Behind the Album: 'Brainwashed,' a Definitive Artistic Statement by George Harrison—and His Last

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Music fans around the world mourned the loss of George Harrison upon his death in November 2001 at 58 years old. A year later, they received a wonderful farewell gift in the form of Brainwashed, his final studio album.

Not only was it his last album, but Brainwashed turned out to be one of his best. How did it all come together? And who helped carry the project forward in Harrison’s absence? It’s an amazing story befitting an amazing album.

When he released his surprising comeback album Cloud Nine in 1987, it looked like George Harrison had re-energized his solo career in such a way that we could expect more material coming from him in a hurry. But the follow-up album never quite materialized.

Harrison still wasn’t all that keen on the promotional and touring duties that were expected of a rock artist. He also got caught up in other events. There were two albums with his buddies in the Traveling Wilburys, as well as the time spent helping fellow Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr complete the Anthology project.

That’s not to say that he stopped thinking about releasing his own music. In fact, as the ’90s wore on, he started to assemble songs that seemed like they could work on a solo album. When he overcame a throat cancer scare in 1997, it seemed he would have the time to work on this record. Fate intervened, however, and made Brainwashed, by necessity, a team effort.

Source: Jim Beviglia/


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