BackgroundSee also: The Beatles at Rishikesh
The album was the first that the Beatles undertook following the death of their manager, Brian Epstein, and the first released by their own record label, Apple.
Most of the songs were conceived during a transcendental meditation course with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rishikesh, India in the spring of 1968. The retreat had required long periods of meditation, initially conceived by the band as a spiritual respite from all worldly endeavours—a chance, in John Lennon's words, to "get away from everything." Both Lennon and Paul McCartney had quickly found themselves in songwriting mode, however, often meeting "clandestinely in the afternoons in each other's rooms" to review the new work. "Regardless of what I was supposed to be doing," Lennon would later recall, "I did write some of my best songs there." Close to forty new compositions had emerged in Rishikesh, twenty-three of which would be recorded in very rough form at Kinfauns, George Harrison's home in Esher, in May 1968.
The Beatles had left Rishikesh before the end of the course, with Starr and then McCartney departing, and Lennon and Harrison departing together later. According to some reports, Lennon left Rishikesh because he felt personally betrayed by rumours that Maharishi had made sexual advances toward Mia Farrow's sister Prudence, who had accompanied The Beatles on their trip. Shortly after he decided to leave, Lennon wrote a song called "Maharishi" which included the lyrics, "Maharishi/You little twat"; the song became "Sexy Sadie". According to several authors, Alexis Mardas (aka "Magic Alex") deliberately engineered these rumours because he was bent on undermining the Maharishi's influence over each Beatle. In a 1980 interview, Lennon acknowledged that the Maharishi was the inspiration for the song: "I just called him 'Sexy Sadie'."
The album's working title, A Doll's House, was changed when the English progressive rock band Family released the similarly titled Music in a Doll's House earlier that year.
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Famous quotes containing the word background:
“Pilate with his question What is truth? is gladly trotted out these days as an advocate of Christ, so as to arouse the suspicion that everything known and knowable is an illusion and to erect the cross upon that gruesome background of the impossibility of knowledge.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche (18441900)
“... every experience in life enriches ones background and should teach valuable lessons.”
—Mary Barnett Gilson (1877?)
“Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel to all dull discourses and all foolish acts, a balm to our every chagrin, as welcome after satiety as after disappointment; that background which the painter may not daub, be he master or bungler, and which, however awkward a figure we may have made in the foreground, remains ever our inviolable asylum, where no indignity can assail, no personality can disturb us.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)