George then spent much of November and early December recording rough outlines of musical ideas and themes, recording a few titles (whose names would change), “India” and “Swordfencing,” at Abbey Road on November 22 and 23. It speaks of a fearless heart.”. Just as The Beatles were putting the finishing touches on their film, “Magical Mystery Tour,” for broadcast at the end of 1967, George Harrison was beginning his own new project – creating the music score for “Wonderwall,” a movie by indie director and friend, Joe Massot. It was a kind of immersion for him into the folk music of India.”, The next day, Harrison would meet with the musicians, again sometimes with a guitar, sometimes simply humming tunes, to convey the musical concepts he sought from them. [For those keeping their Beatle calendar, “Hello Goodbye” was released the following day.]. The album was credited to George Harrison & Band/Indian Orchestra, and was written and produced by Harrison. For George Harrison, it was just the beginning. Among the first was John Barham, who met George in 1966 while working as an assistant to Ravi Shankar. The group – also NEMS artists, like The Beatles – had just returned from a stay at the Star Club in Hamburg, the legendary Beatles haunt, and were looking for their next gig, so George asked their help. The soundtrack music for director Joe Massot’s debut feature-length film, Wonderwall, the predominantly instrumental album is an intricate, vibrant tapestry of Western rock music and compositions in an Indian classical style. The album was credited to George Harrison & Band/Indian Orchestra, and was written and produced by Harrison. The song was released in March 1968 as the b-side of ‘Lady Madonna’. He played the sitar and said: ‘I’m working on a soundtrack album, I’d love to have you play a little banjo.’ … I played for 45 minutes, George said, ‘Thanks very much,’ and we went our separate ways. George had met Khan the year before in Varanasi, India, shortly after George began studying with Ravi, and the two became good friends. Wonderwall Music was the second solo Beatles album, following Paul McCartney’s soundtrack for The Family Way in 1967. What George liked, as fans had been discovering, was Indian music. “He was free to do absolutely whatever he liked,” says friend and arranger John Barham. The track lay unknown until 1998, when Joe Massot created a new director’s cut of the film, asking George for access to additional session material, including the song (Massot used the song over the opening titles in his new cut of the film). Wonderwall Music by George Harrison was released on November 1 in the UK (December 2 in the U.S.), making it the first album released on the Apple label, as well as the first true solo album by a Beatle. As any film composer would do, the first step George took was what would today be called a “spotting session.” Visiting Massot and editor Rusty Coppelman at Twickenham Studios, he watched a rough cut of the film several times, taking detailed notes about the story and scenes and deciding the type of music appropriate for each. Plentiful with the psychedelia of its day, there was ample opportunity for George to fill it with whatever musical whimsy he chose. Recording took place from January 9 thru 14, each day from 11am to 8 or 10pm, engineered by a team of three staff engineers, including J.P. Sen and another by the name of Matgaonkar. Also contributing to a session was The Monkees’ Peter Tork, although his performance was only heard in the film.
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