The Paul McCartney Project

Within You Without You

Written by George Harrison

Album This song officially appears on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Mono) Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1967
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

Other Beatles songs with no contribution from McCartney

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Within You Without You” is a song written by George Harrison and released on the Beatles’ 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was Harrison’s second composition in the Indian classical style, after “Love You To“, and was inspired by his six-week stay in India with his mentor and sitar teacher, Ravi Shankar, over September–October 1966. Recorded in London without the other Beatles, the song features Indian instrumentation such as sitar, dilruba and tabla, and was performed by Harrison and members of the Asian Music Circle. The recording marked a significant departure from the Beatles’ previous work; musically, it evokes the Indian devotional tradition, while the overtly spiritual quality of the lyrics reflects Harrison’s absorption in Hindu philosophy and the teachings of the Vedas. Although the song was his only composition on Sgt. Pepper, Harrison’s endorsement of Indian culture was further reflected in the inclusion of yogis such as Paramahansa Yogananda among the crowd depicted on the album cover.

With the worldwide success of the album, “Within You Without You” presented Indian classical music to a new audience in the West and contributed to the genre’s peak in international popularity. It also influenced the philosophical direction of many of Harrison’s peers during an era of utopian idealism marked by the Summer of Love. The song has traditionally received a varied response from music critics, some of whom find it lacklustre and pretentious, while others admire its musical authenticity and consider the message to be the most meaningful on Sgt. Pepper. Writing for Rolling Stone, David Fricke described the track as being “at once beautiful and severe, a magnetic sermon about materialism and communal responsibility in the middle of a record devoted to gentle Technicolor anarchy“.

On the Beatles’ 2006 remix album Love, the song was mixed with the John Lennon-written “Tomorrow Never Knows“, creating what some reviewers consider to be that project’s most successful mashup. Sonic Youth, Rainer Ptacek, Oasis, Patti Smith, Cheap Trick and the Flaming Lips are among the artists who have covered “Within You Without You“. […]

Production

Recording

Harrison recorded “Within You Without You” for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, an album based around Paul McCartney’s vision of a fictitious band that would serve as the Beatles’ alter egos, after their decision to quit touring. Harrison had little interest in McCartney’s concept; he later admitted that, following his return from India, “my heart was still out there“, and working with the Beatles again “felt like going backwards“. After it was decided to omit “Only a Northern Song” from the album, the song became Harrison’s sole composition on Sgt. Pepper.

George has done a great Indian one. We came along one night and he had about 400 Indian fellas playing there … it was a great swinging evening, as they say. – John Lennon

The recording features musical contributions from only Harrison, Beatles aide Neil Aspinall, and a group of uncredited Indian musicians. As with his Indian accompanists on “Love You To“, Harrison sourced these musicians through the Asian Music Circle in north London. Harrison missed a Beatles recording session to attend one of Shankar’s London concerts, an absence that served as part of his preparation for recording “Within You Without You“.

MacDonald describes the song as “Stylistically … the most distant departure from the staple Beatles sound in their discography“. The basic track was recorded on 15 March 1967 at EMI’s Abbey Road studio 2 in London. The participants sat on a carpet in the studio, which was decorated with Indian tapestries on the walls, with the lights turned low and incense burning. Harrison and Aspinall each played a tambura, while the Indian musicians contributed on tabla, dilruba, tambura and swarmandal. A type of zither, the swarmandal provided the glissando flourishes that introduce the tabla during the alap and signal the return to 16-beat tintal before the final verse.

The session was also attended by Lennon, artist Peter Blake, and John Barham, an English classical pianist and student of Shankar who shared Harrison’s desire to promote Indian music to Western audiences. In Barham’s recollection, Harrison “had the entire structure of the song mapped out in his head” and sung the melody that he wanted the dilruba player to follow. The twin hand-drums of the tabla were close-miked by recording engineer Geoff Emerick, in order to capture what he later described as “the texture and the lovely low resonances” of the instrument.

Overdubbing and mixing

The first of two overdubbing sessions for “Within You Without You” took place at Abbey Road on 22 March. Two more dilruba parts were added that day, played by an outside musician, after which a reduction mix was carried out, to allow for further overdubs onto the four-track recording.

Producer George Martin then arranged the string orchestration, for eight violins and three cellos, based on Harrison’s instructions. The pair worked hard together on the arrangement, ensuring that Martin’s score imitated the slides and bends of the dilrubas. The orchestral parts, performed by members of the London Symphony Orchestra, were added on 3 April. During the same session, Harrison recorded his vocal and a sitar part, the solo of which, in the description of music critic David Fricke, “sings and swings with the clarity and phrasing of his best rockabilly-fired guitar work”. Harrison also overdubbed occasional interjections on acoustic guitar.

