Tuesday, January 16, 2007

This Day in Music History: George Harrison and Got My Mind Set on You

Before the Beatles came to America in 1964 George Harrison came by himself a few months earlier in 1963. You George had an older sister who left home when she was about 17 years old. She studied to become a teacher and moved to America. So George came to America to vist his sister. While visiting he bought an album by the singer James Ray. He said that the album was terrible but there were three really good songs on it. All of them were written by a former mailman named Rudy Clark. The songs were It's Been A Drag and Got My Mind Set on You Part 1 and Part 2. However, the two parts didn't have any break in between.

George said he got the idea to record the song when he was in the studio with Jim Keltner and Gary Wright. Keltner started playing a swing/rock type of beat. Wright said that it sounded like Got My Mind Set on You. George was surprised anybody else had ever heard of the song. He then decided to record it. George made some changes when he recorded it. He changed it from the Jazz/Swing sound that the original had to a more pop rock sound with some chord changes. He also eliminated the female background singers. When he was asked why he made the changes he said it was because he prefered the way he heard it in his head.

The song was co-produced by George and Jeff Lynne of ELO fame. George said he wanted to work with someone who's work he respected and someone who respected his work. He didn't want a newcomer who would dismiss everything that he had done in the past. Dave Edmonds set up a meeting between the two and the rest is history. So on this day in music history, January 16, 1988 George Harrison release the song Got My Mind Set on You from his Cloud Nine Album and had the #1 song on the Billboard charts for 1 week.

The song had two music videos made for it. The most popular one was George just sitting in a room singing and playing his guitar to the tune while the objects in the room became animated and moving to the beat. My friend Mike loved this one and wanted the suit of armor to start dancing to the tune but it never did. Too bad as it would have been a nice touch.

My favorite was the second as it had a story to it. A boy and girl were at an arcade trying to get each others attention. They were playing a game where the prize was a snowglobe. Inside the snowglobe was George, Jeff Lynne, Jim Keltner, etc. playing the song.

There was always a friendly rivalry between the Beatles and I heard that Paul McCartney was happy but also a little bit jealous when George hit #1. You see Paul had not had a #1 hit since 1983 when his duet with Michael Jackson was #1 in December of that year.

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