Fresh from the success of the epic release All Things Must Pass and the Grammy-winning philanthropic The Concert For Bangladesh, George Harrison was sitting on top of the rock world. Anticipation kept building as the release date for his next album approached.
Living In The Material World was released on May 30, 1973 to mixed reviews. Too be fair, it could not have lived up to the expectations and standards the previous two albums had established. Commercially, however, it was extremely successful, as it topped the American charts for five weeks.
This album has grown on me over the years. I remember being disappointed at the time of its release, but as time passed, it escaped the shadow of its two classic predecessors and emerged as a very good release in its own right.
Harrison’s stature always enabled him to gather talented sidekicks around him. This time, Jim Keltner, Nicky Hopkins, Gary Wright, Klaus Voormann, Ringo Starr, and others provided solid instrumental support.
The best known track was the number one single, “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth.” It was a gentle song about peace issued at a time when the Vietnam War was winding down.
There are a number of other songs which have stood the test of time well. “Sue Me, Sue You Blues” is both an amusing and biting commentary about the legal problems of The Beatles parting ways.
I have always felt that “Don’t Let Me Wait Too Long” should have been released as a single. It has a very polished pop sound. Next track “Who Can See It” has a beautiful melody, and the title song features some tasty sitar music by Harrison.
The problems centered around some of the lyrics. “The Light That Has Lighted The World,” “Be Here Now,” and “The Day The World Gets Round” were preachy and lacked the humility that made All Things Must Pass more palatable.
Living In The Material World may not be the best album in the George Harrison catalogue, but it still provides a better than average listening experience. When accepted on its own terms, it remains good early ’70s rock.