Monday, November 10, 2014

40 Year Itch : The Dark Hoarse Tour

    In November of 1974, George Harrison became the first former Beatle to tour North America. Beatle fans got to hear George perform "Something ", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Here Comes the Sun" and Lennon's "In My Life" with the lyrical change "In my life, I love God more..."
   The tour got off to a rocky start when, the night before his first show, in Vancouver, the hard partying George lost his voice. He'd never recover fully despite gargling a "secret mixture of honey, vinegar and warm water" recommended to him by Eric Clapton and Barbra Streisand. ( see the video below at 1:00 in)

   George also insisted on handing over the spotlight to Ravi Shankar and other classical Indian musicians. For what must have seemed far too long to many concertgoersAs one reviewer put it "Tragically, Shankar's beautiful music was wasted on a noisy minority of meatheads".
   All of which led to George's often grumpy appearance onstage. From the stage in LA, he croaked "I don't know how it feels down there, but from up here you seem pretty dead!"
    Who knows what those shows might have been like without Billy Preston's vocal and emotional support? While overnight reviews from newspaper critics were mostly positive, Rolling Stone called the tour "disastrous", an adjective critic Jim Miller also used to describe Harrison's new Dark Horse album. That, perhaps unfairly, is the way history remembers the tour. Harrison wouldn't tour again until Clapton forced him to play some shows in Japan. Seventeen years later in 1991.

One fun footnote : drummer Jim Keltner asked George for a Mercedes 450SL in lieu of payment for the tour. This would inspire one of his better songs "It's What You Value".


  1. I don't know about you, but I would have liked to have been around for that tour. Quite late, but these days I feel like George is finally getting the recognition he deserved. The "meathead" reference is a smile. Archie's famous line would be replaced by "jive turkey" a few years later.

  2. Wish I had seen it too but at that age I'm not sure how much Indian music I could have taken.