George Harrison – When we was fab
Few people consider “When we was fab” among the most notable hits of the 80s. Maybe among the most notable in George Harrison’s career too. But it’s definitely worth to talk about this song, not only because it went mainstream 30 years ago, in this period, but also because it’s full of references to the period and the music of the “Fab Four”. Starting with the title, George Harrison leaps into the past, and also in melancholia and wistfulness. He clearly misses that golden period! Between 1967 and 1970 Beatles’ sound became so modern and peculiar, and people called it “Psychedelic”.
And we find these sounds in this song! For example we hear the strings of a sitar, not so rare in Beatles’ songs during their last years. Actually, it’s not only about sitar: the Beatles were really present in this song! Next to George we can ofter see Ringo Starr in the video: first as George’s assistant, then playing the drums in the trio. And, left in the trio, a common belief says that the bass player is Paul McCartney, in a Walrus costume!
Some say that George Harrison himself spread this legend. Paul McCartney admitted later that, yes, he had to be there playing, but at the very last moment he couldn’t join the team! So they had to replace him and “symbolize” him with the Walrus costume. The Walrus… that fantastic song (with sitar)… I’m the Walrus! But who was the Walrus really?
OK, this video is a masterpiece (the top directors Godley and Creme realized it), but the reason i really love this song comes next. While the three guys (Harrison, Starr and the Walrus) are playing, another guy walks across the camera image. He is Beatles’ manager at those times. But, stop the video and look at what he is carrying: it’s a long playing, a 33 rpm album, very very famous: it’s the cover of “Imagine”, with the worldwide known image of John Lennon, so he is there too! Makes me shiver!
How could you not love such a masterpiece of imagery and communication?
George Harrison on Wikipedia