"Living in the Material World is the third album in a row that George Harrison released after the breakup of the Beatles that was very successful. All Things Must Pass (1970) was number one on the album charts for two months. The Concert For the Bangla Desh (1971) won the Grammy for album of the year. Living In the Material World followed suit by hitting number one when it was released in May of 1973. This album is currently out of print in the United States and that is a pity, because for the Exception of All Things Must Pass and Cloud Nine, this is the best George Harrison record to buy. This is also the last album that Harrison really seems to go all out on until Cloud Nine which didn't come out until 14 years after this one did. The songwriting on Living In the Material World is mostly good with only a couple of throwaway tracks. Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) was the single the album's hit single and was number one for four weeks when it was released in 1973. But some other songs also deserve special mention. The song Living in the Material World is one of the very best that Harrison has written. The song also has a very good sitar section that fans of the Beatle days will enjoy. Sue Me, Sue You Blues is a bluesy acoustic rocker that finds Harrison in fine vocal and guitar form. There have been many that have said that this record is too preachy in regards to Harrison's religious beliefs. There is something to this critism to be sure but Living in the Material world is not a first listen record. Living in the Material World is a record that grows on the listener after many listens. Living in the Material World is also at times a very dark and very personal record for those who are fans of the Beatles music only. There problably hasn't been a more personal statement released by any of the Beatles since their breakup for the exception of John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band. Whatever it's flaws, Living In the Material World remains a rewarding listen more than 25 years after it was first released. Note: this album needs remastered in the worst way because it sounds flat on CD. It might have gotten five stars by this reviewer if someone cared enough about Mr. Harrison's music to remaster as well as reissue it in the United States."
We got Richie on a tour...
Ed Kaz | Shell Pile, NJ USA | 10/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"George Harrison may sound a tad "preachy" on this, his second album, but the sneaky humor is still very much intact. For example, in the title track of 1973's Living in the Material World he delivers a brief history of his previous band:
Met them all here in the material world John and Paul here in the material world Though we started out quite poor we got Richie on a tour... [Ringo drum fill]
Ya gotta love it.
OK, so this record is no All Things Must Pass, but then again, nothing could be. It certainly has its moments of glory though (Give Me Love, (Give Me Peace on Earth), and Don't Let Me Wait Too Long). There would be much mediocrity in his future (Extra Texture or Gone Troppo anyone?), followed by triumphant mature comebacks (Cloud Nine! Traveling Wilburys! Brainwashed!). So, in retrospect, this is a strong and satisfying collection of songs.
When this album was first released, I was all of sixteen and working as a dishwasher on the New Jersey Turnpike. As I scrubbed egg off plates, this album (in particular the song Don't Let Me Wait Too Long), used to dance through my head, making my miserable first job infinitely more bearable.
Living in the Material World covers an interesting period of a young pop-star learning about his life and his precarious place in the mad mad world of show business. Eventually, he found his way.
Minor grumble: I'm thrilled to have B-sides Miss O'Dell and Deep Blue attached to this release, but where the heck is the studio version of Bangladesh, the latter's A-side?
Huh? Dhani? Olivia?
A worthy sequel to All things Must Pass
Eric D. Putnam | 11/06/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was never able to find it in vinyl back in the days before CD, but then I lived in Puerto Rico at the time...however I found this American pressing of the CD, and fell in love with this album...it is not as long as All Things Must Pass...and it is much better than anything put out by McCartney at the time...sure there are preachy overtones to the songs, but the music is much better than many "inspirational" albums by mediocre Christian artists .."Give Me love" was a hit..."sue Me Sue You Blues" gives insight to the Beatle court complications...."Don't Let Me Wait Too Long" is catchy...the title track is mystical and the trademark sitar is in the background....."try Some , buy Some" is an overlooked gem......"Be Here Now"...is another beautiful song....the album is really exquisite, and does age well.....if George ever releases his own anthology it'll be interesting to hear outtakes and alternate versions of these wonderful songs...."
Joseph Kimsey | Pac NW | 06/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Living In The Material Word is, to me, the musical essence of what George Harrison was all about. Unfortunately, it also provided a handful of ammunition to Harrison's detractors and inaugurated George's status as a musical piñata for the critics. Rolling Stone did give it a good review, though. George was definitely on a role during this time, and Living In The Material World was a commercial blockbuster. But LITMW was quickly forgotten, which was (and is) undeserved. Some of Harrison's most beguiling melodies and his most soulful slide playing are present on this masterpiece, and his often-criticized vocals are in great shape. But it would be a mistake to assume that "Living In..." makes for an immediately infectious listening experience; many of the best songs require repeated listening to be fully appreciated. Frankly, it took me a few years to fully appreciate the beauty & mastery of these songs. "Give Me Love" is the song here that everybody knows. Criticized in some quarters for being "preachy" and redundant, it actually boasts an attractive melody and some inspired guitar work. "Sue Me, Sue You Blues" is the sole diatribe on LITMW. Apparently aimed at Paul McCartney, it's not as nasty as Lennon's "How Do You Sleep" or as goofy as Ringo's "Early 1970". The dobro work on the tune is excellent, and George really doesn't come across as vindictive, merely resigned."The Light That Has Lighted The World" is one of those tunes that took me forever to appreciate. To those who don't like introspective tunes, it comes across as dull as dishwater. But if one relaxes & allows the Zen-like melody some room to breathe, it can be very therapeutic."Don't Let Me Wait To Long" is the most Beatle-esque tune on here. Why George didn't release it as a single is beyond me, as this shining example of polished pop would have definitely made the top-ten. "Who Can See It" is truly a gorgeous song. With some incredible singing and a majestic melody, this piece is truly a highlight of Harrison's career. A beautiful song. The title track is an eccentric hybrid of rowdy romp & mystical confessional. I'm not really big on "rock sax", but it works in this context. The "spiritual sky" refrains are lovely, and George's voice is really strong on this one. "The Lord Loves The One.." is a funky song that leads the way to Dark Horse & 33 1/3. The lyrics are perhaps a teeny bit hectoring and Bible-beating (or Bhagavad-Gita-beating, if you will), but I'm sure that the believers would happily sing along. The rest of us agnostics can enjoy the fantastic guitar work. "Be Here Now" is another one of those songs on here that people seem to love or loathe. If you're into Fairport Convention folk, you'll love this. The musical atmosphere is of gentle calm & reflection, and the piece absolutely radiates warmth & grace. "Try Some, By Some" is a return to the Phil Spector sound world of All Things Must Pass. The production seems jarring compared to the low-key sound of the rest of the album, and, to be honest, I have to wonder why George included it. The song isn't bad by any means, but it's definitely LITMW's sore thumb.
"The Day The World Gets 'Round" is a melodic protest song that bemoans man's inhumanity to man. George caught a lot of flack for this tune's lyrics, and they can come across as pretty self-righteous. I really don't think that they were intended to sound that way. Frankly, George was entitled to his feelings since it took his Bangla Desh benefit concert to finally make people aware of the appalling poverty of underdeveloped nations. "That Is All" is a gorgeous song that forms the perfect eulogy for George's life. With chiming guitars and a soaring vocal performance, this is the jewell in the crown of Harrison's career. A great performance! I hope Capitol gets around quickly to remastering this masterpiece soon, as well as the rest of George's catalogue."