The period from mid-April to late May 1968 — between the end of The Beatles’ sojourn in Rishikesh and the beginning of recording sessions for the White Album — is one of the least documented in the band’s history. I can tell you that today John and Ringo turned up at a party celebrating the launch of the UK subsidiary of Bell Records, whose recent hits had included “The Letter” by the Box Tops. 1

According to Bob Spitz, “John arrived already higher than a kite and drank so much champagne that he passed out at the table and had to be carried to his car.” This seems to have been a very dark time for John; said George Harrison,

John was in a rage because God had forsaken him…. He turned from being positive to being totally negative.

In addition to the disillusionment resulting from his split with the Maharishi, John was still in the process of the slow-motion dissolution of his marriage, a situation that would take a while to resolve itself.

George himself was still in Madras, India. According to his wife Pattie,

George didn’t want to go straight from two months of meditation into the chaos that was waiting for him in England – the new business, finding a new manager, the fans and the press. Instead we went to see Ravi Shankar and lost ourselves in his music.

It’s interesting to note, though, that George’s obsession with Indian music seems to have started to wane about now — none of his compositions for the White Album (either used or rejected) bear a notable Indian influence.

Paul, meanwhile, was keeping busy with Apple Corps. More on that next time.

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