In 1968, just as The Beatles released their ninth self-titled album, the White Album, and were at the height of their career, Ringo Starr and George Harrison sat in with Suresh Joshi to sing “Radhe Shaam,” written and produced by the UK broadcaster.
A recording of the song was unearthed in the attic of Joshi’s home in Birmingham, England by a friend checking on him during the lockdown.
Joshi, now 75, was initially friends with Harrison and introduced him to famed Indian musician Ravi Shankar, who also taught the Beatle how to play the sitar. As Joshi was working on the documentary East Meet West in London, Harrison and Starr, who were taking a break from their Hey Jude sessions, came into Trident Studios where he was working to perform the song he had written.
Also featuring Indian classical musician Aashish Khan, Joshi says he never got around to releasing “Radhe Shaam,” and the track remained archived away, until now.
“Time had gone on,” said Joshi in a recent interview. “The Beatles were breaking up and had various problems, so no-one wanted to [release it].
Calling the lockdown a “blessing in disguise,” Joshi says the downtime helped him find the lost master tape with the help of his friend Deepak Pathak, who sent the lost recording to producer Suraj Shinh to restore and mix.
“The song itself revolves around the concept that we are all one and that the world is our oyster,” said Joshi on the relevance of the track today. “[That is] something that we have all realized during this pandemic.”
The song was given its first radio play on BBC Radio Merseyside, in addition to a recent “listening party” at the Liverpool Beatles Museum where the track was played for the 100 in attendance, including Joshi.
“It was quite a moment,” the museum manager Paul Parry told BBC. “It took you somewhere else. “It was unmistakeably George’s guitar [and] it was like almost bringing him back to life. It was unmistakeably Ringo’s drumming, too.”
Photo: Scott Robert Ritchie/BMG