Bobby Whitlock Talks ‘All Things Must Pass’ Studio Credits

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Says Bobby Whitlock, “Gary Wright hasn’t seen a day he can get an organ to sound like that”

Dozens of musicians famously performed on George Harrison’s 1970 masterpiece, All Things Must Pass. But studio credits have been murky, not only on the original release but in various anniversary reissues. Perhaps no musician is more vocal than Bobby Whitlock, the keyboardist with Derek & the Dominos, the Eric Clapton-led band that performs on the album. In a 12-minute video interview titled “The Truth About All Things Must Pass,” uploaded to his YouTube channel on August 6, 2021, the performer made his case to set the record straight about credit oversights on the album that’s been expanded for its 50th anniversary.

The video interview was released on the same day the new editions arrived with a wealth of previously unreleased material.

Keyboardist Gary Wright, well known for his 1975 hit “Dream Weaver,” is a frequent target of Whitlock’s ire. “I can tell you right now… Gary Wright isn’t playing the B3 on ‘Let it Down.’ It’s me. There ain’t no two ways’ about it.” He’s referring to the Hammond B3 organ, an instrument for which he’s well known.

While holding a copy of the album cover and perusing the credits, Whitlock rattles off many of the opus’ familiar song titles. “‘What is Life,’ ‘If Not For You,’ ‘Run of the Mill’… I’m playing on all of these,” he says. “‘All Things Must Pass,’” he continues, referring to the title track, “that’s me and Eric [Clapton] singing background.” Watch the complete video interview below.

Whitlock indicates that he also performed on a pump organ noting, in particular, that he did so on the album’s #1 single, “My Sweet Lord.” “All the pump organ on the album… I’m playing. All the Hammond organ, I’m playing. So anytime you hear a Hammond… Billy Preston is playing a grand piano. That’s how it really went.”

He doesn’t let up on the Gary Wright credits. “If Gary Wright had played organ on ‘Let it Down,’ I’d be saying, ‘That’s Gary Wright playing.’ He hasn’t seen a day he can get an organ to sound like that. There’s only one person I know who can make a Hammond B3 sound like I make it sound and that’s me.”

“If I had only done hand-claps or sang a background part on this great album, that would have carried me for the rest of my life. But, fortunately, I played on pretty much and sang on everything. On ‘My Sweet Lord,’ that’s just George and me singing background.”

The off-camera voice who is asking the questions, is presumably Whitlock’s wife, CoCo Carmel. She occasionally eggs him on.

“It was your idea on ‘Let it Down’ to rock it out, wasn’t it,” he’s asked. “Yeah, yeah. That was our band,” referring to the Dominos.

At one point, Whitlock praises Wright. “He’s a lovely person. He’s a sweet man. But he can’t play Hammond B3 like me. Behind Gary Wright and Gary Brooker,” he says, referring to the Procol Harum founder, lead singer and pianist, “they played piano and synthesizers.” (mimics a synth)

“I was there when the doors [to the studio] opened and I was there when they closed. I did not miss one session. I even went to the two Pete Drake sessions because I wanted to say that I had been to every session.”

Later, Carmel refers to the album’s core band. “That man,” says Whitlock, pointing to Harrison on the album’s iconic cover, “called Eric Clapton, and asked me and Eric to put together the core band and to be the core band for the album.”

Watch the official 50th Anniversary trailer

As for the album’s proper studio credits, Whitlock says, “Olivia Harrison and Dhani Harrison [referring to George’s wife and son]… they weren’t around. Nobody called me. Nobody called Eric about this new stuff that’s coming out.”

At some point, however, Whitlock and Carmel decided to delete the video.

Watch the pair delve into the “All Things Must Pass Sessions” a few weeks’ earlier

Related: Our 2015 interview with Whitlock on the Dominos’ legacy

Best Classic Bands Staff

14 Comments so far

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  1. Peter
    #1 Peter 10 August, 2021, 08:17

    It’s sad that Bobby Whitlock has posted this and another angry rant on YouTube regarding ATMP. By the way his wife “wasn’t there” either! I get it that he perpetually feels like he hasn’t received enough credit for his contributions to George’s album and The Layla album. But these long –
    winded repetitive self aggrandizing harangues (see also the one where he and his wife go off on the sound of the new vinyl mix) reek of sour grapes. All of this is a sad distraction from and throws unnecessary shade on the celebration of a wonderful upgrade of a monumental landmark album.

