In the studio

The oldest song on Extra Texture (Read All About It) was the opening track. ‘You’ was written by George Harrison for Ronnie Spector.

It recorded by Spector in February 1971 at Apple Studios in London, with Harrison and Phil Spector producing. Five other tracks were also recorded, in various states of completion: ‘Try Some, Buy Some’, its b-side ‘Tandoori Chicken’, ‘I Love Him Like I Love My Very Life’, ‘Lovey La-De-Day’, and ‘Whenever’.

‘You’ was written for Phil Spector’s wife Ronnie. I wrote it and laid the track down with Leon Russell. I tried to write a Ronette sort of song. We never got to make a whole album because we only did four or five tracks before Phil fell over, and then he decided to release ‘Try Some, Buy Some’ as a single.

I forgot about it and years later dug the tape out and re-worked it, overdubbed on it and did it myself even though it was recorded in Ronnie’s register – a bit high for me.

George Harrison
I Me Mine

‘You’ was reprised as Extra Texture’s sixth track, ‘A Bit More Of You’.

The other old recording on the album was its closing track. ‘His Name Is ‘Legs’ (Ladies And Gentlemen)’ was an extended in-joke, a tribute to Harrison’s friend, the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band’s drummer ‘Legs’ Larry Smith.

The song was recorded at Friar Park in 1974 during the Dark Horse sessions. It remained unreleased until Harrison dusted it down for Extra Texture, with Smith providing vocals during the bridges. The funky backing came courtesy of Harrison’s 1974 touring band, including Billy Preston, Tom Scott, Willie Weeks, and Andy Newmark.

It’s a bit ‘off the wall’ both musically and lyrically; a piece of personal indulgence, like some other of my songs about things nobody else knows or cares about, except maybe two people. So many songs wouldn’t have come about otherwise.
George Harrison
I Me Mine

Extra Texture came about by accident. In early 1975 Harrison was in Los Angeles, overseeing projects for his Dark Horse Records label. One of his acts, Splinter, were to have recorded their second album at A&M Studios, but the sessions were postponed due to illness.

The studio time had been booked and paid for, so Harrison opted to use it himself. He swiftly finished off some half-written songs, wrote a handful of others, and set about recording them.

Harrison’s motivation was not just borne of reluctance to see the studio time wasted. He was keen to extricate himself from his EMI/Capitol contract, for which he owed one more album.

The backing tracks for the new Extra Texture songs were recorded in just two and a half weeks, from 21 April to 7 May 1975. Harrison called upon the services of three-quarters of Attitudes, a Dark Horse band: keyboard player David Foster, bass guitarist Paul Stallworth, and drummer Jim Keltner. Danny Kortchmar, Attitudes’ singer/guitarist, was nonetheless mentioned on the sleeve: “Danny Kootch doesn’t appear on this record.”

Overdubs followed from 31 May to 6 June, plus last-minute additions to ‘World Of Stone’ on 27 June.

On 31 May saxophone, keyboards and more drums were added to the ‘You’ backing track. On 2 and 3 June Tom Scott and Chuck Findley added horns parts to ‘Ooh Baby (You Know That I Love You)’ and ‘His Name Is ‘Legs’ (Ladies & Gentlemen)’.

Between 6 and 9 June string parts, arranged by David Foster, were added to ‘This Guitar (Can’t Keep From Crying)’, ‘The Answer’s At The End’, and ‘Can’t Stop Thinking About You’.

Mixing sessions took place over several weeks, possibly lasting into August 1975.

Extra Texture was Harrison’s only post-All Things Must Pass studio album not to be recorded at Friar Park. Indeed, while in Los Angeles he immersed himself in city life, not always to his benefit.

It was a terrible time because I think there was a lot of cocaine going around, and that’s when I got out of the picture. I didn’t want to get into that. I didn’t like his frame of mind when he was doing this album – I don’t play on it too much. The whole LA scene turned me off playing sessions. I realised that it was the whole Hollywood thing – the problem was that if you wanted to stay in that scene, you had to hang out with those people, and go and do the clubs. It wasn’t me at all. George was in it too far at the time and it was a good step of his to get out of it.

While living in LA, Harrison saw concerts by The Rolling Stones, Carlos Santana, and Bob Marley. He saw Marley three times at the Roxy Theatre, later telling Melody Maker that it was “the best thing I’ve seen in ten years. Marley reminds me so much of Dylan in the early days, playing guitar as if he’s so new to it. And his rhythm is so simple yet so beautiful. I could watch The Wailers all night.”

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