George Harrison - Pure Smokey




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Published on Jul 6, 2008

From the Album Thirty Three and 1/3

"Throughout my lifetimes Id hesitate
Id feel some joy
But before Id show my thanks it became too late
But now all the way I want to find the time
Stop and say
I thank you lord for giving us each new day

And as I think back over so many years
Love thats filled my ears
I got to thank you lord for giving us pure smokey
And anyone who hears - hears that voice so free
He really got a hold on me
And I thank you all for giving to us smokey - smokey

Singing it so sweetly
Like no one else could do
Always trying something new
I thank you all for giving us pure smokey"

After satisfying his EMI contract with Extra Texture (Read All About It), Harrison signed immediately with Dark Horse, which was still under distribution with A&M Records. A part of their agreement was that Harrison was to deliver his new album by 25 June 1976. Unfortunately, Harrison was stricken with hepatitis and was only able to start recording the record in late May. Conscious of the fact that he was not going to rush his debut album on his own label, Harrison put off A&M, telling them the album would be ready when it was ready. But with Dark Horse's other artists no longer doing so well, and Harrison's star on the wane, A&M decided they wanted to offload the label and promptly sued Harrison for late delivery of Thirty Three & 1/3 in September. Within weeks, Harrison had moved both Dark Horse and himself over to Mo Ostin and Warner Bros. Records, who were more than pleased to have him, and Thirty Three & 1/3 and its lead-off single, "This Song", the upbeat and sardonic send-up of the "He's So Fine" vs. "My Sweet Lord" court case (which Harrison lost in 1976) were both released that November.

Named for the fact that he was thirty-three and a third years old during its recording (as well as being the speed at which the vinyl album would be played), Thirty Three & 1/3 gave Harrison his strongest reviews since All Things Must Pass, including many positive and uplifting songs. It was clear that despite his legal woes, Harrison would not let his bad luck get him down.

Unfortunately, the damage that previously-perceived mediocre albums had inflicted proved irreversible, and while Thirty Three & 1/3 actually outsold both Dark Horse and Extra Texture (Read All About It) in the US, it reached a lower peak, cresting at #11 and going gold and selling about 800,000 copies. In the UK, it merely made it to #35. While US single Crackerbox Palace made the Top 20 (and "This Song" #25), no UK singles saw any chart action. In actuality, Harrison couldn't care less about his record sales at this point in time. Already a private person, he began retreating more from the music industry as the 1970's drew to a close and immersing himself into films and leisure activities.

Harrison's only major promotion for Thirty Three and 1/3 was an appearance with Paul Simon as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live on 20 November 1976, and in some of the show's comedy sketches. The duo performed "Here Comes the Sun" and "Homeward Bound" together on the program. (The live Harrison-Simon performance of "Homeward Bound" was later included on the 1990 various artists' charity album, Nobody's Child: Romanian Angel Appeal and is also found on "The Essential Paul Simon" Paul Simon's greatest hits record released in 2007 on the bonus DVD disc.) A video of Crackerbox Palace, directed by Eric Idle, debuted on the same episode, featuring Harrison, various other celebrities, and a Pantomime Princess Margaret.

In 2004, Thirty Three & 1/3 was remastered and reissued both separately and as part of the deluxe box set The Dark Horse Years 1976-1992 on Dark Horse with new distribution by EMI, adding the bonus track Tears Of The World, an outtake from the 1980 sessions for Somewhere in England.


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