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The Beatles' recording of this song features lead vocals from Harrison and brief backing vocals from John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The instrumental track was recorded in Bombay, India, during the sessions for Harrison's Wonderwall Music (a soundtrack album), during January 1968.
"The Inner Light" was one of the last Beatles songs to become readily available on an album in the English-speaking world. Although the song had been included in Por Siempre Beatles, a compilation album released only in Spain in 1971, it was not available on a British or American long-playing record until the release of Rarities (which had been included in the British and American boxed set, The Beatles Collection, in 1978, and released separately as an album in the United Kingdom in 1979). The first stand-alone American album to feature "The Inner Light" was The Beatles Rarities, which was released in 1980. "The Inner Light" is available on CD on Past Masters: Volume Two.
The mono version of the song that was released as the B-Side of the "Lady Madonna" single (and later on the Rarities compilation) is slightly different from the stereo version available on "Past Masters: Volume Two". The mono mix features an extra horn riff during the intro and overdubbed vocals, whereas the stereo mix lacks the extra horn and features a single vocal track.
Jeff Lynne of ELO, who worked heavily with George Harrison, sang the song accompanied by his acoustic guitar, Anoushka Shankar on sitar, and an ensemble of Indian musicians in 2002's Concert for George. Part of the song appears mixed alongside another Harrison composition, Here Comes the Sun, on the 2006 Cirque du Soleil album, Love.
"The Inner Light" spent one week on the Billboard Hot 100 at #96, on March 30, 1968.
- George Harrison - lead vocal
- John Lennon - harmony vocal
- Paul McCartney - harmony vocal
- Sharad Gosh - shenai
- Hariprasad Chaurasia - flute
- Ashish Khan - sarod
- Mehapurush Misra - tabla, pakhavaj
- Rij Ram Desad - harmonium
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