With the passing of sitar master, Ravi Shenkar yesterday, I began reading about just how many popular artists in the 1960’s became enamoured with the classical Indian instrument. Most musicians know that George Harrison from the Beatles took lessons from Shenkar and used the sitar on many Beatles tracks. What amazed me, however, is how many other places in pop music the sitar was used, as well. Here is a list of 10 artists who used the sitar in popular music.
(1) The Beatles tracks where the sitar is used are: “Norwegian wood,” “Love You Too,” “Tomorrow Never Knows,” “Within You, Without You,” and “across the Universe”
(2) The Rolling Stones guitarist, Brian Jones, play the sitar on The Stones’ tracks “Paint It Black, “Between the Buttons,” and “Their Satanic Majesties Request”
(3) The Monkees used the sitar on “This Just Doesn’t Seem to Be My Day”
(4) Ricky Nelson used it on “Marshmellow Skies”
(5) The sitar was used on Scott McKenzie‘s “San Francisco”
(6) The Turtles used the sitar on “Sound Asleep”
(7) Traffic used the sitar on “Hole in My Shoe” and “Paper Sun”
(8) The Kinks used the sitar on their track “Fancy”
(9) The Mamas and the Papas used the sitar on several tracks: “People Like Us”, “Snowqueen Of Texas’, “Lady Genevieve”, “I Wanna Be a Star” and “Grasshopper”
(10) The Moody Blues used the sitar on several albums. One track that featured the sitar was the song “Om.”
Ravi Shenkar brought the sitar into the mainstream. Even popular artists today from Shikira to Metallica have used the instrument. My song of the day, however, must be with George Harrison playing the instrument. Shenkar was a mentor to Harrison, and the song “Within You, Without you” really features it. So…click HERE to go to Youtube to listen Harrison and The Beatles perform this psychedelic song.
RIP, Ravi Shenkar. Thank you for your incredible musical contributions. The music will live on forever!