ELO's Jeff Lynne looked back at one of his saddest project, helping complete George Harrison's final album, the 2002 posthumous release, Brainwashed. Lynne, who was behind the boards with Harrison for the former-Beatle's 1987 comeback collection Cloud Nine — which included the surprise Number One hit, “Got My Mind Set On You” — along with the two Traveling Wilburys albums.
Shortly after Harrison's death on November 29th, 2001, Harrison's widow and son — Olivia and Dhani — enlisted his expertise in polishing the project for release. Lynne recalled to Uncut, “Dhani asked me if I could mix it with him at my studio. Working on Brainwashed was a very sad thing, because he was a great pal and now he was gone. It was difficult to make decisions when nobody was there to say, 'I hate that, you bastard!'”
He went on to say, “Some of it had been done quite a while before (he died). Some songs were just his voice and simple little guitar parts, some lead, or some lovely slide parts. Others sounded like they were finished.”
Lynne ultimately is proud of the project that gave a sneak peak into Harrison's private world: “His life was in those final songs. . . Lots of very personal stuff. Some of them are really good. We gradually just filled them in. It was just about mixing them and making them sound like George would like them. You just had to go with your gut feeling. I felt so bad for Dhani. It was joyful when it sounded great — 'Well done, George, nice one!' — but such a shame he wasn't there to hear it with us.”
Shortly before his 2001 death, George Harrison shed light on why he chose Jeff Lynne to be his collaborator for his 1987 comeback album, Cloud Nine: “So, I thought, well, I don't want someone who's going to boss me about and turn me into something I'm not. I want someone who has a bit of (laughs) respect for me (laughs) and for my past. I want to respect him, too. So I gave it quite a lot of thought and I — the only person I could think of was, who I would really like to make a record with, was Jeff Lynne. I suddenly thought, I'd been playing his records, and I thought, 'Jeff, that's it!' So, Jeff Lynne, he's it, if I can get to meet him and con him into (laughs) coming in to work with me.”
Olivia Harrison was asked if she thought George and Lynne, who together produced the Traveling Wilburys' albums, along with many other projects, shared a unique musical kinship: “Oh absolutely. And y'know, I think they shared some sort of Northern (England) sensibilities as well — and humor. And y'know, Jeff has bat ears, y'know? They were great pals.”
Olivia Harrison On George Harrison’s Relationship With Jeff Lynne :
George Harrison On Partnership With Jeff Lynne :