George Harrison was marching confidently on his own personal comeback trail in 1987 when he entered the Billboard charts on October 24, after a five-year absence, with the infectious rocker that became his third and final solo No.1 in America. “Got My Mind Set On You” also proved to be the final US singles chart-topper to date by any former Beatle.
The new chart entry was his first since “Wake Up My Love” had edged up to the middle of the Billboard Hot 100 towards the end of 1982. George had not had a major hit in the US since his moving John Lennon tribute “All Those Years Ago,” a song that also featured Paul and Linda McCartney and Ringo Starr and spent two weeks at No.2 in 1981. “Got My Mind Set On You” is, despite sounding like a Harrison song, a much-loved obscurity from the early 1960s.
Reviving James Ray
James Ray’s original recording of the Rudy Clark composition had come out on the Dynamic Sound label in 1962. Ray’s version didn’t make the charts, even though he’d had success at the end of the year before with the No.22 hit “If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody,” which in 1963 was covered by Freddie and the Dreamers as their first UK hit.
With fine timing, George’s recording climbed to No.1 on the Hot 100 on January 16, 1988, the week before The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For Harrison’s millions of devotees, “Got My Mind Set On You” was a mouthwatering taster for Cloud Nine, his first album since 1982’s Gone Troppo. It was the full fruit of his production collaboration with Jeff Lynne, soon also to be his band mate in the Traveling Wilburys.
Buy or stream “Got My Mind Set On You” on Cloud Nine.