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The Beatles’ Rishikesh trip delayed band’s fallout: author

Friday, January 26, 2018

Contrary to the popular belief that the Beatles’ 1968 trip to Rishikesh set in motion the English rock band’s eventual fallout, it was in fact that visit that delayed the split till 1970.

According to Philip Norman, author and chronicler of the Beatles’ rise and fall, had it not been for the trip, the band would have likely separated in 1967, right after the death of their manager and father-figure Brian Epstein. Norman was speaking at one of the sessions — “Magical Mystery Tour: The Beatles in India”, at the ongoing 11th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival in the United States.

It was in 1965, when the band was at the peak of its musical career, that two of the members — John Lennon and Paul McCartney began feeling the burden of stardom and wanted a vent to escape the “frustration”.

Lennon’s escape was fellow artist and future wife Yoko Ono and McCartney’s was the trip to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in Rishikesh.

“They were playing for years and years and not able to hear themselves, because the audience would be so loud. And, it was frustrating them. John would crash his arm on his keyboard but nobody would know,” Norman said.

He said the Beatles’ Rishikesh visit worked like an “interlude” between Epstein’s death and the band’s final fallout, during which they went back to making more songs. “Epstein would care for them like a father. And once he wasn’t there John said, ‘that’s it! It’s over!’ So coming to Rishikesh was bit of an interlude and they went back to making more songs,” Norman said.

Best known for his work “Shout!: The True Story of the Beatles”, Norman said despite “loathing to be the Beatles”, the band created some of their best music in the last few years.

“John and George had started loathing being the Beatles fandom. They felt stifled with the Beatles and despite the fact that they were going down, they created some of their most legendary works in those last few years,” he said.

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