George Harrison’s exotic soundtrack to swinging 60s cinematic head trip Wonderwall was the first solo Beatle project (that is if you don’t count Paul McCartney’s soundtrack to The Family Way, which was credited to The George Martin Orchestra). Wonderwall Music is all over the musical map—delightfully so—with songs ranging from classical Indian ragas to jaunty nostalgic-sounding numbers to proto-metal guitar freakouts. It’s a minor classic, I wish more people knew about it. I’ve long been an enthusiastic evangelist for this album, sticking tracks on mixed CDs and tapes for quite some time.
With Ringo Starr (under the pseudonym “Richie Snare”) and Eric Clapton (here credited as “Eddie Clayton) and some session musicians, Harrison recorded the “English” portion of Wonderwall Music in December 1967. The Indian musicians were recorded the following month in Bombay. Peter Tork from The Monkees plays an uncredited banjo part on the record. It was released on November 1, 1968, just a few weeks before the White Album, and was the first release on Apple Records.
There are a lot of great tracks on Wonderwall Music, but the one I want to highlight first is “Ski-ing” a two-minute long sonic SCREAMER wherein Eric Clapton comes up with the blueprint for the Buttlhole Surfer’s guitar sound back when Paul Leary was just a little kid.
“Party Seacombe” (amazing!):
Another minor masterpiece with “Red Alady, Too”:
The trailer for Wonderwall, directed by Joe Massot and starring Jane Birkin, Jack Magowran and Iain Quarrier.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Wonderwall: The Ultimate Sixties Flick?