George Harrison classic becomes lockdown anthem

George Harrison’s classic track All Things Must Pass is offered as an anthem for our times in a beautiful new video recorded by members of a Sussex band devoted to his memory.

The All Things Must Pass Orchestra
The All Things Must Pass Orchestra

Festival of Chichester regulars The All Things Must Pass Orchestra, comprising musicians from Seaford, Rottingdean, Brighton, Danehill and Littlehampton, were looking forward to celebrating the song’s 50th anniversary this year.

Instead, when the coronavirus lockdown hit, their gigs were wiped from the calendar.

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But now they have got together – in isolation – to celebrate Harrison’s masterpiece, a song which has taken on special new resonance in the challenging months we have been going through.

The song includes the verse:

Now the darkness only stays the night-time

In the morning it will fade away

Daylight is good at arriving at the right time

It’s not always going to be this grey

Seaford-based singer and guitarist Alex Eberhard said: “It is a song which works at some many different levels if you are spiritually inclined or if you have studied the Indian philosophies like George Harrison did.

“It is saying that everything material will pass, but who we are is not something that is material.”

Alex ranks it at the very peak of Harrison’s achievement: “The original idea for the band was that we were going to call the show All Things Must Pass and that the band shouldn’t have a name, but people started saying that we really should have a name and so we became The All Things Must Pass Orchestra.”

They have now being going seven years and have managed to do so with just one change of personnel: “It really has been my favourite project over the years. It has been the most consistent as well.”

And with this year’s 50 anniversary of the song – and also of the triple album to which it gave its name – Alex was looking forward to a special time. He had even got the special 50th- anniversary posters printed – before everything locked down.

They were due to play Havant, Henley and Brighton this June – gigs which have now been postponed until next year.

But at least they have now commemorated the anniversary with the new lockdown video.

Search YouTube for All Things Must Pass - George Harrison’s Masterpiece

“Towards the end of April, Imogen, one of the singers in the group, set up a Zoom meeting which most of the band were able to attend, and it was nice seeing everybody. We had quite a laugh, and somebody said ‘Why don’t we do a video recording?

“Philippe, the sax player, took it into his hands and did a backing track that everyone could use as a guide so that they could record their part so that we were all on the same sheet and all at the same tempo. The audio recording was relatively straightforward.”

It was then a question of splicing it all together. Alex is delighted with the result.

“It was great to see the enthusiasm of the band, and we have had some really nice responses.

“I think All Things Must Pass is my favourite album of George’s. I really like what he did afterwards, but when he did All Things Must Pass he had such a backlog of songs that almost every song is brilliant in its own right.”

As for the future for musicians, Alex admits he is struggling to see the way out: “It is really hard to say when we are going to get back to normal.

“We just don’t know. Some of my colleagues in music have been doing one-to-one teaching, but I haven’t taught for 15 years.

“And I don’t know how many people trust the government any more even if they say it is safe to go and play. You can’t force an audience to watch anything. I don’t think it is going to be for a long time.”

The band are:

Alex Eberhard – voc/guit, Seaford

Imogen Ryall – voc, Rottingdean

Lucy Pickering – voc, Brighton

Marianne Hillier-Brook – drums, Danehill

Dave Barnard – bass, Brighton

Bernd Rest – lap steel guitar, Brighton

Tony Williams – guitar, Brighton

Simon Robinson – keys, Littlehampton

Paul Nieman – trombone, Brighton

Philippe Guyard – saxophone, Brighton.


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