Written and recorded in the first half of 1980, ‘The Rishi Kesh Song’ was inspired by John Lennon’s 1968 trip to India, where The Beatles studied Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Introduced by Lennon on the home demo as ‘The Happy Rishi Kesh Song’, it was lyrically tongue-in-cheek in its blind belief. “The magic’s in the mantra, we’ll give you the answers,” he sang. “So swallow this – that’s all you’ve got to do.”

Lennon thoughts evidently returned to India several times in 1980; he also wrote ‘India, India’ around the same time, and the country made a reappearance in the 1979 spoken word piece ‘The Great Wok’.

One line in ‘The Rishi Kesh Song’ – “There’s something missing in this God almighty plan” – was recycled for another 1980 recording, the bawdy Bob Dylan parody ‘Serve Yourself’.

‘The Rishi Kesh Song’ was included in the John Lennon Anthology box set in 1998. It was slightly edited for release, and coupled with another song from the same period. The full version of ‘The Rishi Kesh Song’ went on slightly longer. The coda, occasionally listed on bootlegs as ‘Something Is Wrong’, bore a lyrical resemblence to The Beatles’ 1968 song ‘Yer Blues’ with its mention of “feeling so suicidal”.

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