sábado, 24 de febrero de 2018

George Harrison feted on what would have been his 75th birthday

George Harrison feted on what would have been his 75th birthday
Friday, February 23, 2018

George Harrison is being feted on what would have been his 75th birthday. (AP)

Former Beatle George Harrison would have turned 75 on Sunday and fellow guitarist Little Steven Van Zandt, from the E Street Band, is setting his alarm to celebrate.
Van Zandt, along with Bachman Turner Overdrive founder Randy Bachman and Ringo Starr’s musical director Mark Rivera, are meeting at E. 32nd St. venue The Cutting Room at 8 a.m. on Sunday for a visit with Ken Dashow, who hosts “Breakfast With The Beatles” on Q104.3.
“They will be telling their favorite George stories and strapping on some guitars to jam to a few Beatles tunes,” according to an insider tied to the appearance.

Stevie Van Zandt is taking part in a tribute to George Harrison on what would have been the ex-Beatle’s 75th birthday. (FOX PHOTOS/GETTY IMAGES)

Van Zandt, a big Beatles fan, was joined on stage by Harrison’s old bandmate Paul McCartney during a November performance in London where the two of them performed a rousing rendition of “I Saw Her Standing There.” Video of that performance nearly broke the Internet. Harrison died in 2001 at 58 after a long battle with cancer.

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viernes, 23 de febrero de 2018

George Harrison: 75 Years and Beyond

George Harrison: 75 Years and Beyond
The anniversary of the youngest Beatle's birth brings a tribute concert rerelease and an opportunity to celebrate his legacy.
By Jere Hester
Published  Feb 22, 2018

George Harrison: 75 Years and Beyond

This February 11, 1964 photo provided by Christie's auction house, from a collection of photos of The Beatles shot by photographer Mike Mitchell at the Washington Coliseum in Washington, D.C., shows George Harrison during the group's first US concert, two days after their Ed Sullivan appearance. The concert photos, taken when the photographer was just 18 years old, will be auctioned by Christie's in their sale "The Beatles Illuminated: The Discovered Works of Mike Mitchell," in New York on July 20, 2011.

The 2002 George Harrison tribute concert brimmed with music greats – Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton, among them – who played the late Beatle's best known songs, a year after his death at age 58.
But the show ended on an unexpected note with respected, but far-from-superstar musician Joe Brown strumming a ukulele center stage at Royal Albert Hall, singing  "I'll See You in My Dreams," a big hit from 1925.
It marked a pure "George" moment: low-key, but high-impact. Just a pal playing one of Harrison's favorite instruments, performing a sad and sweet song about love, loss and the power of memory.
"Concert for George" earned a theatrical rerelease and a reissue on vinyl this week in honor of a Beatles milestone that otherwise might have gone largely unheralded by all but hardcore fans: the 75th anniversary of Harrison's birth.

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The date might be a matter of debate – Harrison long believed he was born on Feb. 25, 1943, though some sources say he made his debut late the night before. But there's no question this weekend offers an opportunity to celebrate a legacy launched all those years ago.
The birthday lands amid two other important Beatles February anniversaries: the band's 1964 arrival in the U.S. and their 1968 visit to India. The mileposts represent both the passage of four years and light years on the Beatles' incredible journey.
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Harrison's branch of the trip spanned from Liverpool to unprecedented superstardom to a spiritual quest to a death far too soon from cancer in 2001. 
He provided his own soundtrack for the odyssey, going from lead guitarist and background harmonizer to a songwriter and singer whose strongest work – "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Something," "Here Comes the Sun" – rose to Lennon-McCartney levels.
Harrison's "All Things Must Pass" might be the greatest of the Beatle solo albums, spawning "My Sweet Lord" and "What is Life," which is less a song than his defining question during last his three decades among us.
His wit and musical output proved the "Quiet Beatle" moniker a misnomer, even if Harrison often retreated into private life to escape a world that, by his reckoning, used the Beatles as an excuse to "go mad."
It's tempting to contemplate what he'd think about the world today – and how he'd express himself, in song or otherwise, at age 75.
But the youngest of the Beatles, through his humor, spirit and music, inspired fans to search for answers on our own, fueled by dreams large enough to fill the Albert Hall and then some.

