out of focus or not, especially in the ’60s, as long as it had a Beatle in it. So I started to question myself. Are you actually good, or are you only good because you took pictures of The Beatles? And under those circumstances, I didn’t feel as if I could do it any more. I still take pictures - but these days they’re just in my mind.” - Astrid Kirchherr, The Beatles: Classic, Rare & Unseen

“George just phoned me and said ‘Well come along and have dinner with us and spend a lovely afternoon with us.’ So I went there and he said ‘Oh by the way, I need a cover or an inner sleeve for my next LP’ and he said ‘I would like you to take it.’ I said ‘Well sorry, I haven’t got a camera’ and he said ‘Well darling, I just need to snap my fingers and you will have any camera you want.’ So I had to come back the next day and he said ‘There is no saying no, you will have a camera here tomorrow. Is there anything you need, tripod or whatever film you need? So come on, and you do it.’ So I had to go back the next day and take his picture. Then he offered to build me a studio in London to take pictures and asked me if I could think it over. I was so unsure about me being a photographer, because of The Beatles boom, and I was thinking ‘Am I really good or am I just a Beatles photographer?’ So I just gave him a call and said ‘No I don’t want to,’ and the only thing he answered was ‘Well you are my little fool.’” - Astrid Kirchherr, Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective

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George working with Indian musicians on “Wonderwall Music”, January 1968

“I remember getting a CD of it in the early Nineties and thinking, “What is this?” You’re sitting there, almost meditating to the music, literally drooling in your lap. Then a shenai [an Indian oboe] will come in and practically take the top of your head off. It’s such a deep, psychedelic record. It had Eric Clapton in it, all this backwards guitar, horns – it’s a full-on freakout record. And it was instrumental. Any singing on it was deep Hindu chants.” - Dhani Harrison, “Inside George Harrison’s Archives: Dhani on His Father’s Incredible Vaults” by David Fricke, Rolling Stone, 16 October 2014

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George Harrison, Pattie Boyd, Ringo Starr, Maureen Starkey, Jane Birkin and others arriving at Le Grand Hotel, Cannes, possibly 17 May 1968, the day of the screening of Wonderwall.

Photos © Reporters Associes; Shinko Music

“In January 1968 I was in Bombay, working on the soundtrack for the film Wonderwall - a Sixties hippy movie directed by Joe Massot. He asked me if I would do the music, but I told him I didn’t write music for films. Then he said that whatever I gave him, he would use. That sounded pretty simple, and I thought: ‘I’ll give them an Indian music anthology, and who knows, maybe a few hippies will get turned on to Indian music.’
I worked with Indian musicians at the EMI/HMV studios in Bombay. Mr Bhaskar Menon (later to become the head of EMI worldwide) brought a two-track stereo machine all the way from Calcutta on the train for me, because all they had in Bombay was a mono machine. It was the same kind of huge machine we used in Abbey Road; they’re called STEEDs. I’ve got one in the kitchen now - the one that we recorded ‘Paperback Writer’ on. I came back and added a lot more in Abbey Road, and put the music on the film.
Wonderwall came out some time later, and probably died a death. Ringo came with me to the premiere in Cannes. (I know this because they’ve put out the CD and I’ve read Derek’s liner notes. I didn’t remember it until I saw the photos of us with a rather nice young lady called Jane Birkin who was in the movie.)” - George Harrison, The Beatles Anthology [x]

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George in Bombay, India recording the soundtrack for ‘Wonderwall Music’ in January 1968. His love for Indian music and all things India was in full bloom by then and had started during the filming of Help! in 1965.

'We were waiting to shoot the scene in the restaurant when the guy gets thrown in the soup and there were a few Indian musicians playing in the background. I remember picking up the sitar and trying to hold it and thinking, 'This is a funny sound.’ It was an incidental thing, but somewhere down the line I began to hear Ravi Shankar’s name. The third time I heard it, I thought, 'This is an odd coincidence.’ And then I talked with David Crosby of The Byrds and he mentioned the name. I went and bought a Ravi record; I put it on and it hit a certain spot in me that I can’t explain, but it seemed very familiar to me. The only way I could describe it was: my intellect didn’t know what was going on and yet this other part of me identified with it. It just called on me … a few months elapsed and then I met this guy from the Asian Music Circle organization who said, 'Oh, Ravi Shankar’s gonna come to my house for dinner. Do you want to come too?’ -George Harrison, Billboard, December 1992

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George Harrison, Pattie Boyd and Jane Birkin at Heathrow Airport prior to their departure to Cannes for the Cannes Film Festival and a screening of Wonderwall, for which George had composed the soundtrack, 15 May 1968.

