Art Of Dying

Album: All Things Must Pass (1970)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Harrison wrote the lyrics while he was still a Beatle. He quietly built a solo catalogue while still in the band, since he found it difficult to place tracks on Beatles albums that were dominated by Lennon/McCartney compositions.
  • Harrison credits his first experience with LSD, taken with John Lennon, as being the doorway to his spiritual awakening and introduction to Hinduism. George said that during this "trip" the thought "Yogis of the Himalayas" kept running through his mind. Through this "awakening" and learning of the religion he began to embrace the concept of reincarnation, which is the core subject matter of "Art of Dying."
  • After a long battle with cancer, Harrison died on November 29, 2001. He was not afraid of death, as he believed it would take him to a better place. Before the public was informed of his passing, Harrison's family had him cremated and his ashes poured into the Ganges River in India.
  • Future Genesis drummer Phil Collins was brought in to play congas on the song, but his part never made it. At the time, he was in a group called The Herd, and when he got the call to come down to Abbey Road Studios to work on the song, he was thrilled. He ended up being one of many musicians who bled for Phil Spector: the producer had Collins play for about 90 minutes, at which point he had blood blisters on his hands.

    When the album came out, Collins checked the liner notes and was disappointed to see he wasn't listed, as they used a take he didn't play on. It wasn't the first time Collins didn't make the cut: As a kid, he was an extra in the Beatles movie A Hard Day's Night, but was edited out.
  • George's lifelong friend and frequent musical collaborator, Eric Clapton, played electric guitar on this track. The recording sessions for "Art of Dying" led to the formation of the blues-rock group Derek and the Dominos, which featured Clapton as the guitarist. All the members of the group played on the song, which like the rest of the album, was produced by Phil Spector.

Comments: 6

  • Dj from SocalGreat song! It'd be even better without the Phil Spector production - mushing everything up with way too much reverb.
  • Wayne from New Haven, CtEric Clapton played onj ALMP. Im sure thats him playing that fantastic wah-wah on The Art of Dying"
    I also learned that Peter Frampton also played on this Album..
  • Steve from Toronto, OnThe guitar style sounds a lot like Eric Clapton. Anyone know if he guested on this record?
  • Madison from Norway, MeAll Things Must Pass is just a great album. George had tons of things he wanted to express and he couldn't do it with the Beatles.
  • Jeff from Barrington, IlToday is the third anniversery of his death.
  • Dawn from Colonial Heights, VaThis song never ceases to amaze me. I mean, it seems to me like he was preparing himself for death 31 years ahead of time! That never ceases to astound me.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Director Mark Pellington ("Jeremy," "Best Of You")

Director Mark Pellington ("Jeremy," "Best Of You")Song Writing

Director Mark Pellington on Pearl Jam's "Jeremy," and music videos he made for U2, Jon Bon Jovi and Imagine Dragons.

Song Cities

Song CitiesMusic Quiz

Nirvana, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen are among those who wrote songs with cities that show up in this quiz.

Stephen Christian of Anberlin

Stephen Christian of AnberlinSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer/lyricist for Anberlin breaks down "Impossible" and covers some tracks from their 2012 album Vital.

Justin Timberlake

Justin TimberlakeFact or Fiction

Was Justin the first to be Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher? Did Britney really blame him for her meltdown? Did his bandmates think he was gay?

Loudon Wainwright III

Loudon Wainwright IIISongwriter Interviews

"Dead Skunk" became a stinker for Loudon when he felt pressure to make another hit - his latest songs deal with mortality, his son Rufus, and picking up poop.

Van Dyke Parks

Van Dyke ParksSongwriter Interviews

U2, Carly Simon, Joanna Newsom, Brian Wilson and Fiona Apple have all gone to Van Dyke Parks to make their songs exceptional.