Hester is Director of News Products and Projects at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.
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jueves, 22 de febrero de 2018


Feb 22 2018

Eric Clapton’s 2002 memorial show for George Harrison is being screened in movie theaters across North America just as it arrives on home video this week.
The remastered 5.1 stereo Concert for George is available in several formats, including a deluxe limited-edition box set. You can watch the trailer above and see a full list of theater dates on the official website.

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Clapton and Harrison’s wife Olivia staged the Concert for George event at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Nov. 29, 2002, a year to the day after the ex-Beatle’s death from cancer at the age of 58. The tribute, described as an “amazing and historic event,” featured performances by Clapton, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and others.
The first part of the performance was led by sitar player Anoushka Shankar, daughter of Harrison’s mentor, Ravi Shankar, who performed an orchestral piece inspired by Harrison’s “spiritual aspirations.” It included an acoustic guitar solo by Clapton. The second part featured the Monty Python comedy troupe performing some of Harrison’s favorite Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketches. The final part featured Lynne, Jools Holland, Petty, Starr and others performing songs written by, originally featuring or inspired by Harrison – including, on ukulele, McCartney, who joined Clapton for renditions of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “For You Blue.”

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Along with the deluxe box set, Concert for George will be available in four-LP box set (the first time it’s been pressed on vinyl), a CD and DVD combo pack, a CD and Blu-ray combo pack and a two-CD set. A limited-edition digital, complete with cuttings from the hand-painted tapestry that was used as the show’s backdrop, has already sold out. All profits from concert product sales will be donated to the Material World Charitable Foundation, which Harrison founded in 1973.

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Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach, Dhani Harrison, Olivia Harrison, Heather Mills and Paul

miércoles, 21 de febrero de 2018

Paul McCartney Was Here

Paul McCartney Was Here
A mother lode of musical history has been hiding in our very midst at Northwestern.
PUBLISHED Tuesday Feb 20 2018


Only two libraries in the world possess original handwritten Beatles lyrics. One is, no surprise, the British Library in London. The other is—surprise!—the Music Library at Northwestern University in Evanston. I learned this in 2003, when the library brought out its collection (seldom displayed but viewable onsite anytime as high-resolution facsimiles) for a special exhibition. I’ll never forget gazing through glass at a crumpled piece of college-lined paper. Scrawled upon it in blue ballpoint were the lyrics to “Eleanor Rigby”—breathtaking in their simplicity—in Paul’s tight, upright cursive.
The collection includes the lyrics of six songs from Revolver (in addition to “Eleanor Rigby,” there’s “Good Day Sunshine,” “Yellow Submarine,” “I’m Only Sleeping,” “And Your Bird Can Sing,” and “For No One”) and one from Rubber Soul (“The Word”). They are remarkable artifacts, a word scratched out here, another wedged in there. And my favorite part: Paul never fully repeated the now famous chorus for “Eleanor Rigby.” After “Ah, look at all the lonely people,” all he noted in the second and third stanzas was a perfunctory and perfectly mundane “etc.”
Image result for paul mccartney Music Library at Northwestern University in Evanston
The university received the manuscripts in the early 1970s from avant-garde composer John Cage, who obtained them from Yoko Ono as part of his Notations Project, a mammoth effort to collect original manuscripts from hundreds of musicians. Cage donated his entire collection to Northwestern, which showed a reverence for 20th-century music that few other institutions at the time shared. It was those other guys’ loss. The project comprises more than 460 documents from greats such as Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, and Igor Stravinsky.
Viewing those Beatles lyrics, I realized that, stripped of all the mythology, the ephemera of creative icons are often humble—and relatable. You might even have something similar in your own pocket. A spiral-bound notebook is a spiral-bound notebook, after all, even when it belongs to Paul McCartney.

This article appears in the March 2018 issue of Chicago magazine.

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martes, 20 de febrero de 2018

The Beatles' first Plymouth concert revealed in rare photos

 13th November 1963. The Beatles - Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison - in Plymouth.

