The friendship between George Harrison and American singer-songwriter Gary Wright was an enduring relationship that meant a lot to both men. It led to many musical collaborations and, on a new album release on November 1, 1971, George returned a favour by playing on Gary’s second solo album Footprint — just as Wright had played for Harrison the year before.
Not only that, George then appeared with Gary and his band when they played “Two Faced Man” from the album on Dick Cavett’s popular US TV chat show. Harrison was in fine, relaxed form on his ever-distinctive slide guitar.
The former Beatle’s landmark triple album of 1970 All Things Must Pass featured Gary Wright playing keyboards, among its many guest appearances. By then, Wright was coming to the end of his first spell with the English rock outfit Spooky Tooth. He and Mike Harrison would reform the group in 1972, but in the time in between, Gary had his first spell as a solo artist, in which George would play a part.
Wright won a deal with A&M Records and released his first LP in his own name, Extraction, in 1970, with contributions from two more of Harrison’s friends, bassist Klaus Voorman and drummer Alan White, who also appeared on All Things Must Pass.
Then came the formation of the band Wonderwheel, which Wright put together to promote his solo debut before recording his second album, Footprint. It had George playing electric and acoustic guitars among a mightily impressive cast list. Voorman and White were present again along with Wonderwheel’s guitarist Hugh McCracken and his replacement in that band, future Foreigner founder Mick Jones.
Drums were provided by both Jim Keltner and Derek and the Dominos’ Jim Gordon; Bobby Keys and Jim Price, who by then were working with the Rolling Stones, were among the horn players and revered saxophonist King Curtis also appeared. Tragically, he would be dead by the time Footprint came out, stabbed to death outside his apartment in August 1971. Backing vocalist on Wright’s album included Madeline Bell and Doris Troy, whose self-titled Apple album of 1969 was co-produced by Harrison.