Posthumous Harrison Album Set for November Release

By | September 11, 2002 at 12:00 AM

The album ex-Beatle George Harrison recorded in the last months of his life as he fought a losing battle with cancer will be released in November, 10 days before the first anniversary of his death, his recording company said on Monday.

“Brainwashed,” the first release of new solo material from the former lead guitarist for the Beatles since his 1987 album “Cloud Nine,” features 11 new Harrison compositions and one cover track.

The record was produced by Harrison in collaboration with his son, Dhani, and longtime friend and fellow musician Jeff Lynne.

“Before we started working on the album, George and Dhani had collaborated extensively on pre-production,” Lynne said in a statement. “George would come ’round my house and he’d always have a new song with him. He would strum them on a guitar or ukulele. The songs just knocked me out.”

Lynne, onetime leader of the Electric Light Orchestra, performed with Harrison as part of the Grammy-winning Traveling Wilburys supergroup in the late 1980s. He went on to help produce the Beatles’ “Anthology” series and also worked individually with Harrison’s former bandmates, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney.

“George constantly talked about how he wanted the album to sound,” Lynne said of “Brainwashed.” “And there was always that spiritual energy that went into the lyrics as well as the music.”

The album is set for release Nov. 19 by Harrison’s own Dark Horse label in conjunction with EMI Recorded Music, a unit of record giant EMI Group Plc. Harrison, remembered from his Fab Four days as the “Quiet Beatle,” died on Nov. 29, 2001, at age 58 following a long battle with cancer.

During the final months of his life, Harrison was reported to have been quietly working on 25 previously unreleased tracks for a final album then provisionally titled “Portrait of a Leg End,” an apparent nod to his ambivalent attitude toward fame.

Harrison recorded one of his last songs, “Horse to Water,” with son Dhani last October for a compilation released in January by British musician Jools Holland.

That song, which contains references to Harrison’s physical and spiritual struggle with cancer, will not appear on his forthcoming album, said Todd Brodginski, a spokesman for the album project.

One of Harrison’s last recordings, the song “Horse to Water,” which he recorded with son Dhani last October, appeared on a compilation released in January by British musician Jools Holland.

That song, which contains references to Harrison’s physical and spiritual struggle with cancer, is not expected to appear on his own forthcoming album, said Todd Brodginski, a spokesman for the album project.

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