A Call to Abandon Religious Sectarianism

Photo by Barry Feinstein

 

George Harrison wrote My Sweet Lord in praise of the Hindu god Krishna, while at the same time intending the lyrics to serve as a call to abandon religious sectarianism through his deliberate blending of the Hebrew word hallelujah with chants of “Hare Krishna” and Vedic prayer. The song’s lyrics reflect Harrison’s often-stated desire for a direct relationship with God, expressed in simple words that all believers could affirm, regardless of their religion.

Harrison began writing My Sweet Lord in December 1969, when he, Billy Preston and Eric Clapton were in Copenhagen, Denmark, as guest artists on Delaney & Bonnie’s European tour.

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Some Things Remains

The song’s title and message provided inspiration for Barry Feinstein’s cover photo for All Things Must Pass (1970). In a 2001 interview, Feinstein admitted that the words “All Things Must Pass” had helped inspire his set-up for the photo, saying: “What else could it be? … [It] was over with The Beatles, right? And that title … Very symbolic.”

 
 

George Harrison commissioned Tom Wilkes to design an “elaborate hinged cardboard box” in which to house the three vinyl discs, rather than have them packaged in a triple gatefold cover. Apple insider Tony Bramwell later recalled: “It was a bloody big thing … You needed arms like an orang-utan to carry half a dozen.” The packaging caused some confusion among retailers, who associated boxed albums with opera or classical works.

 
 

Alternate image from All Things Must Pass photo session

 
 

The stark black-and-white cover photo was taken on the main lawn at Friar Park by Wilkes’ Camouflage Productions partner, Barry Feinstein. Commentators interpret the photograph – showing Harrison seated in the centre of, and towering over, four comical-looking garden gnomes – as representing his removal from The Beatles‘ collective identity. The gnomes had recently been delivered to Friar Park and placed on the lawn; seeing the four figures there, and mindful of the message in the album’s title, Feinstein immediately drew parallels with Harrison’s former band. Author and music journalist Mikal Gilmore has written that John Lennon‘s initial negativity regarding All Things Must Pass was possibly because he was “irritated” by this cover photo; Harrison biographer Elliot Huntley attributes this negativity to Lennon’s “jealousy” during a time when “everything [Harrison] touched turned to gold”.

 
 

Outtakes

 
 

Trade ad for the What Is Life single, February 1971

 
 

Apple included a poster with the album, showing Harrison in a darkened corridor of his home, standing in front of an iron-framed window. Wilkes had designed a more adventurous poster, but according to Beatles author Bruce Spizer, Harrison was uncomfortable with the imagery. Some of the Feinstein photographs that Wilkes had incorporated into this original poster design appeared instead on the picture sleeves for the My Sweet Lord single and its follow-up, What Is Life.

 
 

To mark the 30th anniversary of the album’s release, Harrison supervised a remastered edition of All Things Must Pass, which was issued in January 2001. Harrison oversaw revisions to Wilkes and Feinstein’s album artwork, which included a colorized “George & the Gnomes” front cover and, on the two CD sleeves and the album booklet, further examples of this cover image showing an imaginary, gradual encroachment of urbanization on the Friar Park landscape.

…It Takes a Train to Cry

Bob Dylan in the train from Dublin to Belfast. Photo by Barry Feinstein, 1966

 

“Well, I ride on a mailtrain, baby
Can’t buy a thrill
Well, I’ve been up all night, baby
Leanin’ on the windowsill
Well, if I die
On top of the hill
And if I don’t make it
You know my baby will

Don’t the moon look good, mama
Shinin’ through the trees?
Don’t the brakeman look good, mama
Flagging down the “Double E?”
Don’t the sun look good
Goin’ down over the sea?
Don’t my gal look fine
When she’s comin’ after me?

