Great Rock Albums of 1987: George Harrison- Cloud Nine

I’ve said this in the past, although the last time was quite a few years ago, so some of you might not have heard me say it or those who had may not remember it. What I said was that of all the Beatles solo material post split, it is George Harrison’s which I like the best. I know I said it when I posted about his 1979 self-titled album, though I’m not sure if I did when I posted about the 1981 “Somewhere in England” one. Anyway, I’m saying it again, because I do like his 1987 “Cloud Nine” album.

Reading up on a little history, George took a five year hiatus from music to follow other pursuits such as film making, though he did pop up on the odd charity song. The reason for this was that he wasn’t too impressed with the music coming out in the 1980s. Part of me can’t blame him although I wonder what his views were towards heavy metal. Anyway, I digress yet again, so back to history. By 1987, he felt the desire to make music and so he contacted Jeff Lynne of ELO fame who helped him co produce the album.

Another thing George did was instead of enlisting an army of musicians to play on “Cloud Nine” he had some of the greatest names in the business to play on it. Just take a look at the supporting cast and you will have no doubt as to why this album is so good. Here’s the paradox that is me. I can’t really say that this or any of George Harrison’s albums are mind blowing rockers. Actually, they are more easy listening. I remember once upon a time I had the “Thirty-Three and a Third” album playing in the car and a friend demanded to know what we were mellowing out to. He seem okay with the fact it was George Harrison.

While Eric Clapton lays down some cool jams on several songs, I have always thought George was a decent guitarist in his own right. Furthermore, the album also upholds my belief that he was the best singer in the Beatles. That’s just my opinion though. Getting back to my point, his vocals are great on each song and while Eric makes four songs very memorable, I thing George does a great job on the track, “Fish on the Sand,” which, if the guitars were turned up a bit more, might have been a decent rock tune. It is the closest he comes to hard rock anywhere on the album.

Three of the four songs where Eric lays down the jams are all standout tracks on the album, though the fourth one is pretty good too. However, the most standout of those is “Devil’s Radio.” Of course, it’s not just Mr. Clapton who is the reason why it’s the best track on the album, I think the piano player on the song might have had a hand in it. This too is close to be a hard rocking song, especially with the guitar hooks.

Now, I can hear some people screaming at their computer screens, ‘What about “Got My Mind Set On You’?” Yes, that song went number one in the US and two in the UK. It is a decent song and proves that you don’t have to be AC/DC to be basic and yet be good. That’s the charm about that song. Actually, I think AC/DC could cover it, put their own stamp on it and it would sound great. However, it’s been ruined for me. Every time I hear it, I immediately think of Weird Al’s parody of it. On the other hand, George must have been doing something right to catch Weird Al’s attention.

Track Listing:

  1. Cloud Nine
  2. That’s What it Takes
  3. Fish on the Sand
  4. Just for Today
  5. This is Love
  6. When We Was Fab
  7. Devil’s Radio
  8. Someplace Else
  9. Wreck of the Hesperus
  10. Breath Away
  11. Got My Mind Set on You

George Harrison

George Harrison- lead and backing vocals, guitars, keyboards, synthesizers and sitar

Jeff Lynne- guitars, backing vocals, bass, keyboards, synthesizer

Eric Clapton- guitar on “Cloud Nine,” That’s What it Takes,” “Devil’s Radio” and “Wreck of the Hesperus”

Elton John- piano on “Cloud Nine,” “Devil’s Radio” and “Wreck of the Hesperus”

Gary Wright- piano on “Just for Today” and “When We Was Fab”

Jim Horn- tenor and baritone saxophones on “Cloud Nine,” “Wreck of the Hesperus” and “Got My Mind Set On You”

Jim Keltner- drums

Ringo Starr- drums

Ray Cooper- drums, percussion

Bobby Kok- cello

Bucking the 1980s trends, George Harrison put out an album that was neither metal or bubble gum synth pop. Normally in 1987, such and album would not have made a dent among listeners, whether it was from an ex-Beatle or not. However, George put out a great mellow out rock album in “Cloud Nine” and it was considered great by many critics, listeners and me.

Next post: T’Pau- Bridge of Spies

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13 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1987: George Harrison- Cloud Nine”

  1. I’ve never listened to George’s solo work. I need to get on that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Cloud Nine” is a good album but it has too much of an ELO sound due to the Jeff Lynne influence.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yep, This Song is Just Six Words Long. You nailed it. Thanks, Al.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. All star cast. When We Was Fab is a great track and a video as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have this on LP. Incredible musicians, cool stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 1988 was the true Summer of George.

    Liked by 1 person

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