It is early 1970 on Music Row in Nashville. Pete Drake is in his office.
His assistant buzzes in, “George Harrison wants you on the phone.”
Pete says, “Well, where’s he from?”
Pete: “Well, what company’s he with?”
Assistant: “The Beatles.”
Pete Drake recounted this story with laughter in an interview he did for Guitar Player Magazine. “His name, you know, just didn’t ring any bells-well, I’m just a hillbilly, you know (laughter). Anyway, I ended up going to London for a week where we did the album All Things Must Pass.”
Photo (Left to Right): Ringo Starr, Pete Drake, Phil Spector and George Harrrison.
Recorded between May and August 1970 at Abbey Road Studios and produced by Harrison and Phil Spector, All Things Must Pass, became one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” selling more than six million copies. Musicians appearing on the triple album included Ringo Starr, members of Badfinger, Eric Clapton and the other members of Derek and the Dominos, future Yes drummer Alan White, keyboard players Billy Preston, Gary Brooker and Gary Wright, and Pete Drake on steel guitar. A young, pre-Genesis Phil Collins played bongos on “Art of Dying.”
It was during the recording sessions that Pete met Ringo Starr, who later asked Pete to produce his solo album. It was recorded in Nashville in June of 1970.
In 2000, George Harrison personally oversaw the remastering of All Things Must Pass, the beginning of a re-issue project that was to see all his albums refurbished. For this 30th anniversary reissue, Harrison added the song “I Live For You,” left off the original version of the album. When asked about the song in an interview for the re-issue, Harrison said he felt the original recording wasn’t good enough, except for Pete Drake’s steel guitar which he kept. He re-recorded several of the other parts and included the song on the reissue.
Harrison lived long enough only to witness the 30th Anniversary reissue of All Things Must Pass in January 2001 on his own GN Records imprint, distributed by EMI. After George’s passing in November 2001, the album once again topped the Billboard charts.
Download the album from iTunes: