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Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 21, 1968

The Beatles working on their next album.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 22, 1968

The Beatles taking a break today

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 21, 1968

In London it is reported that The Beatles did not receive diplomas crediting them as "gurus," since they didn't pass the three obligatory tests of the Maharishi's Academy of Transcendental Meditation.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 20, 1968

Apple Music runs ads soliciting tapes from unknown artists, and a flood of submissions follows. Financial grants are given to many applicants, often with little regard to merit. John Lennon hires an astrologer (named Caleb) to consult the "I Ching Book of Changes" to assist in making business decisions. Overall, Apple's music division will turn out to be relatively successful, sponsoring artists such as Badfinger, James Taylor, Mary Hopkin, Jackie Lomax, Yoko Ono, Plastic Ono Band, Ravi Shankar, David Peel, Elephant's Memory, and others.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 19, 1968

The Beatles are taking a break today.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 18, 1968

Don't know where this picture is from, just dated 50 years ago today.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 17, 1968

The Beatles are taking a break from recording.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 16, 1968

George and Pattie Harrison, plus her sister Jenny, were in Madras visiting Ravi Shankar.

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.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 15, 1968

The Beatles are taking a break after the India trip.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 14, 1968

Leaving India... While waiting for their taxis to arrive, Lennon wrote the song "Maharishi", which was later renamed "Sexy Sadie" because Harrison advised Lennon that was potentially libellous. In a 1974 interview, Lennon said that they were convinced that the delay in the taxis' arrival was orchestrated by locals loyal to the Maharishi, and this paranoia was exacerbated by the presence of "the mad Greek". According to Cynthia Lennon, when the group walked past the Maharishi on the way to their taxis, he looked "very biblical and isolated in his faith". Jenny Boyd later wrote: "Poor Maharishi. I remember him standing at the gate of the ashram, under an aide's umbrella, as the Beatles filed by, out of his life. 'Wait,' he cried. 'Talk to me.' But no one listened.

After leaving the ashram, the taxis kept breaking down, leading the Beatles to wonder if the Maharishi had placed a curse on them. The car that the Lennons were in suffered a flat tyre and the driver left them, apparently to find a replacement tyre, but did not return for hours. After it grew dark, the Lennons hitched a ride to Delhi. They then took the first available flight back to London, during which John drunkenly recounted a litany of his numerous infidelities to Cynthia. Harrison was not ready to return to London and face running Apple and the band's other commitments. In her autobiography, Boyd writes: "Instead, we went to see Ravi Shankar and lost ourselves in his music." Harrison said when he got dysentery in Madras that he thought it might have been due to a spell cast by the Maharishi, but he recovered after Shankar gave him some amulets.

Cooke de Herrera, who remained a lifelong devotee to TM and an instructor to many celebrities, felt the contract with Four Star and presence of the film crew was the reason for the sudden departure of Harrison and Lennon. According to Chopra, the departure was at the request of the Maharishi, due to his disapproval of the Beatles and their entourage taking drugs: "[The Maharishi] lost his temper with them. He asked them to leave, and they did in a huff."