On 4 April, while preparing the final mixes of the song, in stereo and mono, Harrison added crowd laughter taken from a sound effects tape in the Abbey Road library. Martin and Emerick were both opposed to this addition but deferred to Harrison, who later said that the laughter provided “some light relief“, adding: “You were supposed to hear the audience anyway, as they listen to Sergeant Pepper’s Show.” The completed recording was enhanced in the mixes through the liberal application of automatic double tracking. Before Harrison recorded his vocals the previous day, the track had been edited and then sped up so that its length was reduced from 6:25 to 5:05. In the process, the song’s key was raised a semitone, to C♯.

Release

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released on 1 June 1967, with “Within You Without You” sequenced as the opening track on side two of the LP. Greene notes that for many listeners at the time, the song provided their “first meaningful contact with meditative sound“. In his 1977 book The Beatles Forever, Nicholas Schaffner likened “Within You Without You” to Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha – an influential novel among the emerging counterculture during the Summer of Love – in terms of the song’s evocation of Hesse’s “idealization of individuality” and “vision of a mysterious East“. Eager to separate the song’s message from the LSD experience at a time when the drug had grown in popularity and influence, Harrison told an interviewer: “It’s nothing to do with pills … It’s just in your own head, the realisation.

Although Harrison later spoke dismissively of the Sgt. Pepper project and its legacy, he conceded that he had enjoyed working on the record’s iconic cover. For this, he asked Blake to include pictures of four Indian yogis – Yogananda, Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya and Sri Yukteswar – to feature beside the Beatles. Among the song’s lyrics, printed on the back cover, the positioning of the words “Without You” beside McCartney’s head served as a clue in the Paul Is Dead rumour, which grew in the United States partly as a result of the Beatles’ failure to perform live after 1966.

In 1971 the song was issued as the title track of an EP release in Mexico. Part of a series of Beatles releases sequenced by Lennon, the EP also included the Harrison-written tracks “Love You To”, “The Inner Light” and “I Want to Tell You“. In 1978 “Within You Without You” appeared as the B-side to the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“/”With a Little Help from My Friends” medley, on singles released in West Germany and some other European countries. An instrumental version of the track, at the original speed and in the key of C, appeared on the Beatles’ 1996 outtakes compilation Anthology 2. […]

Love remix

Within You Without You” was included on the 2006 remix album Love, which was created for the Cirque du Soleil stage show of the same name. Harrison’s vocal appears over the rhythm section from “Tomorrow Never Knows“, after the track opens with Lennon’s lyric from the latter song. Reviewing the album for PopMatters, Zeth Lundy writes: “The ‘Within You Without You’/’Tomorrow Never Knows’ mash-up, perhaps the most thrilling and effective track on the entire disc, fuses two especially transcendental songs into one: … a union of two ambiguous, open-ended declarations of spiritual pursuit.” Paul Moody of Uncut similarly considers it to be the “best of all” the mashups on Love, with the two tracks’ “cosmic drones … fitted together like a glove“. In their chapter on the Beatles’ psychedelic period in The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles, authors Russell Reising and Jim LeBlanc describe “Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows” as “the most musically and visually stunning segment” of the Cirque du Soleil show.

Remixed and remastered by George Martin and his son Giles, “Within You Without You“/”Tomorrow Never Knows” was the first track prepared for Love. Speaking to Mojo magazine in December 2006, Giles Martin said that he had first created a demo combining the two songs, which he then nervously presented to McCartney and Ringo Starr for their approval. In Martin’s recollection, “they loved it“, which allowed the project to proceed. A video clip of the completed track was made to promote the album and was included on the 2015 DVD 1+. The Love remix is one of the songs in The Beatles: Rock Band. […]

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 4 Apr 1967. edited.
    UK: Parlophone PMC 7026 Sgt Pepper 1967.
    US: Capitol MAS 2653 Sgt Pepper 1967.
  • [b] stereo 4 Apr 1967. edited.
    UK: Parlophone PCS 7026 Sgt Pepper 1967.
    US: Capitol SMAS 2653 Sgt Pepper 1967.
    CD: EMI CDP 7 46442 2 Sgt Pepper 1987.
  • [c] stereo 1995.
    CD: Apple CDP 8 34448 2 Anthology 2 1996.

For both mono and stereo, “part 1” (apparently the first, vocal section) was mixed separately from “parts 2 and 3” (the instrumental and the final vocal part?), and those mixes were edited together.

The laughter at the end was also edited on, but [a] and [b] have a different laugh.

The Anthology [c] has a remix of the instrumental tracks without the vocal, and no laughter at the end. There are traces of the vocal: for example, listen for “you’re only very small” just before the instrumental break, in the left channel, and for the last verse.

