November 14 – The End Of Solo Career Was Beginning Of Wilburys

It was almost a last hurrah for the Beatles. George Harrison‘s “Got My Mind Set On You” made the U.S. Top 40 this day in 1987. It would go on to be his third #1 hit in the U.S. (after “My Sweet Lord” and “Give Me Love” in the ’70s) , and eventually the last chart-topper for any solo Beatle.

The song was written by Rudy Clark and originally recorded by James Ray in 1962; Harrison recorded it for his Cloud Nine album, which was co-produced by Jeff Lynne of ELO, whom he would form the Traveling Wilburys with the following year. There was even more of a tie-in between the two than that; Harrison was wanting a new b-side for another single off Cloud Nine, so he got Lynne in on the song,  in turn they got Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan in on it too. “Handle with Care” was the song, originally designed to be a one-off Harrison song but they all agreed it sounded so good and they liked working together well-enough to carry on as a band. Thus the Traveling Wilburys were born. 

Although he often was the over-looked Beatle, he had a very impressive solo career, starting with Wonderwall Music in 1968 (an instrumental album which was the first solo work for any of the Fab Four) and peaking with All Things Must Pass. That 1970 album was a 105-minute, triple album which drew upon his friends Eric Clapton, Gary Wright, Peter Frampton, the members of Badfinger and others and was called “the War and Peace of Rock and Roll” by Rolling Stone. while Britain’s The Guardian called it the “best, mellowest and most sophisticated” of any solo record by one of the Fab Four. Cloud Nine may not have matched that but drew decent reviews and went platinum in the States. It ended up being the last solo album George would release in his lifetime.


11 thoughts on “November 14 – The End Of Solo Career Was Beginning Of Wilburys

  1. Badfinger (Max)

    I love the Wilburys and George’s Cloud Nine album. It was a welcome relief to me at the time and also Keith Richards Talk Is Cheap. The older fellas were doing great. George’s solo album came out of the blue to me. After Gone Troppo I didn’t know if we would ever hear from him again. Cloud 9 to me is one of his best albums.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘Got My Heart’ has a real snap to it, it’s no wonder it was a hit, and great that it led to the Wilburys. Sometimes solo artists spark off one another and- bang- something new from what may have been nothing.


    1. I wouldn’t be surprised. Indeed, when you think of a Beatle and Bob Dylan (plus the others) in one group, it’s kind of wild they weren’t more hyped. But it worked out well.


  3. I really did enjoy “Cloud Nine” when it came out and got it on CD right away. I guess I still dig it – just haven’t listened to it for quite some time.

    What really made me happy is it was a nice comeback for George. Five years earlier, he had grown tired of the music business and essentially retired. It was great to see George back. And the Wilburys were definitely fun!

    Liked by 1 person

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