The Music Within
by: Blaine Skrainka
December 12, 2012
The Beatles are unmatched in their depth and diversity of style. One of their greatest influences, both sonically and philosophically, was the group’s introduction to Eastern thought. This included transcendental mediation and classical Indian music.
As the legend goes, Roger McGuinn of The Byrds introduced George Harrison to the music of sitar guru Ravi Shankar in 1965 “at an LSD-fuelled Los Angeles party at Zsa Zsa Gabor’s mansion.” A year later, Harrison and Shankar met in London, and shortly thereafter the two spent six weeks together in India practicing music and meditation.
The first actualization of the teachings were seen in the song Norwegian Wood, which is said to be the first Western pop song to use the sitar. Later songs, like Within You Without You, were nearly full on classical Indian compositions.
Although Ravi Shankar played the Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock, and became somewhat of a pop star in his own right, he later distanced himself from the hippie movement.
Check out this rare glimpse of Ravi Shankar and George Harrison studying the sitar: