When The Beatles launched Abbey Street in 1969, all eyes turned and glued on George Harrison. To today, ‘Right here Comes The Solar’ and ‘One thing’ are thought of a number of the best examples of pop songwriting in The Beatles catalogue. Harrison didn’t actually get what all of the fuss was about; he’d already written equally noteworthy songs for the band’s earlier launch, The White Album.
The one distinction between ‘Lengthy Lengthy Lengthy’ and ‘One thing’ was that the latter was a bit extra knowingly business. Amid this unprecedented inundation of optimistic suggestions, Harrison will need to have discovered himself questioning if he ought to have held on to a few of his different choices, songs like ‘Bitter Milk Sea’ for instance.
‘Bitter Milk Sea’ was written in India throughout The Beatles’ keep in Rishikesh, the place they had been collaborating in a transcendental meditation program led by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. On their return to England, the observe was handed to Jackie Lomax to assist help the launch of the band’s newest enterprise enterprise, Apple Data. At its core, it’s a celebration of the advantages of meditation, which was turning into more and more standard with younger Westerners on the time, maybe as a result of, like LSD, it promised entry right into a hitherto unknown realm. Harrison took meditation extra severely than most. In his eyes, the pursuit of inside peace was the one approach humanity could be free from worldly pleasures.
In his memoir, I, Me, Mine, Harrison defined the observe’s origins: “It’s primarily based on Vishvasara Tantra, from Tantric artwork. ‘What’s right here is elsewhere, what is just not right here is nowhere’. It’s an image, and the image is known as ‘Bitter Milk Sea’ – Kalladadi Samudra in Sanskrit. I used ‘Bitter Milk Sea’ as the concept of – in the event you’re within the shit, don’t go round moaning about it: do one thing about it.”
In 1968, the Beatles had been sorting by way of tracks to file for The White Album and determined to demo ‘Bitter Milk Sea’ at Harrison’s Surrey house, Esher Home. Now, I do know what you’re considering – and also you’re proper: there’s a sure irony in the truth that this pro-meditation, anti-materialist ballad was initially recorded in a lavish nation home with a sprawling backyard. Such paradoxes are an inescapable a part of The Beatles’ legacy.
On listening to what they’d recorded, George, Ringo and John had been pleasantly shocked. The one challenge was that Harrison had already promised ‘Bitter Milk Sea’ to Lomax, an early Apple Data signee. Harrison was comfortable to present the observe away solely underneath one situation: that he was allowed to provide it. This he did with all of the gusto you’d count on of somebody with a complete studio at their disposal.
Excited by this new artistic management, Harrison purchased in Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, his good friend Eddie Clayton and revered session pianist Nicky Hopkins, who had just lately completed working with The Rolling Stones on Their Satanic Majesties Request. With layer upon layer of instrumentation, ‘Bitter Milk Sea’ misplaced a few of its unique tranquillity. Although the observe acquired some beneficial critiques on launch in 1968, many felt it was too full – too hectic and muddled.
For those who’re questioning what ‘Bitter Milk Sea’ would have seemed like if Harrison and co. had held on to it for The White album, you possibly can take a look at the Esher demo under, in addition to a intelligent remix during which the unique demo vocals have been mixed with Harrison’s preparations for Lomax.