George Harrison wrote “Dark Horse” in 1973, and in the following years, the track became something of a theme song for the ex-Beatle: The next year, he gave the same name to his subsequent album, as well as his tour with Ravi Shankar and his new record label, on which Shankar earned the first release.
When the the final version of “Dark Horse” was released in late 1974, it featured a total of 11 vocalists and musicians (including Billy Preston on keys) and reached the Top 20 of the U.S. singles chart. Here, listen to an early, sparser take on the song, one featuring only Harrison on acoustic guitar and a few singers harmonizing on the hook. Harrison’s vocals, meanwhile, are noticeably cleaner than they are in the hoarse single.
On September 23rd, the song will be released as part of the George Harrison: The Apple Years 1968-75 box set. The set will also include remastered versions of Harrison’s first six solo albums (some of which will contain unreleased bonus tracks), a DVD containing music videos and a short film directed by Harrison’s wife Olivia and a book filled with essays and unpublished photos. It complements a Dark Horse Years 1976-92 box that was released in 2004 and can be pre-ordered here.