Among those who inspired young Randy Bachman to take up music, George Harrison ranks pretty high. Bachman, who of course starred in the Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive en route to his spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, spoke with Rock Cellar in 2015 about the Beatles and how much their music means to him, and the world.
On March 2, he’ll release a very special album, By George – By Bachman, a tribute to his musical hero and mentor, the late George Harrison. The album’s release comes roughly a week after what would have been Harrison’s 75th birthday on February 25. (The Concert for George film will also head back to theaters to celebrate Harrison’s birthday, it’s worth pointing out).
Here’s his take on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”:
This won’t be your average “tribute album,” though. Covering both Harrison’s work with the Beatles and his own as a prolific solo artist, Bachman explains what made his approach different from what you might expect:
“On Jukebox, the covers album I did with Burton Cummings back in 2007, I took ‘I’m Happy Just To Dance With You,’ which wasn’t written by George but written for him to sing, and put a whole new groove on it,” Bachman explains. “People already knew the lyrics so I put it into a new musical context and it worked. For this album, I figured I would take George’s songs and give them new grooves. I wanted the tempos and arrangements to be different but still recognizable by the lyrics. I took the major keys and turned them into minors. It was a whole new interpretation of a familiar song. I was quite excited about the prospect of re-imagining George Harrison’s songs.”
This project started for Bachman in March 2017, when he and his band mates (co-producer/drummer Marc LaFrance, Mick Dalla-Vee on bass/keys and Bret Knudsen on guitar) recorded in Vancouver and Calgary.
There’s also some hidden magic peppered throughout the record for big George fans, Bachman explained:
“Throughout the album, I put in little signature licks that are associated with George’s songs,” reveals Bachman, “Like the slide part from ‘My Sweet Lord’ or the opening chord from ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ for the fans to notice. Kind of like Easter Eggs.”
Here’s the track listing for the album, which is up for pre-order:
1. “Between Two Mountains”
2. “If I Needed Someone”
3. “You Like Me Too Much”
4. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
5. “Handle With Care”
7. “I Need You”
9. “Think For Yourself”
10. “Here Comes The Sun”
11. “Don’t Bother Me”
12. “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)”
13. “Between Two Mountains Reprise”
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