Eighteen years after Rolling Stone magazine panned his new “Dark Horse” album as “transcendental mediocrity,” George Harrison was still upset about the review.
A scheduled 1992 photo shoot for Rolling Stone’s 25th anniversary issue almost did not go ahead because of bad feelings, chief photographer Mark Seliger recalls in a special edition devoted solely to the late former Beatle.
But Rolling Stone reentered Harrison’s good graces when Seliger brought along some ukuleles, on the advice of Tom Petty. Harrison picked up one of the instruments and played Hawaiian ballads for 20 minutes, while Seliger clicked away.
A previously unpublished photo from the session accompanies Seliger’s anecdote in the 96-page issue, which hit news stands on Dec. 7, eight days after Harrison died of cancer in Los Angeles.
The ad-free edition is the first tribute published by Rolling Stone in its 34-year history. The magazine printed 450,000 copies, with a $4.95 cover price.
Included are a Mikal Gilmore essay on Harrison, a photo section, reprints of key Harrison interviews, an analysis of Harrison’s movie career, a discography and song review.
Not surprisingly, the magazine now takes a gentler stance on “Dark Horse,” which was Harrison’s fifth solo album. Gilmore opined that “today it stands up as one of Harrison’s most fascinating works.”