Tag Archives: George Harrison

John Lennon George Harrison David Frost

John Lennon George Harrison David Frost

September 29, 1967

John Lennon George Harrison David Frost

George Harrison Sitar

The path that led the Beatles to transcendental meditation was mainly through George Harrison’s use of the sitar, the Indian instrument he used on Rubber Soul’s “Norwegian Wood.” Harrison used the sitar simply because he liked its sound, but he wanted to learn more.

Harrison first met master sitarist Ravi Shankar in June 1966 in the UK and Shankar gave a couple of lessons to Harrison.

On September 14, 1966, a Mr and Mrs Sam Wells, aka George and Pattie Harrison, flew to Mumbai.  The main reason was to take sitar lessons from Shankar. Because the sitting position was so difficult for Harrison, Shankar had a yoga instructor help him.

The following year Pattie attended a lecture on Transcendental Meditation at Caxton Hall, London, where she received her mantra.

John Lennon George Harrison David Frost

see Beatles meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for more

Encouraged by Pattie Harrison’s interest and enthusiasm, on August 24, 1967  the Beatles met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at a lecture in London. All except Ringo and his wife Maureen (she had just given birth to to their son) attended. While there, they found out that he was giving a series of classes. They all decided to attend.

Of course if the Beatles found something interesting, fans followed suit. Ravi Shankar became part of the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and famously played in the rain at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

John Lennon George Harrison David Frost

The Frost Programme

On September 29, 1967 John Lennon and George Harrison were guests on David Frost’s The Frost Programme.

Among the comments were:

Lennon: “Buddha was a groove, Jesus was all right.”

Harrison: “I believe in reincarnation. Life and death are still only relative to thought. I believe in rebirth. You keep coming back until you have got it straight. The ultimate thing is to manifest divinity, and become one with The Creator.”

Because viewers found that  program so interesting, John and George returned for another interview a week later.

Again, the subject of the 45-minute show was Transcendental Meditation. Lennon and Harrison answered questions that Frost and studio guests asked as well as from letters sent in. There was also a pro- and con- discussion about meditation.

John Lennon George Harrison David Frost

No Mas Maharishi

The interest continued and on February 16, 1968 John and Cynthia Lennon, and George and Pattie Harrison flew to India for further study with the Maharishi. Paul McCartney, Jane Asher, Ringo and Maureen Starr followed on the 20th. The plan was to stay at least six weeks.

Ringo found the food there too difficult and he and Maureen returned to England less than two weeks after their arrival. Paul and Jane returned on March 20.

The stay for the others came to an abrupt end when one of the members of the Beatle party told John and George that the Maharishi was sexually inappropriate with one of the female guests.

John and George confronted the Yogi, but he didn’t take the accusation seriously which convinced John, George, and the others that he was guilty.

John left, but George, rather than return straightaway to England, went to visit Ravi Shankar and didn’t return until April 28.

The accusations were likely untrue.

John Lennon George Harrison David Frost
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1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

The narrator above refers to August 30, but it was…

August 28, 1964

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

She Loves You

The Beatles initial successes were great pop songs that many youth fell in love with at the same time they themselves were looking to fall in love. She Loves You, I Want to Hold Your Hand, Please Please Me, I Feel Fine, She’s a Woman, and We Can Work It Out are all loves songs. Some happier than others.

Someone once told me, if it’s a happy Beatle song, Paul wrote it; a sad one, John. While a generalization, it’s more often true than not.

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

Maggie’s Farm

When I first heard Bob Dylan’s “I Ain’t Gonna’ Work on Maggie’s Farm No More” I was only a touch less confused about its lyrics than “Gates of Eden,” a song I had no idea what was happening other than Dylan was trying to harmonize with songs the lonesome sparrow sang.

Maggie’s Farm? Well there’s a guy obviously praying for rain, getting terribly underpaid, and whose boss is putting out his cigar on the guy’s face. I’d quit too.

Of course, that’s not what Dylan was saying. He was saying he wasn’t going to be the acoustic-folk-protest song-singer too many expected him to permanently be. Quitting. He was going  electric. And on July 25, 1965 he did just that at the Newport Folk Festival.

