George Harrison

Faster

Composed by George Harrison

Song Review by

George Harrison’s fascination with Formula One racing, as well as his friendship with famed driver Jackie Stewart is the subject of “Faster”, which kicked off the second half of the guitarist’s 1979 self-titled release. The track is one of the more upbeat and driving rockers and likewise includes some of the album’s finest acoustic and electric fretwork. The song is bookended with natural ambient sound taken from an actual raceway. The high-pitched and even higher decibels heard as the Formula One drivers motor up, zeniths into the prominent opening barrage of acoustic guitar chords and buoyant electric slide licks. “Faster” is also notable as one of the few to feature Harrison on electric bass. Del Newman’s inconspicuous string arrangement first simply colours the overall texture before becoming increasingly pronounced. By the final chorus, its prominence rivals that of the lead guitars and vocals. This is a similar approach to Newman’s stunning score for Elton John’s “I’ve Seen That Movie Too” from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973). Harrison’s narrative provides both a lyrical snapshot as well as insight into the headspace of the participants in motor-related sports. He accurately relates a sense that physical endurance is second to mental acuity and rapid reflex responses. The chorus accurately sums up the double-edged sword of any sport where the contestants survival hangs in the balance -- “The people were intrigued/His wife held back her fears/The headlines gave acclaim/He’d realized their dreams.” Harrison also deals with the darker edge of competition in the lines “Some had hoped to see him fail/Filling their hearts with jealousies/Crazy people with love so frail.” A rarely seen promotional music video was shot for “Faster” -- one of several made for the George Harrison (1979) album. The quick edits and race footage are interspersed with shots of Harrison and would be considered a conceptual film -- much like the memorable clip for “Crackerbox Palace” or “Got My Mind Set On You”-- rather than a standard performance video. Although the LP has long been maligned by some, it remains an enthusiast favourite and “Faster” is a prime example of why some continue to hold the disc with such high regard.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
George Harrison 1979 Capitol / Universal
The Dark Horse Years 1976-1992 2004 Parlophone
The Dark Horse Years 1976-1992 [DVD] 2004 Capitol
The Vinyl Collection 2017 Capitol / Universal
blue highlight denotes editor's pick