The Beatles' first Plymouth concert revealed in rare photos
The images show the Fab Four mucking around at the ABC in 1963
By Rachael Dodd
19 FEB 2018

Rare photos have revealed a behind-the-scenes glimpse at The Beatles historic debut Plymouth concert.
One momentous day in 1963, the biggest band in the world arrived in Plymouth for the first time.
Still in their early days and sporting their trademark mop haircuts but with more relaxed suits than they had previously been known for, the Fab Four were working their way around the country on their autumn tour when they played the ABC on November 13.
It was to be the band's fourth tour of Britain within nine months, this one scheduled for six weeks. In mid-November, as 'Beatlemania' intensified, police reportedly resorted to using high-pressure water hoses to control the crowd before a concert in Plymouth.

The Beatles November 1963 A policeman stands guard as fans of The Beatles cheer and scream as the band play a gig in Plymouth

New images reveal the cheeky foursome arriving in the city in a sleek black car with John Lennon brandishing a copy of The Mirror featuring Paul McCartney on the front cover.
More photos show the foursome on stage and candid pictures taken backstage appear to show the group using a tunnel away from the theatre to their waiting car.
Less than a year later they were back for another concert at the ABC on October 29, 1964.

And in 1967 a ripple of excitement made its way across the Westcountry, closely followed by the group's brightly painted coach for the Magical Mystery Tour.

Paul makes the front page, John Lennon & Paul McCartney with copy of Daily Mirror Newspaper in Plymouth during their Autumn Tour. The group had to cancel the previous evening's show at the Guildhall in Portsmouth due to Paul's ill health when he collapsed in the dressing room. 13th November 1963.
They were not to perform in the city, but they did spend an afternoon relaxing on the Hoe.
In 1966 The Beatles had ceased touring and became a studio band. The group wanted to stretch their creative wings and the deafening screams drowning out their music were getting old.
Speaking to The Herald in 2014, Julie Brealy remembered how the band was almost inaudible at the Plymouth concerts: “I saw them at the ABC as it was then. It was an amazing night that I will always remember.
“Because of the screaming you could hardly hear the boys and some of the girls were getting really upset because they could not get close enough.”
By ceasing their tours The Beatles became a different band; more experimental and free of the restrictions of live performances.
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr - posed for a group shot - during the Magical Mystery Tour

Multi-layered complex masterpieces like I am the Walrus from the Magical Mystery Tour album were born.
Which brings the Beatles neatly to Plymouth Hoe in September 1967 – John, Paul, George and Ringo were in the middle of an ambitious project, filming the Magical Mystery Tour movie when the famous bus became wedged on Newbridge, near Poundsgate, on Dartmoor.
Tempers frayed and the band made an unscheduled escape to Plymouth, lunching at the Grand Hotel and enjoying the sea views.
It seems even the biggest band in the world couldn’t resist the beauty of Plymouth Hoe on a stressful day.
The Beatles in Plymouth
The Beatles look out of the Magical Mystery Tour coach skylight in September 1967
The Beatles look out of the Magical Mystery Tour coach skylight in September 1967 (Image: Apple Films)
Sheila Murfin recalled how George Harrison got the denim jacket he’s pictured in: “George is wearing my brother’s denim jacket. He asked if he could borrow it for this pic and never gave it back. My brother didn't mind.”
The freed bus picked the boys up and took them off to Cornwall for more filming. But not before Phil Sargent caught a glimpse of them in traffic as the bus pulled away: “I was 17 and an apprentice at the dockyard and we decided to go round the corner for some sandwiches.
“I left the others behind and as I turned the corner I saw a bus ahead of me. It was fantastically painted and I saw this guy who looked a lot like John Lennon and the man next to him looked an awful lot like Paul McCartney.
The Beatles perform at the ABC in the Sixties
The Beatles perform at the ABC in the Sixties

“They waved so I waved back and the whole bus started waving and it suddenly dawned on me: it was the Beatles! I got back to my friends and told them they’d never guess who I’d just seen. They didn’t believe me!”

The bus travelled back to London when filming wrapped but, sadly, the Magical Mystery Tour was more mystery than magic to most of its viewers. It was so universally reviled that McCartney made an unofficial apology. In just two short years’ time The Beatles would be on the verge of collapse.

And what became of the bus? In 1988 the Magical Mystery bus was bought by the Hard Rock Café chain and renovated to its former glory, becoming the largest piece in their extensive memorabilia collection.
To celebrate their 30th birthday in 2001 Hard Rock Café offered up the bus as a prize in a sweepstake competition. But they couldn’t give it away – the winner opted for a cash prize instead and the bus remained with the chain in Tampa, Florida.

