|George Harrison's "Somewhere In England" album was originally completed and
set for release October 29, 1980. However, at the last minute, the album was
withdrawn and handed back to Harrison by Warner Bros., who requested that he
"rework" it a bit. In the meantime, release plans were cancelled, despite
the fact that the album had already been announced, pictured, and detailed in the
company's November 1980 new release booklet. The revised album finally appeared in
Now, with this release, the original "Somewhere In England" album
is available in compact disc from an excellent source tape, allowing fans the opportunity
to compare the two versions of the album and decide for themselves which is better.
The most obvious difference is of course the cover. The cover of the original
featured a satellite photo of England which blends into a close-up profile photo of
George. Warner Bros. reportedly disliked this cover even more than the album's
recorded contents. Incidentally, the wrap around banner on the Japanese "Double
Fantasy" LP also features this same front cover in the advertisement on the back
noting other "new" Warner Bros. releases in Japan which were due at the same
The original album was produced solely by Harrison. The 1981 version lists Ray
Cooper as co-producer. Obviously, only the four "new" tracks of the 1981
album - "All Those Years Ago," Teardrops," "That Which I Have
Lost" and "Blood From A Clone"- were actually produced by Ray Cooper.
Of the ten songs, four did not appear on the revised LP. They are: "Flying
Hour," "Lay His Head," "Sat Singing" and "Tears Of The
World." "Flying Hour" is an uptempo number driven by a combination of
acoustic and electric guitars. Undoubtedly the best song of the original line-up, it
is unbelievable that this track would have been chosen as one of the songs to be dropped.
"Lay His Head" and "Sat Singing" are both very slow paced
tunes, the first being a love song to Harrison's wife and the second dealing primarily
with Krishna. "Tears Of The World" is almost a straight musical re-working
of "This Guitar" from "Extra Texture".
Following Warner Bros.'s rejection, George began recording new material for a revised
version of the LP. It was during these sessions that John Lennon was murdered.
George took the opportunity to record a pair of tracks relating to Lennon's death
("All Those Years Ago" and "Teardrops"). These were added along
with two other new tracks, "That Which I Have Lost" and "Blood From A
Clone" (featuring a scathing set of lyrics which clearly portrays George's hurt and
anger at having his original album nixed by Warners), to replace the four songs dropped
from the line-up.
The entire contents appear in different order on both sides, with the exception of
"Save The World" which appears at the end of side two on both versions. Of
interest also is that the "gong" at the beginning of "Hong Kong Blues"
was to have signaled the start of the album, as this was originally the lead-off track.
It's interesting to note that the advance sheet for the revised album in Warner's
spring 1981 new release booklet did not list "Save The World" as being included
on the album. Presumably the revised version would have only featured nine songs,
but fortunately, this tenth track was reinstated prior to release.
In retrospect, neither version of "Somewhere In England" could be considered
to be among George's best work though the album(s) does feature many fine songs. In
the end it's the album's unusual history that makes it interesting. Was Warner Bros.
justified in rejecting the LP as originally submitted by George and, if so, was George's
revised version an improvement? It's up to the listener to decide.