A new documentary film focusing on The Beatles’ fabled visit to India over half a century ago is set for DVD release on October 29. Featuring rare archive footage, recordings, and photography The Beatles and India explores how George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr’s spiritually led journey to the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1968 impacted their creativity and helped the band’s sound evolve.
While the group were attending Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Transcendental Meditation seminar in Bangor, Wales in August 1967, ‘fifth Beatle’ Brian Epstein tragically passed away. Committed to following a new spiritual path, all four members made the pilgrimage to Rishikesh in northern India the following February where a richly creative period ensued.
With acoustic guitars to hand, Harrison, Lennon, and McCartney entered an especially productive phase of songwriting. Largely written during their stay in India and appearing in stark contrast to The Beatles’ distinctly lysergic 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the eponymous follow up – known as the ‘White Album’ – was recorded at Abbey Road following their return and released in November 1968.
Accompanying the documentary’s release is an album of The Beatles’ songs interpreted and performed by a host of renowned contemporary Indian musicians. The Beatles and India: Songs Inspired by the Film will be available on Silva Screen Records.
The most recent single from the album – “Mother Nature’s Son” featuring Karsh Kale and Benny Dayal – is available to listen to here. Check out the album’s first single, John Lennon’s “India, India” featuring Nikhil D’Souza, here.
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Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.