Within You Without You” is one of the rare Beatles songs with no contribution from Paul McCartney – another being “She Said She Said” from Revolver.

From ABC News, May 25, 2017:

Interviewer: And you don’t remember the other Beatles being there for that session?

Richard Lush: No, they were never there … there was one, and if you listen very carefully at the end of one of the sessions, there’s a little bit of tambourine. Now, somebody walked into the studio while we were doing whatever it was, picked up a tambourine and started playing along. And that’s the only bit – an exclusive here – that’s the only piece of somebody else other than George or his Indian friends.

Interviewer: Who was that?

Richard Lush: Don’t know.

Interviewer: Not much of an exclusive is it then!

Richard Lush: It’s an exclusive. It was either John or Paul or Ringo. They walked in downstairs, we couldn’t see who did it. But we thought ‘Oh there’s a tambourine playing along, who’s doing that?’

Last updated on June 4, 2017

Lyrics

We were talking
About the space between us all
And the people who hide themselves
Behind a wall of illusion
Never glimpse the truth
Then it's far too late
When they pass away

We were talking
About the love we all could share
When we find it
To try our best to hold it there
With our love, with our love
We could save the world
If they only knew

Try to realize it's all within yourself
No one else can make you change
And to see you're really only very small
And life flows on within you and without you

We were talking
About the love that's gone so cold
And the people who gain the world
And lose their soul
They don't know, they can't see
Are you one of them

Officially appears on


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1967

5:05 • Studio versionA • Mono

George Harrison:
Acoustic guitar, Sitar, Tambura, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Jack Rothstein:
Violin
Neil Aspinall:
Tambura
Ralph Elman:
Violin
Jack Greene:
Violin
Erich Gruenberg:
Violin
Alan Loveday:
Violin
Julien Gaillard:
Violin
Paul Scherman:
Violin
David Wolfsthal:
Violin
Reginald Kilbey:
Cello
Allen Ford:
Cello
Peter Beavan:
Cello

Session Recording:
Mar 15, 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Mar 22, 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Apr 03, 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Apr 04, 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1967

5:05 • Studio versionB • Stereo

George Harrison:
Acoustic guitar, Sitar, Tambura, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Jack Rothstein:
Violin
Neil Aspinall:
Tambura
Ralph Elman:
Violin
Jack Greene:
Violin
Erich Gruenberg:
Violin
Alan Loveday:
Violin
Julien Gaillard:
Violin
Paul Scherman:
Violin
David Wolfsthal:
Violin
Reginald Kilbey:
Cello
Allen Ford:
Cello
Peter Beavan:
Cello

Session Recording:
Mar 15, 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Mar 22, 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Apr 03, 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Apr 04, 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Love

Official album • Released in 2006

3:07 • Studio version • This track combines the vocals and the dilruba from "Within You Without You" with the bass and drums from "Tomorrow Never Knows."

George Martin:
Producer
Giles Martin:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Remix engineer
Sam Okell:
Remix engineer assistant
Chris Bolster:
Remix engineer assistant
Mirek Stiles:
Remix engineer assistant

Session Mixing:
Circa 2004-2006
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (2017)

Official album • Released in 2017

5:08 • Studio version


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (2017)

Official album • Released in 2017

Studio version • Take 1 - Indian instruments only


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (2017)

Official album • Released in 2017

Studio version • George coaching the musicians


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (2017)

Official album • Released in 2017

5:08 • Studio versionA

George Harrison:
Acoustic guitar, Sitar, Tambura, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Jack Rothstein:
Violin
Neil Aspinall:
Tambura
Ralph Elman:
Violin
Jack Greene:
Violin
Erich Gruenberg:
Violin
Alan Loveday:
Violin
Julien Gaillard:
Violin
Paul Scherman:
Violin
David Wolfsthal:
Violin
Reginald Kilbey:
Cello
Allen Ford:
Cello
Peter Beavan:
Cello

Session Recording:
Mar 15, 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Mar 22, 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Apr 03, 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Apr 04, 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Bootlegs


Sgt. Pepper's Sessions

Unofficial album

1:17 • Alternate take • Within you Without You - Take2 stereo


Sgt. Pepper's Sessions

Unofficial album

5:26 • Alternate take • Within you Without You - RS From Takes 1 and 2 V1 stereo


Sgt. Pepper's Sessions

Unofficial album

0:24 • Alternate take • Within you Without You - Unknown Take stereo


Sgt. Pepper's Sessions

Unofficial album

1:49 • Alternate take • Within you Without You - RS From Takes 1 and 2 V2 stereo


Sgt. Pepper's Sessions

Unofficial album

5:06 • Alternate take • Within you Without You - Rock Band Mix

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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