INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: George Harrison's works


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George Harrison's works Feb 07, 2002 11:00 a.m.

OK, I was on another board and just about got "flamed" to death because I asked a question. So much for internet courtesy! I won't name the board and I'm not going back.
But as a Harrison fan, I'm still curious. Here's the questions and I'll put them out there for those that know. Appreciate any responses and maybe your info source(s).

1) There are sitar sounds on the "Living in the Material World" LP and on "When We Was Fab". Current theory is that they are nothing more than sampled soundbytes from an electronic synthesizer. What do you think?
2) There exists more than one version of "The Inner Light" song, up to three now. I've heard one with just guitar played Indian style, but there is one with sarod fills, and one I'm told with sitar. I also heard Shankar Ghosh played sitar on that one. Have any of you heard these second two, and are they right about S. Ghosh?
3) Finally, "Norwegian Wood" and "Love To You" are the only songs I know George definitely played sitar on (apart from all the tanpura fills). Someone from the Asian Music Circle in England played it on "Within You Without You". Who was it, and does anyone know of any other Harrison songs where he definitely played sitar?

Put on your thinking hats for these.

Re:George Harrison's works Feb 08, 2002 01:47 a.m.

Hi Russ
Here's my 2 cents.
Living In The Material World has two tracks with tanpura; the bridge of the title track and Be Here Now. The title track also has tabla in the same section. Definitely authentic. Synths weren't sophisticated enough in 1973.
The fade on When We Were Fab is a snippet of a recording from the Wonderwall soundtrack that George released in 1968 (actually the first Beatle solo album). It's a 50/50 split of western and Indian instrumentals.
I've only heard the 'offiicial' Inner Light - the one with sarod (I think) that was the b-side of Lady Madonna.
Don't know who plays on Within You Without You. George recruited a bunch of players fron the Asian Music Centre in London I believe. They're all uncredited by EMI (i.e., names not recorded). They kept the string players' names though. Tells you something about 60s cultural attitudes, huh?
Interestingly, Ian Macdonald, the song-by-song guru of Beatles stuff credits George with the sitar part. Like you, though, I didn't think it was him.
I don't think he plays sitar anywhere else. I have a boot with a section from an interview with him and Ravi where he demonstrates his first lesson. I also think there's one track on Wonderwall that is George on sitar.
Enough, already.
Take care all
Re:George Harrison's works Feb 08, 2002 09:53 a.m.

Thanks Jerry. I suspected what you've laid out here, but I wanted a second opinion. I have Wonder Wall on CD, came out a couple of years ago. BTW, George released another solo effort in 1968, an extremely hard to find album called "Electronic Music". I'm not sure whether it came out before "Wall" or not. Anyway, thanks again and we'll end it here.
Re:George Harrison's works Feb 08, 2002 10:22 p.m.

Was george never that good? I always wanted to hear him play some classical music, i figured since he knew Ravi Shankar and played with him personally, he would play classical music.
Re:George Harrison's works Feb 12, 2002 05:27 a.m.

Hi all,
Thought I'd try something here what with all the cool ideas floating around thanks to Lars and Russ. Here's how I've been playing Norwegian wood, just the melody line:
P DPMG RGMS 'n R 'D 'P - I hope I have this right , that woulb be komal Na in the lower octave.
Russ please check this for accuracy, also if you could put up "Within you Without you" I think you'd light everyone up....ken ... BTW Lars you sure get around I'm always blown away by how many websites you travel and the info you kindly share with us all.
Re:George Harrison's works Feb 17, 2002 09:20 p.m.

Good God!! What's going on here? A NEW POST!! Spiderman, hee hee........well, spend way too much time on the internet and have cut back a little, nothing left to find! Have come across some Nikhil Banerjee things, hopefully have them soon so I'll keep you guys posted!
Re:George Harrison's works Feb 17, 2002 09:11 p.m.

Yeah, that Lars is like spiderman, huh?

Hey Ken; Been out on travel like I mentioned, so my sitar is detuned at the moment. I don't usually write anything down, I just play it you know? I'm one of those. But just for you guys, I will sit down this week and work on writing down the notes to Norwegian Wood and Within You Without You. I tend to transpose everything up, so I will bring it back down to the song tonic from the record. Laters...Russ

Re:George Harrison's works Feb 18, 2002 07:58 a.m.

Hi Lars, welcome home Russ,
I found a website with about 14 listings of Georges tunes on which sitar/tanpura are played. but I didn't write em down as I figured I'd just surf on back to it. should have bookmarked it.
I usually play by ear as well, just thought it might be a good exercise for me to write out Norwegian wood as I wanted to share it with the rest of the folks here.
Lars, might be nice to start another post on favorite Links?
Re:George Harrison's works Feb 26, 2002 08:48 p.m.