GALLERY : The Beatles in Plymouth in 1963

The Beatles Autumn Tour of Great Britain. Female fans pictured at the ABC in Plymouth. 13th November 1963.

The Beatles Autumn Tour of Great Britain at the ABC Plymouth. (picture shows band members from left to right) John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. 13th November 1963.

George Harrison, pictured signing autograph ahead of the concert at the ABC, Plymouth, as part of The Beatles Autumn Tour, Wednesday 13th November 1963.

The Beatles Pop Group in Plymouth 13th November 1963. Paul McCartney and George Harrison share the microphone during their gig.

 The Beatles Pop Group in Plymouth 13th November 1963. John Lennon,Paul McCartney and George Harrison fooling around in Plymouth.

The Beatles Pop Group in Plymouth 13th November 1963. John Lennon and Ringo Starr climbing the stairs

Paul makes the front page, John Lennon & Paul McCartney with copy of Daily Mirror Newspaper in Plymouth during their Autumn Tour. The group had to cancel the previous evening's show at the Guildhall in Portsmouth due to Paul's ill health when he collapsed in the dressing room. 13th November 1963.

The Beatles Pop Group in Plymouth 13th November 1963. Paul McCartney and George Harrison share the microphone during their gig in Plymouth.

The Beatles Pop Group in Plymouth 13th November 1963. George Harrison and John Lennon

The Beatles Pop Group in Plymouth 13th November 1963. John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and George Harrison in Plymouth.

The Beatles Pop Group in Plymouth 13th November 1963. John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and George Harrison in Plymouth.

The Beatles on stage during their gig in Plymouth. 13th November 1963

lunes, 19 de febrero de 2018

The Beatles in India: Recollections at the opening of a Liverpool exhibition

(From left) Ringo Starr looks on as John Lennon and Paul McCartney work on a composition. Photo: Paul Saltzman

The Beatles in India: Recollections at the opening of a Liverpool exhibition
The new 'Beatles in India' exhibition in Liverpool, which was opened by the two sisters Pattie and and Jenny Boyd who went with the Fab Four to to learn about meditation from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, transports visitors to an exotic place
Monday, Feb 19 2018

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi with members of the Beatles at his academy in India, March 1968. Getty

Fifty years ago, between 16 and 19 February 1968, the four Beatles and their partners flew to India to learn about meditation from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Their journey, both physical and spiritual, is being celebrated in an exhibition as part of The Beatles Story at the Albert Dock in their hometown of Liverpool. Enter the space and smell the sandalwood incense! Experience the vibrant colours of the compound! Walk in the living quarters where the Beatles wrote their songs! See Donovan’s guitar and Ravi Shankar’s sitar!
Martin King, the managing director of The Beatles Story, says, “We are trying to give a real feeling of the Ganges and the foothills of the Himalayas at the Albert Dock. Even the floor covering is like a grassy pathway. You see John Lennon’s No.9 bungalow with Donovan’s guitar outside and the idea is that they have been playing together and just left the set. We are transporting people back in time to a very exotic place. It is such an important part of the Beatles’ story and such a creative fulcrum for them. The White Album comes from their time in India.”
The exhibition was opened by two sisters with the most intriguing credentials in rock music. Pattie Boyd was a model for Vogue who married George Harrison in 1966 and later Eric Clapton. Harrison wrote “Something” for her and Clapton wrote “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight”. Boyd recalls, “I remember George playing "Something" to me on a little cassette machine and it was so beautiful, and then it was so powerful and big in the studio. I love hearing the song. It is just glorious, a very happy moment.”

Jenny Boyd, Pattie Boyd and Paul Saltzman reminisce at the opening of the 'Beatles in India' exhibition in Liverpool

