Album Review: “Living in the Material World” By George Harrison
George Harrison live in 1974 - GuitarDocs / Youtube
It can’t be denied that the former Beatle achieved full creative bloom out of the grasps of the larger-than-life band. George Harrison used this freedom for the greater good, with his mystic beliefs and humanitarian goals going hand in hand. All Things Must Pass saw unprecedented success for the newcomer soloist, but Harrison didn’t settle for the fame. Wanting to give back, Harrison did the Concert for Bangladesh, benefiting the victims of the Bangladesh Liberation war genocide. The benefit concert had a hefty support behind it, featuring Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, and Bob Dylan, among others.
After some several affairs, Harrison was ready to take on another album, thus Living In The Material World was conceived. Harrison gathered a talented backing team to help him with the album, namely Nicky Hopkins, Gary Wright, Klaus Voormann, and Jim Keltner, who took care of the other instruments while he did all the guitar parts. Phil Spector was supposed to join the production team, but Harrison didn’t pursue after being satisfied with the initial recording procedure.
“Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” features a chugging verse line that gives Harrison’s lead a space to shine on, and is his declaration of faith in the form of music. “Sue Me, Sue You Blues” is a whimsical, piano-driven honky tonk with lyrics inspired by Paul McCartney dissolving Apple Music with a lawsuit. “The Light That Has Lighted The World” features a melancholic piano arrangement with equally evocative vocals, while “Don’t Let Me Wait Too Long” is a catchy pop song that Harrison wrote for his then-wife, Pattie Boyd. The title track features eastern influences such as the sitar, complemented by the upbeat chugging rhythm of the arrangement, which has roadbumps placed strategically for a more mellow instrumentation to occur.
“The Lord Loves The One (That Loves The Lord)” is an amalgamation of poignant melodies and sonic blooms, concluded by the indulgent slide guitar performance. “Be Here Now” is a little on the quieter side of things, featuring an acoustic arrangement, while “The Day the World Gets ‘Round” goes into a Beatles ballad territory, Harrison clearly not giving up the influences of his former group. Concluding the catalog is “That Is All”, an emotionally charged track where Harrison utilizes his voice with stratospheric stretches of sustained notes.
The album gained venerable respect and attention from the masses, topping US charts while rounding to 2nd place in the UK. Ever the giver, Harrison handed over the copyrights of most of the tracks to his Material World Charitable Foundation, providing a sustainable stream of income for his charities of choice. George Harrison was indeed a champion of the masses in and out of music.