Wonderwall Music CoverGeorge Harrison was the first Beatle to release a solo album with Wonderwall Music, the soundtrack to the film Wonderwall. The album was released on November 1, 1968, and was nearly all instrumental. The tracks were recorded in December 1967 in England, and in January 1968 in Bombay, India.

Among the several musicians appearing on the album were Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton using the pseudonyms Richie Snare and Eddie Clayton, respectively. Peter Tork of The Monkees played a banjo borrowed from Paul McCartney, though Tork was not credited.

All of the tracks were composed by Harrison, and it was the first album to be released on the newly formed Apple Records label. Later it would become the first Apple record to be deleted from their catalog, though it was remastered and reissued on compact disc in 1992.

In the UK, Wonderwall Music did not chart at all. In the U.S., it reached #49 in the early part of 1969.

Paul McCartney in Lagos drumming on Band on the RunThe drummer on Wings’ 1973 album ‘Band on the Run’ was none other than Paul McCartney. Paul and his wife Linda were bored with recording in the UK, and decided they wanted to try a studio in a different locale. From a list of EMI’s international recording studios, they chose Lagos in Nigeria as the place to record the ‘Band on the Run’ album. In addition to the McCartneys, guitarist/pianist/vocalist Denny Laine, lead guitarist Henry McCullough and drummer Denny Seiwell were scheduled for the trip. However, a few weeks before departing, McCullough quit Wings in Scotland and Seiwell quit the night before the departure. This left only the core members, Paul, Linda and Denny Laine, to go to Lagos and record the album as a trio. Without a drummer, McCartney took it upon himself to handle the drumming duties.

This was by no means the first time Paul had played drums on a recording. He played all of the drums on his 1970 ‘McCartney’ solo album as well as on a few Beatles songs including “The Ballad of John & Yoko”, “Back in the USSR”, and “Dear Prudence”.

Julian Lennon and John LennonJulian Lennon made his musical debut at age 11 playing drums on his father’s first studio version of “Ya-Ya”. The 1974 recording would appear as the last track on John Lennon’s  ‘Walls and Bridges’ album. This short, casual version of the song features just Julian on drums, and John on piano and vocals.

May Pang later recalled that Julian was disappointed when he found out the recording would make the ‘Walls and Bridges’ album, telling his father “If I’d known, I would have played better”.

“Ya-Ya” was originally performed by Lee Dorsey in 1961 and later covered again by John in a full length version on his “Rock ‘n’ Roll” album.

Click the Play button to hear the version with Julian:

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My Sweet Lord - Geroge Harrison single 1971The first single by an ex-Beatle to reach number one was “My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison. Released in November 1970 in the US, and January 1971 in the UK, the song reached number one on the charts in both countries, as well as in a few others.

“My Sweet Lord” appeared on Harrison’s number one hit triple album All Things Must Pass. George wrote the song in December 1969, while he and Billy Preston were in Copenhagen, Denmark. Originally intended as a song for Preston, Billy’s version appeared on his album Encouraging Words. He had a minor hit with the single in early 1970.

Harrison was involved in a lengthy legal battle due to musical similarities between “My Sweet Lord” and The Chiffons’ song “He’s So Fine”. A U.S. federal court decision in the case found that Harrison “subconsciously” copied the earlier song. He had to surrender the majority of royalties from “My Sweet Lord” and a cut of royalties from his All Things Must Pass album. In something of a twist, George would eventually buy the rights to “He’s So Fine”.

After George Harrison’s death from cancer in late 2001, “My Sweet Lord” reached number one again on the UK charts when it was reissued in January 2002.