Thursday, May 7, 2009

Trying to touch and reach you with heart and soul

On this day in 1973, Apple Records released Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth), the lead single from George Harrison's Living in the Material World.

Always playing second fiddle to Lennon and McCartney, I think Harrison was actually the best songwriter of the group. While John pushed his peace/revolution agenda and McCartney was content with neatly crafted pop songs, Harrison married the two styles seamlessly. IMHO, his songs were as simple in their composition and as catchy as Paul's best (Yesterday, Penny Lane, Hey Jude, etc.) and more honest and thoughtful than Lennon's most cerebral and acerbic offerings (All You Need Is Love, Revolution, Imagine, etc.). Harrison's songs are pure truth in words and music, and this one of his best.

The track was Harrison's Imagine, only better. A sweet, simple diddy about peace and love, it touched upon Harrison's belief in reincarnation, a result of his practice of Hinduism and Hare Krishna. Where Lennon's 1971 Imagine is anthemic and far reaching in it's scope, it is equally a critical and unrealistic (albeit beautiful) grouping of hopes leveled upon the listener. The most striking being Lennon's musings of a world where there is no Heaven, Hell or religion, whereas in contrast, Give Me Love is a prayer, and appeal for love and understanding invoked directly to the Lord. Instead of abandoning faith, Harrison embraces it. More intimate in it's dimension, it's earnestness allows it to achieve a much grander and realistic vision of what we can achieve. I think it's an important distinction to acknowledge and the ultimate confirmation of George Harrison's deeply held faith as well as his masterful songwriting.

Bottom line is I think the ex-Fab Four spent a good part of the early 70's in a pissing contest played out on the pop charts. George had the biggest chip on his shoulders, residual resentment for the two-song quota, no doubt. Hell, even Ringo got in on the action (with a little help from his friends).

It's hardly subtle irony that this song reached No. 1 on June 30, 1973, replacing McCartney's My Love at the top of the charts.

I'm just sayin'.

Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)

Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)- George Harrison (Live in Japan, 1992)

Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)-Jeff Lynne & Co. (Concert for George, 29 Nov. 2002)

1 comment:

TCB Walsh said...

Consummate tambourine work at the Concert for George by Ray Cooper. Perhaps the most over-enthusiastic percussionist who ever lived. According to UK Musician's Union guidelines, if there is an All-Star jam, Ray Cooper must be present.