Oliver Craske’s magisterial biography of the sitar maestro, the first in English, portrays him as a towering but troubled genius
The year 1967 was a watershed moment for the global music industry. That year, The Beatles released one of their iconic albums, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which soared to the top of the charts all over the world. Millions lost their minds over the fab four from Liverpool as the frenzy of Beatlemania turned into a contagion. It was an annus mirabilis—a year of miracles—for another musician too, groomed in a tradition that had nothing to do with rock ‘n’ roll. As the world became drunk on the lyrics and melodies created by the Liverpudlians, George Harrison, a frontman for the band, began to fall under the spell of a different kind of magic, created by Indian sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.