100 Greatest Beatles Songs

From 'Helter Skelter' to 'Sgt. Pepper's,' ranking of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison's output

Load Previous
'Within You Without You'
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images96/100

96. 'Within You Without You'

Main Writer: Harrison
Recorded: March 15 and 22, April 3 and 4, 1967
Released: June 2, 1967
Not released as a single

Harrison had been obsessed with the sitar since he saw one on the set of Help! in 1965. But it wasn't until he went to India in 1966 to study with sitar master Ravi Shankar that he became truly skilled at it. Harrison often practiced eight hours a day while in India. "George's passion for the music amazed me," Shankar said.

"Within You Without You" was the first fruit of Harrison's studies. Augmenting his sitar with an 11-piece string section and Indian instrumentation, it was a magnetic sermon on spirituality. "It's one of my favorite [songs] of his," Lennon said. "His mind and music are clear. . . . He brought that sound together."

Harrison's devotion to the sound and spirit of India lingered, blooming over his solo masterwork, All Things Must Pass. "Till the day I die," Harrison told Rolling Stone in 1968, "I believe [Indian music] is the greatest music ever on our level of existence."

Appears On: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'
George Harrison Gets Back: Rolling Stone's 1987 Cover Story
Photos: The Best Album Covers of All Time Readers Poll

Back to Top