The Role of The Beatles in Popularizing Indian Music and Culture in the West

Rodrigo Guerrero

Abstract


The Beatles were responsible for several long-lasting innovations that shaped the history of pop music and Western culture in general. As a British rock band that dominated the popular music scene during the 1960s, they made one of their most significant, yet sometimes overlooked, contributions through the incorporation of elements from Indian culture in their music and lyrics. This essay discusses the role that the Beatles played in introducing and popularizing certain features of Indian culture, and specifically Indian music, in the Western hemisphere. I first describe their relationship with Indian culture. In this section, I bring forth questions, such as why they became interested in this culture, why they decided to go on a spiritual retreat to India, and how the trip influenced their thoughts about foreign culture. After that, this essay analyzes the influence of Indian culture and Indian music on the Beatles’ lyrics and music, respectively. Finally, I will illuminate the lasting effect that this cross-fertilization had in subsequent years.

Keywords


popular music, The Beatles, Indian music

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