The Beatles – Living In The Material World
(a soniclovenoize reimagining)
1. Back Off Boogaloo
2. Hi, Hi, Hi
3. John Sinclair
4. Get On The Right Thing
5. Who Can See It
6. Woman Is The Nigger Of The World
7. Live and Let Die
8. New York City
9. Living In The Material World
10. Single Pigeon
11. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
12. My Love
This album “reimagining” is the third in a series that ponders the question: What if The Beatles never broke up? My Living In The Material World album collects together various solo Beatles material from the year 1972 (and approximate) and is sequenced into a cohesive album (as best as can be done with the material at hand, of course). It’s a follow-up to my two previous reimagined Beatles albums, Imagine Clouds Dripping from 1971 and Instant Karma! from 1970.
To continue my model of constructing these albums—that each specific year of the 70s should be considered, rather than the best of the decade as a whole—you will undoubtedly reach some rough patches; 1972 was one of them. Lennon released the extremely forgettable Sometime In New York City and McCartney relied solely on stray single releases, as well as recording the bulk of the sketchy Red Rose Speedway (which wasn’t released until the following year, but is still included here because it is still a product of 1972). When combined with Harrison’s quaint yet hit-and-miss Living In The Material World (which it’s recording began in 1972 and is thus included here) we are left with a Beatles album that, although an extremely fun listen, would have probably been a critical failure, possibly hailed as the worst album of their career (by “Beatles standards”). If it wasn’t for McCartney’s hit singles on this album, it probably would have been a commercial failure too.
But is this really a bad thing? I chose to leave the cards as they fell because my construction of Living In The Material World reflects the reality of each of The Beatles at that point in time. Every artist has ups and downs, it only seems natural that The Beatles should put out a bad album, even if it took them until 1972 to do so. And besides, this turns out to be a really fun listen. The final touch is the collage cover art that for some reason seems to fit this album itself—scatterbrained and unfocused, yet enjoyable. Living In The Material World is the underdog we love to root for, even though we know he’ll lose. It is Magical Mystery Tour’s distant cousin.
So sit back, relax and imagine if you will: After The Beatles success of their European Tour in late 1971, they plan a North American in early 1972; early dates of the tour are such an immediate success and so enjoyable for The Beatles, the four members and their families strike up a temporary residence in New York and plan on a continual “never ending” tour of the continent throughout the remainder of the year (Bob Dylan was said to have attended many of these shows and was quite impressed with this concept); The Beatles recognize an immediate desire for new material and quickly draft members of The Elephant Memory Band and record Living In The Material World, again with Phil Spector producing; the demand for product to coincide with their impromptu “never-ending” 1972 American tour forces the label to include many non-LP singles and songs The Beatles already had in the can, as well as the newly recorded material.
The only single-release of the album’s newer New York songs was Ringo’s “Back Off Boogaloo” b/w the non-LP b-side “Big Bard Bed” which had mixed reviews, many wondering why Paul’s superior “My Love” wasn’t released as a single. Lennon himself maintained that “Woman Is The Nigger of The World” should have been the lead single, but the rest of the band refused for obvious reasons. Paul claimed it was commercial suicide and didn’t even want to include it on the album. A compromise was made when Lennon allowed “Live and Let Die” on the album, a song he loathed and performed on purely for contractual reasons (although he understood it was the album’s chief selling-point and even admitted to rather enjoying James Bond). Phil Spector suggested sequencing Lennon’s feminist anthem at the end of side A on the LP, so that sensitive listeners could simply stop and flip the record if they were offended; the DJs seemed to do just that.
The critics were very hard on Living In The Material World, calling it a cash cow and simply an excuse to extend their tour of America (rather than the other way around). It was even noted that album seemed to be mostly tailor-made for the tour itself, and Lennon’s songs were too politically-driven. Critics also noted the inclusion of current popular unrelated songs to round out the otherwise weak album, such as “Live and Let Die” and their December 1971 single “Merry Xmas (War is Over)” b/w the non-album b-side “C Moon”. Rolling Stone even dubbed the album “Filler In The Material World” yet at least commended the band for excluding their single from that February, the well-intended yet hastily written and recorded “Give Ireland Back to The Irish” b/w “Luck of The Irish.” The Beatles took the criticism of Living In The Material World to heart, through their “never-ending” tour and their purported increasingly excessive back-stage partying and drug use. Hesitantly wrapping up their North American Tour at the end of 1972, The Beatles pondered their next move, how to keep their band on the run…
All The Best! (original 1987 master)
Living In The Material World (2006 remaster)
Red Rose Speedway (1996 Steve Hoffman remaster)
Photograph – The Very Best of Ringo Starr (original 2007 master)
Sometime In New York City (2005 remaster)
flac --> wav --> editing in Audacity and Goldwave --> flac encoding via TLH lv8
*md5, artwork and tracknotes included
*md5, artwork and tracknotes included