Friday, February 8, 2008

The Latest and The Greatest of Them All (Ouuu Ooooooooooooooooo)

While sitting in my cubicle on Tuesday February Fifth, 2008 I noticed a headline on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had died earlier in the day. He was born between 1911 and 1918 in Jabalpur, India and became a disciple of Hindu Swami Brahmananda Saraswati and eventually became a Shankaracharya (spiritual leader) in the Himalayas (I assume to some group of followers). Part of his teachings include Transcendental Meditation and, as the years went by, he seems to have taken his teachings to the western world: first to Hawaii, then mainland America via California and, eventually, to Europe - one of the first people to do so.

Still doesn't ring a bell? You may know him as Sexy Sadie.

In August of 1967, while he was on tour in England, John, Paul, George, Ringo and their wives decided to check out one of his talks. They liked what they heard and during that following spring, the four of them traveled to Rishikesh to do some full time meditating. They were supposed to be doing nothing but meditating but found time to write over forty songs, many of which became the foundation for The White Album.

There seem to have been a bunch of pop culture stars of the day on the retreat: Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Donovan, Mia Farrow and her sister Prudence (of Dear Prudence Fame) - to name a few.

After a while, John began to feel like the Maharishi was kind of taking advantage of The Beatles fame and that he was a bit of a bullshit artist. It was also alleged, during their time there, that Maharishi made a pass at one of the women (Mia Farrow) and people began to get upset. (Although now, it seems to be generally accepted that this was false - at least according to Paul and George).

This turned out to be the last straw for John with the Maharishi. could have done such a thing. Having already decided to leave, he went to see the Yogi and announced his plans to depart. Upset, the Maharishi asked why, to which John replied "If you're so cosmic, you know why!"

Fair or unfair, John's disappointment and anger led to a great song.

'Sexy Sadie' was originally to be 'Maharishi' and it originally began "Maharishi / You little twat".
George Harrison was against calling out Maharishi so directly and suggested the name 'Sexy Sadie' and the song as we know it was born but if you check out the lyrics you can tell it's John Lennon calling the Mahirishi a bullshitter - and, once again, my favorite Beatle writes and sings a beautiful and melodic 'fuck you', like only he can. Check out the lyrics:

Sexy Sadie what have you done
You made a fool of everyone
You made a fool of everyone
Sexy Sadie ooh what have you done.

Sexy Sadie you broke the rules
You layed it down for all to see
You layed it down for all to see
Sexy Sadie oooh you broke the rules.

One sunny day the world was waiting for a lover
She came along to turn on everyone
Sexy Sadie the greatest of them all.

Sexy Sadie how did you know
The world was waiting just for you
The world was waiting just for you
Sexy Sadie oooh how did you know.

Sexy Sadie you'll get yours yet
However big you think you are
However big you think you are
Sexy Sadie oooh you'll get yours yet.

We gave her everything we owned just to sit at her table
Just a smile would lighten everything
Sexy Sadie she's the latest and the greatest of them all.

She made a fool of everyone
Sexy Sadie.

However big you think you are
Sexy Sadie.

And here you can hear John's take on the whole India trip - half spoken/half sung (with Yoko in the background, I think):

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