Living In The Material World
Released: June 1973
Chart Peak: 1
Weeks Charted: 26
Certified Gold: 6/1/73
With the long-awaited and painstakingly-crafted Living In The Material World (whose title was originally announced as The Magic Is Here Again) George Harrison devised a luxuriant rock devotional designed to transform his fans' stereo equipment into a temple. The record was lavishly packaged with color representations of the Hindu scriptures, decorated with Sanskrit symbols, and -- like George's subsequent forays -- dedicated "All Glories to Sri Krishna." The lyrics repeatedly hammered home the message that the best way to insure a better deal for yourself in the next life is to keep your mind focused on God in this one, for "the Lord loves the one that loves the Lord." George had evidently concluded that he had been placed in this vale of tears for a specific reason, that being to reveal the Inner Light to his millions of fans. As he sang on the album's title track, he had "a lot of work to do" getting his "message through," before the Lord Sri Krishna was likely to elevate George from "the material world" to "the spiritual sky." Just about the only secular note on the record was struck by "Sue Me Sue You Blues," a commentary on the Beatles' legal squabbles, complete with the sort of vicious slide guitar work George had provided for John's "How Do You Sleep?"
Living In the Material World first appeared on the Billboard chart on June 16, 1973, reaching #1 and spending a total of 26 weeks.
- Nicholas Schaffner, The Beatles Forever, pp. 159-60.
Harrison has surrounded himself with some of his studio pals on this made-in-London production, which is both introspective and spiritual in nature. All the 11 tunes are by Harrison who is joined by Nicky Hopkins, Gary Wright, Klaus Vorman, Jim Keltner, Ringo Starr, Jim Gordon, Jim Horn, Zakir Hussein and John Barham. Inevitably there are songs about the Beatles and their mish-mash ("Sue Me, Sue You Blues" and "The Light That Has Lighted The World", the latter about George questioning people's impression that "he's changed"). The spiritual undercoat is captured in "The Lord Loves The One," "Be Here Now" (with an Indian sitar drone in the background), "The Day The World Gets Round." Harrison's vocal overdubs are first-rate and easily understood. Best cuts: "Living In The Material World," "Don't Let Me Wait Too Long."
- Billboard, 1973.
Harrison had a lot of songs stored up for his first major solo work, All Things Must Pass, and it launched his post-Beatles career with a bang. Two and a half years later, he released its follow-up, which, although it contained some good playing by his band of superstar friends and some good tunes, notably the number one hit "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)," indicated that the first album had contained his best effort and the most he'd be able to do in the future would be to repeat it. * * *
- William Ruhlmann, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
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