    Reply this comment
    • Brad
      Brad 10 August, 2021, 09:21

      I agree. I really like Bobby Whitlock, but it seems to me that accolades of his fine work have not been so few and far between that tooting his horn like this is really necessary. My favorite musicians tend to be the ones who have a cetain degree of humility about themselves, and it’s ironic that this is happening in regard to the finest album made by a significantly humble musician.

      Reply this comment
      • Dan
        Dan 10 August, 2021, 22:39

        I don’t hear him tooting his horn or being less than humble. It was a seminal album and if in fact his contributions are being ignored or minimized, I absolutely understand and support his need to go public in setting the record straight.

        Reply this comment
    • Gary T
      Gary T 10 August, 2021, 11:29

      He’s just trying to keep the record straight, and the mix on ATMP’s 50th anniversary recording is as horrible as he says it is. You might want to consider that he’s just telling the truth.

      Reply this comment
    • Will
      Will 10 August, 2021, 11:33

      Call it what you will, but if Whitlock is correct (and no one has offered evidence to the contrary) then he is quite right to set the record straight. He was there, and it’s his personal history that’s on the line. He’s actually pretty gracious in these videos, giving credit where it’s due to others and showing a sense of humor. As for the quality of the new mixes, what he thinks carries a lot of weight. He’s not the only one who has problems with this news anniversary edition of ATMP.

      Reply this comment
    • Daniel
      Daniel 10 August, 2021, 11:39

      I agree with you 100%. Sad to see how many people jumped on the Whitlock-bandwagon saying it was a fucking horrible mix…

      Reply this comment
      • dkinblu
        dkinblu 11 August, 2021, 09:47

        Sad to say the new mixes are bad, compared to original, it didn’t take Whitlock opinions to hear how bad they butchered the ATMP records.

        Reply this comment
    • Lindy
      Lindy 10 August, 2021, 13:22

      I’d be angry too. Do you know how much work he put in? What’s sad is Dhani and is mom aren’t giving him his due.

      Reply this comment
    • dkinblu
      dkinblu 11 August, 2021, 09:44

      Bobby wants George and the rest of the musicians honored, if you would listen to Bobby it’s about honoring the music. I see you have to dog his wife shame on you.

      Reply this comment
    • Truth hurts
      Truth hurts 11 August, 2021, 10:58

      If he played on the record, then he played on the record and they should be properly acknowledging that.

      You shouldn’t be getting mad at him, you should be getting mad at the George Harrison estate for not correcting this.

      Reply this comment
    • JD Hickok
      JD Hickok 2 September, 2021, 17:43

      Well, Pete, this “wonderful upgrade” sounds like crap compared to the one George mixed 20 years ago. Are you the Peter who claimed to appear on the album?

      Now, if you happen to hear the digitized version of the original mixes—-pretty good stuff. But then some buffoon tried to remix the album.

      This was the musical version of a crime. Dhani probably didn’t know any better. UMG did.

      Reply this comment
  2. Albino
    #2 Albino 10 August, 2021, 19:59

    What’s the harm of staying true to the core band. George loved the guys in Derek and the Dominoes. They all should be mentioned in the credits. Those musicians were the sound of all rock royalty in the 70’s. From George Harrison, Joe Cocker, Dave Mason. Derek and the Dominoes. Bobby has a valid point he should be given credit for his contributions to ATMP sessions. It’s alright Bobby I knew it when the album first came out. It is still the best solo Beatles album out to this day.

    Reply this comment
  3. Lewis
    #3 Lewis 11 August, 2021, 13:21

    Seems like every time Bobby Whitlock opens his mouth he’s trying to cut someone down. He and his wife come across as bitter and attention starved

    Reply this comment
  4. JR Bradfield
    #4 JR Bradfield 12 August, 2021, 03:44

    Whitlock has never received the acclaim he deserved for this or the Layla album. From the 1st time I listened to it in 1971, his soulful vocals stood out above Clapton’s and his kybd contribution were as ‘instrumental’ as Eric and Duane’s guitars.

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