During the day today George Harrison once again visited Ravi Shankar’s music school, where the two of them held a press conference. Here, Shankar responds to a reporter asking how long he’d been taking sitar lessons from George:

(For the record: totally made that up. But Ravi looks pissed, doesn’t he?)

“In the evening,” says The Beatles Bible, “the Harrisons and Derek Taylor attended a Mamas and the Papas recording session.” This would have taken place at the high-tech studio John Phillips had built at his house in Bel Air, which had eight tracks instead of the four that most people (including The Beatles) were still working with at that time. In theory the Mamas and Papas were at work on their fourth album, but things were not going well.

Phillips was a perfectionist in the Brian Wilson mode, compulsively recording and rerecording with drug-fueled abandon. (He admitted, “I got the idea to transform the attic into my own recording studio, so I could stay high all the time and never have to worry about studio time.”) This did not sit well with the other members of the band; Mama Cass Elliott later complained, “We spent one whole month on one song, just the vocals for ‘The Love of Ivy’ took one whole month.” (See also: Buckingham, Lindsey; Stone, Sly.)

The Mamas and the Papas would end up going on hiatus, breaking up, and then getting back together again before their next album finally appeared in May of 1968. So most likely whatever they did when George was in the studio never saw the light of day, if indeed anything was recorded; at this point a “Mamas and the Papas recording session” could have been just John Phillips snorting coke off a reel-to-reel machine. History does not record this momentous event, so we are left again to speculate and to wonder.

 

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