George Harrison - "Any Road" (Acoustic)

The Quiet One speaks...
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George HarrisonI suppose at some point it became "cool" to say George Harrison was your favorite Beatle because the John vs Paul thing became too obvious. I'm not going to do any sort of revisionist history; I don't have a favorite Beatle. I love all four of our beloved Fab 4 but it's not revisionist history when I tell you I always had more time for Harrison's compositions -- Beatles and otherwise -- than some of even the most hardcore fans. Harrison's sweet, gentle, understated way always connected with me. I loved his voice, even though it was thin and sometimes shaky. I loved his lyrical lead guitar. I was a Harrison fan before it became "cool."

Of course none of that really matters. I'm 37-years old and my days of looking for a seat at the cool kids' table ended a long time ago. What I'm really trying to say is I have an appreciation for the great George Harrison, always have, and I miss his presence and musical talents. I'm excited like nobody's business for the Martin Scorsese-directed documentary about his life. No one has said it but I keep hoping there might be a soundtrack with previously unreleased music from "The Quiet One."

Speaking of previously unreleased material, this gem was one many of us heard for the first time after Harrison passed away when VH-1 did wall-to-wall coverage. "Any Road" would later be released on the brilliant posthumous album Brainwashed, which is one of Harrison's finest solo records and stands as one of the best Beatles' solo records, period.

I remember watching and hearing this for the first time. The contrast of musical simplicity and powerful idea astonishes me. Harrison isn't the first person to say something like this but I'd never heard it put quite this way:

"If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there."

Is this an indictment of directionless drifters or a suggestion to let the current take you? Is it both? Maybe it's neither. Maybe it's a reminder and a proverb, something to think about when we're making life decisions. Whatever George is telling us, it's important and he tells us in his beautifully understated way.

I love the "finished" version on Brainwashed but this simple, solo acoustic performance is a favorite. Harrison clearly hadn't practiced and stumbles on the words a few times but it's still great to hear this song in its skeletal form.

We miss you, George.