Tag Archives: George Harrison

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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George Harrison Wonderwall Music

George Harrison Wonderwall Music

December 2, 1968: the US release of George Harrison's Wonderwall Music, the first solo album by any Beatle.
George Harrison Wonderwall MusicIt was also the  the first Apple album and quite a contrast to the Beatle movie's Magical Mystery Tour's soundtrack. The music reflected Harrison's continued involvement with Indian music. There are splashes of Western sounds, too, like "Drilling a Home" or  "Cowboy Museum." George Harrison himself did not actually play or sing on any tracks
George Harrison Wonderwall Music
back cover of Wonderwall Music album on left and sleeve picture of Harrison on right
Keep in mind Harrison's Beatle compositions (such as Flying) and you'll hear his influence. Wonderwall Music also used the production method common at the time of sending sound back and forth between the left and right channels.

Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr make appearances. Clapton, credited as Eddie Clayton, plays lead guitar on ‘Ski-ing’, while Starr (Richie Snare) plays drums. Also, Peter Tork of the Monkees plays banjo on the album. He and Harrison became friends when the Monkees visited the U.K.

Harrison's follow up to Wonderwall Music would be his Electronic Sound which taught listeners that George Harrison's musical tastes were wide and deep.

George Harrison Wonderwall Music

The NY Times reviewed the Wonderwall album on February 9, 1969. Colin Turner wrote, To my mind it bares the essence of George's music and exposes the culminating tendencies of his whole song book.(NYT review)

In 2015, Rolling Stone magazine included the album on a list the magazine called: 20 Terrible Debut Albums by Great Artists. The lead sentence of the description read, "The best thing you can say about Wonderwall Music is that it's probably more historically significant than the LP of experimental twaddle John Lennon released a month later – after all, Oasis never wrote a hit song called  Two Virgins."

George Harrison Wonderwall Music

Interestingly, exactly a year later, on December 2, 1969 Harrison joined Delaney and Bonnie on stage in Bristol, for his first stage appearance since The Beatles' final concert on 29 August 1966. Freed from the attentions of Beatlemania, he was able to be a largely anonymous band member, although he did sing songs including Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby on at least one occasion. Harrison stayed on the tour for six dates until it ended. They played two shows each night, in Bristol, Birmingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Liverpool and Croydon.
George Harrison Wonderwall Music
Film poster for Wonderwall movie
And in case you were wonder(wall)ing: Wonderwall was a 1968 film by first-time director Joe Massot that starred Jane Birkin, Jack MacGowran, and Iain Quarrier. Neither the movie nor the album are considered worthwhile by most.
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November 29 Beatles Singles

November 29 Beatles singles

November 29 Beatles Singles
Beatles 1963
The way most fans first heard the Beatles was by way of their singles, those little records with the big holes. By late 1963, the Beatles were exploding in the UK and the Ed Sullivan fuse was lighted for early 1964.
They recorded "I Want to Hold Your Hand" on October 17, 1963 and Parlophone released it in the UK on November 29, 1963, more than two months before that famous Sullivan Show appearance. There were more than one million advance orders. With such numbers, it must have hit #1 immediately, yes?
No
Their hit "She Loves You" blocked "I Want to Hold Your Hand" for two weeks before it finally reached #1 on the British charts. Once there, it stayed for five weeks and remained in the UK top fifty for twenty-one weeks in total.
Capital records released "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in the US on December 26. With great backing by Capital (unlike their previous US releases). It became the Billboard #1 single on February 1, where it stayed for seven weeks to be replaced by, you guessed it, "She Loves You."

Exactly six years later…

November 29 Beatles Singles
A lot of troubled water had passed under the Beatle bridge between the UK release of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and the double-A sided "Come Together/Something" hitting #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 exactly six years later on November 29, 1969.
John Lennon wrote "Come Together" though writing credits showed the traditional Lennon/McCartney authorship.
Beatles singles
Come Together/Something
According to Lennon, "The thing was created in the studio. It's gobbledygook; Come Together was an expression that Leary had come up with for his attempt at being president or whatever he wanted to be, and he asked me to write a campaign song. I tried and tried, but I couldn't come up with one. But I came up with this, Come Together, which would've been no good to him - you couldn't have a campaign song like that, right?"

For a more contemporary view of the song and Lennon, see >>> Imagining John Lennon, In a Time Of Anguish

 

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