Today it was George’s turn — the band worked on a song of his that was initially called “Granny Smith” (it would later get the somewhat more prosaic title “Love You To”). George sang and played acoustic guitar and sitar, with Paul supplying backing vox.

This was not the first Beatles song to feature a sitar — that, if memory serves, was “Norwegian Wood.” But whereas “NW” essentially used the sitar to play a rock guitar part, “Granny/Love” is more Indian in flavor and structure, though it is still in some respects a rock’n’roll song. (By comparison, “Within You Without You,” recorded a year later, is practically full-on raga.)

For further authenticity, a session player named Anil Bhagwat was brought in to play tabla. In The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Bhagwat is quoted thusly:

When I arrived at Abbey Road there were girls everywhere with Thermos flasks, cakes, sandwiches, waiting for the Beatles to come out.

Which gives you some idea of what it was like to be a Beatle at this time. Pretty hard to live a normal life under those circumstances.

The idea of an Indian Beatle reminds me, of course, of The Rutles. Which in turn reminds me that I want to set down somewhere this exchange yesterday with Stepdaughter I, who — and I don’t think I’m biased in saying this — is an exceptionally clever girl:

SDI (standing on stairs, looking down): There’s a beetle on the floor.

Me: Which one? John, Paul, George or Ringo?

SDI: Ringo, I think…

Me (walking over, looking): I think it’s George. That sounds like something he would do, come back as a beetle.

SDI: No, he’d come back as a Rutle.

Game, set, and match. More tomorrow.

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