My first memory of the Beatles was when I was about 5 or 6, listening to Ticket to Ride on the radio. I thought it was Chicken To Ride. Later I remember the little red box record player we had. You lifted the lid and it had its own built-in speaker. We had two 45s, Ticket to Ride and Help (45s are the smaller of the vinyl records which have single tracks on them). On Christmas day when I was 8, I found Hey Jude in my stocking with the beautiful green Apple logo in the center of the 45. I was 8 and already a hardcore fan.
I tell you this illustrate how universal they were. All ages were mesmerized by the Beatles. When I was 10 they split up. We all knew about it. A few years later they released their whole catalog, this would be the early 70s. All of a sudden Beatles songs were filling the charts again.
I had just started buying LPs (the large vinyl records with whole albums on them). I had the Blue album as it was called (Beatles 1967 to 1997) which included Hey Jude, Penny Lane, Something, Across the Universe, Let It Be. Some of the greatest popular music ever. I played it over and over.
I didn’t know about the connection between the Beatles and Maharishi till much later in my life. I learned Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation in 1981. I began hearing many stories about the Beatles and Marahishi in Rishikesh India.
I moved to Fairfield Iowa USA, the world center for Maharishi followers, in 1986. Prudence Farrow lived there, of “Dear Prudence” fame. I’d hear stories like Maharishi had said the Beatles were angels because when they played on the Ed Sullivan show there was no crime for the duration of the show.
In 1992 I was part of a group that launched the Natural Law Party (NLP) in the UK national election. The NLP was Maharishi’s idea and vision. George Harrison agreed to do a promotional concert for the NLP at the Royal Albert Hall. George hadn’t performed live for years.
A friend asked me if I wanted to come up to London that day before the concert and help out backstage. Unfortunately, I had a campaign event that day and declined. Regret I guess, I missed out on a spending a day with Geroge.
I did go to the concert. Everyone working on the campaign got free tickets. I heard later they were all donated by George, over 3,000 tickets of the 8,000 tickets. The concert was amazing and I got to go to the after party. George was always surrounded by VIP TM people. That kind of scene was a bit distasteful for me. George looked as he was doing his best to be polite. When I left the Albert Hall a black Mercedes pulled up. First George’s wife came out and she ran the 10 feet to the car. Then George came out.
He was shadowed by bodyguards but even then one groupie ran up to him and slapped him on his back and shouted “well done” George. That moment really hit me. How awful it was for these guys. Lennon had already been shot. If the guy had a knife and the intent it would have been all over for George. But wow, he had grace, you could just feel the grace oozing from George Harrison.
The day after the concert I was at NLP campaign headquarters and we were having a global conference call with Maharishi. All of sudden a voice said, “Hi, this is George”. Everyone was like, who the fuck is George. And then Maharishi said, “you have done well George”. There was a bit of back and forth. George explained how all the meditators in the audience had helped lift his voice.
There were many damaging media stories about the Beatles and Maharishi for years. Before the concert, George released a statement saying “he had never left Maharishi” so it was a beautiful moment when Maharishi said “you’ve done well George”. It was the healing for everyone. “The Natural Law Party presents George Harrison and Friends” concert was reported in the media of almost every country in the world. Maharishi was always a genius with publicity.