Lost psychedelic pop song with George Harrison and Ringo Starr unearthed
A lost, never-before-heard psychedelic pop song featuring George Harrison and Ringo Starr has been unearthed in a Birmingham loft.
Radhe Shaam was written and produced by broadcaster and journalist Suresh Joshi in 1968 for a documentary film, East Meets West. The recording took place at Trident Studios in London, where Harrison and Starr were recording Hey Jude with the Beatles and offered to contribute guitar and drum work to the song.
Beginning with a pealing riff from Harrison and underpinned by a steady backbeat from Starr, the song features Hindi-language vocals by singer Aashish Khan, but gives plenty of space for both Beatles to add highly distinctive playing. Harrison delivers a long, searching and joyous guitar solo, while Starr adds his characteristic drum rolls and fills.
Joshi rediscovered the recording at his home during lockdown. “It was lost and found many times … suddenly the lockdown was a blessing in disguise,” he told BBC Merseyside, where the song received its first play.
Joshi said he met Harrison at the studio because, as an Indian, “I stood out like a sore thumb … we started talking about philosophy in general.” Harrison’s interest in Indian culture had been deepened by the Beatles’ trip to Rishikesh earlier in 1968, where, led by Harrison, they studied transcendental meditation.
Harrison divulged to Joshi the friction that was already appearing in the band ahead of their 1969 split: “He said he was the underdog … that he had lost his confidence.”
A charity release of Radhe Shaam is being planned. “Leave it to humanity – that’s what George wanted to do,” Joshi said.
Photo: Photograph: Suresh Joshi/PA