Monday, November 17, 2014

Blow Away

This is such a horrible video. Even granting that the medium was in its relative infancy, it's still pretty terrible, thanks to George looking typically tense and awkward as he's being forced to mime in extreme close-up, dance, and frolic with, among other absurdities, a giant bath toy duck.

If you've never seen this before, no, that's not a typo. A giant bath toy duck.

But saying he was "forced to," despite appearances, isn't actually right. The video's director was Neil Innes, best known for sharing a birthday with me and for working extensively with Monty Python—so much so that he was sometimes known as The Seventh Python, and not without reason, writing or co-writing many of their songs, and appearing as (among other characters) the lead minstrel following Brave Sir Robin around in Monty Python and— the Holy Grail. Oh, and of course, he was the creative mastermind behind something called The Rutles. So I guess it's safe to say George—producer of (and actor in) Monty Python's Life of Brian, had some idea what he was getting into when he tapped Innes to direct this thing.

But that's not why I posted it. I posted it because it came up in my playlist this morning and listening the opening few seconds I realized that while no one in the world would put George Harrison in a list of the Top 10 Best Slide Guitarists, I will say that he very well may be the single most distinctive slide guitarist ever. His tone, his style, his melodic approach bears no resemblance I can hear to Elmore James or Duane Allman, leaning instead on his pop instincts, as well as perhaps his beloved Indian music—which, given the slide's ability to glide to or lightly touch upon notes a regular fretted guitar can't, might have allowed him to more closely approach Indian music's use of microtones.

Also, the goofy smile he gives the very first time he sings "be happy" is itself reason enough for this video. This horrible, horrible, wonderful, glorious video.

No comments:

Post a Comment