Ravi Shankar, a major influence on the Beatles' lives and music, was born on April 7, 1920. He is the Indian sitar player who influenced George Harrison's music after a friend told Harrison that he should check out Shankar's music. After the Beatle heard a Shankar album, he said the music "felt right" and he proceeded to buy what he called a cheap sitar at a shop called India Craft in Great Britain.
Harrison actually met Shankar in 1966 in London and subsequently visited India for six weeks to study the sitar with Shankar. Shankar's career, which has been noteworthy before and after his contact with the Beatles, was nevertheless boosted by his association with Harrison and the Beatles.
George Harrison used the sitar first on "Norwegian Wood." The instrument is then heard on many Beatles songs, most notably "Love You To," "Within You Without You," and "Tomorrow Never Knows."
Harrison's fascination with Indian music and culture would later result in all four Beatles traveling to Rishikesh, India to study transcendental meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This was in 1968, when the Beatles were about to begin the White Album sessions. Lennon and McCartney said they wrote many songs while in Rishikesh.
Shankar performed at Woodstock, although he did not subsequently embrace the hippie movement of the sixties.
Shankar also collaborated and influenced world-renown violinist Yehudi Menuhin. He fathered singer Norah Jones, who was born to Sue Jones in 1979. More about Shankar can be found by consulting "Beatles Connections" in the Sitemap below.
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