By Michael Christopher
Rock Music Menu
Later this month will see the release of ‘Came the Lightening: Twenty Poems for George,’ where author and producer Olivia Harrison dedicates 20 poems to her late husband George Harrison. The book devoted to the lead guitarist of The Beatles, solo singer / songwriter and Traveling Wilburys member comes on the 20th anniversary year of his passing.
‘Came the Lightening,’ out June 21 and available for preorder now, is an exploration of Olivia’s relationship with George that is at once intimate, quiet and powerful. Her poems transcend time and place to celebrate a love that embraces all of life’s moments, from its soaring peaks to its lonely valleys. It examines the good, the band and all of the in-between.
As a contributor to the book ‘Concert for George,’ the revised edition of ‘I Me Mine’ as well as penning the bestselling book ‘George Harrison: Living in the Material World,’ Olivia Harrison is no stranger to writing beautiful words that have an ethereal connection to love. Now, in her first departure from biographical nonfiction, this book of poems is her debut in another form.
Olivia has curated a selection of photographs and mementos to accompany the collection of poems in ‘Came the Lightening,’ including never-before-seen pictures of herself and George. Filmmaker Martin Scorsese, a long-time friend and director of the 2011 documentary, ‘George Harrison: Living in the Material World’ has written the foreword where he calls the book “an autobiography in both rhyme and reason.”
The poems are meant, at the end of the day, to embrace the love between George and Olivia and encourage readers to be graceful with their hearts – like when facing death and grief – as she unveils the sweet and spiritual moments that still exist within. ‘Came the Lightening, Twenty Poems for George’ is a testament to a love that continues to live on even when someone departs this earth.
Olivia is a film producer who first worked in the music industry in Los Angeles for A&M Records, where she met George and then helped run his Dark Horse record label. She co-produced the Grammy Award winning film of the 2002 ‘Concert for George,’ which she organized in memory of her late husband. Olivia also received an Emmy for Outstanding Nonfiction Special from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2012 for her role as a producer in the Scorsese documentary.
Back in 2005, coinciding with the reissue of the album and film from the 1971 ‘Concert for Bangladesh,’ she established “The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF” with an initial focus on programs in Bangladesh. The fund had also assisted children affected by civil conflict, natural disasters or poverty in Afghanistan, Brazil, India, Angola, Romania, the Horn of Africa, Burma and Nepal and Mexico.
As director of the Material World Foundation, a charity set up by George in 1973, Olivia oversees its ongoing work in encouraging and promoting the exploration of alternate and diverse forms of artistic expression and philosophies.
VINYL OF THE WEEK
Keep an eye on this spot as each week we’ll be looking at new or soon-to-be-released vinyl from a variety of artists. It might be a re-pressing of a landmark recording, special edition or new collection from a legendary act. This week, it’s a greatest hits assemblage focusing on the 80s era from one of the hard rock’s most resilient outfits.
‘GREATEST HITS: REVISITED * REMIXED * REMASTERED MXXII’
Whitesnake continues to revisit its multi-platinum career as it remixes some of its biggest hits for a new collection that spotlights updated versions of classic tracks like “Still of The Night,” “Here I Go Again” and “Is This Love.” The record arrives in stores next Friday and coincides with the ongoing “Whitesnake: The Farewell Tour,” which is currently in Europe and will make its way to the States in the later summer and fall.
Founder and lead singer of Whitesnake, David Coverdale, had 16 tracks remixed and remastered for ‘Greatest Hits: Revisited * Remixed * Remastered MMXXII,’ which comes on 180gram double vinyl. Twelve of them were on the band’s original ‘Greatest Hits’ that came out in 1994. The frontman explained in a statement that not only are their more songs, but they’ve been modernized.
“We’ve definitely expanded on the original ‘Greatest Hits,’ took them all out of the sonic time capsule of the ’80s and’ 90s, and brought them up to date, sound-wise,” Coverdale said. “As always, we have the original albums for those who consider them holy relics.”
Keyboardist Derek Sherinian, who also appeared on Whitesnake’s recent “Red, White and Blues” trilogy, adds Hammond organ to more than half the songs on the collection. His contributions can be heard on the No. 1 smash “Here I Go Again,” “Fool for Your Loving,” “You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again” and more. New performances by former Whitesnake guitarist Adrian Vandenberg can also be heard on “The Deeper the Love” and “Judgment Day” from the 1989 album, ‘Slip of the Tongue.’
Along with those new additions, Coverdale also went back to the vault to unearth vintage performances by guitarist John Sykes that did not appear on the original recordings, including a solo on “Slide It In” and rhythm guitar on “Give Me All Your Love . ”
The LP focuses extensively on three blockbuster albums the band released during the 1980s peak period. The two times platinum ‘Slide It In’ from 1984, 1987’s eight times platinum eponymous album and 1989’s platinum ‘Slip of the Tongue.’ But the collection goes deeper with songs like “Sweet Lady Luck,” a B-side on the 12 ”single for“ The Deeper the Love ”and“ Forevermore, ”the title track from the band’s 2011 album.
In addition to the classic black vinyl pressing, there will be a red variant exclusively from Walmart. ‘Greatest Hits: Revisited * Remixed * Remastered MMXXII’ can be found online and in stores from all respectable retailers who carry vinyl beginning next Friday, June 17.
To contact music columnist Michael Christopher, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, check out his blog at www.thechroniclesofmc.com.