Friday, June 30, 2017

A Song A Day: George Harrison, "Your Love is Forever"

JUNE 30, 2017




Few people expected George Harrison to be the most immediately successful solo Beatle, but his 1970 All Things Must Pass triple album and #1 single “My Sweet Lord” catapulted The Quiet One into a position of solo super-stardom. He spent the next several years rolling downhill creatively and commercially.

Nothing Harrison did after ATMP had quite the same commercial appeal, and few would argue that his mid-70s solo material was his best work. By 1976, it was no longer guaranteed that his singles or albums would be popular on radio or in the stores.

He appeared lost during the middle of the decade, struggling with drugs and drink and finally splitting from Patti Boyd. He often looked haggard and physically wasted.

Things could only get better, and they did. In 1974, when Apple Records finally capitulated, Harrison helped set up Dark Horse Records to issue his work and that of other acts he liked. (A&M Records distributed the work through 1976, at which point Warner Brothers took over.) While in Los Angeles, Harrison met Olivia Arias, a secretary at the label, and the two eventually began a relationship.

The two married in 1978, a month after their child Dhani was born. Harrison often credited Olivia for helping pull him from the mire and giving him something to live for. He soon realized that he liked life on his quiet estate—where he could garden, hang out, and play guitar—more than the rock and roll business.

The album George Harrison, released in 1979, reflected this new-found serenity. The songs radiated optimism, love, patience, and even humor. A long stay in Hawaii informed his sense of connection to the earth, and recording the album at his Friar Park estate contributed to the overwhelming calm and good spirit.

With the help of experienced musical friends like Willie Weeks, Andy Newmark, Gary Wright, Steve Winwood, and producer Ted Templeman, Harrison whipped up a slightly stoned late-70s hummus of yacht rock, mellow psychedelia, and breezy pop. He summoned his Beatles past with a new take on an old ‘White Album’ outtake, “Not Guilty,” and with “Here Comes the Moon,” a shimmering, trippy sort-of-sequel to you-know-what.

He also enjoyed a moderate hit single with the charming, inspiring “Blow Away.” “Faster” (his ode to Formula I race driver Niki Lauda) and “Love Comes to Everyone” (featuring an opening guitar cameo from Eric Clapton) serve as excellent lite-rock.

On “Your Love is Forever,” Harrison used an open guitar tuning, which allowed him greater melodic flexibility, and a Roland guitar effect—possibly the Space Echo—which constructed a luscious sound on what sounds like a Fender 12-string electric guitar (anyone know for sure?). Matching this lush, reverberating tone, Harrison wrote equally words and melody.

                Sublime is the summertime, warm and lazy…
                These are perfect days, like Heaven’s about here.
                But unlike summer came and went—your love is forever…
                The only lover worth it all, your love is forever.

“Your Love is Forever” works as a love song to a person as well as to a higher power. George could be singing about Olivia, or Dhani, but he could also be singing about God. It doesn’t matter. Like the best of all music, it works on different levels. The sound, the lyrics, and the melody combine into a sort of prayer, an acknowledgement of the passing of time and our place in it.

George Harrison combined his own expressive gift with a feel for several complementary music traditions. From a diverse palette came music that felt like a giant cosmic heartbeat and looked like a rainbow.


  1. Beautiful song. I wasn't as inspired by George's work by the mid-1970s and never bought this album. Perhaps never heard it. This is a gem.

  2. Unlike Thom, I BOUGHT this album when it came out and was not impressed by the album. HOWEVER, this truly IS a gem and Stu thanks so much for pointing me back to it! WLSClark