Complete Promo Clips 1970-2001 (Misterclaudel MCDVD-017/018)
DVD 1, Promo clips: Ding Dong, This Song, True Love, Crackerbox Palace, Blow Away, Faster, Save The World, All Those Years Ago, Shanghai Surprise, Someplace Else, This Is Love, When We Was Fab, Got My Mind Set On You ver. 1, Got My Mind Set On You ver. 2, Handle With Care, End Of The Line, She’s My Baby, Inside Out, Wilbury Twist, Nobody’s Child, My Sweet Lord 2000, Any Road
DVD 2 Rare clips: For You Blue (2007 edit), Set On You (ver. 1 alternate #1), Set On You (ver 1 alternate #2), Wilbury Twist (ver. 2), Wilbury Twist (ver. 3), Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea, Japan Tour 1991 highlights, Sue Me Sue You Blues, Miss O’Dell, Living In The Material World, Old Brown Shoe, Mama You’ve Been On My Mind (with Bob Dylan), I Won’t Back Down (Tom Petty), Don’t Try To Own Me (Gary Wright), Isn’t It A Pity
Following the same concept of with their three volumes Paul McCartney series, Misterclaudel now present a collection of video clips from George Harrison’s career. Unlike McCartney who began producing video clips soon after leaving the Beatles and fully exploited the art-form throughout his career, Harrison’s seems like an afterthought. As productive as Harrison’s career seemed at times with classic albums, the videos are on the whole pedestrian and uninspired and don’t really add much to his legacy as an artist. It is interesting to have a complete collection of videos, variations and other rare clips collected into one collection especially after the disappointing Dark Horse Years 1976-1992.
Harrison’s best work as a solo artist (All Things Must Pass, Living In The Material World and most of Dark Horse) are completely neglected. He didn’t seem to either want or care to produce videos to promote his work. The collection begins with George’s Christmas tune “Ding Dong” from Dark Horse. This video was released in December 1974, the same time he was on his only US tour. Both the picture and sound are very good quality. The style establishes themes and patterns what will crop up again in others videos. It is filmed in his vast manor intercut with scenes where he is wearing silly costumes (caveman, pirate), his old Beatles costumes (grey suit, Sgt Pepper) and in street clothes.
His next album Extra Texture (Read All About It) is completely ignored. Not even the two singles “You” and “This Guitar Can’t Keep From Crying” are represented on video. Thirty Three & 1/3 produced three videos and two were released to coincide both with the album’s release in November 1976. “This Song,” written about the “My Sweet Lord” lawsuit, is visually very kinetic. It is set in a courtroom with George on trial, drummer Jim Keltner as judge and Ronnie Wood dressed in drag miming Eric Idle’s “Could be ‘Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch'”, “No, sounds more like ‘Rescue Me’!” interjection right before the instrumental break. The second video from the album is “Crackerbox Palace.” It features reference to the lyrical content of the song, George walking around and singing the words, and gnomes dancing in sync. Both of these were show on the November 20th episode of “Saturday Night Live” when he was a guest star. The third video from Thirty Three & 1/3 is his cover of Cole Porter’s “True Love.” It is in decent quality and the narrative is rather straightforward, George dressed in Victorian garb wooing a lady in the park.
The next video moves up a couple of years. “Blow Away” was the hit single from George Harrison in 1979. The song is catchy, his last hit in the seventies, and the video is simply Harrison looking into the camera and miming the words. There are some effects like his standing in the mirror, singing with full sized toys and blowing the clouds, but the focus of attention in the visuals is his face. “Faster” is another video from 1979. It is about the Swedish motor racer Gunnar Nilsson, who died of cancer the previous year. The video shows various shots of Nilsson racing around the track. The song, although relatively obscure, has some merit with a very catchy bridge.
Two videos from 1981’s Somewhere In England follow. The first is “Save The World,” a series of scenes of Greenpeace in their boats intercut with footage of whales and cute looking white fluffy seals. Also visible in the video at several spots are footage and photographs of a mushroom cloud from a nuclear detonation. It’s a typically heavy handed piece of nonsense. There is no comprehensible narrative link between the animals, boats and nuclear explosions, unless the argument is that Greenpeace is saving the cute whales and seals from hunters using nuclear devices. Beyond that the song sucks too. But following this is “All Those Years Ago,” taped off of MTV in excellent quality. This is easily his biggest hit and most well known song from the early eighties. It is an edited montage of photos and footage of John Lennon. They tend to use pictures of George with John, and Lennon is more often than not higher.