Now the wintertime is coming
The windows are filled with frost
I went to tell everybody
But I could not get across
Well, I wanna be your lover, baby
I don’t wanna be your boss
Don’t say I never warned you
When your train gets lost”

 

It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry is a song written by Bob Dylan that was originally released on his seminal album Highway 61 Revisited, and also included on the compilation album Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits 2 that was released in Europe. An earlier, alternate version of the song appears, in different takes, on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991 and The Bootleg Series Vol. 7: No Direction Home. It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry has been covered by numerous artists, including Super Session featuring Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield and Steven Stills, The Allman Brothers Band, Marianne Faithfull, Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead, Stephen Stills, Ian Matthews, Leon Russell, Little Feat, Chris Smither, Taj Mahal, Steve Earle, Levon Helm and Toto.

The imagery is sexual, and the song can be interpreted as an allegory of someone who is sexually frustrated. Dylan would return to similar images and suggestions in later songs, such as I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine and Señor (Tales of Yankee Power).

Dylan played the album version of the song live for the first time as part of his set in the August 1971 Concert for Bangladesh.

 

To watch this performance, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

When I Paint My Masterpiece

Bob Dylan visiting the The Phillips Collection, standing in front of El Greco’s The Repentant St. Peter (1600 – 1605 or later). Photo: Barry Feinstein, 1974

 
 

Oh, the streets of Rome are filled with rubble
Ancient footprints are everywhere
You can almost think that you’re seein’ double
On a cold, dark night on the Spanish Stairs
Got to hurry on back to my hotel room
Where I’ve got me a date with Botticelli’s niece
She promised that she’d be right there with me
When I paint my masterpiece

Oh, the hours I’ve spent inside the Coliseum
Dodging lions and wastin’ time
Oh, those mighty kings of the jungle, I could hardly stand to see ’em
Yes, it sure has been a long, hard climb
Train wheels runnin’ through the back of my memory
When I ran on the hilltop following a pack of wild geese
Someday, everything is gonna be smooth like a rhapsody
When I paint my masterpiece

Sailin’ round the world in a dirty gondola
Oh, to be back in the land of Coca-Cola!

I left Rome and landed in Brussels
On a plane ride so bumpy that I almost cried
Clergymen in uniform and young girls pullin’ muscles
Everyone was there to greet me when I stepped inside
Newspapermen eating candy
Had to be held down by big police
Someday, everything is gonna be diff’rent
When I paint my masterpiece

Bob Dylan

Child Is The Father Of The Man

“Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but … life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”

Gabriel García Márquez

 
 

Popeye and Friends (1911),  Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine

 
 

Kate Moss with children. Photos by Bruce Weber

 
 

Drew Barrymore as scout by Mark Seliger

 
 

French kids imitate Dizzy Gillespie’s cheeks in Nice (France) by Milt Hinton, 1981

 
 

Bob Dylan and kids,  Liverpool, England, 1966. Barry Feinstein

 
 

Donovan. Photo credit: Chris Walter, circa 1965

 
 

Frank Zappa and Mothers of Invention. Art Kane, circa 1968

 
 

For this Life magazine session, Art Kane wanted to portray the musical group as a family and took the idea of mothers — and their babies — as a theme.  He gathered some of the musicians’ infants, then booked about thirty more from a modeling agency.  As soon as they began to shoot, one of the babies urinated, which inspired the others to do so as well, creating in Kane’s words, “the fountains of Rome.”

 
 

Brotherhood, Art Kane

 
 

Norman Rockwell at Oak Mountain School (Georgia)

I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed


Janis Joplin in Pearl ‘s album sleeve. Photo: Barry Feinstein, 1970

 
 

I taste a liquor never brewed —
From Tankards scooped in Pearl —
Not all the Vats upon the Rhine
Yield such an Alcohol!

 
 

Amy Winehouse

 
 

Inebriate of Air — am I —
And Debauchee of Dew —
Reeling — thro endless summer days —
From inns of Molten Blue —

When “Landlords” turn the drunken Bee
Out of the Foxglove’s door —
When Butterflies — renounce their “drams” —
I shall but drink the more!

Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats —
And Saints — to windows run —
To see the little Tippler
Leaning against the — Sun —

 
 

Poem #214

Emily Dickinson