's backside, George's first composition to make it onto a 45 was seriously considered as the 'A'. To my mind, "The Inner Light" would've been a far more appropriate reflection of Beatle consciousness at the time — though whether the singles market was ready for such cosmic revelations is another matter entirely, and was probably the main reason that Paul's Lady
actually made it to the 'A' (not to mention the respective composers' levels of contemporary pushiness...)
Macca was, however, very taken by the delicate complexity of the melody, rating it as "really lovely".
Despite all that, it remained one of the band's least known — or at least least available — tunes for many years, as testified by its Rarities
status in both Britain
and The States
. It definitely deserved to be credited as one of their Past Masters
after spending so long as a 'passed master'.
The backing track was recorded in Bombay in January '68, by the same musicians who had created the Wonderwall
movie soundtrack. Harrison bowed to their expertise and left them to it, making no contribution aside from producing. A veritable plethora of eastern instruments was utilized, some making their first appearance in a Beatles' song, and possibly in western music in general. George overdubbed the vocal on his return to London the following month, with just a little assistance from John and Paul.
Given the overtly Indian flavour of the arrangement and the transcendental content of the lyric, its easy to assume that he was, once again, drawing on Indian philosophy for his inspiration:Without going out of my door,
I can know all things on Earth.
Without looking out of my window,
I could know the ways of Heaven...
In fact, the words were taken from the Chinese Tao Te Ching
, on the suggestion of Joan Mascaró, the 'lovely old gentleman' who had provided the world with the first English translation of the Hindu 'Bible', the Bhagavad Gita
and to whom George subsequently dedicated the song. Yet another demonstration of just how open and earnest was Mister Harrison's ongoing quest for truth and enlightenment:The farther one travels,
The less one knows...