Jenny Boyd, a model like her sister, was a close friend of Donovan, and they both went with the Beatles to India: she married Mick Fleetwood and wrote a book about creativity in rock music, It’s Not Only Rock’n’Roll. Boyd tells me, “Donovan played this lovely song for me, "Jennifer Juniper". At first I thought it was really pretty and nice and then I realised it was how he was feeling about me. I was so sorry that I couldn’t reciprocate his feelings but he was a wonderful friend.”
The mid-60s had been a spiritual journey for many young westerners. Jenny had experienced the college kids who were turning on, tuning in and dropping out in San Francisco, and Harrison and Pattie visited her there. Back in England, Pattie attended a talk by Maharishi in London and told Harrison about him. The Beatles went to see Maharishi in north Wales, and he invited them to Rishikesh. “It was going so well in Bangor,” says Pattie, “until we heard that Brian Epstein had died. He had been their friend, their mentor and their manager. I had never seen people in such shock and Maharishi knew that they had to grieve properly. It was lucky that they were with him as he was very solid, very wise and the perfect guide. He told them to come to India where it would be very calm and they could sort out what they wanted to do.”
A reconstruction of John Lennon’s No.9 bungalow with Donovan’s guitar outside at the 'Beatles in India' exhibition

The Beatles’ time in India was private as they lived in Maharishi’s ashram with no reporters on site. Maharishi was hosting a course for 60 TM (transcendental meditation) teachers as well as guiding the Beatles and their party. The only outsider was a Canadian filmmaker, Paul Saltzman, who had been working in India. “I got a letter from my girlfriend Trisha saying that she had moved in with someone else," he says. "I was heartbroken and somebody said I should try meditation for the heartbreak. That is what led me to the ashram. I didn’t know that the Beatles were there. I did a 30 minute meditation and it was an absolute miracle. The knife in my heart was gone. The screaming I could hear in my head was gone. What replaced it was this state of bliss. I had done drugs in the 60s and I had been seeking this state of bliss. I thought that if Trisha is happier with him, then I am happy for her.”
Jenny agrees. “I was incredibly happy in India. I was naturally shy and if you smoke pot and are shy, it makes you even more introverted. I wasn’t doing that anymore and I felt much more relaxed and much more open to everything that was going on. I wasn’t looking for a guru so I never felt that Maharishi was the one, but I knew that meditating was exactly what I had been looking for.”
Saltzman took the most enduring image of the Maharishi and his guests. “Maharishi had hired a photographer from down in the village who had an eight by ten plate antique camera. Everybody got dressed up and the garlands arrived. Maharishi directed where everyone should be and everyone on the course got an 8 by 10, black and white print to take away. I wasn’t part of the set-up as I wasn’t on the course, but the picture cried out for colour photography and I took those pictures. Harrison and Pattie had a camera, Ringo Starr had a camera and Mal Evans the roadie had a camera so they wanted me to take them. I had four cameras around my neck, my Pentax and their very expensive Nikons.”
Ravi Shankar's sitar in the 'Beatles in India' show

In normal circumstances, Starr was the most easy-going Beatle but he was uneasy in Rishikesh. He and his wife Maureen returned home on 1 March with Ringo saying that it was “just like Butlin’s”. The food had been too spicy for his delicate stomach but he had known that and brought supplies of Heinz Baked Beans. Jenny says the reason for his departure is much simpler. “Ringo wasn’t on a spiritual search; he was quite happy as he was. He and Maureen had just had a second son and they had left their children in England. They missed them and being in India was too much of a strain for them.”
One of the captions in the exhibition has Paul McCartney saying that if they had found what they were looking for, they might not have returned. “No, no, that’s nonsense” says Pattie, “They would have returned. They were western guys. They wrote their songs on acoustic guitars and they wanted to work them out in a recording studio with electric instruments. They needed the tools of the west and they had plans to start Apple and to find a new manager.” 
Neither of those worked out well but they weren’t to know that. But then neither did the Indian experience with John Lennon accusing Maharishi of sexual harassment and writing “Sexy Sadie” with its key line “You made a fool of everyone”.

Visitors are transported to an exotic place in the Liverpool show to be with the Beatles in India

Among the songs written in Rishikesh was “Dear Prudence”, which Lennon dedicated to another of their party, the sister of Mia Farrow. “Every day we did meditation and we would go to lectures and eat together but if somebody was having a long meditation, they wouldn’t be disturbed,” says Pattie, “Food would be left outside their door. We noticed that Prudence’s door had two plates of food outside, so she had missed two meals and we were getting worried about her. She had been depressed and John wrote that beautiful song for her, "Dear Prudence". She was in a deep place and couldn’t come out of it and John was saying, ‘Come out and play’.”
After years of disrepair, the ashram itself has opened as a tourist attraction, but for some the memories of Rishikesh remain with them every day. “Life comes and goes and when I get tense, I try and remember ‘Breathe Paul, come back into your own core, come back into your own inner self,’” says Saltzman, “I still meditate, and meditation and prayer are both keys to an inner domain. They are keys to the soul which is a connection to whatever divine presence there is in the universe.”
‘Beatles in India’ is now open as part of The Beatles Story, based on the Albert Dock in Liverpool. The exhibition will run for two years.

