In the creative foment that surrounded them during their time in India — or more accurately, I guess, that they generated around them — Paul and John were writing like crazy. A song could come from anywhere:

I remember Paul McCartney coming to breakfast one morning with his acoustic guitar. He was playing what turned out be “Back in the USSR.” I told him it was cool, but I said, You gotta talk about the girls in Russia. (Mike Love)

The shortest and most repetitive of any Beatles lyric, “Wild Honey Pie” emerged from a spontaneous singalong in Rishikesh. “It was just a fragment of an instrumental which we were not sure about,” said Paul. “But Pattie Harrison liked it very much, so we decided to leave it on the album.” (Steve Turner, A Hard Day’s Write)

I was up on the flat roof meditating and I’d seen a troupe of monkeys walking along in the jungle and a male just hopped on to the back of this female and gave her one, as they say in the vernacular. Within two or three seconds he hopped off again, and looked around as if to say, “It wasn’t me,” and she looked around as if there had been some mild disturbance but thought, Huh, I must have imagined it, and she wandered off. And I thought, bloody hell, that puts it all into a cocked hat, that’s how simple the act of procreation is, this bloody monkey just hopping on and hopping off. There is an urge, they do it, and it’s done with. And it’s that simple. We have horrendous problems with it, and yet animals don’t. So that was basically it. “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” could have applied to either fucking or shitting, to put it roughly. Why don’t we do either of them in the road? Well, the answer is we’re civilised and we don’t. But the song was just to pose that question. (Paul)

“Yer Blues” was written in India, too. The same thing up there trying to reach God and feeling suicidal. (John)

“Mother Nature’s Son” … was inspired by a lecture given by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi while the Beatles were in India. The same lecture inspired Lennon’s unreleased song “Child of Nature,” the tune of which he later re-used for “Jealous Guy.” (Wikipedia)

George mostly stuck by his assertion that “We’re not fucking here to do the next album,” but still managed to write at least two songs, “Sour Milk Sea” and “Circles.” Neither one of these ever made it past the demo stage as a Beatles song, but the former became a single for Apple Records artist Jackie Lomax, and the latter was recorded for George’s 1982 solo album Gone Troppo.

Ringo, meanwhile, was back in London living the civilized life. Around this time he was interviewed for the Evening Standard by Ray Connally. You can read the whole thing here, and I recommend it for some insight into the plight of the only Beatle on the continent at the time, living a life of forced leisure as his bandmates sought enlightenment. Here are a few choice nuggets:

You step through a large white hoop like an airlock on a submarine to get to Ringo’s play room. It is the top floor of an annexe built on to the dark brown living room end of his home, and it’s a splendid place of flashing lights, panda rugs, a fruit machine, table for snooker and table tennis and miles and miles of taped pop….

He’s very proud of his garden which is terraced, has a Wendy house up a tree, and overlooks a golf course, and he’s fond of his nine cats, most of which are Siamese with tabby markings….

They rarely go out in the evenings nowadays and they watch a great deal of television. There are six sets scattered throughout the house. Ringo likes situation comedy, or a good play and the Cilla Black Show….

He has a passion for hobbies and consumes new ones at an enormous rate. At the moment he’s developing his own photographs. A few weeks ago it was taking movie film (“We used some in Magical Mystery Tour so that gave me an extra push”), and before that it was photography, putting, snooker, making light machines with coloured slides, and painting eight-foot-tall sunflowers on the garden walls. The rain has washed most of them off. Next week it might be fixing up his new fountain by the fishpond or sorting out his favourite records.

“I’ve always had crazes, but now if I want to do something I go out and buy all the equipment. Then sometimes if there’s a lot of setting up involved I can’t be bothered and go off whatever it is. I don’t stay with one hobby for much more than a couple of weeks at a time. Sometimes I’ll have a week and I’ll just play records; then I might spend a day just playing with my tape recordings; and sometimes I put the video tape machine on and film myself playing snooker.

“I suppose I get bored like anyone else, but instead of having three hours a night I have all day to get bored in.”

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