George Harrison, Ravi Shankar, Sitar Lesson and Within You Without You

EDIT: Ravi Shankar died yesterday, Tuesday, December 12, 2012, at the age of 92 in Southern California. RIP you beautiful man; legend of music, Beatle guru, sitar master.

Orignally Published May 5, 2011- Part 56 is a double dose adventure of Indian/English fun.  First we have an awesome rare clip of George Harrison in India taking a sitar lesson with legendary sitar master Ravi Shankar in 1966.  After the Beatles quit touring the mad, mad, world in early 1966, they all took long vacations.  George decided to take his wife, Patti Boyd, to India, where he met Ravi, and insisted on becoming his apprentice.  The first video shows Ravi instructing George on some scales near a beautiful lake and mountain, while Ravi narrates the experience, expressing total shock and bewilderment at why a pop musician of George’s stature would be interested in classical Indian music.  Of course, George’s interest in sitar music caused an international explosion in the instrument and genre, and made Ravi Shankar an international star.  Video two shows the results of all of these efforts, “Within You Without You,” the second best song off Sgt. Pepper, (“A Day in the Life” being the best.)  This song is so incredible.  It’s a total masterpiece of artistic expression.  John Lennon said it best about the song, saying that George was “so clear” on this track, and that it was one of his favorite songs.  The lyrics are some of the most brilliant in the entire Beatles catalog, and sonically, its just perfect, a psychedelic joyride through George’s Indian soaked mind.  I also think its a stunningly original song coming from a man who adopted gurus to learn from his whole life, (Perkins, Lennon, McCartney, Dylan.)  This song has nothing to do with any of those guys, its just pure George, and its brave of him to stick his head out, in the Beatles of all groups, with a song like this.  And its undeniably fantastic!

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4 Responses to “George Harrison, Ravi Shankar, Sitar Lesson and Within You Without You”

  1. Lynn says:

    The first video was made on June 10, 1968 showing Ravi Shankar and George filming a sitar lesson on a cliff overlooking the Big Sur coastline in northern California for a scene in Ravi’s film, Raga.

    • Willie says:

      Awesome, thanks for the info Lynn, I thought for sure this was taken from George’s trip in 1966. I guess George wasn’t just up in Rishikesh in 1968, but all over.

  2. Carl says:

    Nice contribution, I truly look forward to fresh news by you.

  3. […] #56.  George Harrison, Ravi Shankar, Sitar Lesson, Within You Without You – Within You Without You is better than “A Day in the Life.”  Go on, fight me about it. […]

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