Gone Troppo, released in 1982 is completely passed over. There was little promotion for the album and no videos. This remains Harrison’s most obscure record. The next videos come from his work for Shanghai Surprise. Released in 1986, this stared Madonna in her film debut and Sean Penn with Harrison in a cameo role. “Shanghai Surprise” is a “trailer” video (showing copious amounts of scenes from the film) intercut with scenes of Harrison and Vicki Brown singing the song in the studio. Both “Someplace Else” and “This Is Love” were also featured in the film and re-recorded for Cloud Nine. The videos in this collection contain the hard-to-find soundtrack recordings (the soundtrack has never been released). These videos are followed by three from Cloud Nine. “When We Was Fab” is his homage to his Beatle days (and another video where he wears again his Beatle costumes). In the video are also Ringo, John and Paul look alikes, Jeff Lynne and Ray Cooper playing a long violin, and a cameo by Elton John.
The two different versions of “Got My Mind Set On You” follow. This was his last number one single in the US. The first video is the “nickelodeon,” released in October 1987. It is the cut where George is in the nickelodeon and Alexis Denisof is trying to impress a girl in an arcade. The second version was released in early 1988 and features George sitting in a chair while the room comes alive and bops along with the music. In the middle of the video he does a back-flip back into the chair (done by a professional gymnast obviously). This one was more successful than the first, receiving much more airplay and was nominated for three MTV Video Music Awards (best male video, best special effects in a video, best art direction in a video). Missing in this chronology is a video for “Cheer Down,” the excellent song from the Lethal Weapon 2 soundtrack released in 1989. Quite why no video was ever produced for this song remains a mystery.
The next six videos come from the Traveling Wilburys project between 1988 and 1990. Five of these videos (all except “Nobody’s Child”) are also found on the official release The Traveling Wilburys Collection. The quality for the five is excellent and probably taken from the official DVD. The version of “Wilbury Twist” on disc one is the 2007 edit found on the Rhino release which features a few shots of John Candy and Eric Idle in the beginning and otherwise is a straight performance video. The others are the same edits that are seen on the official DVD as well. “Handle With Care” shows the band singing the song in what looks like a barn. “End Of The Line” features them sitting in a train car and when Roy Orbison’s lines come up, it focus upon his picture and guitar sitting in a rocking chair. “She’s My Baby” and “Inside Out” are straight performance videos.
“Nobody’s Child” is in lesser quality than the others. The song was first released on the charity album Nobody’s Child: Romanian Angel Appeal. The video was taped off of MTV and Misterclaudel use a high generation VHS copy. None of the Wilburys appear in the video, but rather it has footage of Romanian orphans intercut with cartoon drawings of the band. “My Sweet Lord 2000” is a video for the re-recording of his first single done for the remastering of All Things Must Pass in 2000. The video shows George in the studio intercut with scenes of female dancers taped off of the BBC in the seventies. The final video is for “Any Road” released for his posthumous final album Brainwashed. It is a montage of footage from his life set to music including a bit of him singing the song on VH1 in 1997.
The second DVD is labeled “rare clips” and it a real varied collection. It has the 2007 edit of “For You Blue” and “Old Brown Shoe” both using footage from the film Let It Be. The two alternate versions of the “nickelodeon” version of “Got My Mind Set On You” which features George and the band alone playing in the machine with big gears behind them (glimpses can be seen in the final version). The two edits of “Wilbury Twist” are what were actually show on MTV in the early nineties and both feature more footage of John Candy, Eric Idle, various other celebrity cameos and more “situation” shots in addition to the performance footage in the version on disc one.
The Japan tour highlights is a very short clip with excerpts from four songs. Tantalizing, but too short to be important. “Sue Me Sue Blues” is a re-recording of the track with just George on steel guitar. The video is simply a shot of the guitar with the lyrics being scrawled on the screen. “Mama You’ve Been On My Mind” is a duet with Bob Dylan and the shot features scenes of George with Patty Boyd and Dylan with Joan Baez. It is rather stupid considering George and Patty were long divorced when this video was edited and Dylan was never really an item of Baez. (It made me very uncomfortable watching this to be honest).
For George Harrison and Beatle fans, Complete Promo Clips 1970-2001 is an excellent collection of videos and clips assembled by Misterclaudel. Much like the three volume McCartney set, this is the most comprehensive collection of promo clips that will ever be available for Harrison (unless his estate decides to pull out more rarities from the archives). It is packaged in a plastic case with obi strip with the usual high gloss paper used for the inserts.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)