Saturday, April 11, 2009

Within You Without You

This George Harrison composition from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band has many interesting Beatles facts. It was recorded on March 15, 1967 at Abbey Road Studios, with overdubs added on March 22 and April 3. Harrison wrote the melody for the song on a harmonium (not his sitar) while visiting the home of Klaus Voorman. The lyrics essentially describe what he and Voorman had been talking about that evening, and hence the first line of the song.

Harrison stated in many interviews that he didn't believe the other three band members were very interested in the track, although John Lennon said in his 1980 Playboy interview that he believed it was one George's best songs because of its clarity of purpose and a solid performance by Harrison.

A carpet was put on the floor of the studios, with flowers and incense added, to create the ambiance necessary for the Indian studio musicians. George Martin scored violins and cellos to mesh with the Indian instruments: dilruba (an Indian violin); tabla (Indian percussion); and swordmandel (similar to a zither).

Harrison said that he was especially fond of the 5/4 time of the interlude and the other distinctive cadences he borrowed from Indian music for the track.

The laughter at the end of the track was Harrison's idea because he believed the song was "too heavy" and wanted to lighten the atmosphere in order to segue into the next song. There was some disagreement on adding the laughter from the other Beatles.

Harrison sang lead vocal. Harrison and Neil Aspinall played the tamboura. Session musicians played all other instruments. No other Beatle aided in the recording of the song.

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