Lost Beatles songs are a relative rarity in today’s world. An unreleased recording from John Lennon’s honeymoon trip in Denmark went for a cool £43,000 at an auction earlier this year. Paul McCartney’s personal team MPL found handwritten lyrics for a previously unaccounted for Beatles song that was never recorded, ‘Tell Me Who He Is’, while exploring his archives for the book The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present.
Most of the time, though, if a Beatles song isn’t out there, it’s for a good reason. The most notorious ‘lost’ Beatles recording isn’t lost at all. ‘Carnival of Light’, an avant-garde recording made for the Million Volt Light and Sound Rave event in 1967, is currently in McCartney’s possession. It was meant to be released as a part of the Anthology project, but was vetoed by the other members. McCartney still teases the song’s release every once in a while, but it’s unlikely to see a public release by this point.
That’s why it’s so refreshing to come across an honest to goodness hidden gem in the Beatles recorded history. That’s just what happened when a recording featuring Ringo Starr on drums and George Harrison on guitar was unearthed in a Birmingham loft.
The song, entitled ‘Radhe Shaam’, was written and produced by broadcaster Suresh Joshi for a 1968 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 to take advantage of the studio’s then-cutting edge eight-track recording. The sessions were somewhat fraught, with McCartney and Harrison disagreeing over the guitar part for the song.
During an interim, Harrison and Starr offered their services to Joshi. Their playing is unmistakable, and Harrison has an obvious comfort within the mix of rock music and traditional Indian composition coming from his long devotion to the culture. Joshi had initially lost the tapes for the session until they were discovered this year.
An official release for the song has yet to come to fruition, but it was played on BBC Radio DJ Tony Snell’s November 10 programme, which you can listen to here.
Below is the song Ringo Starr released in honour of his late friend, ‘Never Without You’.