Paul McCartney may be approached about collaborating on unfinished George Harrison song

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We’ve already seen the remaining members of the Beatles convene to complete two of the late John Lennon songs, as part of their mid-1990s anthology series. Now, Paul McCartney could be approached to do it again with one of George Harrison’s unfinished works.

Harrison, who died at age 58 in 2001, has been in the news this week as the subject of a lavish documentary directed by Martin Scorsese. Included in a new expanded DVD package of the film was a CD of demos called Early Takes Vol. 1, overseen by Harrison’s widow Olivia. That’s actually the second posthumous Harrison project, following 2002’s Brainwashed, which was finished by his son Dhani and longtime friend and recording partner Jeff Lynne, of Electric Light Orchestra fame.

The two releases focus on the creative output on either end of Harrison’s solo career, after the Beatles split in 1970. Early Takes Vol. 1 focuses primarily on sessions work for his seminal 1970 triple album All Things Must Pass, while Brainwashed included songs finished in the last year’s of the former Beatles guitarist’s life as he battled cancer. That leaves nearly decades of possible demos and partials songs.

Olivia Harrison confirms that additional song fragments remain, and she suggested in an interview with Spinner that perhaps McCartney — or another sympathetic artist — could be approached about completing the tune.

“There is some more material,” she tells Spinner. “There may be a minute of something he was writing and it will never be finished. I had an idea of giving unfinished songs to different people – giving one to Paul, maybe, or giving one to somebody else and saying: ‘Here are the bones of a song, would you like to finished it?’ I think that would be a nice idea.”

Of course, acoustic tracks from Harrison have been steadily leaking out since the celebrated 1985 Beatles bootleg Sessions, created from an EMI test pressing of a project that would finally see completion in the mid-1990s Anthology series. That set’s solo take on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” was but prologue for the homespun charms of 1994’s Beware of ABKCO, a release-quality boot which featured Harrison doing early-session run throughs for All Things Must Pass, along with a number of tracks that never made the album.

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on George Harrison. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

DEEP CUTS: FORGOTTEN GEMS FROM GEORGE HARRISON: We were brought back to the late George Harrison this week with the release of Early Takes Volume 1, featuring 10 early outtakes and demos. The truth is, there is still much to discover about his solo work. You say you’ve got a best-of compilation, and this new acoustic offering, and that’s enough? Not so fast. Early Takes, issued as a companion to the release of Martin Scorsese’s recent documentary on DVD and Blu-Ray, focuses primarily on songs from Harrison’s initial project after the demise of the Beatles — though a couple of its featured tracks showed up on later albums. Our list tried to find lesser-known songs from throughout Harrison’s career away from the Fabs — from All Things Must Pass to Brainwashed, an album completed by producer and friend Jeff Lynne after Harrison succumbed to cancer.

RAVI SHANKAR ON THE LATE FORMER BEATLE GEORGE HARRISON: ‘HE BECAME LIKE A PART OF ME’: Ravi Shankar became both a musical and spiritual influence on George Harrison, as the two forged a deeply personal relationship that still lingers with the sitar master: “He was so sincerely in love with India and the Indian religion,” Shankar says, “because he was more into the philosophical aspect of the old system. This plus music, we became such good friends. He became like part of me. … I miss him very much.” The late former Beatle first dabbled with the sitar on 1965’s “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown),” thought to be the first instance of the instrument in a Western pop song. Harrison subsequently made prominent use of the sitar in a series of Beatles songs, including “Love You To” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” from 1966, “Within You Without You” from 1967, on “The Inner Light,” the 1968 B-side to the “Lady Madonna” single; and “Across the Universe,” which appeared in 1970. Harrison’s first solo album, 1968?s Wonderwall Music, also featured the instrument.

GEORGE HARRISON – LET IT ROLL (2009): There’s something in the way that Let It Roll, compiled with a loving and almost magical rhythm by Harrison’s family, moves through his catalog. Rather than yielding to familiar chronology, “Let It Roll” mixes and matches from across Harrison’s history. All of a sudden, essential complexities can be explored again, old scores can be settled, the familiar is seen differently. Let It Roll goes from “All Things Must Pass,” which works nearly 40 years later as a delicately spiritual memorial to the fallen Harrison, directly into the jaunty put-down song “Any Road” from his posthumous 2002 release Brainwashed — only to reverse course back to the Utopian “This Is Love” from his ’87 comeback album Cloud Nine. We begin to hear all of this with new ears.

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