The Love There That's Sleeping: The Art and Spirituality of George Harrison

Dale C. Allison, Jr., Author Continuum $17.95 (168p) ISBN 978-0-8264-1917-0

Allison, who teaches New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, turns to religion and pop culture in this investigation of the "religious devotion" that pervaded the music of Beatle George Harrison. Harrison abandoned his childhood Catholicism as a teenager, and Allison finds "more than a trace of anti-Catholicism" in his music: in the song "Rising Sun," for example, reflections on crippling guilt are taken to refer to Catholic guilt, and "P.2. Vatican Blues" suggests that behind its veneer of goodness, the Catholic Church is corrupt. Harrison's interest in Hinduism is seen clearly, suggests Allison, in his thinking that the material world is an illusion. Much of his music also plays with the idea of karma, and his lyrics are rife with the sense that only some sort of divine grace can save humanity. Harrison's preoccupation with death gave rise to songs like "Art of Dying" and "All Things Must Pass,". The book's thematic organization—chapters focus on topics like God, the material world and salvation—feels formulaic at times. A more vividly biographical portrait of Harrison would have nicely rounded out Allison's close readings of his songs. This study is workmanlike, but Beatles fans will find it informative. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/25/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 168 pages - 978-0-8264-2756-4
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