Harrison album soars up charts

By | December 4, 2001 at 12:00 AM

George Harrison’s landmark album “All Things Must Pass” is flying off the shelves and up the charts on a wave of nostalgia after his death from cancer last week.

“There has been a very significant sales rise since Friday. If this continues it will move into the top 40 of the album charts,” Gennaro Castaldo, spokesman for leading British record retailer HMV, told Reuters Monday.

The album, featuring the mystical “My Sweet Lord” – the first No. 1 single by a solo Beatle – was first released in late 1970 but was digitally remastered and re-released earlier this year before Harrison’s death Thursday at age 58.

British newspapers speculated that record company EMI would re-release “My Sweet Lord” to catch the Christmas single rush, though there was no immediate comment from the company.

“If they did re-release it there is no doubt it would be the Christmas No. 1,” Castaldo said.

Originally released as a three-disc set, the album was seen as the “quiet Beatle’s” decisive bid to escape from the shadow of the Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership that set world music alight in the 1960s.

Featuring top musicians like Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Billy Preston and engineered by famed producer Phil Spector, the album marked the high point of Harrison’s solo career, setting a standard he would rarely reach again.

“It would be a tremendous tribute to him (if it returned to the charts), because it shows that people are buying it specifically to mourn him and to show how much affection they had for him,” Castaldo said.

Harrison, who was reported to have been secretly recording a new album provisionally titled “Portrait of a Leg End” – a tongue-in-cheek play on the word “legend” – is the second of the former Fab Four to die.

John Lennon was shot dead outside his New York apartment block by a deranged fan in December 1980, and sales of his solo work rocketed afterward in a worldwide outpouring of grief.

There also is an enduring appetite for memorabilia of the Beatles – a band whose work still influences musicians who were not even born when the group was at the peak of its popularity.

Sales of the Beatles’ “1” – a collection of 27 singles that reached No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic – topped charts around the world when it was released last year.

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