Song 67: George Harrison, “All Things Must Pass” (1970)


Why do such simple statements sound so profound when coming from George Harrison? There’s something in his delivery that’s so trustworthy, a kind of grizzled wisdom that the other Beatles could never muster (nor, I guess, did they want to). Harrison always seemed like the most centered of the group; Paul is so goofy, John was distractingly self-conscious, and Ringo, though he definitely seems comfortable with his place in the Beatle pecking order, is still Ringo.

I can’t think of many other musicians and songwriters who can pull off something like “All Things Must Pass” without coming across as cloying. This isn’t self-help nonsense, this is meant to comfort by telling you some facts: everything ends, good and bad. Like my favorite Beatles song, “Here Comes The Sun,” this song is almost spiritual in its simplicity. Things happen. You’re not special, but you’re part of something big, and that makes you valuable.

Some have interpreted the album cover as depicting Harrison’s newfound independence from the Beatles. His former bandmates had rejected “All Things Must Pass,” which now seems like a ridiculous notion (they wanted “Back In The U.S.S.R” but not this song?!), and Harrison must have been thrilled to be out on his own. It sure paid off.


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