Today George and Patti Harrison flew to Bombay, India to study sitar and yoga. (These days the city is called Mumbai, but since I prefer the old name and we’re talking about 1966, I’ll stick with Bombay.) John Lennon, meanwhile, was in Germany filming How I Won the War, while Paul McCartney was vacationing in France. The record is mute on what Ringo was doing; he may have been attending beauty college.

It was probably good for The Beatles to spend some time apart after several long years together in the pressure-cooker of Beatlemania. In India, George hung out with Ravi Shankar and apparently quite enjoyed himself:

It was the first feeling I’d ever had of being liberated from being a Beatle or a number. It comes back to The Prisoner with Patrick McGoohan: “I am not a number.” In our society we tend, in a subtle way, to number ourselves and each other, and the government does so, too. “What’s your Social Security number?” is one of the first things they ask you in America. To suddenly find yourself in a place where it feels like 5000 BC is wonderful.

John, meanwhile, was discovering that movie acting can be kind of a drag when you’re not spending your downtime hanging out with Paul, George, and Ringo. By all accounts his experience working on How I Won the War was a miserable one, though he did begin working on a new song, one that would end up being fairly famous. Something about a berry farm or somesuch.


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