sábado, 17 de febrero de 2018

How the Beatles in India Changed America

How the Beatles in India Changed America
Though their trip to visit Maharishi was short, the Beatles helped bring Eastern religion to the West
By Claire Hoffman
Friday 16 feb 2018

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi with members of the Beatles and other famous followers.

On a February morning in 1967, George Harrison's wife, Pattie Boyd, sat at her kitchen table and lamented to a girlfriend how she longed for something spiritual in her life. With that, the legendary party girl ripped a tiny newspaper advertisement for Transcendental Meditation classes out of the paper and, in that instant, began a ripple that would affect generations of young people across the world. A year later, the Beatles would go to India. Out of that trip came not just the band's epic White Album and Donovan's "Hurdy-Gurdy Man," but a seismic shift in the popular understanding of Eastern spirituality, meditation and music. It also was the beginning of a strange relationship between the Beatles and the meditation movement that they inadvertently popularized. Not to mention the rise of an Indian guru who shaped my own life.

In August 1967, Boyd talked her husband into joining her at the Hilton Hotel in London to see Maharishi speak. She had learned his trademarked Transcendental Meditation that spring and had fallen in love with her daily mantra-based practice. In the end, all the Beatles joined them. Maharishi cut an enticing anti-establishment figure at a moment when the Beatles were questioning their reality – the then-47-year-old Indian man had long hair that flowed mane-like into his greying beard. He wore only a simple white robe and flip-flops. As he lectured at colleges and universities around the United States and Europe, young people became enamored with his simple notion of using meditation to elevate your consciousness. He would answer even the angstiest questions on the meaning of life or world events with an infectious giggle and the reassurance that life was simple and blissful.

Maharishi supposedly didn't know who the Beatles were when he met them, but he knew they were very famous – he was nothing if not media savvy (as described in Kurt Vonnegut's essay, "Yes, We Have No Nirvanas") – so he invited them all to a ten-day summer conference in Bangor, a small coastal city in Wales. It was there that the four men became devotees. The plan emerged to spend a few months in early 1968 at Maharishi's ashram in Rishikesh. They all felt – to different degrees – a hunger to transform themselves. Maharishi was adamantly opposed to drugs and drinking and, Boyd wrote in her memoir, they were all on steady diet of weed and acid, stumbling daily through a mind-boggling hysterical swarm of paparazzi and fans.

George Harrison, John Lennon, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Bangor, August 1967.
George Harrison, John Lennon and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Bangor, Wales, August 1967. Cummings Archives/Getty Images

But the hard living was in the rearview mirror when the Beatles flew to India in February of 1968, with a phalanx of reporters in tow. They went to Rishikesh, a small town at the foothills of the Himalayas. The plan was to stay for a few months – it was a course to make them teachers of Transcendental Meditation, although it didn't seem anyone in the Beatles crew actually wanted to teach, they just wanted that time with Maharishi.

Life there was idyllic and simple, by most accounts – the Beatles slept in sparsely furnished rooms, and were awakened by peacocks. They meditated for much of the day, and listened to Maharishi lecture about reincarnation and consciousness. There were about 60 people at the ashram, including Donovan and his manager; the Beach Boys' Mike Love; and Mia Farrow, with her brother Johnny and sister Prudence. ("Dear Prudence," written by Lennon, was supposedly a song they sang to Mia's sister, who wouldn't stop meditating, and wouldn't come out of her room.)

How and why they left their guru is the stuff of differing legends, and I've heard a dozen versions of what happened. I would say that the truth lies in the music that came out of that time – somewhere between "Sexy Sadie" and "Across the Universe" – part transcendent cosmic consciousness and part total betrayal and loss of faith. Whatever actually occurred, they decamped after two months in a bit of a huff, leaving Maharishi and his meditation movement behind.

