On February 25th, 1969, George Harrison had reason to be joyous – it was his 26th birthday. But there hadn’t been much to celebrate over the past two months. The Beatles had tried, and at that point seemingly failed, to create their 11th studio album Get Back. Ringo Starr was off filming The Magic Christian, and although the first session for Abbey Road had technically taken place three days earlier, no one was sure what the next move for the band was going to be.
That’s how, on his birthday, Harrison entered EMI Studios by himself and recorded a few demos. Harrison didn’t know if these demos would serve as Beatles songs or potentially solo songs, but he simply wanted to get them on tape so that he could have them. If he hadn’t done it himself, there was a good chance that these classic songs wouldn’t have been recorded at all.
That’s because the songs Harrison was recording that day had been offered up for consideration during the Get Back sessions, only to be greeted with tepid enthusiasm at best. Most times, Harrison was outright ignored by his bandmates, who didn’t seem to see the potential in Harrison’s softer, more spiritual songs. Because he had gotten nowhere with his bandmates, Harrison opted to record ‘All Things Must Pass’, ‘Old Brown Shoe’, and ‘Something’ all on his own.
The latter two songs would eventually be accepted by The Beatles and find a place within their catalogue. But ‘All Things Must Pass’ was held on to by Harrison. Whether he was wounded by the ambivalent reception that had originally been shown to the song or wanted to keep the song for a possible solo album, Harrison didn’t offer up ‘All Things Must Pass’ once sessions officially started for Abbey Road in April of 1969.
Harrison’s solo acoustic demo was never in contention for release on the band’s albums, but the recording was later credited to The Beatles when it appeared on the Anthology 3 compilation. Only a year later, ‘All Things Must Pass’ was a central component to Harrison’s first solo album of the same name.
Check out Harrison’s Beatles-era demo for ‘All Things Must Pass’ down below.