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"Within You Without You"

 (by George Harrison,
April 3rd 1967, Abbey Road Studios, London)




For George Harrison, time was elapsing quite quickly then. As early as 1967 he had left his psychedelic experience behind him, had been there, had experienced it. He wrote his post-acid songs before the summer of love had begun. "Within You Without You" is the most important without doubt.

The impetus for this song, he certainly owed his meditation experiences. He had previously tried, exploring life & everything connected with it by using psychoactive substances, and now he embarked to a meditative search for the truth.

George recalls in his autobiography "I Me Mine":
"Within You Without You was written after I had gone into meditation. We had entered into the 'All You Need Is Love consciousness' after the LSD period. The song was written at Klaus Voorman's house in Hampstead, London, one night after dinner. I was playing this pedal harmonium in his house, when the song came to me. The tune came first, then the first sentence ... we were talking about the love we all could share .... I finished the words later."

George  wrote "Within You Without You" in 1967 after a dinner with Klaus Voormann, the old friend from the Hamburg days.

"Klaus had a harmonium, and I had never played on one"
, Master Harrison later recalled.
"I tootled around a bit on it, but then suddenly  Within You came to me- first the melody, then the first line (We were talking about the space between us all)."


Sir George finished the song writing on the same evening at home. The result is musically loose and easy, but its content is a good lesson about materialism and responsibility - in the middle on a Sgt.Pepper album that was more signifying the unlimited Technicolor anarchy.



("Within You Without You" at YouTube)




In his book "I Me Mine", he continues:
"This was during the Sergeant Pepper period, and after I had been taking sitar lessons with Ravi Shankar for some time, so I was getting a bit better on the instrument. I was continually playing the melodies of Indian music lessons Which are called Sargam, Which are the bases of the different ragas. That's why this time around I could not help writing tunes like this, Which were based upon unusual scales. The best part of it for me is the instrumental solo in the iDDL Which is in five / four time - the first of the strange rhythm cycles that I caught on to ".

George recorded "Within You Without" together with Indian musicians of the Asian Music Circle. The musicians were sitting on carpets, fogged by thick clouds of incense, at Abbey Road Studios. During the recordings, these musicians became good beloved friends of Master Harrison.

Harrison's growing estrangement from the other Beatles was brought forward pretty much here:
"We were talking about the love that's gone so cold and the people / Who gain the world and lose their soul / They do not know - they cannot see - are you one of them?"

All Beatles apart from Sir George and Neil Aspinal, who played tambourine, where  conspicious by their absence in the recordings. George Martin was there like always, and his orchestral response to "Within You Without You" finds itself again as intro of the rarely heard track "Sea Of Time" on the soundtrack LP of the film Yellow Submarine. The piece is hardly known by anyone, but basically it is the magical echo to Harrison's "Within You Without You".!


("Sea Of Time" at YouTube)





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