But Maharishi already had the photographic evidence and journalistic accounts of the Beatles' devotion. The band moved on, but Maharishi's star continued to rise, and TM became increasingly entrenched in popular culture. Life magazine proclaimed 1968 "The Year of the Guru," and featured Maharishi on the cover with groovy, hallucinogenic spirals framing his face.

By the mid-1970s, the Movement estimated that it had 600,000 practitioners, with celebrities such as actress Shirley MacLaine and football star Joe Namath continuing to promote Maharishi's techniques and vision. TM how-to books were a staple on the best-seller list, and at the time, the Movement estimated that an average of 40,000 people a month were learning the meditation practice. He bought two Heidelberg presses and began printing elaborate pamphlets and books and mission statements. He sent them out to world leaders and set up hundreds of certified centers throughout the United States, Europe and India. Later the media would describe TM as "the McDonald's of the meditation business."

I was born close to a decade after the Beatles left their Indian retreat and their guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, but that trip entirely shaped my world – my parents would never have met, fallen in love nor moved to a remote town in Iowa to the meditation community where I was raised.

In the fall of 1968, my mom was a student at the University of Colorado in Boulder. After reading an article in the Saturday Evening Post, my mom – raised in a Roman-Catholic family where gloom and sin loomed ever-present – fell in love with Transcendental Meditation. So in the early 1980s, when Maharishi asked his devotees to move to rural Fairfield, Iowa, to help build his global headquarters, well, my mom thought that was a great idea.

Growing up in Fairfield in the 1980s and 1990s, the Beatles were an awkward part of our founding history. At the Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment – where I was a student until I was 14 years old – John, Paul, George and Ringo were sort of like estranged uncles whose stories were left to the shadows. There were celebrities who practiced meditation and who sometimes visited our school, smiling warmly as they watched us meditate or embark on our "consciousness-based education." But while I have strange memories of Mike Love singing in our tiny school library, no Beatle ever came to visit.

While the Beatles went through their own unraveling, tragedy and emergence as solo artists, the Transcendental Meditation community was winding itself into a tighter internal facing realm, entirely devoted to Maharishi and his global plans. Maharishi's picture hung on the walls of our home and in in my school. We would always place the first slice of birthday cake beneath his picture, and sing a funny little song about achieving higher and higher levels of consciousness as we did.

At the time, TM became a forgotten byproduct of the hippie era, except for our little bubble in Iowa. There we followed Maharishi's directives on how to eat, how to sleep, how to dress, how to be. As time went by and I grew up, it felt more and more restrictive and alienating. I began to think it was all as simple as the Sexy Sadie lyric, "Oh look what you've done, you've made a fool of everyone." My teen angst and Lennon's cosmic comedown dovetailed perfectly.

The Beatles and their wives at the Rishikesh in India with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, March 1968. The group includes Ringo Starr, Maureen Starkey, Jane Asher, Paul McCartney, George Harrison (1943 - 2001), Patti Boyd, Cynthia Lennon, John Lennon (1940 - 1980), Beatles roadie Mal Evans, Prudence Farrow, Jenny Boyd and Beach Boy Mike Love.
The Beatles and their wives at in India. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The binary tumult of that moment with the Beatles seemed to shadow Maharishi until his death. People treated him either like a god or a pariah. Popular narratives seemed stuck on this idea of a guru-disciple relationship, where Maharishi was either an enlightened sage who would transform your consciousness or as a media-savy opportunist who was after everyone's money. There didn't seem to be a middle option.

However, in the 2000s as Maharishi grew older and less present, something unlikely happened. TM returned to popular culture, thanks to the evangelical efforts of David Lynch, a longtime meditator who in 2002 attended something called the Enlightenment Course with Maharishi in Europe. After that, Lynch traveled around the country, talking to large groups about a simple technique that could make you happier, calmer, and more productive. Suddenly Rupert Murdoch and Katy Perry were tweeting about how much they loved it, but there was little to no mention of the guru. In 2009, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr performed for the David Lynch foundation, raising money to help children learn TM, along with Mike Love and Donovan. Onstage, they reminisced about the time and the music they made and said they loved meditation. All it seemed had been forgotten or forgiven, and together they sang "Cosmically Conscious." Maharishi was not mentioned.

Claire Hoffman is a journalist and author of Greetings from Utopia Park: Surviving a Transcendent Childhood.

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