September 2 , 2011 Playlist

The Sitar Special
Ravi Shankar at Monterey Pop Festival 1967
"Ananda Shankar" by Ananda Shankar (1970)
Ananda Shankar  "Ananda Shankar"  1970 (India)
For this month's special, we are focusing on an Eastern instrument that was briefly popular in Western music during the psychedelic era:  the sitar.  A droning instrument from India with more than 20 strings, the sitar first attracted the notice of Beatle George Harrison during the filming of their 1965 film Help!, which featured some Indian music on the soundtrack.  For the next Beatles album, John Lennon wrote "Norwegian Wood" and had George play the melody line on sitar:  as they say, the rest is history.  By 1966 other British groups like The Rolling Stones and The Move were topping the pop charts with sitar-enhanced "exotic" pop tunes, and Ravi Shankar's legendary appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 cemented the instrument's role in pop music to the point where the sound of a sitar has become a cliche of "sixties psychedelia."  A rash of "sitarsploitation" records followed (popular songs of the day performed on sitar), such as Lord Sitar (rumoured to be George Harrison, but actually the work session guitarist "Big Jim" Sullivan) and the notoriously campy (but mostly abysmal) Flower Power Sitar credited to Rajput & The Sepoy Mutiny.  However one "sitar pop" album that stands out from the pack is this 1970 debut by Ravi's nephew Ananda Shankar.  Ananda followed his famous uncle to California and landed an American record deal resulting in this album, which fuses western pop (including then-cutting-edge moog synthesizers) with his own original Indian-styled compositions.  Another classic album followed in 1975, entitled Ananda Shankar And His Music.  Ananda passed away in 1999, but his cousin Anoushka Shankar (Ravi's daughter and half-sister of Norah Jones) continues the family tradition with her global sitar fusion music.
Here's a fan video for a song from Ananda's second album: "Streets of Calcutta", and here's the sitar's breakthrough moment in American pop culture:  Ravi Shankar performing at Monterey Pop Festival.  Ravi's most famous student from the West was George Harrison of The Beatles, who spent six weeks studying sitar with Shankar in India during 1966.  Perhaps the ultimate "Indian rock" band from Britain in the 1960's was the lesser known underground band Quintessence.  Some more modern practitioners of sitar-rock that have been heard on Kosmik Radiation before include Prasanna and Cornershop.
(N) = New Release
Artist Song Album Year Country
The Beatles Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) Rubber Soul 1965 UK
The Beatles Love You To Revolver 1966 UK
Lord Sitar (Big Jim Sullivan) Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles) Lord Sitar 1968 UK
The Rolling Stones Paint It, Black Aftermath (American version only) 1966 UK
The Move Night Of Fear A-side 7" single (bonus track on The Move CD) 1966 UK
Traffic Paper Sun A-side 7" single (Best Of Traffic LP) 1967 UK
The Lemon Pipers Green Tambourine Green Tambourine 1967 USA
The Pretty Things Talking About The Good Times A-side 7" single 1968
bonus track on S. F. Sorrow CD)
1968 UK
Shocking Blue Love Buzz At Home 1969 Netherlands
Spirit The Girl In Your Eye Spirit 1968 USA
Quintessence Notting Hill Gate In Blissful Company 1969 UK
The Incredible String Band Nightfall The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter 1968 UK
Jethro Tull Fat Man Stand Up 1969 UK
featuring Bubbley Kaur
United Provinces Of India Cornershop And The Double-O Groove Of (N) 2011 (Ample Play) UK
Ananda Shankar Light My Fire (The Doors) Ananda Shankar
1970 India
Ananda Shankar Metamorphosis Ananda Shankar
1970 India
Ananda Shankar Sagar (The Ocean) Ananda Shankar
1970 India
Flower Travellin' Band Dhoop Electric Psychedelic Sitar Headswirlers Vol. 7 (various artists compilation) c. 1969 Japan
The Beavers Koishite Aishite Love, Peace & Poetry Vol. 4: Japan (various artists compilation) 1968 Japan
People Gatha Ceremony - Buddha Meet Rock 1972 Japan
Miles Davis Mulher Laranja (Orange Lady) Big Fun rec. 1969, rel. 1974 USA
Colin Walcott Cloud Dance Cloud Dance 1976 USA
Eric Burdon & The Animals Winds Of Change Winds Of Change 1967 UK
The Moody Blues Om In Search Of The Lost Chord 1968 UK
Blue Cheer Babaji (Twilight Raga) The Original Human Being 1970 USA
The Byrds Space Odyssey The Notorious Byrd Brothers 1967 USA
Strawberry Alarm Clock Black Butter:  Past, Present, Future Wake Up...It's Tomorrow 1968 USA
Sonny (Sonny Bono) I Just Sit There Inner Views 1967 USA
The Monkees This Just Doesn't Seem To Be My Day The Monkees 1966 USA
Spinal Tap (Listen To The) Flower People This Is Spinal Tap (original soundtrack) 1984 "UK" (USA)
The Beatles Within You Without You Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 1967 UK
Okko A Day In The Life (The Beatles) Sitar & Electronics 1971 Netherlands
Cornershop Norwegian Wood (The Beatles) When I Was Born For The 7th Time 1997 UK
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