As a few of you might know feb 25 th was George Harrisons Birthday. at The Beatles star in Hollywood they had a celebration I brought my sitar played & sang Love you too , within you & without you Norwigen wood & the innerlight with a very good John Lennon Look alike.
It was put on by capitol records, Everyone there had never seen someone sing & play sitar at the same time. anyway I just wanted to share.........Peace to you all
Re:George Harrison's works Feb 26, 2002 09:51 p.m.

Sounds like a fun party!! Would have liked to have seen that.......Happy birthday George...
Re:George Harrison's works Feb 27, 2002 01:46 p.m.

I did take note of all the postings on the Bagism board for George's birthday, and added my two cents as well. You're right, I've never heard of anyone singing and playing sitar at the same time. That's pretty darn good! I would screw up royally if I tried that. Anyway you might think of putting up some mpeg or other format with sound onto the net? I'd like to hear you.
Re:George Harrison's works Feb 27, 2002 06:21 p.m.

As soon as money & time allow,I'll put some music on line.
peace all
Re:George Harrison's works May 22, 2002 07:42 p.m.

I own both Wonderwall Music & Electronic Sounds, the original vinyl editions. I still enjoy them immensely, and hope that many unreleased titles will be "unearthed" and released from that time period especially. Harrison was a man full of musical genius and he was an awesome thinker. I just bought a sitar. Never played one, but can't wait to get to know it!
Re:George Harrison's works May 23, 2002 01:13 a.m.

You enjoy Electronic Sounds immensely??
I didn't think that was possible.
(For those who haven't heard it, Electronic Sounds is an album's worth of white noise noodlings on a very early synth.)
Seriously, Steve, what do you enjoy about it?
And good luck with the sitar - it will be a joy for life.
Re:George Harrison's works May 23, 2002 10:08 a.m.

I can barely remember Electronic Sounds, and I didn't think much of it then. But hey, it was the sixties. Those were very "experimental" days. Bob Moog and Walter (Wendy?) Carlos were just getting known. So, George was right "on spot". Enjoy your sitar Steve. Its great "therapy" for me after a tough day. Wouldn't give it up for anything!
Laughing Bhudda
Re:George Harrison's works May 24, 2002 08:55 a.m.

Here are some notes about "Within you without you";

Instruments & additional info.:

Recording commenced in studio two at Abbey Road on March 22 1967.
Album version mixed from take two. Writer: George. Lead vocal:
George. Producer: George Martin. Recording engineer: Geoff Emerick.
Second engineer: Richard Lush.


Harrison: vocal, sitar, acoustic guitar, tambura
Uncredited Indian musicians: dilrubas, svarmandal, tabla, tambura
Erich Gruenberg, Alan Loveday, Julien Gaillard, Paul Scherman,
Ralph Elman, David Wolfsthal, Jack Rothstein, Jack Greene: violins
Reginald Kilbey, Allen Ford, Peter Beavan: cellos
Neil Aspinall: tambura

Rec.: 15th/22nd March, 3rd/4th April 1967
Rel. UK: 1st June 1967 (LP Seargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band)
Rel. US: 2nd June 1967 (LP Seargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band)

Other versions on
Anthology 2

Re:George Harrison's works May 24, 2002 10:13 a.m.

I guess this nails it....
Neil Aspinall on there? I'll be darn....
If memory serves me (sometimes), seems like I bought my copy of Peppers somewhere around late April or May of 1967. Hmmmm....
Ever hear the differences on several tunes on the mono and stereo versions of the album? I had both, and they were quite different. Not even Anthology 2 has the mono versions. And of course, the English version has that weird tag on the end of "Day in the Life"....
Laughing Bhudda
Re:George Harrison's works May 24, 2002 09:13 p.m.

Yup, bought my mono copy in Marylebone Road, London in the Summer of '67 and played it 'til the grooves almost met in the middle of the vinyl.
It was stolen from among my stuff that was forwarded to me in the US in 1984... still had the original inner piece with Beatles and stuff ready to be cut out. My Hawkwind albums went the same way... same person I guess.
Still, I guess it doesn't matter that much to me, apart from the sense of violation, as all the "Pepper" tunes still play themselves to me in my head at the flip of a brain cell.
"Publicist Plays Tambura"... not much noise made about that at the time, same as Eric's part on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" at that time. That still ranks with me as one of the best solos of all time. It bites, it growls, it wails and it sails. Pure poetry on guitar from Mr Slowhand himself. Truly wonderful!
Very glad I still have "Satanic Majesties" though!
"Good evening one and all - and welcome to the show"
Still have about 400 albums. Very few of which were bought less than 30 years ago.
Ah! such memories...
Re:George Harrison's works Jun 05, 2002 04:58 p.m.

Yeah, that was a killer solo! That's why ol' Eric is still around. Legends never die it seems. I have at last count about 100 albums, many of which will never make it onto CD. But that's OK. The old brain cells pass the music on to the new ones before they expire. But it always makes me think about just how many potential "geniuses" are out there, but just not at the right place and the right time. If the Beatles had tried to enter the market one year after they did, they may have ended up long-forgotten. That not only goes for western musicians, but Indian as well. If not for the Beatles promoting Ravi, well........
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