The never-before-heard song, called “Radhe Shaam” was written and produced by broadcaster and journalist Suresh Joshi in 1968 for a documentary film, East Meets West.
The track, which is a psychedelic-leaning pop song, was re-discovered by Joshi during lockdown at home in his Birmingham loft.
“It was lost and found many times…suddenly the lockdown was a blessing in disguise,” he told BBC Merseyside after a friend helped him find the song.
It received its first play on BBC Merseyside today (10 November) and was previewed shortly before this to an audience of 100 at The Beatles Museum in Liverpool.
The original recording of the song took place at Trident Studios in London, where both Harrison and Starr were already recording “Hey Jude” with The Beatles. The pair offered to add guitars and drums to the song over Hindi-language vocals by Aashish Khan. Harrison’s distinctive guitar playing can be heard in an extended solo at one point.
Joshi said he met the pair at the height of Harrison’s interest in Indian culture in 1968. Earlier in the year, Harrison had visited India when The Beatles went to Rishikesh to study transcendental meditation.
“We started talking about philosophy in general,” Joshi said about his conversations with Harrison.
“The song itself revolves around the concept that we are all one, and that the world is our oyster,” he continued, saying the song still feels relevant today. “[That is] something that we have all realised during this pandemic.”
He also went on to say that he could see tensions in Harrison then, ahead of the group’s split a year later, in 1969. “He said he was the underdog...that he had lost his confidence,” Joshi continued.
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Liverpool Beatles Museum manager Paul Parry said the audience who heard the song in the museum “loved it” (via BBC news).
He said the track was “absolutely amazing” and that the Beatles’ contributions were “unmistakably” those of Harrison and Starr.
“It was quite a moment. It took you somewhere else,” he said. “It was unmistakably George’s guitar [and] it was like almost bringing him back to life. It was unmistakably Ringo’s drumming too.”
“Radhe Shaam” is being released this Thursday (November 11) for charity.
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