Many were displeased.

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

August 28, 1964

The Beatles had begun their first full American tour on August 18 at the San Francisco Cow Palace. Ten days later they played for 16,000 fans at the Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, New York City. They would do the same the next night.

It was what happened in between that changed history.

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

Al Aronowitz

Al Aronowitz was a writer who knew Bob Dylan and arranged for him to meet the Beatles at their hotel the night after that first concert.

Aronowitz later wrote: “The Beatles’ magic was in their sound,…Bob’s magic was in his words. After they met, the Beatles’ words got grittier, and Bob invented folk-rock.”

Cannabis may have been the source of all that musical cross pollination at that meeting. Beatles supposed unfamiliarity with the herb apparently surprised the already familiar Mr Dylan. [The four had tried it in Germany, but it did not impress them.]

Evidently, Ringo was unfamiliar with the not-Bogarting-that-joint protocol and kept things to himself. John, Paul, and George soon learned the etiquette.

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

1965

  • March 27,  Dylan released Bringing It All Back Home on which “Maggie’s Farm” appears.
  • The Byrds’ covering of Dylan, particularly “Mr Tambourine Man” opened the door for folk-rock.
  • July 25, 1965 Dylan played Newport Folk Festival. Many in audience booed his performance for playing electric set with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
  • August 30, 1965,  Dylan released Highway 61 Revisited. More electric.
  • August 28, 1965 Dylan played at NYC’s Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. More boos during his electric set.
  • December 3, 1965 the Beatles released Rubber Soul. The course of pop music changed.
1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles
1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles
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Beatles Meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Beatles Meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

August 25, 1967

Beatles Meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi “The Origin of Thought”
Beatles Meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Swami Satchidananda

Beatles Meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

When looking at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair’s line up, it surprises or even confuses some to see someone named Swami Satchidananda in that line up. Even with the varied approach that Woodstock and most 1969 festivals took to create their events, having a swami was unusual.

As is often the case with music and the 60s we can “blame” the Beatles.

Beatles Meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Beatles Meet Meditation

Though George Harrison had played the sitar on Rubber Soul‘s “Norwegian Wood” in 1965 it was not until 1966 that he and wife Pattie became interested in eastern philosophy during a six-week holiday in Bombay.

Back in England, Pattie continued to explore meditation and later attended a lecture on Transcendental Meditation in London.

In 1967 Pattie read that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was giving a lecture in London on August 24.

Beatles Meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

In her 2007  book, Wonderful Tonight, Boyd said, I was desperate to go, and George said he would come too. Paul had already heard of him and was interested, and in the end we all went – George, John, Paul, Ringo, Jane and I. Maharishi was every bit as impressive as I thought he would be, and we were spellbound.

“At the end we went to speak to him and he said we must go to Wales where he was running a ten-day summer conference of the Spiritual Regeneration Movement. It started in two days’ time. We leapt at it.”

Beatles Meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

John Runs Ahead of Cynthia

On August 25, 1967, the Beatles, along with Pattie, her sister Jenny, Cynthia Lennon, Beatle friend Alexis Mardas (“Magic Alex”), Mick Jagger, and Marianne Faithfull traveled to Bangor, North Wales, left for a 10-day conference on Transcendental Meditation.

Well not quite. Cynthia left the house with John, but at the railroad station John jumped out and ahead leaving Cynthia to follow with the luggage.

Fans, passengers, and the press filled the station and Cynthia could not keep up. A policeman, unaware of “who” she was, kept her away and she missed the train.

Beatles personal assistant, Neil Aspinall, gave her a car ride. She wrote in her book, John: “the incident seemed symbolic of what was happening to my marriage. John was on the train, speeding into the future, and I was left behind.”

Beatles Meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Bangor Beatle Bunks

The Beatles arrived and found their rooms in a dormitory at Bangor College. Not quite what their life had become.

That night, the group went out to eat at a Chinese restaurant. Also no longer accustomed to carrying cash, they had none to pay for the dinner.

Luckily, George, perhaps from an old habit, took off his shoe and took out a 20 £ note.

Here is more from the Beatles Bible.

Beatles Meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
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