Photos © George Stroud/Getty Images; Daily Mail/REX/Alamy Stock Photo

“I was trying to do a mini-anthology of Indian music.” - George Harrison on composing the Wonderwall Music soundtrack, Billboard, 5 December 1992

[Click to enlarge] Notice the box set has been made to resemble Kinfauns. :) 

For anyone who’s interested, here is a round-up of information about George Harrison: The Apple Years Box Set from a reliable “insider”: 

  • The cover of ATMP is black and white on this release.
  • All of the albums are 2014 remasters.
  • The Dark Horse Years set is being re-released along with the Apple Years set.
  • The official announcement on the Apple Years box will be on Tuesday. 

List of bonus tracks:

Wonderwall Music:
In The First Place (Remo Four)
Almost Shankara
The Inner Light (take 1 instrumental)

Electronic Sound:
No bonus tracks

All Things Must Pass:
Same track configuration as 2000 reissue
I Live For You
Beware Of Darkness
Let It Down
What Is Life
My Sweet Lord 2000

Living In The Material World:
Deep Blue
Miss O'Dell
Bangla Desh (studio version)

Dark Horse:
I Don’t Care Anymore
Dark Horse (demo)

Extra Texture:
This Guitar (Can’t Keep From Crying) (Platinum Weird version)

Apple Years DVD:
George Harrison - The Apple Years Feature
All Things Must Pass (bonus feature from 2001 reissue)
The Concert for Bangladesh (EPK)
Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) (video from Live In Japan 1991)
Miss O’Dell (alternate version from deluxe edition of Living In The Material World)
Sue Me Sue You Blues (acoustic demo from deluxe edition of Living In The Material World)
Living In The Material World (Feature from deluxe edition of Living In The Material World)
Ding Dong, Ding Dong (Promo video 1974)
Dark Horse (Promo clip 1974)

“From what I can glean, it’s possible a few more bonus tracks were originally going to be featured on the albums but, for whatever reason, they were scaled back somewhat in the last month or two. For example, I had heard Soundstage Of Mind originally mentioned as a bonus track on DH, but now I’m hearing it’s not on there.

The CD labels will be virtually identical to the original LP releases, right down to a nice Zapple label for Electronic Sound. Copyright info on the discs is listed as G.H. Estate Limited under exclusive license to Calderstone Productions Limited (a division of UMG.)

In addition to some never-before-published pictures, the booklets to the albums, as well as the book accompanying the boxed set, show really nice pictures of master tape boxes from Abbey Road Studios, Apple Studios, A&M Records and FPSHOT, plus there’s a funny picture of George’s original handwritten and colored label idea for Ding Ding Ding Dong, which is listed as being by ‘G. Plan & The Wigtappers.’”

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George Harrison’s animated guest appearance on The Simpsons, season 5 episode 1, “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet,” a spoof on The Beatles. It first aired in the U.S. on 30 September 1993, and in the U.K. on 3 October 1993. (Photos: Fox, unspecified)

[Backstage]
Homer: “Then came the greatest thrill of my life.”
George Harrison: “Hello Homer, I’m George Harrison.”
Homer: “Oh my god. Oh my god! Where did you get that brownie?”
George: “Over there, there’s a big pile of ’em.”
[Homer makes gleeful noises and eats brownies]
Homer: “Oh man…”
George: “Well, what a nice fellow.”
* * *
[George seeing The Be Sharps performing on the roof]: “It’s been done.”
* * *
“Over the years, guest appearances by musical superstars - from Tony Bennett to Elton John to three of The Beatles - have left the producers star-struck.
‘We met George Harrison. We were recording it from the outside and we went in the room to shake his hand. And he goes, “You just want to get in the room to shake my hand.”'” - USA Today, 10 September 2014
* * *

“When you meet them and you don’t talk about the Beatles, they get really happy. We did talk about the Beatles, but I also mentioned one of [George Harrison’s] solo albums [Wonderwall Music], and his eyes lit up.” - Matt Groening, Paley Festival, 15 March 2007

* * *
According to the episode commentary on the season 5 DVDs, George arrived at the recording studio in L.A. by himself without any entourage or bodyguards, and seemed - according to Matt Groening - “pretty glum” and unenthusiastic regarding questions about The Beatles. But after Groening asked George about Wonderwall Music, he “perked up,” since the album wasn’t particularly one he was often asked about. Groening ranks George’s guest appearance as one of his favorites because George was “super nice” and “very sweet” to the staff.

Some clips of George’s appearance are on YouTube:
Clip 1 (Courtesy of user kcjones1025)
Clip 2 (Courtesy of Victor Hugo Ortiz Hernández)