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The Inner Light

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“The Inner Light”
“The Inner Light” cover
Single by The Beatles
A-side "Lady Madonna"
Released 15 March 1968 (UK)
18 March 1968 (US)
Format 7"
Recorded Abbey Road Studios:
3-6 February 1968
Genre Rock
Length 2:36
Label Parlophone (UK)
Capitol (US)
Writer(s) Harrison
Producer George Martin
The Beatles singles chronology
"Hello, Goodbye"
"Lady Madonna" / "The Inner Light"
"Hey Jude"
I went back [to India] in 1967 to record the Wonderwall album, and also did the Inner Light track...

—George Harrison, I, Me, Mine, orig. published 1980; Chronicle Books 2007, p.57

The Inner Light came really, from Within You, Without You. There was a David Frost show on television about meditation — Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was interviewed on tape with John Lennon and myself live and amongst many others in the audience was Juan Mascaró who is the Sanskrit teacher at Cambridge University. He wrote me a letter later saying '... a few days ago two friends from abroad gave me the recording of your song Within You, Without You. I am very happy, it is a moving song and may it move the souls of millions; and there is more to come, as you are only beginning on the great journey'.

He also send me a copy of a book called 'Lamps of Fire' and in his letter he says '... might it not be interesting to put into your music a few words of Tao, for example number 48, page 66 of the book.' And that's where the words to The Inner Light come from; it's a translation from the 'Tao Te Ching.' [...]

The instruments were all Indian, all played by Indian musicians and recorded in H.M.V. Studios in Bombay. I think the song went unnoticed by most people because I was getting a bit 'out of it' as far as Western popular music was concerned, at that period.

In the original poem, the verse says 'Without going out of my door, I can know the ways of heaven.' And so to prevent any misinterpretations — and also to make the song a bit longer — I did repeat that as a second verse but made it:

Without going out of your door
You can know all things on earth
Without looking out of your window
You can know the ways of heaven

— so that it included everybody.

The song was especially for Juan Mascaró because he sent me the book and is a sweet old man. It was nice, the words said everything. AMEN.

—George Harrison, I, Me, Mine, orig. published 1980; Chronicle Books 2007, p.118

Forget the Indian music and listen to the melody. Don't you think it's a beautiful melody? It's really lovely.

—Paul McCartney, 1968

External Links

Watch a video treatment of this song:

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