How “Blow Away” Revived George Harrison’s Career

How “Blow Away” Revived George Harrison’s Career | I Love Classic Rock Videos

George Harrison live in 1974 - GuitarDocs / Youtube

George Harrison’s solo career reached two high points, with the release of his debut post-Beatles solo album “All Things Must Pass” and his remarkable comeback with “Cloud Nine” in 1987. However, a lot of his other works, while not as acclaimed, were still good. One such song is the 1979 track “Blow Away,” a breezy, thoughtful song that stands out among his other works.

Finding Inspiration and Renewed Purpose

So what is the song about? What inspired George Harrison to write it, and how did it help him get back into the world of songwriting and recording, at a time when he had mostly abandoned it? Let’s explore.

After releasing four albums in four years, ending with Thirty Three & 1/3in 1976, the legendary musician took a pause from the music industry for two years. He was disillusioned with the rigors of record promotion, and not feeling the urge to tour, especially after his excesses during a tour caused his infamous “Dark Hoarse” period when his voice was shot. Harrison used this time off to pursue a new hobby, auto racing and became friends with British driving legend Jackie Stewart, following the racing tour around for a while.

Harrison may not have returned to music as quickly, if not for a moment of ennui brought on by a rain-soaked day, as he narrated to Rolling Stone in 1979:

“I was in the garden, and it was pouring down with rain, and I suddenly became aware that I was feeling depressed, being affected by the weather. And it’s important to remember that while everything else around you changes, the soul within remains the same; you have to constantly remember that and fight for the right to be happy.”

Around that time, Harrison was reading articles about other artists from his generation who felt like they had dried up artistically. He was considering whether the same thing had happened to him. When he wrote “Blow Away,” the song came along at the right time to dispel that belief. The song inspired him to start working on the George Harrison LP. Working with producer Russ Titelman, Harrison delivered a relaxed but focused set of original songs, with “Blow Away” serving as an ideal jumping-off point. The song eventually hit the Top 20 in the US singles chart.


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Understanding the Meaning of “Blow Away”

So, what does the song “Blow Away” mean? The song manages to expertly capture the specific incident that spawned it and convey its message to audiences who may be feeling similar emotions. In the first verse, Harrison suggests that the day in question was a metaphor for a much longer period of depression: “Rained for a year ’til it dampened my heart.”

However, before succumbing to the darkness, the narrator remembers how to turn things around. He sings, “All I got to do is to love you and all it’s got to take is some warmth to make it / Blow away, blow away, blow away.” The outlook changes drastically in the final two verses. He acknowledges that the bad mood is hardly even a memory, admitting, “Hard to remember the state I was in / Instant amnesia, the yang to the yin.”

The third verse features a man entirely transformed: “Breezes a-singing, now feeling good / The moment had passed like I knew that it would.” The song showcases George Harrison’s cosmic worldview in a concise three-verse-and-chorus sequence. He wrote the song after a particularly transformative experience in his own life, thereby rendering the theme personal to him.

“Blow Away” is a reminder of the essence of happiness and how fleeting or elusive it may seem. George Harrison explained that the soul within remains constant, and you need to remember it and strive for happiness constantly. The song serves as a timely message of hope for anyone going through difficult times, and its message has not diminished in poignancy over the years.

George Harrison’s song “Blow Away” is a testament to his songwriting talent. The song helped him come out of his hiatus from the music industry, invigorating his songwriting and recording. Its theme of staying happy amidst depression struck a chord with people, and its message remains relevant to this day.